There are 21 million college students in the U.S., but in their classrooms most never encounter a compelling case for individual liberty and free enterprise. If, as young people, they have not had access to credible arguments in favor of the framework that supports free enterprise and individual liberty, where will they develop an enthusiasm for protecting the principles of freedom, competition, and personal responsibility?
By having on-campus events on topics of interest to students, and co-hosted by faculty with whom they are familiar, we can give students a credible, accessible, and relevant means to explore the questions that are central to their concerns regarding how the world works and how to make the world a better place. And because students will have had the opportunity to learn in an open, relevant, and credible way, they will be more likely to understand, appreciate, and promote classical liberal approaches themselves.
The Institute for Humane Studies has honed a best-in-class ability to engage college students with the ideas of freedom through close partnership with our network of more than 11,000 professors across the country – in economics, philosophy, political science, and other disciplines. These professors are passionate about the ideas of freedom, but many lack the knowledge, resources, and time necessary to run events on their campuses. With strong capabilities in curriculum, marketing, and event logistics, IHS can close this gap – giving freedom-advancing faculty far greater influence with students and on their campus.
IHS proposes working with our network of professors to co-sponsor 500 debates, reading groups, weekend seminars, and other extracurricular events on their home campuses over three years (2015-2017). These events will provide more than 40,000 student interactions with the ideas of freedom, and we will change the conversation on campuses, change students’ minds, and ultimately help strengthen a culture of freedom.