As students who have just started their freshman year in college and are walking billboards of conservatism, we know there are bound to be horror stories of crazy leftist professors and students with close minds. Knowing that their are conservative students being mistreated on campus, it can be intimidating to be vocal about your political views while in college. However, after attending conferences this summer with Young America’s Foundation (YAF), we feel prepared to be lone conservatives on our college campuses.
How to Start a YAF Chapter
When we arrived at our first YAF conference at the Reagan Ranch in Santa Barbara, California, we met Grant Strobl and Kyle Ferrebee who talked about Young Americans for Freedom, a project of Young America’s Foundation. They helped us start or join an existing chapter on our college campuses.
American University already had a YAF chapter, so Kyle gave me our Chairman’s contact information, and I was able to join before I even got to campus. Since I was so close to YAF headquarters, I was able to meet with Kyle who helped me and another new member of our chapter host our first event. We started with the 9/11 Candlelight Vigil— placing 2,977 flags on our school’s quad and hosted Marc Thiessen as our guest speaker.
When Marc Thiessen spoke, there were students who said that they were glad they were able to hear a different perspective than what they normally hear from their professors and that it made them start to rethink their positions. Without Kyle’s help, I would have never had the resources or known about the opportunities on my campus to reach out and interact with other campus conservatives.
Providing Us with Support and Resources
At every YAF conference, some of the speakers leave books for the attendees, however YAF is also known to give them out to students who request them.
At American University, I’m taking a “Politics in the US” class, and one of my assignments was to read the Constitution. When I visited YAF headquarters, I asked Kyle if he had any Pocket Constitutions I could hand-out in class, and he provided me with more than enough. My professor loved them, and I was able to use this as an opportunity to introduce my peers to YAF.
At the University of North Georgia, I realized that my US History professor was talking about the Robber Barons and the transcontinental railroads with a strong left bias. Just a few months before, I had been in California at a YAF conference where Burt Folsom had debunked everything my professor was saying, so I messaged Kyle Ferrebee and asked for a copy of Burt’s book, “The Myth of the Robber Barons” to give to him. It was immediately sent to my campus address saying “Freedom inside. Protect it with all your might.” I was able to leave it there for my professor and felt a sense of pride in knowing that not only was I able to recognize that their was a bias, but that YAF was there to back me up and help me reach out and possibly change his mind. They were there to help— whether I was at their conference or on my campus.
Equipping us with Conversation Starters
One thing that YAF has always done for conferences, is equip students with merchandise. At every conference, students receive items that aren’t limited to buttons, stickers, and t-shirts. These items subtly allow conservative students to spark up conversations with their peers. In the first few weeks in college, people have asked, “Is that Reagan on your shirt?” or “What does that sticker mean on your laptop? What’s YAF?”
It then allows us to go in depth about what we believe or plug YAF and other conservative organizations. Without even realizing it, you become a walking advertisement for something that helps give right-aligning students a voice and helps left-aligning students open their minds.
The views expressed in this article are the opinion of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Lone Conservative staff.