The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News

The student news site of Eastern Illinois University in Charleston, Illinois.

The Daily Eastern News


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CCH returns conversation couch post protest

Sia DeyKoontz
Christian Campus House students had a couch story time open talk about God. Emily Thorpe, a senior music major (front), Harrison Walker, a graduate student in cybersecurity (front right), Ashton Fifield, junior philosophy major (left on couch), and Gabriel McElroy, sophomore, sit in the South Quad Wednesday.

EIU’s South Quad is the host of many extracurricular activities. From cloud gazing to concerts, it is a lively area on Eastern’s campus.  

Take the happenings of Wednesday afternoon, for example, when a peculiar array was set up in South Quad. A full-sized living room, consisting of two couches, one chair, a sitting cushion and a table, was sitting in the grass.   

Eastern’s Christian Campus House set up the conversation couch to talk with students about religion, said senior music major Emily Thorpe, who ran the event.  

“We all love talking about God; that’s why we’re here,” Thorpe said. “If you have any pressing questions about that, or if you just want to talk about your day.”  

The conversation couch was present in the South Quad lawn two times prior, both times in 2023. Thorpe said to expect to see the outdoor living room more as it gets warmer.  

“It’s an idea that came from an old scrapbook. One of the leaders at CCH got out pictures of when they used to do the conversation couch,” Thorpe said. “We decided to bring it back because of how things are after COVID-19. We feel like people need to get out and learn how to talk to people and approach people.”  

Leadership in the CCH organizes the date and time for the event as well as the prompt, but the conversation couch is student led. Wednesday’s prompt read “What’s your story?”   

“The whole point of this is just to meet people, right. We want to meet people and get closer to them,” junior philosophy major Ashton Fifield said. “Something that is pretty easy for people is to talk about themselves, talk about their lives, where they came from. That’s ultimately summarized by ‘What’s your story?’  

The CCH set up the conversation couch 19 days after religious protestor Chris Svochak appeared on campus on March 8. Svochak drew in dozens of students who formed a counter protest.  

“I feel like the way he did his thing; he uses fear to drive people into religion, which isn’t what always works,” Fifield said. “There’s going to be different ways to bring people to Christ, but especially here on this campus, it seems to me like the thing that would turn people away.”  

Fifield said this is where the conversation couch can help.  

“What really matters is getting a personal relationship with Christ,” Fifield said. “As representatives of Christ, just to talk to people and have those conversations in a relaxed setting, a setting where we can take the time to get to know someone instead of telling them they’re a bad person.”  

The conversation couch has seen some success, as reported by the two students. Many people stopped by for a chat, and some even joined the CCH. Yet, Thorpe said recruitment is not the end goal of the event.  

“It’s not just about recruitment,” Thorpe said. “Sometimes it’s just about having a conversation with someone and changing the trajectory of their day. Any time you can share a good word or good vibes, you should—especially if the good word is the Bible.”  


Aidan Cusack can be reached at 581-2812 or at [email protected]. 

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