November 19, 2015
Writer: Clint Urick
Several faculty members and nearly 100 students from BYU-Idaho attended the World Congress of Families (WCF) held in Salt Lake City at the end of October.
The Salt Lake City WCF marks the ninth planned conference since the organization's foundation in 1997, and the first time it was held in the United States.
Faculty member Tim Rarick of the Department of Home and Family began planning for the event over a year ago, and spoke at the four-day long conference.
Speaking about the organization committee, Rarick said he was brought in with several religious and family advocates from around the world.
"I felt like I might have not belonged, but we went to work brainstorming and discussing what the Congress should achieve," Rarick said.
Their collaboration brought in 185 speakers and more than 3,300 attendees from 52 countries, 46 U.S. states, the District of Columbia, and two U.S. territories.
Rarick was also a co-chair of the Millennial Panel, a forum comprised of 14 young adults with experience in advocating for the family. After sharing their experiences, those on the panel participated in a Q&A session with a large group of millennials.
"It was great for peers to see how others handled different questions and how they were able to defend the family," Rarick said.
In addition to planning, speaking, and co-chairing, Rarick was also involved in creating a scholarship for BYU-Idaho students to attend the conference. Rarick created an application and sent it out to all Marriage and Family Studies majors. Faculty members of the Department of Home and Family went through the selection process choosing those who really understood the issues and had a real desire to attend.
The Sutherland Institute, which hosted the WCF, covered the majority of the cost for the BYU-Idaho students in attendance.
"We ended up bringing about 60 students from campus, and another 30 or so online students met us in Salt Lake," Rarick said.
Online students had to provide their own transportation to the congress, some traveling from as far as New York.
Kevin Galbraith, also of the Department of Home and Family, said it was very rewarding to see the online and on-campus students connecting with each other as well as connecting with industry professionals.
"Not only did this congress provided excellent opportunities for making connections, networking, and securing internships," Galbraith said, "but it was also so encouraging to see people come from different backgrounds and religions with a united purpose in defending the family."
"It was a great reminder that we're not alone in our desires to strengthen and protect the family. There are like-minded people across the whole world."