Acton University 2017: June 20 - 23

Conference Information

Who attends Acton University?

  • Everyone with a personal and/or professional interest in religion, liberty and market-based economics is invited to apply. Currently enrolled undergraduate and graduate students, educators, non-profit professionals, pastors, seminarians, entrepreneurs, business people, and anyone interested in deepening their understanding of the integration of sound economics, philosophy, and the Judeo-Christian faith.

What is an Acton Alumnus?

  • You are considered 'alumni' if you have previously attended one of these events: Toward a Free and Virtuous society, Acton Symposium, Acton University, or Thriving Churches: Flourishing Communities conference.
  • Acton alumni have fulfilled our requirement for all first-time participants to attend four (4) Core courses on Wednesday, June 21. Alumni course options during sessions 1 through 4 are noted as "ALUM" on the schedule.

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 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 20, 2017. 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 attend with me?

  • Yes. All conference attendees are responsible for securing their own hotel arrangements, so your spouse is welcome to travel with you and share your room.
  • 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).
  • If your spouse is accepted to the conference, please note that both of you must complete the online registration process (and subsequent tasks) separately.

Acton University Registration Opens

Monday, December 1, 2016

Acton University Registration Closes

NOTE: Applications will be accepted on a rolling basis until such time as we hit our maximum number of attendees for this event, which may occur before the date below. We recommend applying as early as possible to ensure your acceptance into the conference.

Friday, May 19, 2017 - 12:00am EST (midnight)

  • ALL applications MUST be submitted on or before this deadline.

Flight Reservation & Travel Itinerary Deadline

Friday, April 14, 2017*

  • All flight reservations and travel itineraries MUST be made and submitted before this deadline.
  • *IF you apply and are accepted AFTER April 15, 2017 you have until May 19, 2017 to submit your itinerary.

Acton University 2017

June 20 – 23 (Tuesday evening through Friday evening.)

On-Site Check-in/Registration – DeVos Place

Tuesday, June 20, 2017: 3:30pm – 5:30pm

Opening Reception

Tuesday, June 20, 2017: 5:00pm – 6:00pm

Dinner and Opening Plenary Lecture

June 20, 2017: 6:00pm – 8:30pm

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 reduced 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: Select the hotel room option in one of the Acton room blocks that best suits your needs and your budget. Payment will be due directly to the hotel upon check-out.

  • If you choose double occupancy, we can pair you with the roommate you request.

Visit the Costs page for specific details on conference rates.

What about a single day pass? Can I pay for individual courses?

  • The Acton University single day rate is $220, which includes all daytime lecture sessions, breakfast, lunch, dinner, and the evening lecture. Lodging is not included. To arrange this option, please contact us at programs@acton.org.
  • Individual courses are not available for purchase.

When is my conference fee due?

  • Friday, June 2, 2017 - IMPORTANT All payments must be made on or before 12:00am (midnight) EST on June 2, 2017. NO EXCEPTIONS. If you do not make your payment on or before June 2, 2017 you will forfeit your place at the conference.

How do I pay my conference fee?

  • Once accepted to the conference, a link on your profile page will be available that takes you to a convenient online payment system. Online payment is accepted by credit card or PayPal.
  • If you live in the U.S. and prefer to send your payment by mail rather than online, select the option to pay by check and download the related payment form to include.
  • Contact the AU team with any questions.

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

  • If you notify us of your cancellation on or BEFORE June 2, 2017, your payment will be refunded in full 100%. For any cancellations received after June 2, 2017, your payment will NOT be refunded at all. At this late date we are unable to refund any of your payment.
  • Death/Health Exception: If you personally have a health emergency that will not allow you to attend the conference, you must send an official statement from your attending physician about your emergency/condition and we will consider a partial refund. Also, if there is a death in your immediate family and you are unable to attend the conference, we will consider a partial refund.
  • The partial refund will be considered on a case-by-case basis.

Sponsored fellowship programs have been generously provided for applicants meeting specific qualifications. These fellowships may include additional requirements before or after the conference. Though all applications to Acton University are reviewed for named fellowships, a brief outline of select programs is below.

  • Free Market Forum Scholar: Named after Hillsdale College's Free Market Forum conference, these fellowships are awarded to graduate students and professors who attended the October 2016 conference in Atlanta. Recipients gather at Acton University to address issues of social ethics, sound anthropology and economic understanding.
  • Hansen Fellowship: Sponsored by The Robert and Marie Hansen Foundation, these fellowships are offered to Catholic high school teachers. Recipients attend and contribute to special sessions, examining ways in which Acton University lessons can be utilized in a classroom setting.
  • Sponsored by the Kern Family Foundation, the Oikonomia Fellowship, the Made to Flourish Pastors Fellowship, and the Evangelical Influencers Fellowship build a cohort of evangelical seminary professors, pastors, and thought leaders to address issues of social ethics, sound anthropology and economic understanding in U.S. seminaries, church, and broader society. Beginning with attendance at Acton University, recipients of these prestigious awards are offered unique resources and opportunities for use in their classrooms and scholarly advancement.
  • Murdock Trust Fellowship: These fellowships are offered to instructors, administrators, entrepreneurs, and pastors from key Northwest institutions in Alaska, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington who have interests and aspirations in the integration of faith, work, and economics. are compatible with Acton principles. Beginning with attendance at Acton University, recipients will have opportunities to continue exploring the themes of faith, work, and economics.

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

  • First-time attendees are required to attend Acton’s Core courses, which are offered during sessions 1 through 4. If you are NOT an alumnus, you must take the 4 Core courses.
  • Returning attendees and other Acton alumni have the option to choose from alternative course offerings, indicated as "ALUM" during sessions 1-4.

What are the Core Courses?

  • The four (4) Core courses are the most popular and highest ranked courses that provide participants with the essential overall framework and intellectual context for liberty, freedom, economics, and Judeo-Christian anthropology. These courses 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 lectures?

  • 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.

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 20.

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 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.

What are my hotel lodging options?

  • Acton has secured room blocks at hotels in downtown Grand Rapids within an easy walk to the DeVos Place Convention Center. Details on hotel room rates are available on our Costs page.
  • During the application process, select the room option that works best for you. Complete instructions about hotel reservation procedures within the AU hotel blocks will be provided to accepted conference applicants. Acton will secure your request and confirm your lodging arrangements prior to the conference.

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

  • Amway Grand Plaza Hotel
  • Courtyard by Marriott Hotel
  • Holiday Inn Downtown Grand Rapids
  • Homewood Suites by Hilton Downtown Grand Rapids

Questions about making a hotel reservations?

Contact us by email programs@acton.org

Will meals be provided?

  • Yes. Ten (10) meals will be prepared by the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel. The cost for your breakfasts, lunches, dinners, evening receptions, and beverages for the duration of the event are INCLUDED in your 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 only associated with allergies and medical related dietary needs. All requests must be indicated on 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 15, 2017.

Are you able to accommodate religious dietary restrictions?

  • Acton University cannot guarantee that meals served at the conference will be halal or kosher. We apologize for any inconvenience. However, please notify us of your religious food/dietary restriction on your conference application.