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Give the Given a chance

Dear Editor:

What makes Aspen different than the other post-WWII ski resorts? Is it just a music festival? Is it just the World Cup and the X Games? Is it just the Wild West mining town mystique? Is it only breathtaking beauty? Is it just (shudder) the commedia quality of our politics? Is it just the level of our greed? Nope, none of these are exclusive to the rarefied air of the Roaring Fork Valley.

What Aspen has is an idea. What Aspen has is respect for a healthy mind as well as a healthy body. Cling to that idea. Welcome the scientists as well as the snowboarders. Make diversity a good thing. Economic and social diversity we no longer have. Let’s try and keep a little intellectual diversity.

The Given is uniquely suited to the sharing of ideas. The conference space is near perfect in its relationship of speaker to audience. It is in a setting which promotes contemplation of the deepest sort.

Why isn’t it making money? I could point to many things, but the bottom line is it’s not the job of an educational institution to make money. They don’t do it well.

What are the possible solutions? Well, I’d love to know how much of that $200,000-a-year expense tag is property taxes. It seems the city could do something about that. Everybody is hurting but surely one of our local institutions could find a sponsor for this.

Perhaps CU isn’t the best custodian (attempts to rent it as a wedding venue leads me to that conclusion) but surely with the depth of connections flowing from this town, we can find a worthy steward for this wellspring of ideas. After all, why should the politicians at The Aspen Institute have all the fun?

Ziska Childs

Carbondale


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