Loyola University campus for anyone looking to escape the city

 
Updated 10/11/2018 1:02 PM
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  • KEVIN GINTY

    KEVIN GINTY

An interview with Kevin Ginty, director of campus operations at Loyola University Retreat and Ecology Campus.

Q: Tell us about the venue.

A: Loyola University's Retreat and Ecology Campus is about 50 miles northwest of Chicago, encompassed by 98 acres, and offers a distraction free setting away from the hustle and bustle of Chicago.

We can accommodate up to 200 guests overnight by utilizing both our hotel style and dorm style rooms. We have 13 meeting spaces varying from a small breakout room for 12 people to a large meeting space for 200 guests.

All of our overnight retreat packages include up to three meals per day in our dining room.

Q: Explain the history.

A: The campus was originally built in 1957 and served as a seminary for the Resurrectionists with 53 dorm style rooms and meeting spaces. In 1965, the facility was converted from a seminary to a retreat center. In 2003, the retreat center underwent some renovations including the addition of the south wing which consists of 50 hotel style rooms and a few meeting spaces. In 2010, Loyola University Chicago purchased this campus in order to have a retreat and conference center for Loyola students, faculty and staff. We have since expanded our retreat offerings and now welcome many external groups outside of Loyola University for year-round retreats and events.

Q: What do you offer when it comes to corporate meetings?

A: In addition to guest rooms, meeting spaces, audio/visual, and dining services, we offer a unique setting for corporate groups that are seeking a different experience than staying at a hotel. Our serene setting in nature creates a comfortable learning environment and we offer numerous team building options that can be added to any day meeting or overnight retreat.

We have the largest outdoor challenge course in Northern Illinois where we offer low and high rope elements and a variety of challenge course programs from 2 hours to half-day, full day and multiday experiences.

We also have a demonstration kitchen where our Chef offers culinary team building programs as well as hands on cooking classes and food and wine pairing dinners.

Q: Describe the atmosphere.

A: LUREC offers a peaceful setting from ponds to woodlands, the campus is great for nature lovers or anyone looking to escape the city. In addition to the challenge course, we also have tennis/ basketball courts and a fire pit which is a great way to wrap up the day. If you want to get your hands dirty we have a 1-acre farm and greenhouse where you can help our farmer with planting, weeding and harvesting.

Q: What are people in your industry talking about?

A: Sustainability is becoming more of a focus for conference groups in all types of industries.

Being a sustainable campus is one of our primary missions at LUREC. Growing and processing our own produce from the farm and greenhouse and serving this in our dining room is one example of how we are being sustainable.

Using environmentally friendly cleaning products in our Housekeeping department is another example.

Finally, once a month we have a restoration volunteer day where Loyola students and people in the community work together to get rid of evasive plants on our property in order to restore it to its natural landscape.

Q: Tell us about yourself.

A: I have been in the hospitality industry for 30 years starting with an internship at Walt Disney World.

I spent the first part of my career working at a large conference and training center in St. Charles, and have been with Loyola University for the past 8 years.

My first role with Loyola University was serving as the general manager for Cuneo Mansion and Gardens in Vernon Hills.

The historic mansion has a wonderful art collection and banquet facility attached to the home where we host corporate events, wedding receptions and academic classes.

I have been at LUREC for 5 years and have enjoyed promoting this campus and letting people know about the unique programs that we offer so that we are no longer the best-kept secret in McHenry County.

Q: Tell us one interesting fact about the business that most people may not know.

A: We recently completed a four-year project of installing a Geo-Thermal system that heats and cools our north wing, which allows us to reduce our carbon footprint.

Q: List two Twitter accounts that you would suggest following and why?

1. Loyola University Chicago, twitter.com/LoyolaChicago. Serving as the University's main twitter account, this will provide you with up-to-date information on what is taking place at Loyola's five Chicago campuses. From academics and administration to athletics, you will stay in the know on all of the exciting news and events taking place in and around the campuses.

2. Visit McHenry County, twitter.com/McHenry_County. This is McHenry County's convention and visitor's bureau which does a great job in putting Woodstock on the map. They are responsible for bringing tourists and group travelers to McHenry County and are the experts on anything and everything to do in this area.

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