An open letter from a Capitaf alum…
Anna-Beth L. attended the June 2018 University of Arkansas week-long colloquium at Capitaf. He was a junior at the time. Afterward, she wrote an open letter to other students who may be considering applying for a similarly unique educational opportunity:
For all the things we didn’t learn in Intro to Economics
The morning was a cold and wet one in the mountains of northern Vermont. We woke up at 4:00 am and drove to the Lebanon Airport. The small planes made for a good Instagram picture, but other than that, there wasn’t much else to do. I was intellectually tired and had not had much sleep for the past week, but it was worth it. To be around the people who were there, to hear the stories from Bob Chitester (producer of Milton Friedman’s “Free to Choose” videos), to learn under David R. Henderson (research fellow with the Hoover Institution), to eat dinner with Roland Kuchel (former ambassador to Zambia), and to take in the advice of Wes Kemp (former CEO of ABF) was a once in a lifetime opportunity of which I was privileged to be a part.
Capitaf challenged me to think deeper about the truths that were laid down in my intro to economics class. I was asked questions about how I thought these truths would affect the world around us, and this launched me back into the summer with resources that allowed me to dig deeper into the ideas we discussed.
Economics is one topic that I have thoroughly enjoyed, but I felt that I was just skimming the surface, leaving me with this unsettled, craving for more knowledge. This colloquium only kindled this flame through discussion with likeminded individuals that challenged me to embrace a mindset of intellectual honesty. This means never taking the “cheap shot” but instead building up different points of view with the best possible arguments and then turning them around and answering with your own thoughts.
I highly recommend Capitaf to all students searching to further their understanding of economics. Often times, our conversations felt much like a tennis match. Someone one would softly serve a question to our group, which was then followed by a quick return that caused the group to think about another layer of the question. We would go back and forth for close to two hours, and the further along we went, the more exciting the match became. My best advice to those attending is to truly know where you stand on items discussed in the books and then to prepare to have your perspective challenged or changed. Be bold to speak up about your experience and observations. Different points of view are what makes this colloquium deeply transforming.
Once again, I want to thank Wes Kemp for investing in students like myself, who have a desire to learn. Your passion for students and capitalism are clearly reflective in your work. It’s leaders like yourself that inspire me to be a lifelong learner and to continue to further my understanding of economics.
University of Arkansas
2018 CAPITAF Scholar