CCU's Values-Aligned Leadership Summit Connects Students with Local Professionals

  • John Stossel, keynote speaker at CCU's VALS 2012
Over 300 CCU students gathered with local business professionals at the Denver Marriott South, examining important ethical and economic issues at the annual Values-Aligned Leadership Summit. With a theme of Red Tape: Ethical Failures and the Overregulation of Business, this year's VALS was headlined by John Stossel and also featured presentations by Free to Choose Network founder Bob Chitester and former Congressman Bob Schaffer.

As VALS celebrated its tenth year, it experienced its largest attendance to date. Around 700 students and area businesspersons attended, up from approximately 560 last year. The greater attendance spoke to the service the conference provides, both to students and the local community.

"The opportunities afforded by CCU are endless," commented Bela Franklin, senior political science major. "While the conference has been excellent, it also shows CCU is a major player. We are a school of 900 undergraduate students, and there are 700 people at this event alone."

Part of the local attraction included Stossel's keynote speech, based on his newest book, No They Can't: Why Government Fails -- But Individuals Succeed. His celebrated and incisive commentary reminded listeners to refrain from reactive legislation without considering potential consequences. He promoted the wisdom of the free market to solve even the most complicated problems.

The event helped showcase CCU students as internship participants -- and possibly more -- to local businesses. Through a series of videos, business owners spoke of their positive experiences hiring students from CCU. Additionally, with time for discussion, a pre-lunch networking break, and open admission that encouraged students to sit with local businesspersons, the event connected students with the broader community while examining policies and their concrete, everyday ramifications.

These ramifications were explored by Dr. Lee Hieb -- who focused on how regulations interfere with the doctor/patient relationship -- as well as CCU's own Dr. Gary Ewen, Thomas Scheffel, and Kevin Miller. In reminding the audience that free societies focus on the spirit, rather than the letter, of the law, Miller referenced the shared Christian faith of most in the room. Bob Schaffer reinforced that same faith as he closed the conference, "The future of America's businesses is a function of the language and character of the people," he concluded. "For Christians it is our duty to be forceful and active in the public square."

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