This past weekend the 2011 Chicago Regional Conference kicked off SFL’s Fall Regional Conference line up! Over 140 students and guests traveled from across the Midwest to the University of Chicago (home of Milton Friedman) to hear from professors, activists and the some of the top leaders in the pro-liberty movement today.

David Hart speaks on war and the modern state at the conference

Saturday was kicked off with a rousing presentation by Lynne Kiesling, a professor from Northwestern, who is a regular presenter at Institute for Humane Studies seminars and is widely respected for her work in free-market economics, especially in energy policy. Students also got the chance to attend a variety of breakout sessions throughout the day on topics ranging from the drug war to international trade policy to education reform. Other speakers throughout the action-packed day included David Hart of Liberty Fund and former Michigan politician, Leon Drolet.

The closing keynote for the conference was John Tillman, the CEO of the Illinois Policy Institute. Tillman, who has built IPI from a small operation into a well-respected think tank, spoke with hope on how the next generation of activists, scholars and leaders in the movement can more effectively spread the message of liberty.

Javonni Butler (left) and Matt Needham discuss techniques for successful student organizing on the activism panel along with Tony Hennen (not picture).

Additionally, attendees got the chance to hear from fellow student leaders on the campus activism panel where they learned best practices for student group organizing. The conference also played host to an informational student lead debate that addressed the merits of the Chicago School of Economics versus the Austrian School of Economics.

Many of our partner organizations attended, such as the Institute for Humane Studies (who sponsored the conference social), the Foundation for Economic Education and the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education. Students got the chance to discuss opportunities with these organizations as well as take home tons of free stuff! Students who attended the conference will be bringing back more than just books and stickers to their campuses, however. They now have even more tools to promote liberty at their schools and their own understanding of these ideas has been greatly enhanced.

Attendees of the 2011 Chicago Students For Liberty Regional Conference

I would sincerely like to thank all of our speakers and partner organizations for making the conference such an incredible success and supporting the student movement for liberty.  And for all of the attendees, it was a pleasure meeting so many of you and we hope to see everyone in D.C. in February at this year’s International SFL Conference.