Rebuilding America: A Weekend Conference for College Students

April 23-25, 2021
Indianapolis, IN

A Student Leadership Conference in Indianapolis


Yes, America is deeply divided over politics and cultural issues. But why have we become so polarized?

One crucial factor receives far too little attention: the erosion of the institutions that historically formed the heart of American communities—family, church, civic groups, and more.

Is it too late to turn the tide?

Join like-minded students for an immersive weekend conference as we explore America’s institutions—why they are declining and what we can do to rebuild them. You will learn from some of the leading thinkers in the field and engage in discussions that could lead to lifelong friendships. 

The speakers you’ll hear from include:  

  • Corey Brooks, the “rooftop pastor” known nationally for his efforts to rebuild his neighborhood on Chicago’s South Side
  • Gracy Olmstead, whose acclaimed new book, Uprooted, explores rural “brain drain,” localism, and other issues
  • Timothy P. Carney, who was a finalist for ISI’s Conservative Book of the Year award for his book Alienated America: Why Some Places Thrive While Others Collapse 
  • Michael Matheson Miller, an expert on economic development and the leader of PovertyCure


Corey Brooks
Corey Brooks

Pastor Corey Brooks is the founder and senior pastor of New Beginnings Church of Chicago. He is also founder and CEO of Project H.O.O.D Communities Development Corporation, which empowers people with the guidance, information, and tools necessary to become peacemakers, problem solvers, leaders, and entrepreneurs in their communities. Pastor Brooks’s efforts received national acclaim when he spent 94 days living on the roof of a rundown motel located across the street from his church. It had become a center of drugs, prostitution, and violence. Within three months he raised enough money to buy the building and tear it down. The land is now earmarked to be the location of a $23 million state-of-the-art community center to help make the neighborhood a safer place.

Timothy P. Carney
Timothy P. Carney

Timothy P. Carney is the senior political columnist at the Washington Examiner and a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute. His most recent book is Alienated America: Why Some Places Thrive While Others Collapse, which was a finalist for ISI’s Conservative Book of the Year award. Carney has written for The Atlantic, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, and many other publications.

Michael Matheson Miller
Michael Matheson Miller

Michael Matheson Miller is research fellow and director of Acton Media at the Acton Institute. He lectures internationally on moral philosophy, economic development, social theory, and entrepreneurship. Miller leads the PovertyCure initiative, which promotes entrepreneurial solutions to poverty in the developing world. He is the director and host of the PovertyCure DVD Series.

Gracy Olmstead
Gracy Olmstead

Gracy Olmstead is a writer and journalist located outside Washington, D.C. She has written for the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal, the Washington Post, the American ConservativeThe WeekNational ReviewThe Federalist, the Washington Times, and the Intercollegiate Review, among other publications. A native of rural Idaho, she is the author of the new book Uprooted: Recovering the Legacy of the Places We’ve Left Behind, which Kirkus Reviews calls “a superior exploration of the consequences of the hollowing out of our agricultural heartlands.”

“My university experience has been so enriched by ISI regional conferences, and I know that I am better prepared to continue the push for liberty, patriotism, and first principles because of them.”
- Laura Spence, Villanova University alumna, Fulbright recipient
“When it comes to bringing students together in pursuit of truth, ISI is really second to none.”
- Micah Meadowcroft, Hillsdale College alumnus
“ISI’s ability to create an environment of intellectual endeavor and attract the smartest young people I’ve ever met is unparalleled.”
- Seth Nightengale, University of Oklahoma alumnus


Applications are due by March 19
Email Elizabeth Newman at with any questions