Live Free and Thrive

Ayn Rand Student Conference 2016 | Renaissance Atlanta Midtown Hotel | November 4–6

@AynRandOrg | #AynRandCon

“I had an amazing time! I learned so much in one weekend”

2015 Conference attendee

Live Free and Thrive

It’s not uncommon to hear that free will is an illusion — that belief in free will is incompatible with science.

Yet, the existence of free will lies at the heart of every important issue in your life. Understanding precisely what is and is not within the power of your free choice is crucial to your pursuit of knowledge, values, personal relationships and happiness.

Join us November 4 to 6 in Atlanta, GA, at the Ayn Rand Student Conference 2016 (#AynRandCon) for an in-depth exploration of the concept of free will from the perspective of Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism. Rand — the novelist, philosopher and cultural icon famous for her bestselling novels The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged — developed a new account of free will, one that underpins the distinctive view of good and evil and of heroism that runs through her novels.

Rejecting the false alternative of “nature vs. nurture,” Rand advanced a radical view of man, which holds that you are “a being of self-made soul,” capable of exercising fundamental control over your own thinking, actions and character. Far from viewing belief in free will as a superstition incompatible with science, Rand argued that the facts support the existence of free will and that it’s unscientific — as well as disastrous personally and culturally — to dismiss free will as illusory.

At #AynRandCon you’ll hear leading experts on Rand’s philosophy discuss the nature of free will and its implications for your life and for a range of current controversies, from inequality to free speech to U.S. foreign policy in the Middle East. You’ll hear from practitioners inspired by Rand’s message to take control of their fates and build the kind of career and life they wanted. You’ll meet other students who love Rand’s novels and are learning how to apply her ideas to their own lives. And you’ll have the chance to network with speakers, professionals and students.

The conference is brought to you by the Ayn Rand Institute in collaboration with STRIVE (STudents for Reason, Individualism, Value pursuit, and Enterprise) and is made possible by the generous support of the Michael and Andrea Leven Family Foundation, as well as by the support of the Charles Koch Foundation, Ellen and Harris Kenner, Chris J. Rufer, and Loren and Kathy Corle, RELCO LLC.

Thanks to these donors, students are able to attend this conference at little or no cost. All students will receive a scholarship covering their travel, lodging and registration expenses.

“Before coming to the conference, I had no idea what ideas Ayn Rand stood for. . . . [The conference] helped define and clarify my purpose and motivation, as well as my personal philosophy moving forward.”

2015 Conference attendee

Speakers & Schedule

Click above for more information on Speakers/Schedule

“I have never been in a setting where small talk has been so intellectually arousing. . . . I’m never going to forget that while devouring pizza, I was also talking about poetry, favorite journalists and analyzing sex scenes from The Fountainhead

2015 Conference attendee

Hotel & Travel

The Ayn Rand Student Conference will take place at the Renaissance Atlanta Midtown Hotel. Attendees are required to stay at the Renaissance unless they are local to Atlanta, in which case they have the option of staying at their own homes and commuting to the event. All attendees must attend the full conference, which begins at 6:00 PM on Friday, November 4, and runs through 4:00 PM on Sunday, November 6. If you have a conflict with either condition, please contact Krissy Keys (

You will need to arrange and pay for your lodging at the Renaissance, but your scholarship will cover most or all costs depending on how many roommates you have. A guest checking into a room must be at least eighteen years of age, have a valid picture ID, and present a method of payment upon arrival.

The discounted conference room pricing is $129.00 per night plus applicable taxes and fees (approx. $26/night). The approximate per person costs based on room occupancy are:

  • $155 per person total for two nights in a DOUBLE room (includes taxes)
  • $103 per person total for two nights in a TRIPLE room (includes taxes)
  • $78 per person total for two nights in a QUAD room (includes taxes)

The rooms have two queen beds. Double occupancy means you each get a bed, triple occupancy means one bed is shared, quad occupancy means both beds are shared. Anyone looking for roommates should post a message on the #AynRandCon 2016 Facebook group.

To book

Guest room reservations can be made online at the conference booking website or by calling 1-800-468-3571. If you call, you must mention that you are with the Ayn Rand Student Conference. Hotel reservations must be made by Tuesday, October 18. After October 18, rooms will not be available at the group rate.

Getting there

Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL) is the closest airport. The hotel does not provide a shuttle service to or from the airport. Ground transportation between the hotel and airport includes:

  • Subway (MARTA): Midtown Station stop is 0.2 miles from the hotel ($2.50 one way from airport; reloadable “Breeze” card is required and costs $2.00)
  • UberX or UberPool : $12 – $18 if surge pricing is not in effect (one way)
  • SuperShuttle: Rates start at $16.50 (one way)
  • Taxi: Flat rate of $32.00 from airport to Midtown area

For those driving to Atlanta, conference attendees qualify for a 15% discount on valet parking at the hotel (normally $32/night).

“This was such a wonderful experience. I can’t even tell you how much I learned, and I’ve been studying Objectivism for over five years.”

2015 Conference attendee

Frequently Asked Questions

Getting the Most Out of #AynRandCon

Can I still enjoy #AynRandCon if I’m new to Ayn Rand’s ideas?

Absolutely! The content is balanced so those at all levels of familiarity with Rand — from beginners to advanced students — benefit. Every year there are dozens of first-time attendees.

How can I get to know other attendees before #AynRandCon?

The main way to interact with attendees before the conference is to join the #AynRandCon 2016 Facebook Group. There, you can chat with other attendees about their plans for the conference. You can also follow @AynRandOrg on Twitter for general conference updates.

Will I have opportunities to interact with speakers outside the sessions?

Yes! In addition to taking questions during their sessions, #AynRandCon speakers are happy to make themselves available for discussion whenever there is a break in the conference programming. Please approach speakers with questions during breaks and meals.

Conference Basics

Can I attend a single session or day of the conference?

Attendees are required to attend the full conference, Friday, November 4 – Sunday, November 6.

What is your Cancellation/Refund Policy?

The $50 registration fee will be refunded for cancellations made by October 17. Please contact ARI’s Krissy Keys at if you are no longer available to attend the conference. You will need to separately cancel your reservation at the hotel or transfer it to one of your roommates.

Do I have to stay at the Renaissance Atlanta Midtown Hotel or can I stay elsewhere?

All attendees are required to stay at the Renaissance Atlanta Midtown.

How can I find a roommate?

Post a message on the #AynRandCon 2016 Facebook Group to connect with other attendees concerning rooms, travel, etc. If you’ve done this and are still having difficulty finding a roommate, email Krissy Keys (

Will you be livestreaming the conference?

We will not be livestreaming the conference, but some sessions will be available on ARI Campus or ARI’s YouTube Channel after the conference.

Are meals included in the conference? Can you accommodate dietary restrictions?

The conference includes a Friday night reception and dinner, Saturday lunch, a party on Saturday evening party with light fare, and Sunday lunch. Receptions include one free drink, after which there is a cash bar. Every meal will have a vegetarian option. Contact Krissy Keys ( if you have questions about the meals.

At the Conference

Will there be free Internet?

Yes! Complimentary Wi-Fi is available in the guestrooms and meeting spaces.

What are the transportation options from the airport to the hotel?

Please visit the Hotel and Travel section above. Other information can be found on the website of Renaissance Atlanta Midtown Hotel and the Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport (ATL).

What is the charge for parking at the Renaissance Atlanta Midtown?

The hotel offers only valet parking. Conference attendees will receive a 15% discount on the standard $32.00/day rate.

How will I find conference events inside the hotel?

The meeting spaces are easy to find. The main meeting room is the High Ballroom, next to the hotel lobby. Breakout sessions will also make use of the Chastain and Rialto ballrooms on the 5th floor. Friday registration will be outside the High Ballroom.

Is there a dress code?

The conference will be photographed and filmed and has a “smart” or “smart casual” dress code, which means casual but presentable and neat. See the links for more information, and if you have questions contact Krissy Keys at

What is your recording policy?

No private audio or video recording is allowed. ARI records conference events and makes them available later through the Ayn Rand Institute eStore and other venues. However, you are encouraged to take photos and Tweet! We simply ask that you respect our speakers’ wishes and refrain from using flash photography during talks.

About the Conference Organizers

Is #AynRandCon the same conference as #STRIVECon?

Yes, STRIVE and the Ayn Rand Institute have collaborated on two previous student conferences. In the fall of 2014 there was a conference that was hosted by STRIVE under its former name, The Undercurrent. In the fall of 2015, STRIVE and ARI co-hosted a conference called #STRIVECon on the theme of “The Morality of Value Creation and Trade.” This year’s conference is being organized primarily by ARI with the support and collaboration of STRIVE, so it made sense to rebrand the conference from #STRIVECon to #AynRandCon.

Where can I learn more about Ayn Rand’s ideas?

Visit the Ayn Rand Institute’s main website,, and explore a wealth of resources related to Ayn Rand and her philosophy, Objectivism. A selection of past conference talks and courses is available at the Ayn Rand Institute eStore, and Ayn Rand Institute Campus has a large selection of free online courses. A robust Students section covers the range of educational programs and resources available to students through ARI.

Where can I learn more about STRIVE?

STRIVE (STudents for Reason, Individualism, Value pursuit, and Enterprise) is a nationwide student organization which consists of a network of campus clubs, as well as a campus newspaper distributed across the country (The Undercurrent). STRIVE clubs give students access to practical resources and knowledge through the unique perspective of Objectivism, and provide them with opportunities to join the broader Objectivist student movement. Visit and learn more.

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All students in a degree program who are at least eighteen years of age by November 4, 2016, are eligible to apply to attend the Ayn Rand Student Conference. If your application is accepted, you will receive a scholarship covering most or all of the costs of attending the conference. Only those who have been accepted may attend the conference.

The application deadline was October 10, 2016, but there are a few spaces remaining. We will review applications submitted after October 10 until our scholarship fund is exhausted. However, rooms at the hotel may no longer be available at the discounted rate.

Applicants are required to pay the $50 registration fee. For those accepted, this fee will be refunded upon completion of the conference exit survey. For those whose applications are denied or who cancel before October 17, the fee will be refunded at the time of the denial or cancellation. After October 17, no refunds will be given for cancellations.

Scholarships will be paid around the time of the conference. Scholarship amounts are based on travel distance. Local students only are permitted to stay offsite, or they can choose to stay at the conference hotel and receive a Regional scholarship. The scholarship levels are:

  • Local: $75, scholarship ($25, travel expenses; plus $50 registration fee refund upon completion of exit survey)
  • Regional (within 250 miles): $225, scholarship ($175, travel and lodging; plus $50 registration fee refund upon completion of exit survey)
  • East/Central: $450 scholarship ($400 travel and lodging; plus $50 registration fee refund upon completion of exit survey)
  • West: $575 ($525 travel and lodging; plus $50 registration fee refund upon completion of exit survey)
  • International: up to $1,000 (up to $950 for lodging and travel based on distance; $50 registration fee refund upon completion of exit survey)

There are two ways to apply:

  • Use the Express Application if you meet any of the following criteria:
    • You received a scholarship to the 2016 Objectivist Summer Conference
    • You have been an ARI intern within the past two years
    • You applied to be an ARI intern in 2016
    • You applied to the Objectivist Academic Center in 2016
    • You are currently a student in the OAC core course or advanced training program
  • All others must use the Standard Application