Three Houghton College students traveled to Washington, D.C., with professor Ken Bates to attend the Values and Capitalism Summer Free Enterprise Conference from June 13-15, 2013. The conference, hosted by the American Enterprise Institute (AEI), served to explore the morality of the free enterprise system and the relationship between Christianity, economics and public policy.
“AEI did an outstanding job at this conference as part of their ongoing work in reinforcing the morality of capitalism in the minds of today’s Christian college students,” reflected business and economics department chair Ken Bates. The three students in attendance were Austin Rudd ’13, Sarah Hutchinson ’14, and Bradley Oliver ’15.
Both Republican and Democratic political leaders presented, and students were also given opportunities to attend career development breakout sessions geared toward futures in law, politics and financial planning.
Oliver shared, “AEI did an outstanding job with this conference, especially with the presentation of both sides to an argument, which allowed the students that attended an opportunity to think for themselves. I really enjoyed this conference and learned a lot.”
“The AEI Conference was an incredible experience spanning politics, economics, sociology, and social justice,” said Rudd. “World-renowned political and social researchers presented intriguing information from a Christian-scholar perspective about culture change in America and how it has indelibly altered the political, social and financial foundation of our nation.”
Conversation topics included how to help the poor, how to write an effective op-ed piece, what it means to hold public office, how to discern your own vocational calling and how to understand the economic impact of massive changes in American family structure.
AEI believes that “the free-enterprise system offers the most people the opportunity to live the best life, and that by expanding liberty and increasing individual opportunity – here and around the world – we can see real human progress, even in our short lifetimes.”
Reflecting on the opportunity, Rudd stated, “I feel incredibly fortunate to have attended, and I recommend this conference to any student interested in these topics.”