Friends General Conference

Nurturing faith and Quaker practice

2014 Gathering Frequently Asked Questions

Don't see the answer to your question below?  Final confirmation emails with LOTS of answers will be sent to all primary registrants (i.e., one per group) on Monday June 23 or Tuesday June 24. Check your inboxes and spam folders on those dates! 

Please note that the Gathering Office is closed until Thursday afternoon as we move to California, PA.

Please, please keep all other questions until your arrival.  If this is impossible, email us.

Packing and Traveling Questions

Housing and Meals questions

Other Campus Questions

Questions about completing and paying registration

Questions about changing your registration

Questions about Junior Gathering

  • Click here to see Frequently Asked Questions about Junior Gathering

Other Questions

My meeting has given me a scholarship. To whom do I send the check?

If you've already paid us a deposit, you can mail us the check from your meeting--or, you may simply bring it with you to the Gathering. If you expect your meeting's check to serve as your deposit, please mail it to the FGC office within 14 days of your registration.
Checks should be made out to "FGC Gathering," with a note in the memo line that includes the name of the registrant.

The FGC office mailing address is 1216 Arch St, 2B, Philadelphia, PA 19107.


I'm stuck in the online registration form and can't move on.  Help!

I click NEXT and nothing happens.  Scroll to the top of your screen to look for a red eror message.  If you missed answering a required question or didn't use the required format (for example you used a space or a letter when a number was required), the form won't let you proceed to the next page.  But it will describe the error to you.

How do I make a partial payment at the end of my registration form?   If these instructions don't help, then click "Needs staff processing (aid, refunds, adjustemnets)" as your payment option and call us during the busines week at 215-561-1700 ext 3200 with your credit card information.  Do not leave your credit card number on our voice mail!

I've tried everything and I'm still stuck!  Click SAVE at the bottom of the page and call us at 215-561-1700 ext 3200 on the next business day.  If you start your registration before a key deadline, we will be glad to complete it with you on the phone on the next business day. 


I made a larger credit card payment than I intended.  What should I do?

Send an email to with you name, the amount you charged and the amount you wanted to charge and we will make the appropriate refund within two business days.  Please do not send your credit card number to us via email or leave it on our voice mail!


What is the difference between Half-Time and Part-Time registrations?

Half-Time registrants may choose on campus housing and a meal plan.  There are only two half-time options: Sunday-Wednesday, or Wednesday through Saturday.  Read more about the Half-Time registration.

Part-time registrants may register for as little as one day.  There is no on campus housing for part-timers.  Meals are available at the cafeteria, and may be purchased upon arrival at campus.

Both Half-Time and Part-Time options are only available to adults. Children and high schoolers must be full-time registrants.

How do I enter my completed registration to change it?

It is no longer possible to change your registration prior to arrival at the Gathering.

How do I make a payment?

Mail a check payable to FGC Gathering.  Please include the name of primary registrant in the memo section.

FGC Gathering
1216 Arch St 2B
Philadelphia, PA 19107

On-site, we strongly urge people to pay with check or cash. Credit card payments may be made online at any time. Follow the instructions below to access your registration account online.

Make a payment by credit card: Please minimize use of "reward" credit cards. FGC pays twice the fees when you use a reward credit card, especially Mastercard World Elite and Visa Signature Preferred cards. To help FGC minimize the fees it pays, whenever possible:

  • Make payments over $400 by check
  • Use a debit card instead of a credit card
  • Minimize use of “Mastercard World Elite” or “Visa Signature Preferred” reward cards. Regardless of the amount of payment, FGC always prefers a check to payments by these cards

To make a payment by credit card:

  1. Follow this link for the Gathering event
  2. Enter primary registrant’s name and email address, exactly as entered on the registration form
  3. Enter Confirmation Number (it’s in the primary registrant’s confirmation email, or you can click on the request button)
  4. Click "OK" button
  5. Click "Submit Payment" button
  6. Complete credit card information, and the "Apply the Payment to Your Order" section
  7. Click "Submit Payment" button at the bottom of the page
  8. If your address does not fit the format provided, please call the Gathering office.

I'm having trouble making a credit card payment online. What should I do?

  1. Make sure that the amount you’ve entered as your total payment is equal to or less than the balance due on your account—the form won’t let you overpay. (If you want to make a donation, either add a donation to your registration, or call us to add it for you.)
  2. If paying less than the total due on your account, make sure you have itemized your payment (for example, if you want to make a payment of $100, you need to say whether you want that applied to your program fee, housing, etc). You can’t pay more than is due on any single item, and the total in those item boxes must add up to your total payment.
  3. Check the formatting of your total payment. It should have a dollar amount, decimal point, and cent amount, with no dollar sign or other punctuation. For example, if you were paying $100, your total amount should look like this: “100.00.” Not like “$100.00,” or, “100.”
  4. Please make sure that your billing name and address exactly match your credit card bill. Slight variations (such as “Ave” instead of “Avenue”) can prevent your charges from going through.
  5. If you still have problems, click "Needs staff processing" to complete your registration form and call us on the next business day 215-561-1700 ext 3200 to make your credit card payment by phone

I just changed my registration.  Why is my bill wrong?

When you ask us to change a financial item (e.g., change from a single to a double room), the registration software adds the cost for the new item (the double) to your bill.  But it does not remove the cost for the old item (the single).  Staff has to do this manually.  After a few days, staff will email you a correct bill.  Thanks for your patience!

What is provided for dorm linens?

 The Gathering asks everyone who can to bring their own linens so that we have enough for those who are unable to bring their own. Every bed comes with a pillow.  University linen sets include: two flat sheets, one pillowcase, one towel, one wash cloth, and a light blanket.  No linens are provided for children on the floor.

What is the mailing address for conference registrants?

Cal U/Convocation Center
ATTN: FGC/Your Name 
250 University Ave, Box 110
California, PA 15419

Please plan to have packages arrive no earlier than Wednesday June 25. Note that mail is not delivered to campus on Saturday or Sunday. Check at the Gathering Office in the Convocation Center to pick up your package.

If you are sending via UPS, simply eliminate "Box 110" in the address.

If I want to buy just a few meals in the dining center, what are the prices?

Pre-Gathering meals (Friday night through Sunday lunch) must be pre-purchased via your registration form no later jan June 10.

During the Gathering (starting Sunday night), everyone who has on-campus housing must have a meal plan.  However, you may choose to buy a two- meal plan and then choose to occasionally buy breakfast in the dining center.  Or you may be staying off campus and choose not to have a meal plan.

Friends may purchase meals tickets during the Gathering (Sunday dinner through the last meal) from the Gathering Information Desk at these prices (ages 4-10 in parentheses). 

  • Breakfast $9.00 ($4.50)
  • Lunch    $9.00 ($6.50)
  • Dinner   $1100 ($7.50)

Note that buying a meal plan is significantly less expensive than buying many meals on a cash basis.

Will I have access to a fridge?

Priority access to all refrigerators will be for Friends with a medical need for one (as reported in their registration form).  At the very least, there will be one fridge in each dorm for this purpose. 

Refrigerators are unevenly distributed on this campus.  We cannot tell each person in advance where they will be housed or whether there will be a fridge close by.  There is a convenience store half a mile from campus.  If you want to store some food in a fridge, we recommend arriving with a small cooler or arriving ready to purchase a small cooler -- just in case there is not enough fridge space in your dorm.

Where is the closest grocery store?

3 blocks from campus there gas station has a convenience store with milk, but no fresh produce.  There is a Dollar Store a couple blocks from campus.  The closest grocery stores are Country Fresh Market (6 miles) and Walmart (West Brownsville, 4 miles). Unless you requested access to a fridge for medical reasons, you will not have access to a refrigerator.  You could bring or buy a small cooler.


What food is available on campus or nearby?

On campus, the Sycamore Café is open 7:30 to 2:30 Monday-Friday excluding July 4th.  It serves coffee drinks and simple breakfasts and lunches.

California is not your typical college town—food options are very limited.  Within three blocks of campus you can find: Mudslingers coffee shop, Dairy Queen (with grill), Subway, Quiznos and Campys pizza.  Vegetarian options are limited to pizza, quesadillas, and cheese sandwiches. A mile from campus is Lagerheads restaurant. Many of these restaurants may be closed on the July 4th.

Is there a pool on campus?

The Hamer pool will be open these hours to Gathering registrants at no charge.
Monday June 30th - Friday July 4th
6:30am -7:30am (morning lap swim)
2:00pm - 4:00pm (afternoon rec swim)

Is there a gym on campus with exercise machines?

The exercise machines in Herron gym are available for Gathering registrants 18 years or older, 10 am to 8 pm, Monday-Thursday.  The cost to use the gym is $5/person/week (pay at the gym with cash)

Can I turn off the air conditioning in my room?

All the dorm rooms are air conditioned, but you can turn off the air conditioning if you wish.  Windows can be opened in any dorm room, and when you open a window the air conditioning automatically turns off.

How do I sign up for field trips?

Field trip sign ups start Sunday June 29, at the Gathering. Payments for field trips are only by cash or check.

Internet Access

There is free wireless access for all Gathering registrants.  It requires re-entering the password once a day (some mobile phones do not require daily login).  There is wireless service in all dorms (in both public areas and dorm rooms) and all academic buildings. Most dorms have a computer lounge with PCs for your use.  If you dorm does not have a computer lounge, you may go to another dorm and use their lounge.

When will I learn the details about my airport/train/bus shuttle?

You will receive an email by June 23 with information about your shuttle.  Note that the last day to make shuttle reservations is June 10.

Can I still change my arrival date?

MAYBE. The housing and early housing in your statement indicates when we expect you.  If you arrive later than expected, we will upon request refund your early housing fee (but not your early meals).  If you wish to arrive earlier than expected, email with subject “request arrival date change” with your desired arrival date. We will notify you if your room will be available that date, and when you check in we will charge you for the extra night(s).  If your room is not available that date, you need to maintain your original arrival date.

I haven't received a confirmation email--am I registered?

Your confirmation is very, very likely in your Junk Mail or Spam Mail folder.  Go find it and other emails from the Gathering!  And check again after June 24 to see important last-minute information in your Final Confirmation email.  Read more about Gathering email being treated as spam.

What do I need to bring?

Definitely bring:

  • If you told us you would bring your own linen set  bring : sheets for extra long single bed, blanket, pillowcase, towel, washcloth, bath mat
  • If you have a child sleeping on the floor: sleeping bag/bedroll, linens, pillow and towel for that child
  • Fragrance free toiletries (including fragrance-free insect repellant)

Consider bringing:

  • Raingear for frequent thunderstorms
  • Sunglasses, hat, fragrance-free sunscreen.
  • Labelled water bottle  
  • A sweatshirt or jacket for cooler evenings
  • Swimming suit. There is a pool on campus.  Also high school and adult young Friends out-trips will be to a lake with swimming.
  • A towel if you plan to use the pool or to go on the High School or Adult Young Friends out-trip
  • A doorstop, in case you want to prop open your suite door to be social with your neighbors
  • A fan or white noise maker to help disguise dorm noises
  • A reading light.
  • Coat hangers
  • Alarm clock
  • Cloth napkin
  • Earplugs if you don't want to hear every noise your neighbors make
  • Rise-Up Singing (also available at the Gathering Store)
  • Spare pillow if needed (campus pillows provided are quite thin)

Driving directions to Cal U

Follow this link for driving directions.

Where/when do park when I arrive for Check-In?

Look for FGC Gathering signs as you approach campus on 3rd street and leading you to parking. 

For those of you who like detailed instructions:

  • As you approach campus on 3rd Street, turn right onto East Street (one very short block before the brick towers).   
  • East Street turns left and becomes 6th street. 
  • At the top of the hill, 6th Street becomes  Burds Way. 
  • Pass the construction, pass the next left (access to Lot 12 and Guesman Dorm), go downhill  and make the next left onto Gallagher Way and turn immediately into Lot 11.  Leave your luggage in your car, and walk down hill to the Convocation Center.
  • ADA Parking: do not turn onto Gallagher way.  Continue to the next left and there will be ADA spots immediately on your left.

How do I view the carpool list?

If you signed up for the carpool list when you registered, here is how you view it.  You can no longer add yourself to the carpool list.

  1. Return to the registration site by following this link: Click here
  2. Enter your Confirmation number (it's in your confirmation email) and click the OK button. (Read this if you never received a confirmation email.)
  3. Click on upper INFORMATION tab at the top.
  4. Click on CARPOOL LIST tab on the next line down

Can I leave a phone message for someone at the Gathering?

The FGC Gathering Office phone number is 215-561-1700 option 2 and will be answered from 8 am to 9:30 pm daily during the Gathering, beginning at noon on Thursday July 26 and ending at 10 am on Saturday July 5. Leave this number with family or co-workers who may want to convey messages to you. (Don't be worried by the 215 area code - courtesy of modern technology we are forwarding calls to California, PA!) Incoming messages will be posted on message boards. Due to limited staff time, email to Gathering staff or generic FGC email addresses will NOT be printed or otherwise transmitted to Gathering attenders.

Don't see the answer to your question here? When possible, keep your question until you arrive at the Gathering.  Otherwise, email us at