Around the Institute

Audience of a Generation

October 1, 2018  • Institute Staff

At this year’s Aspen Ideas Festival, Shark Tank regular Kevin O’Leary’s talk—“Why Should Millennials Invest?”—at the Wheeler Opera House was packed with young adults. That was the whole point. In 2017, the Institute launched the Millennial Pass, giving 18- to 35-year-olds partial access to the Aspen Ideas Festival and Spotlight Health. Each year, about 80 public sessions are held in downtown Aspen instead of on the Institute’s campus, and the majority of that downtown programming is available to Millennial passholders. This year, the Institute sold 244 passes for $75 each. In addition to O’Leary, Millennial highlights this year included Rose Marcario, the CEO of Patagonia, who discussed environmental activism; Ava DuVernay, the filmmaker, who talked about art and justice; and Jordan Peterson, the controversial psychologist, who addressed the political culture wars. “What I really loved about the Millennial Pass is that I ended up going to panels I wouldn’t have gone to if I had to pay for the individual session,” passholder Kristin Wright said. Institute staff strive to maintain a diversity of ideas among speakers; the Millennial Pass allows that crucial variety to be reflected in the audience as well.