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Acton University 2018: June 19-22

Conference Information

What is an Acton Alumnus?

  • You are considered an alumnus if you have previously attended one of these events: Toward a Free and Virtuous Society, Acton Academic Colloquia, Acton University, City FAVS, or Thriving Churches: Flourishing Communities conference.

  • Acton alumni have fulfilled our requirement for all first-time participants to attend four (4) Core presentations on Wednesday, June 20. Alumni course options during sessions 1 through 4 are noted as "ALUM" on the schedule.

  • Once you have attended these four core presentations, you are able to select presentations listed as "ALUM" on the schedule during sessions 1 through 4.

Who is eligible for the discounted student rate pricing for Acton University?

  • To qualify for the discounted student rate, a participant must be currently enrolled (part-time or full-time) at a post-secondary college, seminary, or university. This discounted rate applies to students at the undergraduate, graduate, and postgraduate level.

  • Contact the AU team with any questions.

How old do you need to be to attend Acton University?

  • Registrants must be 18 years old on or before June 19, 2018. If younger than 18 years, the registrant must be accompanied by a legal guardian who pays for, and attends the conference with the student.

Can my spouse accompany me?

  • If your spouse is accepted to the conference, please note that the online registration process (and subsequent tasks) must be completed on an individual basis.

  • If your spouse is not officially registered and accepted to AU, they will NOT be able to participate in any of the conference activities (i.e. meals, breaks/hospitality, and lectures).

Acton University 2018 Application Deadline

ALL applications MUST be submitted on or before these dates; no applications will be accepted after.

  • International Applicants: Thursday, March 1, 2018 - 12:00am ET (midnight)

  • Domestic Applicants: Tuesday, May 1, 2018 - 12:00am ET (midnight)

Flight Reservation & Confirmed Travel Itinerary Deadline

  • International Applicants: Tuesday, May 1, 2018

  • Domestic Applicants: Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Conference Dates

  • June 19-22 (Tuesday evening through Friday evening.)

How to Apply

How do I submit a conference application?

  • Click the “Apply Now” button. Provide your name and email address in the spaces provided; email is the primary method of conference communication and identification. Choose the correct application type from the list and follow the instructions to submit an application form.

  • If you begin an application but don’t have time to submit it right away, click the “Save” button. You will have seven days to log back in to submit your application.

Which “Application Type” should I choose?

You have the option to choose either “Domestic Applicant” or “International Applicant” to move forward with applying to attend Acton University 2018.

  • Domestic Applicant: citizens or lawful permanent residents of the United States or Canada, or have been granted Asylee, Refugee or Paroled in the Public Interest status by the United States government. Domestic applicants may be in the United States or Canada on an educational, worker, or visitor visa who are citizens or permanent residents of a different country.

  • International Applicant: citizens or permanent residents of a country to which they intend to return other than the United States.

  • Contact the AU team with any questions.

What will I invest financially to attend?

A substantial portion of the total conference price (including facilities, faculty, lectures, materials, meals, beverages, and hospitality receptions) is mitigated by Acton through generous donors, grants, and foundations that lower the actual costs of your attendance.

Each participant's conference fee is applied to costs for:

  • Conference, speaker, and lecture costs.

  • All meals, beverages, and evening hospitality. (4 plated dinners, 3 lunches, 3 breakfasts, and beverage service throughout the event)

Your responsibility - TRAVEL: All personal travel expenses.

  • Financial assistance is available to reduce your travel expenses if you apply during registration. Requests are reviewed by AU staff based on applicant need and availability of funds.

Your responsibility - HOTEL: Request a hotel room in one of the Acton room blocks. Payment will be due directly to the hotel upon check-out.

  • If you choose double occupancy, we will try to pair you with the roommate you request.

  • Visit the Costs page for hotel room rates.

When is my conference fee due?

  • Conference Fee Due Date:

    • International Applicants: Tuesday, May 1, 2018

    • Domestic Applicants: Tuesday, May 22, 2018

  • IMPORTANT: All payments must be made on or before 12:00am (midnight) ET on the assigned deadline. NO EXCEPTIONS. If the final payment is not received on the assigned deadlines, you will forfeit your participation.

How do I pay the conference fee?

  • Once accepted, a link will be available from your registration summary page that takes you to a convenient online payment system. Online payment is accepted through the system by credit card and can also be made via PayPal.

  • Your assigned conference fee will be requested the first time you log in to modify the details of your registration. Choose the appropriate payment method from the list of options to save any changes that are made.

  • If you live in the U.S. and prefer to send your payment by mail rather than online, select the appropriate option and download the payment form to include with your payment.

  • Contact the AU team with any questions.

Cancellation - "What if I need to cancel, and have already paid my conference fee? Do you have a refund policy?"

A full refund will be issued if a cancellation notice is submitted to conference staff on or before the final payment deadlines listed below. If a cancellation occurs after the below deadlines, no refund will be issued.

  • International Applicants: Tuesday, May 1, 2018

  • Domestic Applicants: Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Conference applicants may apply for financial assistance to help off-set the costs to attend Acton University 2018. The request for financial assistance is found in the conference application form under the heading “Financial Aid” and must be completed in order to be considered. Limited financial assistance may be awarded for travel costs or for the conference fee to qualifying applicants based on availability. Applicants who are contributing some of their own funds are more likely to receive financial assistance.


Travel Funding: There is limited financial assistance for travel expenses available to qualifying applicants. If you would like to request financial assistance to travel to Grand Rapids for Acton University 2018, please answer the questions found in the “Financial Aid” section at the end of the online Acton University application form.

Financial Assistance for the Conference Fee: Fellowship programs and other financial assistance for the conference fee are available to qualifying applicants. This financial assistance may include additional requirements before or after the conference and the amount of funding may vary.

  • If you have been invited to apply for a specific fellowship program to attend Acton University 2018: Please answer the related question in the “Financial Aid” section at the end of the application form. Be prepared to provide the name of the fellowship program and the name of person who invited you to apply.

  • If you would like to request financial assistance for the conference fee, but have not been invited to apply for a specific fellowship program to attend Acton University 2018: Please answer the related question found in the “Financial Aid” section at the end of the conference application form. Financial assistance will be awarded to qualifying applicants based on availability.

When I'm filling out the registration form, why can't I choose certain presentations?

  • First-time attendees are required to attend Acton’s Core presentations, which are offered during sessions 1 through 4. If you are NOT an alumnus, you must attend the 4 Core presentations.

  • Returning attendees and other Acton alumni have the option to choose from alternative presentation offerings, indicated as "ALUM" during sessions 1-4.

What are the Core presentations?

  • The four (4) Core presentations are the highest ranked presentations that provide participants with the essential overall framework and intellectual context for liberty, freedom, economics, and Judeo-Christian anthropology. These presentations are a vital step in the exploration of the various themes and topics addressed throughout the week. We require that all first-time participants, non-alumni, attend the Core lectures.

Is it possible to bypass the Core presentations?

  • No. All first-time Acton University participants are required to attend them.

  • Contact the AU team with any questions.

Where does Acton University take place?

Where is the nearest airport?

  • Participants travelling by plane fly into the Gerald R. Ford International Airport (GRR), which is located 13 miles (approx. 15-20 minutes) southeast of downtown Grand Rapids.

  • Further details regarding arrival and departure will be available to participants after acceptance.

Will there be a shuttle from the airport to my hotel?

  • Acton will arrange for a complimentary shuttle service to and from the Gerald R. Ford International Airport (GRR) and Amway Grand Plaza Hotel. The shuttle will operate as follows:

    • Tuesday, June 19, 2018 – 1:00pm until 6:00pm

    • Saturday, June 23, 2018 – 7:00am until 12:00pm

  • When you arrive on Tuesday, June 19, look for Acton staff by baggage claim to direct you.

  • If, for any reason, you miss the free shuttle service as outlined above, you will be responsible for the additional travel expenses.

Can I travel by bus or train?

  • Downtown Grand Rapids has a train and bus station. Both are located less than 2 miles (approx. 6 minutes by car) from the conference site and area hotels.

Amtrak: Market Ave. and Wealthy Street, Grand Rapids

Greyhound Bus: 250 Grandville Ave. SW, Grand Rapids

I plan to drive to Grand Rapids– is there any parking available?

  • If you commute each day and park downtown, you are responsible for the daily parking fees. There are many parking options in downtown Grand Rapids near the DeVos Place Convention Center. Maps of available facilities are found here (from the City of Grand Rapids) and here (from ExperienceGR).

  • If you are using AU lodging options, you will be responsible for the cost to park your car.

  • Plan to arrive at the DeVos Place Convention Center in time to register at 3:30pm on Tuesday, June 19.

What is appropriate attire for the conference and what should I bring?

  • Business casual.

  • For the evening plenary and dinner, some attendees wear a suit coat and/or tie, and women wear dresses. Not formal, but a step up from business casual.

  • We recommend that everyone bring an umbrella and light jacket/sweater. June in Grand Rapids is generally beautiful, but always brings with it the element of surprise! People often react to air-conditioning in different ways; plan to bring a sweater/jacket if you tend to be cold in large public venues.

How do I apply for a US travel visa?

  • Accepted conference applicants are responsible for taking action to apply for the appropriate US travel visa, if applicable.

  • Acton Institute is not responsible for fees incurred from applying for a travel visa.

  • Please contact the AU team to request any supplemental conference documentation that may be needed.

What are my hotel lodging options?

  • Acton has secured room blocks at hotels in downtown Grand Rapids within an easy walk to DeVos Place Convention Center. Details on hotel room rates are available on our Costs page.

  • Participants may submit a hotel room request during the registration process. Complete instructions about hotel reservation procedures within the AU hotel blocks will be provided to accepted conference applicants. Acton will submit your request and confirm your lodging arrangements prior to the conference.

Please NOTE: If you choose to secure your lodging outside of the conference room blocks, the cost for paying that lodging is yours. All hotel rooms in the AU room block(s) are within walking distance of DeVos Place Convention Center. If you secure accommodations which require a daily commute to the conference site, any parking expenses and transportation costs associated with the commute will be your responsibility.

  • Amway Grand Plaza Hotel

  • Courtyard by Marriott Hotel

  • JW Marriott Hotel

Questions about making a hotel reservations?

Will meals be provided?

  • Yes. The cost of meals, evening receptions, and beverages for the duration of the event are INCLUDED in the conference fee. All meals will be served in our main dining room at the DeVos Place Convention Center.

Are you able to accommodate food related allergy/dietary requests?

  • We can accommodate food requests that are associated with allergies or medical related dietary needs. All requests must be made in your conference application.

  • Additional details related to your dietary restriction that will be necessary for the caterer must be submitted to AU staff by email (programs@acton.org) no later than May 22, 2018.

Are you able to accommodate religious dietary restrictions?

  • We can accommodate food requests that are associated with religious dietary restrictions. All requests must be made in your conference application.

  • Additional details related to your dietary restriction that will be necessary for the caterer must be submitted to AU staff by email (programs@acton.org) no later than May 22, 2018.