Objectivism Starter Kit
One of the Ayn Rand Institute’s most popular education programs is its annual essay contests. Contests on Anthem, The Fountainhead and Atlas Shrugged collectively attract the attention of approximately fifteen to twenty thousand students each spring, as they compete to win a share of more than $130,000 in cash prizes. ARI’s goal, however, is that participation in an essay contest should mark the beginning of a lifetime’s interest in Ayn Rand’s works.
That’s why the Institute offers each essay contest participant the chance to receive an “Objectivism starter kit.” The kits contain a free copy of a Rand novel or nonfiction book, pamphlets, flyers and other items. They are designed to entice students to continue their enjoyment and study of Ayn Rand. Since 2011, more than eleven thousand students have requested an additional copy of Rand’s works after participating in an essay contest.
“We offer these kits to students for two reasons,” says Zane Mitchell, manager of high school programs. “The primary reason is to make sure interested students have access to Ayn Rand’s works. A secondary reason is that it provides ARI with the opportunity to introduce ARI Campus, AynRandCon and other resources to an important audience.”
Mitchell reports that the percentage of essay contest participants requesting a free copy of Rand’s novels is increasing. A record 3,200 students requested a copy in 2017, which meant Objectivism starter kits were sent to all fifty states and to an additional forty-nine countries across six continents! Mitchell believes last year’s increase in requests is a combination of improved marketing and an increased interest in the new resources the Institute offers.
These kits are particularly important for students who enjoyed reading and writing on Anthem in their classroom and now want to continue their study with a new, more challenging read, like The Fountainhead or Atlas Shrugged. The recent numbers of students taking this critical next step indicates the growing impact the high school programs are having.
As for 2018, Mitchell anticipates setting yet another record for participants requesting a new book. As for the assembly and shipping of thousands of these packets to students each year, Mitchell jokes, “It’s a problem I’m delighted to have.”