By: Evan Gaul
Liberty University ‘19
There are few instances in my recent memory where my life changed philosophically, professionally, and spiritually, but a week at the Areté Academy did just that.
Areté Academy is a week-long training program put on by Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) for college students and recent graduates who are interested in future careers in law, government, business, and public policy.
For me, the months that led to Areté were filled with incredible experiences as I interned for a non-profit in Washington D.C. However, in the midst of immense opportunity, I was conflicted spiritually. My summer was not filled with heart-warming fellowship among believers, nor was I being pushed to be stronger in my faith as I became a more capable professional. In fact, as my résumé grew stronger, my faith grew weaker.
I had no idea what the end of my summer had in store.
Because ADF enjoys an esteemed reputation among my friends, family, and colleagues, I was incredibly excited and honored to be accepted into the Areté Academy, but I did not know what to expect. I understood Areté Academy more as I met fellow delegates in the airport on my way to Arizona because every person was dedicated to law, policy, philosophy, and most importantly, Jesus.
It was apparent as I met fellow delegates that I was among an elite group of students who have world-changing potential in their respective fields of study and a heart to see lives changed according to the gospel.
The days that followed my arrival were filled with open discussions with impressive career professionals, which encouraged me to continue growing in my knowledge of the law, policy, and philosophy.
Areté Academy affords its students a sufficient introduction to the foundational principles of the law and the current sociopolitical climate of our nation. Christian students can often feel alienated as they venture into their careers, but Areté Academy provided me with practical guidance that I can expect will bear fruit as I mature professionally.
As bearers of a biblical worldview, believers have a unique opportunity to use biblical truths to discern the natural law. Areté Academy helped show me how applying the natural law can affect liberty and human flourishing.
And while the educational value of the trip is immeasurable, it is certainly rivaled by the opportunity to build relationships with incredible students from across the nation. I have been encouraged and uplifted by the honest advice of Areté mentors and fellow delegates. The Areté Academy staff is a strong, healthy community of motivated, Christian professionals in law, policy, and business. There is no doubt in my mind that every delegate is better off because of his experience with the Areté Academy.
Simply put, Areté Academy will benefit any individual seeking to understand the relationship between faith and the public square. Because of Areté Academy, I have a better understanding of both.
To anyone considering Areté Academy, I strongly encourage you to make this investment with your time. As an undergraduate student who has incredible work and internship experience, I count Areté Academy as one of the most profitable experiences in my professional development. Often believers have doubts about the impact that can be made on the world while upholding biblical principles. Areté Academy helped me confront such doubt with evidence that I can make a lasting impact on law and policy while pleasing my Heavenly Father.
Apply by January 29, 2019 for consideration in this summer’s program.
The Virginia Constitution clearly affords educators the right to care for their students without violating their conscience or their faith.