The conclusion of the summer means the departure of the Mackinac Center interns. This year we hosted 12 university students and one high school student, our largest class ever. We take this program seriously — not only because student workers provide a valuable boost to our research efforts each year, but because these young individuals are the future of the freedom movement and we want to prepare them well. That fact is front-of-mind at an organization where the number of former interns on the full-time staff numbers in the double digits. In addition to setting aside stimulating projects for them, we take them on day trips to places like the Capitol building in Lansing and the Kirk Center for Cultural Renewal in Mecosta. We invite members of our Board of Scholars to lecture them on a variety of policy topics and current events, and we give them the opportunity to develop their ideas by writing for their own blog.
But this past summer, we also did something new – something for interns across the country. We launched an innovative speaker series called the InternNet. The InternNet is a virtual forum where we host a series of weekly lectures from free market experts for audiences of interns at free market think tanks all over the country. Each Thursday, we spent the lunch hour interviewing people like the Cato Institute's health policy guru Michael Cannon, higher education expert Richard Vedder, legal mastermind Richard Epstein, civil society advocate Kay Hymowitz and Arizona Supreme Court Justice Clint Bolick. Students listened live to these talks from their jobs at 18 think tanks in states from Wisconsin to Texas, Nevada to South Carolina.
And this was only the beginning. After a successful inaugural season, we’re already racing to line up more VIP speakers for next season, and to get the word out about this incredible opportunity. Chances for free market students to hear from like-minded thought leaders used to arise infrequently outside of Washington and New York. But, from now on, we can ensure that all of the newest members of the liberty movement have ample opportunity to be informed and inspired by the movement’s most accomplished experts and visionaries.
To get a taste of how the program sounded this year, visit www.mackinac.org/theinternnet. There, you’ll find a recording of our conversation about civil discourse with Justice Bolick. You’ll also find a list of the 2017 season speakers and registration information for next season. Please share it with the liberty-loving student in your life! And stay tuned for more updates as this exciting program grows and develops.