Students head north to encounter Passion
UH ranks in the top 10 for students attending the Christian conference known as Passion.
The 2011 conference begins today and lasts through Sunday in Fort Worth.
“Passion 2011 is a gathering of tens of thousands of university-aged students from across the US and around the world to celebrate their common faith and purpose,” Hannah Springston, public relations representative for Passion, said.
“It’s part of a larger global movement in which students from all backgrounds and parts of the world come together under one banner,” Springston said. “We are expecting 10,000 students in Fort Worth.”
Hotel & Restaurant Management senior Liz Strickland has attended Passion conferences in the past.
“Passion is an annual conference that is held by 268 Generation, an organization that bases itself off the verse Isaiah 26:8,” Strickland said. “It has lots of Christian pastors, speakers and worship leaders all in one place for a crazy three-day conference that changes lives.”
Though 268 Generation is a national organization, Strickland said, Passion is a more state-centered conference.
“From what I’ve heard, (Passion organizers) typically just have one conference, but having one in Fort Worth cuts down on travel expenses for some — especially those from the west coast — and allows for more people to participate.”
Passion 2010, which took place in Atlanta, sold out. Strickland’s first time to go to Passion was last year. She caravanned with a group of students to Atlanta.
“I loved it,” she said.
UH’s Baptist Student Ministries has been instrumental in getting UH students to Passion, as well as getting UH representation into the top 10 of attendees, which numbered between 30 to 40 UH students.
“(BSM) teamed up with some local churches and formed one big group so we could get good group rates, and I believe they did the same thing this year,” she said.
BSM Director B.J. Ramon organized the trip last year, Strickland said, “and the rest is history.”
“I had heard a lot about it and I wanted to learn how to grow as a Christian, I went to the conference (with UH),” she said. “I loved how they were so mission minded, and God-centered.”
Besides having Christians come together for praise and worship, Passion’s other purpose is to raise money for charity.
“Do Something Now is with the Passion conference and it is a ton of different charitable organizations,” she said. “They set up booths that help us understand some of the things that are going on in the world.
Last year, about 22,000 students raised over a million dollars through contributions to the charity. In fact, Do Something Now has raised over $3.5 million, Springston said.
“Do Something Now is helping to end treacheries like sex trafficking, providing clean water and meeting other pressing global needs,” Springston said.
Strickland expects the Fort Worth event to be another success.
“I think the one in Texas will be slightly smaller than the Georgia conference, but I think it will still change the hearts and lives of many students who go,” Strickland said. “I highly suggest it to all students.”