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From ice cream and treats to facts and info tidbits: A concluding look at BYU Education Week

What were the most-purchased ice cream flavors and sweets, final attendance numbers, demographic breakdowns and such?

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Attendees listen during a devotional at BYU education week in Provo, Utah, on Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2022.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News


PROVO, Utah — After five days of finger-pointing and telling others where to go — literally so, and in a good way of helping each other find classes across the Brigham Young University campus — 2022 BYU Education Week attendees are in the fifth and final day of this year’s iteration of one of the country’s largest continuing education programs.

As the curtain closes on Education Week’s centennial year, it’s a good time to look at the numbers, facts and trivial tidbits from this week’s program — as well as a few informal lists, as compiled in on-site queries by the Church News.

We’ll start with a little “food for thought.”

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People move between sessions at BYU’s Education week in Provo, Utah, on Monday, Aug. 15, 2022.

Scott G Winterton, Deseret News

Cool flavors

With a quick ask of the three most popular ice cream flavors purchased during Education Week at the BYU Creamery stand in the Wilkinson Center, the unofficial rankings were:

  • Graham Canyon — graham cracker ice cream, graham cracker swirl and chocolate-covered honeycomb.
  • Roasted Almond Fudge — maple chocolate ice cream with roasted almonds.
  • Coconut Joy — coconut ice cream, chocolate swirl, roasted almonds.

Your treat

In the nearby BYU Store, where Church-related books and BYU fan apparel were the featured and well-stocked items as well as the most common buys, a similar ask of the week’s three most popular treat purchases at The Sweet Shop revealed:

  • Chocolate-covered cinnamon bears — the undisputed reigning champion, year after year.
  • Walnut chocolate fudge.
  • Chocolate bridge mix.

Fast food

And at the Wilkinson Center’s Cougar Express, where quick snacks and drinks are available:

  • Diet Coke, in 20-ounce bottles — employees needed no time in naming the most popular purchase.
  • “Cougar Crunch” — BYU’s version of kettle corn, coming in an assortment of flavors and varieties.
  • Pre-packaged sandwiches.

More fun lists to come. But first, a look at some of the formal, official numbers and facts about Education Week:

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An Education Week class fills the Wilkinson Center Ballroom on Monday, Aug. 15, 2022, on the BYU campus in Provo, Utah.

Matthew Norton, BYU

Quick facts for 2022

  • Dates: Aug. 15-19, 2022 — and the 2023 Education Week will be held Aug. 21-25 next year, if you’re looking ahead.
  • Classes: Nearly 900 offered, including 44 specifically for attendees ages 14 to 18.
  • Topics: Ranging from marriage and family to communication, health, history, finance, personal development and a wide variety of gospel subjects.
  • Attendance: Projected to exceed 16,000.

Explaining attendance

Let’s pause from these lists and numbers, since attendance needs a little explanation — with the help of H. Bruce Payne, BYU Education Week’s program administrator. This year marks his 24th role — nearly a quarter of the 100-year history that Education Week has celebrated in 2022.

Registration started March 31 and continues through Friday’s final day, Aug. 19. Final numbers won’t be tallied until after the conclusion of the program, since walk-up registrations have continued all five days. Payne said registration had hit 14,000 as of the last count on Tuesday, Aug. 16, and is expected to surpass 16,000 at the final count.

And attendance is the first item on Payne’s list when asked about this year’s pleasant surprises.

  • Attendance is moving toward pre-pandemic numbers, which was around 18,000 in 2018 and 2019. With the COVID-19 pandemic derailing the 2020 program, the resumed Education Week last year drew 13,000 attendees. “It feels more like a normal year this year,” Payne said.
  • Attendees aren’t being turned away when sessions hit room capacity. Thanks to the cameras and AV technology — installed in classrooms and auditoriums throughout the BYU campus to help with virtual classes during and coming out of the pandemic — Education Week building supervisors can quickly create overflow rooms when assigned presentation locations become full.
  • Last-minute volunteers have stepped up, stepped in and — in some cases — stepped on the gas pedal. While Education Week staff and volunteer numbers are still a little shy of normal years, Payne has seen others on campus come to the rescue and fill voids, such as the For the Strength of Youth directors and coordinators helping drive shuttle vans. Even Lee Giles, dean of BYU’s Division of Continuing Education, took the wheel of a disability van for seven hours one day this week. “It starts from the top,” said Payne of the help given.
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An Education Week attendee takes a cellphone photo during a class held Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2022, in the BYU Harris Fine Arts Center de Jong Concert Hall in Provo, Utah.

Nate Edwards, BYU

Attendee and faculty breakdowns

Calculating Education Week registration through early August, some numbers on this year’s attendees include:

  • Geography: Attendees come from 46 states and eight other nations.
  • Gender: 32% are male and 68% female.

And age demographics break out as follows:

  • Age 14-18 — 5%
  • Age 19-25 — 3%
  • Age 26-34 — 2%
  • Age 35-45 — 10%
  • Age 46-54 — 11%
  • Age 55-62 — 16%
  • Age 63 and older — 53%
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In an Aug. 17, 2022, Education Week session, Ryan Eggett teaches about the power of hymns. The class was held in the BYU Jesse Knight Building in Provo, Utah.

Brooklynn Jarvis Kelson, BYU

The breakdown of gender of this year’s Education Week presenters:

  • 36% women
  • 64% men

And the distribution of organizations represented by Education Week faculty:

  • 33% BYU faculty members
  • 7% Church seminary and institute faculty
  • 60% expert/professional faculty from other institutions and professions

Help, please

The Education Week Help Desk in the Wilkinson Center cited four common questions, concerns or requests from attendees this week:

  • What are last-minute housing options?
  • Why isn’t cash accepted for CougarEat purchases? In lieu of cash, nearby ATM-like machines will convert cash into BYU Dining gift cards.
  • Where is the Lost and Found?
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Attendees visit a registration during at 2022 BYU Education Week on Monday, Aug. 15, 2022, in Provo, Utah.

Brooklynn Jarvis Kelson, BYU

And Help Desk staff cited a couple of unique inquiries made this week. A number of attendees requested access for “people pushers” — Help Desk workers finally realized they were asking about the availability of the golf carts used on campus. And one attendee was persistent in trying to find out how and where one might be able to purchase the water-cooled fans positioned at shuttle stops.

If lost ...

And speaking of the Lost and Found, a quick ask there about the week’s most commonly found and/or sought items came up with these three responses:

  • Identification cards and credit cards
  • Sunglasses
  • Sweaters and sweatshirts

When asked of the most strange or quirky thing found and turned in, the employee at the desk said nothing came to mind — at least nothing as surprising as the one time a dog was delivered to Lost and Found.

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BYU Education Week attendees walk through the campus in Provo, Utah, on Monday, Aug. 15, 2022. 

Brooklynn Jarvis Kelson, BYU

Going the distance

From the Conference Center to the Richards Building, and from the Harris Fine Arts Center to the Joseph Smith Building, 16 buildings on the BYU campus were used for Education Week classes, devotionals and hosting.

If you started from the shuttle drop-off northwest of Marriott Center and walked to each of the 16 buildings in a relatively convenient route and then finished at the shuttle site just east of the Museum of Art, you would need a little more than an hour at a normal walking pace to cover the 3.2-mile distance.

It’s why the schedule allowed a 25-minute break between class time slots throughout the day — to help attendees get from one site to another, sometimes from one end of campus to another.

The final word

When asked of a personal highlight for this year’s Education Week, Payne spoke of walking on campus and following an attendee who was talking on her cellphone about her and her husband’s experiences at Education Week.

Payne smiled as he heard her say: “We’re having the time of our lives.”

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Attendees listen during a BYU Education Week class in Provo, Utah, on Tuesday, Aug. 16, 2022.

Jeffrey D. Allred, Deseret News

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