1) What is SFL’s mission?
SFL’s mission is to educate, develop, and empower the next generation of leaders of liberty.
2) What does SFL stand for? What does liberty mean?
Students For Liberty is an organization that supports liberty. SFL does not dictate the foundations upon which individuals justify their belief in liberty. Rather, Students For Liberty embraces the diversity of justifications for liberty and encourages debate and discourse on the differing philosophies that underlie liberty. What Students For Liberty endorses are the principles that comprise liberty:
- Economic freedom to choose how to provide for one’s life;
- Social freedom to choose how to live one’s life; and
- Intellectual and academic freedom.
3) Where is SFL active?
SFL is an international organization with student leaders on all six inhabited continents. While our headquarters are based in Washington, DC, United States, you can get involved no matter where you’re located. Click here to select your region and connect with student leaders near you.
4) Does SFL support political parties, candidates, or legislation?
No. SFL is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization. As such, we do not endorse any political party, political candidates, or legislation.
5) Is SFL a membership-based organization?
No. SFL does not utilize a strict membership model where people sign up for SFL each year. Nor does SFL have chapters or mini-SFL’s on campus that take orders from a national office. Our model is more akin to a coalition. SFL is an external organization that provides tangible support for pro-liberty student organizations.
We work with a diversity of student organizations across the many ideological positions within the philosophy of liberty. These include the campus Students For Liberty groups, College Libertarians, small “l” libertarian associations, economics clubs, Objectivist societies, Austrian Economics reading groups, Students for Individual Liberty clubs, and any other name that students dedicated to liberty adopt.
6) I am a college student. How can I get involved with SFL?
Since SFL is not a membership-based organization, the answer to this question is not as simple as saying “pay your dues.” There are various ways that you can get involved.
- Start a student organization dedicated to liberty. There is no greater way to support the cause of liberty on campus than starting a student organization. Check out our comprehensive Leading Liberty Handbook for advice on how to start and run a successful student group and get in touch with a leader in your region so we can better assist you with your local needs.
- Access SFL’s resources. SFL provides many resources for college students ranging from our conferences, to our free books, to the Virtual Speakers Bureau. Check out our Events and Resources tabs to find out more.
- Volunteer time to support SFL as an organization. SFL is a volunteer-driven organization. All of our successes are due to the time and dedication of many students who want to become actively involved in the cause of liberty. If you would like to volunteer your time to support SFL, please email Clint Townsend.
- Sign up for SFL’s E-Newsletter. The SFL E-Newsletter is a weekly email that provides SFL updates, new opportunities in the pro-liberty community, and highlights of what students and student organizations are doing around the world to promote liberty. You can subscribe or update your preferences here.
- Check out SFL’s website. For even more updates on SFL, opportunities, liberty, and student activities, make SFL’s website, www.studentsforliberty.com, a daily stop and join in on the discussion.
7) Does SFL work with other nonprofit organizations?
Yes! SFL works with a variety of other nonprofit organizations dedicated to promoting liberty. These include student-directed support organizations, think tanks, student associations, academic institutions, and many others.
8 ) What makes SFL different from other pro-liberty nonprofit organizations that support students? What makes SFL different from other student political organizations?
There are many strategies for promoting liberty, each of which is effective and important in the overall pro-liberty movement. Recognizing that there is no single strategy to support students and promote liberty, SFL is dedicated to carving out a niche in the cause of liberty that complements the work of other organizations and utilizes our comparative advantage. What makes SFL truly unique is our focus on effectively promoting the philosophy of liberty on campus.
- Where other organizations take students away from campus for programs, SFL brings the cause of liberty to campus to strengthen the connection between academia and liberty.
- Where other organizations seek to change policy and have students complete voter registration forms, SFL is focused on the ideas behind public policy, the philosophy of liberty, and seeks to spread the message of liberty above all else.
- Where other organizations represent very specific philosophies to justify liberty, SFL seeks to serve as a bridge between these different philosophies. We want members of different political parties to discuss with each other what a public policy of liberty means. We want Objectivists and Austrian Economists to work together on strategies for promoting free markets. We support a diversity of organizations and philosophies because we believe that what is most important is to bring the range of advocates of liberty together and focus on the 90% we have in common rather than the 10% that we disagree on.
- Where other organizations support individual students, SFL goes a step further to support student organizations. We don’t believe that we need to wait 10 years for students to become leaders of liberty. We want students to become leaders today and so provide the resources and training for them to do just that.
- Where other organizations are geographically restricted, SFL is at the forefront of developing an international student movement for liberty that transcends political boundaries.
9) What is SFL’s theory of change? How does SFL produce value?
SFL, draws its theory of change model from Hayek’s theory of production, applying the same principles to the educational setting to produce change in both academia and society.
Hayek’s Structure of Production : : SFL’s Theory of Change
- Raw Materials : : Student Body
- Intermediate Goods : : Student Leaders
- Final Product : : Alumni
The student body acts as the starting point for all campus efforts. From the student body, we can both identify those who believe in liberty and begin persuading others to believe in liberty.
The second level of the structure of production involves identifying and training leaders of liberty on campus. SFL provides resources for campus leaders to become more effective in their organizing and holds leaders accountable to a high level of professionalism and productivity in their training.
The final product is alumni who support liberty both on campus and in the real world. SFL believes that the best way to create alumni dedicated to liberty is to get them involved in the cause of liberty while they are in school. Most people who work for the cause of liberty as a career have some college experience that exposed them to the ideas of liberty. Many of them were student leaders on campus and gained experience organizing others or speaking out on behalf of liberty when they were young. Even if they do not make their career fighting for liberty, supporters of liberty most often trace their dedication to some college experience. SFL exists to provide the opportunity for people to have that experience.
Student groups support all levels of the structure of production. They are the fastest and easiest way to establish a presence of liberty on campus that can reach out to other students easily. Students can become campus leaders through groups. And organizations keep alumni connected to the cause on campus. Developing established groups is crucial to long-term success in reaching students.
10) I love what SFL is doing. How can I help?
- Donate. You can make an online donation at here, or send a check made out to “Students For Liberty” to:
Students For Liberty
1101 17th Street, Suite 810
Washington, DC 20036
- Provide in-kind donations. If you would like to donate office space, office supplies, books, or other resources that SFL can use to promote liberty, please email firstname.lastname@example.org with a description of what you would like to donate.
- Help build SFL’s connections. As an organization, we strongly believe making connections with other people and organizations dedicated to liberty and are always looking for introductions to other organizations. If you are with or friends with another organization not listed on this website that you would like to introduce to SFL, please do so!