Conservatism in College: Tips for Student Activism

For as far back as I can recall, I’ve been a part of the conservative movement. From my political roots in class elections and DECA elections in grade school all the way up to working on a winning Congressional election campaign, I have always been passionate about conservatism. I have learned a lot over my journey through conservative activism, but one major issue I see now as a college student is the ability or courage for conservative students and young adults to speak out.

Conservatism is a noble movement of such optimism and positivity, yet college professors and administrators often block the movement and write it off as a movement of the past and one against the well being of the country. This rubs off on their students and gives a false image of conservatism to them. Now more than ever it is important for college conservatives to band together and stick up for what they believe in. I will discuss some major ways that anyone on a college campus can make their conservative values heard and spread our positive message. I will also provide tips that all college conservatives could use.

1. Join clubs and organizations on campus that support conservatism.

This is a basic step in student activism, but it is a good one that anyone can do. Many campuses, depending on size of the university and location of the university, may have multiple clubs that support the conservative movement. Some examples include College Republicans, Turning Point USA, Young Americas Foundation(YAF), ISI, and many more. Some are better than others, but they all have benefits. These organizations will do two major things to advance conservatism on your campus.

First, the larger the chapter is, the stronger the voice is on your campus. Strength comes in numbers when it comes to student activism. Second, it will allow you to grow as a student activist and polish your activism skills(public speaking, empowerment of others, add precision and clarity to your message etc.) There are also organizations that support specific aspects of the conservative movement. These may include DECA and FBLA. What this means simply is that DECA and FBLA both strongly support free enterprise and advancing one’s self through capitalist means.

2. Don’t have these types of clubs and organizations on campus? Start a chapter!

     Many campuses, especially small and mid sized ones, are still without a conservative activism chapter of any kind. This is a major issue when it comes to student activism on a given campus because students with the same voice and core values are disbanded. It makes having a campus wide impact much harder when students do not have a united voice. If this sounds like your situation, you are not without options.

You can start a College Republicans or TP USA chapter on your campus pretty simply. First, discuss your desire to start a chapter with the chair of your political science department. These chapters may already exist and just be inactive. If there aren’t any inactive chapters available, go to the organization website to get step by step directions on starting a chapter( TPUSA.org, CRNC.org, ISI.org etc.)

3. Start an organization of your own.

Don’t find an organization that fits you the way you want it to? Start your own organization! Doing this is easier than most people think it is. It will require lots of effort and time, but it is a pretty easy legal process and not as expensive as you might think. Sites like legal zoom can incorporate your organization in as little as an hour and have your paperwork delivered within a month. This process is also easier when you have mentors involved. Your professors are there for you to go to. Go to ones you favor that have business or legal backgrounds if you need help starting an organization. Starting your own organization, also, will allow you to focus on what is important to you. For example, if you feel strongly about capitalism you can start an organization that focuses on advancing capitalism in America.

4. Write like there’s no tomorrow.

As a college student at a credible school, writing should be a great way to reach out to your peers and open their minds to more. With the rise of online news in the past decade, you don’t have to be a journalist to write either. There are many outlets to accomplish this through. One great way is your school newspaper. Almost every school has a newspaper or online news source of some sort available to their students. Writing opinion pieces and current news is a great way to spread the positive word about conservatism and may even empower others to speak out. These newspapers may become problematic depending on your school due to the fact that many are extremely filtered and are left leaning. If this is the case, have no fear. There are other ways to write.

The benefit of writing in our generation is that social media can amplify your voice and spread your message much more effectively than in the past. You can also go the blog style media route. These sites are sites that hire entry level and college writers. They often give you a lot of freedom when choosing what to write, and most of them are flexible with busy schedules. The last great way to get your voice heard through writing is a personal blog. Although this style was more popular earlier in the decade, it is still a great way to speak out if you have a strong social media presence.

5. Don’t give up on your principles.

Being a student activist is very rewarding, but it does not come without its share of hardships. You will encounter people who do not agree with your movement or your values. These people may attempt to steer you away from your principles. You, however, should not let these individuals bring down your energy and your passion. You will have people against you, but you will also have a large group of support from those who believe in conservatism. This is not to say that you should completely ignore your critics. You should take their criticism into consideration and actually listen to what people say to you. Understanding other peoples’ perspectives is important, especially in the America we currently live in. This will allow you to more effectively spread your own message while also understanding where people who oppose you come from.

Wrapping up.

Being a conservative college student can be hard. It may be hard to hold your ground when surrounded by naysayers. It may be hard to assemble. It may be hard to make your voice heard. But if you have patience, perseverance, a good work ethic, and a clear principled message, you will be a respected leader in the fight for conservatism. Get involved. Work hard. But most importantly, don’t ever be afraid to speak out.

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