The Center for Vision & Values at Grove City College sent a group of politically-minded students to the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) this week in National Harbor, Md.
Students from Grove City College have been making the trek to CPAC, one of the biggest conservative political events of the year, with the support of Vision & Values since 2010. At the conference, students have a chance to hear from some of today’s leading conservative thinkers and activists, network with other like-minded young people and leaders in the movement and attend special events hosted by foundations and think tanks, such as the Heritage Foundation, American Enterprise Institute and the Koch Network.
“We’ve taken over 300 students to the conference over the last nine years,” Jeffrey Trimbath, executive director of the Center for Vision & Values, said. “It’s a pretty packed two-night, three-day trip.”
Students pay some of the way themselves and Vision & Values supporters “who are motivated to invest in the next generation of conservative leaders” subsidize the rest, Trimbath said.
Connecting with Grove City College alumni and friends who are active in the conservative movement is a big part of the experience. On Thursday, the students attended a reception with Washington D.C.-based alumni at the headquarters of the Heritage Foundation.
They also met with political consultant Charles Gerow, vice chairman of the American Conservative Union, which organizes CPAC, about serving in state government. Gerow’s parents were married in the College’s Harbison Chapel. Bill Wichterman, president of Faith & Law Ministry and father of a current Grove City College student, talked to the group about how to serve in government and stay strong in Christian faith.
“This trip is a wonderful opportunity for students to enjoy the benefits of Grove City College’s extensive alumni network and create connections that will serve them well in their future endeavors,” said Dr. Michael Coulter, professor of Political Science at the College. “I am glad that students get to meet with alumni working in the D.C. area and through that they can learn about the some career opportunities."
The conference features a packed schedule of speakers such as Katrina Pierson, senior advisor to President Trump’s 2020 campaign, Freedom Caucus Chairman Rep. Mark Meadows and many other conservative and Republican luminaries. The conference also features breakout training sessions for activists, policy briefings, book signings and special screenings of politically-relevant movies.
The American Conservative Union founded and hosts CPAC with the mission of fostering conservative values in the modern political era. Ronald Reagan delivered the conference’s inaugural keynote speech at CPAC in 1974 and spoke at many conferences afterward, saying it was “the opportunity to dance with the one who brung ya.”
Grove City College’s vision and mission statements assert that the College is grounded in conservative values and committed to the foundations of a free society. In 2018, Grove City College was ranked first in the nation on the Princeton Review’s Most Conservative Students list.