Student Retreat Details

Student Retreat Details

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Student Retreat on Cultural Engagement

Moving Forward in a Backward World

Exploring apologetics related to Race/Ethnicity, Gender/Sexual Identity, Islam, Politics and Economics, and the Arts

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Join us for a weekend to remember! Packed full of world-class scholarship, new friends, and heart-pounding adventure, we invite you to join us in worshipping God with all your heart, soul, mind and strength.


Hosted by Ratio Christi in conjunction with the National Conference on Christian Apologetics, this is a weekend meant to be both serious and fun.

  • Live and learn together at the retreat center with your peers from campuses around the country.
  • The core of the retreat will focus on the current hot topics in university culture including race/ethnicity, gender/sexual Identity, Islam, politics and economics, and the arts.
  • Connect with distinguished faculty throughout the weekend.
  • We know that a long weekend of stimulating conversations and fast-paced sessions can leave you exhausted, so we've included a chance to enjoy God's creation at the US National Whitewater Center on Saturday afternoon!  You'll have the chance to do some whitewater rafting, or, if that's not your thing, participate in a variety of activities that'll keep you on dry land.
  • Join the Ratio Christi staff and guests for a great meal and challenging talks at the annual Ratio Christi Benefit Banquet on Saturday evening.

The retreat package includes all the meals, lodging, training, and activities all for one price. Join us for study and fun!

**Click on the arrows below for more details.


It's not all mind games this weekend. There are real games as well. Enjoy out-door refreshment at the U.S. National Whitewater Center as part of the weekend. We know that a long weekend of brain stimulating conversations and teaching can leave you exhausted and in need of a break. Particularly for those attending the National Apologetics Conference (and we hope you do). So, get out on Saturday and enjoy God's creation. Participate in heart-pounding white water rafting with your fellow students and mentors; Dry land activities such as climbing walls, zip lines, and rope courses are also available for those who do not want to get wet. Transportation will also be provided. Activity FAQs can be found here.

Speakers and Topics

Join the Ratio Christi staff and many other guests at the banquet to hear from Dr. Carol Swain on Cultural Marxism and the Progressive UniversityEnjoy a great meal, mix with apologists and students from around the country, and hear testimonies by students as we recall what God has done with Ratio Christi and catch a vision for the future of the movement.

Dr. Carol Swain (B.A., Roanoke College; M.A., Virginia Polytechnic & State Univ.; Ph.D., UNC at Chapel Hill; M.S.L, Yale, 2000; member of Phi Beta Kappa) is a Professor of Political Science and Professor of Law at Vanderbilt University. Rising from a high school dropout and teenage mother to a highly accomplished university professor and public intellectual, Dr. Swain is a dedicated Christian and conservative voice speaking out against identity politics, for uniting under the Judeo-Christian principles of our Founding Fathers, and advocating for a public voice for conservatives who are intimidated to champion an often-unpopular message in today's political and social climate. She is a widely recognized expert on political campaigns, elections, racial politics, immigration reform, and religious liberty. She has served on the Tennessee Advisory Committee to the U.S. Civil Rights Commission and the National Endowment for the Humanities Council and is the founder of the Carol Swain Foundation. Her opinion pieces have been published in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Times and USA Today and she is a regular contributor on CNN, BBC, NPR, Fox News, PBS, and ABC among other media. She is the creator and host of “Be the People” television show. She has written seven books including the highly acclaimed book, Black Faces, Black Interests: The Representation of African Americans in Congress (Harvard University Press) which received many awards including the 1994 Woodrow Wilson prize for the best book published in the U.S. on government, politics or international aairs and which has been cited in U.S. Supreme Court decisions. Her latest co-authored book, is titled: Who’s Stealing our Kids?: The Hidden Agenda to Secularize Our ChildrenWatch video about Carol Swain's lIfe

Michael Sherrard - Director of RC College Prep (high school) and a pastor at Crosspoint Community Church in Peachtree City, GA, the author of Relational Apologetics: Defending the Christian Faith with Holiness, Respect, and Truth, and an indie electronic musician who has released two albums. He has a B.A. in Religion and a Masters of Divinity with a concentration in Apologetics from Luther Rice University, and is a PhD Cand. at Radboud Universtiy Nimjen under Prof. Jan Van Der Watt

Mark Allen - Teaches courses in art, design, and creativity in the Meadows School of the Arts at Southern Methodist University (SMU) in Dallas, Texas. Currently pursuing a Ph.D. in Philosophy of Art & Aesthetics at University of Dallas. Mark has produced work for clients like the History Channel, the New York Yankees, Harley-Davidson, A&E, and The Walking Dead. 

Mark Hanna - CEO and entrepreneur, involved in several technology, education, and consumer products related startups, and currently serves as Managing Director of a real estate & investment firm. He holds an M.A. in International Studies from the University of Utah where he focused on worldview studies, specializing in international economics, politics and Islam. A board member for Ratio Christi.

Tom Simpson, PhD - Executive in Residence, Dept of Economics and Finance, UNC Wilmington.  Had a 30 year career with the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System in Washington, D.C where he was a senior officer, with responsibilities in the area of monetary policy, economic forecasting, and financial markets, and served as an officer of the Federal Open Market Committee. Dr. Simpson also has provided technical assistance to various central banks around the world—including the People’s Bank of China and the Central Bank of Russia.  Since 2003, he has played a key role in building a new monetary and financial system in Iraq and has advised the Central Bank of Iraq.  In recent years, he has also provided assistance to the central banks of Afghanistan, Angola, Honduras, Lesotho, Liberia, South Sudan, and Uganda. Dr. Simpson has a B.A. from the University of Minnesota and a Ph. D. in economics from the University of Chicago. He has published numerous professional articles on monetary and financial issues, a textbook on money and banking, and is completing a textbook on financial markets and institutions and monetary policy.


  • Race/Ethnicity How to discuss Race, Religion, and Conservatism at a Secular University - Carol Swain
  • University CultureCultural Marxism and the Progressive University - Carol Swain
  • Islam -  Mohammad, Marx, or Messiah: Whose Worldview Will America Choose? - Mark Hanna
  • Economics - What Would Jesus Say to Bernie Sanders? Socialism versus the Free Market - Tom Simpson 
  • Politics Can You Be a Christian and Social Activist? - Michael Sherrard 
  • The ArtsUgly Apologetics and the Persuasive Power of Beauty - Mark Allen
  • Gender/Sexual Identity - Infinite Genders, Cultural Cues, Social Justice, or Design? What Gives You Identity? - Michael Sherrard

Download Printable Schedule and Other Planning Information 

Availability: Open to all college students, as well as high school juniors and seniors.


Friday, October 14 (Optional)

Students have the option (highly recommended) of attending the National Conference on Christian Apologetics (NCCA) hosted by Southern Evangelical Seminary on Oct.14-15 (Fri. 9 am to Sat. 12 noon). 

Check in will be available at the retreat center by Friday late afternoon or evening. If you need a room on Friday night you can select this option during registration. If you register for the NCCA through Ratio Christi, the price includes the Friday night accommodations.

Saturday, October 15

Download Detailed Schedule

7:00 am - 7:45 Continental breakfast provided. You can also purchase breakfast meals at the retreat center cafe.

7:45 am Board Bus to NCCA

8:00 am Transportation leaves retreat center for NCCA

8:30 am - 10:45 am  Students attend sessions at NCCA

10:45 am - 11:15 am Check In and load onto bus at NCCA

11:15 pm Bus leaves for activity location (transportation details to follow) 

Lunch will be provided for every student on the bus trip

11:45 pm - Welcome to the Whitewater Center

12:00 pm - 3:30 pm Enjoy exciting white water rafting or dry land activities with your fellow students and mentors. 

3:30 pm - 3:45 Load onto bus.

3:45 pm - 4:15 pm Travel to Retreat Center. Location: Heritage International Ministries Conference Retreat Center. 

4:15 pm - 4:45 pm Check into rooms, shower, and dress for first session and banquet

5:00 pm - 6:15 pm Student Session #1: Dr. Carol Swain, Vanderbilt University (Location/Room: MSU)

6:30 pm - 9:00 pm Banquet in Grand Ball Room; Dinner, Keynote Address by Dr. Carol Swain, student testimonies, and more!

9:15 pm until you drop 

Board Game Night. Hang out with new and familiar friends. Rub shoulders with top scholars. Snacks and games, games, games...

Rooms at Retreat Center: Please expect to stay in a room with one other person (two double beds).

Sunday, October 16

Download Detailed Schedule and Other Planning Information

Location: Heritage International Ministries Conference Retreat Center. 

6:30 am - 7:00 am Prayer Time (optional)

7:15 am - 8:30 am Buffet Breakfast & Fellowship

8:30 am - 8:50 am Worship - Band

9:00 am - 10:30 am Sessions #2 & #3: Meet with your group and mentors for topical study, talks, and discussion.

Coffee Break

10:45 am - 12 noon Plenary Session in Main Ball Room

Coffee Break as determined by faculty

12 noon - 1:30 pm Lunch in Grand Ball Room. Good food and an extended time for personal discussion and fellowship.

1:30 am - 2:30 pm Session #4

Coffee Break 

2:45 am - 4:15 pm Session #5

4:15 pm - 4:30 pm Closing Session

See you next year!

Thank you to the student planning committee for their assistance in organizing this exciting event!


$199 - RC Student Retreat Only

Entire Ratio Christi Student Retreat (Sat. thru Sun.) - College students or high school juniors and seniors. Price includes: Sat. lunch, Sat. afternoon activity at the U.S. National Whitewater Center, evening banquet, Sat. night accommodations, Sun. breakfast & lunch, and all student conference activities and mentoring groups. 

$299 - RC Student Retreat AND NCCA (National Conference on Christian Apologetics)

In addition to previous Retreat items this price Includes two day NCCA conference (all day Fri., Sat. until noon), Friday lunch, hotel accommodations on Friday night, and Saturday lunch. Conference details can be found here

What if I don't have that much money?  

We realize that the cost of attending plus travel may be more than students can afford "out of pocket." It is typical for students attending campus ministry retreats to raise financial support to help them attend. This can be a great learning opportunity in fundraising, teamwork, and prayer. We hope your club will plan together on how to get as many Ratio Christi students as possible to the retreat. The student organizing committee for the retreat has put together several Fundraising Tools that can be downloaded at the bottom of this page including a guide, sample fundraising letter, and more. 

Our goal is to get every student that desires to attend to this event! Please contact us if you need additional suggestions or information on how to go about the funding process.

Scholarships may also be available on a limited basis if and when we receive donations toward student scholarships. If you do not have the full financial means to attend even after pursuing fundraising options please contact us with your specific need.

Also, some students who are local to the Charlotte, NC area may wish to save money by not staying at the retreat center on Saturday evening, or by not attending some part of the retreat. However, we want to encourage attendees to participate in everything. If someone wants to opt out of a particular event they can, but the price would not change. We really desire a “community feel” for this weekend which is the primary reason we want to have everyone stay at the same location. It allows for interaction and discussions other than during the formal meeting times. So, even those within commuting distance will stay in the same lodging. The Ratio Christi staff and faculty mentors will also be staying in the same location.


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Sample Student Support Raising Letter


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Student Support Raising Guide


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Sample Student Support Raising Record Form


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