by Jacob Richards

This past summer I had the privilege of attending the Intercollegiate Studies Institute’s leadership summit at the Broadmoor Hotel in Colorado Springs, Colorado, along with four other ACU students. It was exciting to see our humble little Political Science program have such a presence at the event. Arizona Christian University had more attendees than almost any other school represented, which, in my opinion, speaks volumes about the quality of our program and the students and faculty in it.

The theme of the conference was “Liberty and Equality,” a particularly relevant topic in our current political climate. Many of the major issues at the forefront of American politics are fundamentally about the tension between our commitment as a society to equality among citizens and the desire to protect individual liberty. Issues concerning religious liberty, for instance, bring up questions about the degree to which individual liberty must be sacrificed in the name of equality. Much of the discussion at the conference was aimed at defining both liberty and equality, as well as developing an understanding of the relationship between the two. One of the key ideas I took from the discussion groups was that by influencing the conversation about how liberty and equality are to be properly understood, it is possible to have a broader impact than by focusing on individual policy issues.

The world-class amenities we enjoyed at the Broadmoor were great, but the most memorable parts of the summit were the interactions we had with ISI staff, excellent speakers from around the country, and fellow students. The format of the summit facilitated networking opportunities and gave us a chance to get to know other students with similar desires to have an impact in the political arena.

I think that I speak for all five of us who attended the conference when I say that it was an unforgettable experience and a great learning opportunity. The event was well-organized, and the speakers were outstanding. After having such a great experience, we hope to encourage other ACU students to take advantage of the great resources available through the Intercollegiate Studies Institute. With the assistance of our regional director at ISI, we are planning to help other students at our school get involved and potentially start an ISI society on campus in the future. It is our vision that, with the help of ISI, ACU’s Political Science students can become even better equipped to transform America’s political culture with truth.

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