In November, thousands will flock to Atlanta for the annual meeting of The American Academy of Religion and The Society for Biblical Literature, the world's largest gathering of religion and theology scholars. And thirty Candler students will be along for the ride, free of charge.

Their attendance stems from a project spearheaded by the school's student government association, better known as the Candler Coordinating Council (C3), and Candler's Office of Student Programming (OSP). The two program areas pooled funds set aside for leadership and professional development, and created an application form. The first thirty students in good academic standing to apply had their conference registration fees waived and received student memberships to both organizations.

"It's an enormous professional opportunity," says The Rev. Ellen Echols Purdum, assistant dean of student life and spiritual formation. "Our students will get to attend panels, workshops, receptions... They can see the people who wrote their textbooks, watch other graduate students present. It's a great way to get their toes in the water."

Students will also have the opportunity to see presenters who were once in their shoes at Candler, including alumnus Tim Moore 12T, president of L'Arche Atlanta, who will be speaking on behalf of Templeton Prize winner and L'Arche founder Jean Vanier.

To learn more about the AAR-SBL annual meeting, visit The American Academy of Religion and The Society of Biblical Literature websites.