The Hillsdale College Hostel Program
Written by Rachael Kurtz
This year marks the 25th anniversary of the Hillsdale College Hostel program. Throughout these years, there have been thousands of people who have participated in the events.
I recently had the opportunity to speak with Peggy Youngs, the director of the Hillsdale College Hostel program. We discussed what the Hostel programs are, who attends the events, and how they are different from the many other events Hillsdale College offers.
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First of all, what are Hillsdale Hostels?
The Hillsdale College Hostel program is an opportunity for people of all ages to come to the Hillsdale College campus, Rockwell Lake Lodge, or Kirby Center in D.C. for a week and learn from Hillsdale College faculty. Topics range from the Constitution, to Islam and the West, to Free Market Economics.
I like to call the Hostels a “learning vacation,” because that’s what they are! These week-long sessions are filled with fun conversations and exhilarating classroom lectures about the founding of our nation.
I meet so many people who say they wish they could go back in time and attend Hillsdale College – the Hostels are a way for them to do that. For some, the Hillsdale Hostels are a second chance at going to college and attending Hillsdale as a student; for others, it is a sneak peak of what learning here is like.
Would you say that the Hillsdale Hostel program is similar to attending a CCA?
Hillsdale Hostels may seem similar to Center for Constructive Alternatives program (CCA), but the point of the Hostel program is to allow people to see what it is like to be a student here.
In our CCAs, we bring in professors and experts from across the country to give a lecture on a single subject. In the Hillsdale College Hostel program, our own professors teach what they teach in their classrooms during the semester, just in a compressed amount of time. They maintain a classroom setting and teach in the same style as they would in a regular course.
A Hillsdale Hostel is not merely an informative lecture series – it’s an interactive, intense set of classes filled with debate and eye-opening revelation.
Who should attend the Hillsdale Hostels?
Anyone with an interest in defending liberty and pursuing truth! There is no age limit and no educational requirement for participation in the Hillsdale Hostel Program. The Hostels are one of the many ways the College spreads knowledge about the Founding and Constitution to millions of people across America.
How do the Hillsdale Hostels expand on other Hillsdale-offered programs?
The College offers so many different great events and programs throughout the year: CCA’s, guest lectures, Online Courses, and more. The Hillsdale College Hostel program is a way for people to feel like students again.
During the week at the Hostel, professors engage with Hostel attendees, both in and out of the classroom. Throughout this time, people can discuss classroom topics and get a more one on one experience with our amazing faculty.
In these conversations professors draw out the information relayed in class and discuss lecture topics with Hostel attendees in the same manner as students. For example, Dr. Bauman, one of our religion faculty, taught a Hostel program last year and the participants loved him. He teaches in a way where Hostel attendees have to formulate their own thoughts and style. No one is telling them what to think, they are able to figure it out themselves.
What is your favorite part of the program?
I love watching Hostel attendees interact with each other as well as the professors. They are so intelligent and intrigued by the topics. It is so encouraging to see them discuss and explore the meaning of the constitution and founding, or whatever the topic may be, outside of the classroom.
What would you like to leave the readers with?
I think the most important part of the Hostel program is that it is one way Hillsdale College informs people about their government and our country’s founding. We aren’t telling people what to think, but giving them the tools necessary to make their own decisions. That is what Hillsdale College is all about.
Rachael Kurtz is a senior at Hillsdale College who is majoring in Financial Management and minoring in Mathematics. She is on the Hillsdale College Varsity Swim Team, a member of Chi Omega women’s fraternity, and volunteers as a student HOST.