We are proud to announce the nominees for the 2010 Students For Liberty Awards. Every year SFL presents awards recognizing the Student of the Year, Event of the Year, and Student Group of the Year to highlight the tremendous work being done by students to promote liberty. These awards are meant to inspire students to continue promoting liberty by highlighting some of the best work being done by other students. Click here for a list of past winners. This year’s nominees came from a very competitive pool of applicants, and it was a difficult process selecting those who would be nominated. With so many students and groups doing great work for the cause of liberty, nomination itself is recognition for an outstanding contribution to the student movement for liberty.
Below is a list of the nominees in each category with a short description. Leading up to the International SFL Conference we will feature in-depth profiles of each student, event, and group. Make sure to stay tuned to learn more about these fantastic leaders of the student movement for liberty!
Student of the Year
This award goes to a student that has shown true passion for the cause of liberty and represents the drive that students possess to change the world. While there are many students doing incredible things, this award is to recognize one student that has made a tremendous difference on campus and whom we believe will continue to make a difference for liberty in the future. The student of the year is a leader of the student movement for liberty, a tireless worker for the cause, and an inspiration to fellow students.
Norman was the main organizer for the 2009 SFL Texas Conference, created LibertarianChristians.com to outreach to the Christian community, is active in local and Texas Libertarian Party and Texans for Accountable Government, and published in Young American Revolution as well as many other media outlets.
Dennis was the president of the Temple Libertarians during the Spring of 2009 and transferred to George Washington University in the Fall. There he re-founded the GW Liberty Society, hosted Patri Friedman, hosted FIRE President Greg Lukianoff, organized an informational meeting on getting internships, hosted IJ’s Robert McNamara, and took leadership of the DC Forum for Freedom.
Jacqueline Silseth is the founder and former President of the St. Cloud State Libertarians, an assistant organizer for the Libertarian Party of Minnesota, Chair of Legislative Affairs at SCSU, and founding board member and Volunteer Coordinator & Executive Secretary of the Year of Youth project.
Students for Liberty
Mike Sertic founded Students for Liberty at CSUS where there had been no previous liberty presence. He organized regular group meetings along with round table discussions, held numerous Operation Politically Homeless outreach events on campus, passed out pocket Constitutions on Constitution Day, screened Indoctrinate U, and earned local media coverage on health care issues.
Liya was a Koch Summer Fellow in 2009; is President of GMU Econ. Society; published an article for Citizens Against Government Waste, “Beach Houses: Owned by the Rich, Paid for by Everyone”; earned the Southwestern Economic Development Award for Outstanding Scholastic Achievement and Howard R. Bloch Economic Scholarship; hosted numerous high-calibur speakers such as Robert Higgs, Larry Reed, and Peter Boettke; is active in the DC Forum for Freedom; published a healthcare op-ed in Philadelphia Inquirer; and was a participant in the SFL v. SDS debate.
Student Group of the Year
The Group of the Year award goes to a group that has shown an outstanding commitment to promoting the ideas of liberty and illustrated successes in developing as an organization. The best organization is not the one with the most members or the one that has held the most events, although many great groups have both. The best groups have a strong membership of dedicated students and events that make an impact on the campus at large. The best groups seek to broaden their reach both on campus and beyond to other organizations. Ultimately, this award goes to the organization that SFL considers to be a model, an example of what a group should be that others can look to for inspiration.
American University Students For Liberty
The AU SFL has been one of the most active campus groups during the past year. During the summer they recruited over 100 freshmen at 6 different orientation events. This Fall they held many speaker events such as “Anarchy: Debating the Extremes of Liberty”, “The Obamacare To Come: Healthcare Reform, The Free Market, and You!”, “Market Failure: How the government created the financial crisis”, and “Civil Liberties: America’s Most Endangered, Endangered Species! AU SFL Present Congressman Bob Barr!”. They also held numerous activism events, such as Students Rights Week with street theatre, and participated in the 9/12 March on Washington. They also traveled to Philadelphia to participate in the FreedomWatch student special and the Mid-Atlantic Students For Liberty Conference. This Winter they will host the 2010 International Students For Liberty Conference.
Drexel University Student Liberty Front
The Drexel Student Liberty Front has held a fantastic series of events this past fall including a”Free Philly” Concert, a “V for Vendetta” campus movie night, Students Rights Week (events nightly including speakers from FIRE, Philadelphia Public Defenders Office and screening “Indoctrinate U”), Student Liberty Front Barbecue, Freedomain Radio’s Stefan Molyneux and 2004 Presidential Candidate Michael Badnarik “Minarchy v. Anarchy Debate”, hosted Reason’s Radley Balko on the Militarization of Police in response to the Drug War, hosted PA State Representative Sam Rohrer and Mises Institute’s Thomas Dilorenzo on Tenth Amendment. They also organized and hosted the FreedomWatch student special and the 2009 Mid-Atlantic Students For Liberty Conference.
University of Nevada-Reno Students For Liberty
Last Spring the UNR Students for Liberty hosted Nick Dranias, a fellow at the Goldwater Institute, who lectured about “The Top Ten Ways to Effectively Increase Liberty at the Local Level.” This Fall the UNR SFL hosted a bi-weekly Campus Discussion series open to the campus community featuring such topics as Jack Bauer, Capital Punishment, and Zombies & Liberty. To start the year they organized Students Rights Week, which was capped off by the How to Survive a Police Encounter event. They have hosted a number of other events such as discussions on file sharing and the worst presidents. They also maintain one of the most popular student group websites and blogs at http://www.unrforliberty.com. In December they used their website to launch a campaign against their corrupt student government called “The 10 Days Before Christmas” campaign.
Event of the Year
Running an event takes a tremendous amount of work with little recognition. Planning takes an incredible amount of time, and the expectation that something will inevitably go wrong. Holding a highly successful event is an accomplishment of which every organizer should be proud. This award is to recognize events that creatively and effectively spread the message of liberty. Events considered included speaking events, grassroots campaigns, seminars, and protests.
Young Americans for Liberty
November 2-7, 2009
Remember, remember, the 5th of November. The week of November 5th was the 1st annual UNH Revolution Week, hosted by Young Americans for Liberty. Every day from November 2nd through November 6th, they held a pro-liberty event open to the campus community. On Monday they screened “America: Freedom to Fascism” by Aaron Russo. On Wednesday they screened “Why We Fight”. On Thursday they held an anti-war protest followed by a screening of “V for Vendetta”. Then on Friday they hosted the New York Times best-selling author Tom Woods. To close out the week they attended the 2009 Northeast Students for Liberty Conference at Harvard University.
Liberty on the Diag
October 20, 2009
The UM CLs organized a coalition of student and community groups to protest against the university’s campus-wide smoking ban. The coalition consisted of the College Libertarians, Students for a Free Economy, Young Americans for Freedom, Students of Objectivism, Students for a Sensible Drug Policy, Campaign for Liberty, and the Local Libertarian Party of Washtenaw County. The event consisted of a protest on the Diag (main common space at UM) with each organization hosting a table to spread information on why their group opposed the ban. The posters on the ground were quotes from famous defenders of liberty such as Thomas Jefferson, George Washington, Murray Rothbard, Milton Friedman, Mark Twain, Benjamin Franklin, and Robert Heinlein. The CLs followed up with a media campaign consisting of letters to the editor and capped off with UM CL President Jonathan Slemrod being quoted in Time Magazine.
Ron Paul at Wake Forest
Wake Forest Un iversity
Young Americans for Liberty
Date: April 20, 2009
At the end of the last election cycle, no one was quite sure what would happen to Ron Paul. He had built a huge following during his primary campaign, but would that momentum continue without an election to rally support? The Wake Forest Young Americans For Liberty set out to make sure the Ron Paul movement stayed strong on campus. The Wake Forest YAL was the first campus group to host Ron Paul after his presidential campaign, thus beginning the transition from the presidential campaign to the Campaign For Liberty and Young Americans for Liberty grassroots initiative. They did a fantastic job marketing the event. On the big night, the line to get in stretched across the quad. The event attracted over 1,300 students at a school of 6,800 and filled the largest auditorium on campus.
Cato Speaker Series
Fall 2009 to Present
The DC Forum for Freedom is a coalition of pro-liberty student groups in the Washington, DC area. The group is made up of members from American University, George Washington University, Northern Virginia Community College, Howard University, Georgetown University, University of Maryland-College Park, and George Mason University. Once per month the DC Forum members travel from across the region to the Cato Institute for lectures from such scholars as David Boaz, Dan Mitchell, and Dan Griswold. Following the lecture, the students get together for a social event where the students interact one-on-one with Cato Scholars and staff, sharing knowledge and experience on how to fight the battle for liberty on campus. While the event is held at the Cato Institute, DC Forum students are in charge of organizing, advertising, and helping execute the event, a testament to what can be done when student leaders put their mind to making something happen.
Honorable Mention: The Pathway to Prosperity Seminar
University of Dodoma
While this event does not qualify for an award because it was not primarily organized by students, it deserves special mention. On November 16-17, a total of 159 students participated in this seminar at University of Dodoma in Lagos, Nigeria. The students learned how liberty leads to more prosperity, particularly in the developing world. In an academic world that is even more pro-socialist than the rest of the world, the organizers introduced the students to freedom through open market operation and encouraged them to pursue entrepreneurship.