Over 1,500 visitors from Christian schools across the nation will arrive on campus this Tuesday through Thursday for the American Association of Christian Schools national competition. They will compete in five different areas: music, speech, art, academics and Bible.
While the increase in the campus population may make the dining common a little more crowded and the residence halls a little noisier, this annual event is an opportunity for BJU students to show the love of Christ to their guests.
Kristen MacMillan, a freshman nursing major who attended AACS during her senior year of high school and participated in the speech competition, said AACS had a positive impact on her decision to attend BJU. Attending AACS helped her to experience what student life is like at BJU, and at the beginning of her freshman year, she said she already felt familiar with the campus.
MacMillan said it’s important for BJU students to reach out to the AACS visitors. “It means a lot to the visitors when college students reach into their lives,” MacMillan said. “What may seem like a small thing to you, is huge to [visiting] students.”
Dr. Greg Kielmeyer, associate dean of the School of Fine Arts and Communication and coordinator for the speech competition, encourages BJU students to have an attitude of “joyful service.” He also encourages BJU students to go out of their way to make the guests’ stay in the residence halls comfortable and convenient.
“AACS is a family relationship of mutual service,” Kielmeyer said. Many of the Christian schools that participate in AACS have a close relationship with BJU and are staffed with BJU graduates, Kielmeyer said.
Mr. David Orr, director of the Welcome Center, who works to coordinate the AACS event, said BJU and AACS work especially well together because of their shared emphasis on Christian education.
BJU students can be a tremendous help to visitors, Orr said. He encourages students to be hospitable to the guests on campus during the week.
AACS gives students an opportunity to impact someone’s life for Christ, Orr said. Orr also said that as we were one time strangers to God, and He welcomed and received us, we as Christians need to treat any person that comes into our lives the same way that Christ treated us.
BJU students can also help outside the residence halls by volunteering to help with the AACS competition. “Each area needs a lot of student volunteers,” Kielmeyer said. If students are interested in volunteering for AACS, they can contact one of the AACS coordinators: Mr. Dan Kirsop, the coordinator for music, Dr. Greg Kielmeyer, the coordinator for speech, Mr. Jay Bopp, the coordinator for art, Dr. Alfredo Deambrosi, the coordinator for academics, and Dr. Jason Ormiston, the coordinator for Bible.
AACS is a group effort on the part of thousands of people to allow the guests to have a wonderful competition experience, Kielmeyer said. Students can help by hosting events and setting up and tearing down the rooms where competitions take place. Slots to volunteer for events are one to two hours long. Students can volunteer to help with setup earlier in the week or to help with the AACS events on Wednesday and Thursday.