It’s no secret that universities have created an atmosphere on their campuses that makes it seem popular or ‘cool’ to be liberal, and anything resembling an affiliation with conservative values is made to look outlandish, ignorant, or at the very least, monotonous. When I was in college, it seemed as though conservative students either stayed silent or eventually conformed to liberalism out of fear of facing backlash from their peers and professors.
As a conservative college student, I also remember not having the luxury of voicing my opinion, only to have the vast majority of the class (and the professor) nod in agreement. I had to come to class ten times more prepared than my liberal counterparts, and be ready to explain myself in great detail with sources to back up my claims, only to have some students call me names. For many students, it’s not worth it; it would be much easier to just do what is expected and not have to deal with any dispute.
So naturally, when I heard about Turning Point USA–an organization seeking to re-brand the message so that it’s more attractive to the youth–I wanted to get involved. I would have loved to have had an organization like this on my campus when I was in college, so I figured this was my chance to help like-minded college students get more involved and informed.
One would think that it would be impossible to find conservative students on some of the most liberal campuses. I have only been with Turning Point for a month, and I have already found that as long as I am creating a proud, conservative presence on campus, each and every campus I visit has students that will approach my table surprised that this type of message exists on their campus. They always excitedly ask how they can get involved, and these are just the students that already identify as conservatives.
Another type of student I run into more often is the “on the fence” student that is very familiar with the liberal message from the left, but has never been exposed to a conservative message and wants to learn more. One student had even said to me: “It’s like I knew this all along, but I didn’t know why, or how it worked, but after we talked, everything just sort of ‘clicked’ in my head.”
The truth is, millions of young Americans already do embrace individualism, small government, and many other strong conservative characteristics. They already crave the more attractive, healthy, and desired lifestyle; but many are confused and don’t realize that they are indeed conservatives. Meeting these students, engaging in dialogue, and watching their reactions when they hear an idea they may have never heard before has been the most rewarding part of my job!