Eighteen Christendom students traveled to Florida this month to attend the Clare Boothe Luce Conference in Orlando, sponsored by the Center for Conservative Women. Attending talks on how to defend and uphold Christian beliefs in the public square, the students left the conference motivated to better restore the culture and morality of communities, mirroring the college’s mission to “restore all things in Christ.”
The conference, which featured talks from several acclaimed women working on issues in society today, was first brought to students’ attention by Director of Career and Professional Development Kristin Stephens. Looking to take advantage of this opportunity to network and learn outside the classroom, students made the trip free of charge, thanks to the generosity of the organization.
For senior Michelle Kelly, who hails from Ireland, the conference was of particular interest. After seeing her country attack the foundations of the family through abortion and marriage laws, she wanted to learn more about how she could defend traditional values in her home country and restore proper order to society. The conference proved to be hugely educational for her as a result, giving her more tools to use in her future career after graduation.
“I was drawn to the possibility of educating myself further on conservative issues and activities so that I can be of service to defending and upholding these Ideals in my career and daily life,” said Kelly, who is majoring in theology. “The conference was a very informative and engaging weekend of speakers and fellow students from across several states speaking on issues relevant to us. The conference taught me that we all have a role to play in restoring the culture and morality of our communities, our homes and our country. These fundamental beliefs, call to action with faith and truth as our motivation mirrors what Dr. Warren Carroll’s mission for every Christendom student: “To restore all things in Christ.”
While at the conference, students heard from speakers such as KT McFarland, Kate Obenshain, and alumna Tamlyn Sheng ’19, who spoke to students on how to use social media as a platform for good in society. For junior Margaret Williamson, the talks helped emphasize how essential Christendom students are in working towards creating a Godly society.
“What really impacted me overall was that each speaker mentioned and encouraged having a strong prayer life in order to help them succeed in their work,” said Williamson. ‘[The talks were an] important reminder that after receiving my education from Christendom, it’s not enough for me to be done striving for greatness at graduation. Instead of keeping the truth I’ve learned to myself in fear of offending others or calling unwanted attention or censure towards myself, I need to go boldly as a witness to Christ and his Church despite the fears and doubts created by a society of cancel culture. I loved hearing Tamlyn Sheng (who is now a Digital Content Manager for the PR firm ATHOS) speak on using social media as a platform for good in society as well. Especially as a Christendom alumna, it was inspiring to hear what one can do with their education at Christendom.”
For many of the students who went, which included mostly freshmen, this was their first conference. It will, however, not be their last after the positive experience. Students have numerous opportunities to attend conferences, summits, and guest lectures while at Christendom, with many attending conferences at Notre Dame, in Washington, D.C., and elsewhere. These unique opportunities give the students the chance to learn and network with important figures, giving them a leg up as they prepare for their careers after graduation.
“It wasn’t until I came to Christendom that I became actively invested in how [politics] impacts my life and in how I serve my immediate community and country,” concluded Williamson. “Since being at Christendom, I have been able to learn more about what is happening in today’s society and how I can make a change in it. Between this conference and my time here, I am learning practically how to restore all things in Christ in the political and social sphere.”