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One of the newest additions to the myriad of student organizations beginning this spring semester is the Lewis chapter of the Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) Club, a collection of students focused on the promotion of conservative values on campus. With the hope of establishing the club as a permanent entity, YAF serves as a platform for students who identify with conservative views to voice their ideals proactively.
The YAF organization was founded on Sept. 11, 1960, by a group of conservatives in the home of conservative author and commentator William F. Buckley Jr., where the founders created the guiding document of the organization, the Sharon Statement. According to the Sharon Statement, “it is the responsibility of the youth of America to affirm certain eternal truths.”
The idea to initiate a Lewis chapter of YAF originated among a group of students in a section of the History of the Middle East class. From this group, junior history major Paul Jannuskik, sophomore history major Lucas Cabon and senior international relations major Tristan Windsor became vice chairman, secretary and chairman, respectively. Additionally, freshman management major Tom Kuhm serves as treasurer.
“The goal of Young Americans for Freedom is to promote conservative values on campus,” said Cabon. “We want to start a dialogue about different policies and ideas, that are usually stifled due to political correctness and assumption that liberal or Marxist ideas are correct.”
Before becoming an officially recognized chapter of YAF, 15 potential members gathered and contacted the head of the YAF organization, Chairman Grant Strobl. Windsor, who conducts most communication with the leading organization, speaks with the head YAF monthly.
“The beginning of the correspondence was more about advice in recruiting for the club and proper ways to conduct ourselves,” said Windsor. “Our most recent conversation was centered around how to organize a professional debate in which I hope to draw a live student audience. I know for one thing, the political science department seem to be very happy with us forming a club that incites political conversations, so I hope to form a solid relationship with them.”
One of the objectives of YAF is to encourage healthy conversations about politics on campus, as well to encourage students to discuss politics on campus. A consequence of this discussion could result in better cooperation among conservatives and liberals.
“Over the years of being at Lewis and from accounts of fellow students, I felt that the classroom paid a bit more attention to liberal ideas and not as much attention that I would have liked to conservative values,” said Windsor. “I hope that this club can allow students to have a similar experience as me and maybe incite some evolution of their own thoughts on politics with a healthy exposure to a side of the political spectrum students may not have been raised up on.
When it comes to education, I believe both sides should be shared with students, and I feel Lewis does a great job of that for the liberal perspective. As for the conservative perspective, I think it needs a little more attention, and I hope the Lewis YAF can be the catalyst for that change.”
The Lewis chapter of YAF has gained 25 members to date. Before the semester is over, YAF plans to hold debates with other student organizations, invite speakers, such as political commentators Steven Crowder and Ben Shapiro, host fundraisers and encourage writing about current events from a conservative viewpoint.