Congratulations to the winners of the 2010 Students For Liberty Awards!
The Students For Liberty Awards began at last year’s International Students For Liberty Conference by recognizing that year’s Event of the Year, Student of the Year, and Student Group of the Year: the Ivy League Alliance for Liberty’s Constitutional Convention, Aaron Moyer from Drexel University, and the University of Michigan College Libertarians, respectively. Since then, these awards have become an annual tradition that we use to highlight the best of the work students do to promote liberty throughout the year, both in recognition of their tremendous success and to serve as an inspiration for students everywhere in future endeavors for liberty.
While there were only a few nominees in each category, and only one winner, these awards are a recognition of the tremendous work being done by all students fighting for liberty. These awards are only possible because the student movement for liberty has grown so dramatically in the past 2 years to justify them. This ceremony is meant to be a celebration of our combined work, expressed through some of the finest examples of what students are able to accomplish when they are passionate enough about liberty.
SFL Student Event of the Year: Ron Paul at Wake Forest hosted by the WFU Young Americans for Liberty
Running an event takes tremendous amounts of work with little recognition. Planning takes an incredible amount of time, and something inevitably goes wrong. Holding a highly successful event is an accomplishment of which every organizer should be proud. This award is to highlight student events that show creativity in promoting liberty, professionalism in execution, and a strong impact on both their campuses and the student movement for liberty.
On April 20th, 2009, the Wake Forest Young Americans for Liberty hosted Dr. Ron Paul’s first college speech since the end of his campaign for president. The event filled Wait Chapel, the largest auditorium on campus, for the good doctor’s speech. Using a creative flyering campaign and local media to get the word out, the event embraced a variety of marketing tactics to ensure its success, including slipping handouts under every dorm room door on campus.
The event was covered by local media outlets such as the Winston-Salem Journal and YES! Weekly. Perhaps the most impressive fact is that they drew over 1300 attendees at a school of only 4400 students. The line to get in wrapped all the way around the quad. There is no question that this was one speech that changed the campus, and one event that can inspire students for liberty everywhere.
SFL Student of the Year: Liya Palagashvili, George Mason University
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, we want to recognize those students who have made a difference on campus and generally in the student movement for liberty, those students who not only have made a difference in the cause of liberty, but will continue to make a difference in the future.
Over the past year, Liya has distinguished herself through her prolific writing and organizing on behalf of liberty. Her writing success includes publications for Citizens Against Government Waste and an Op-Ed in the Philadelphia Inquirer as a part of Students For Liberty Healthcare Op-Ed Project. On campus, she is the Vice-President of the GMU Economics Society, for which she has organized many educational events including a Health Care Reform Panel with panelists Stephen Davies, Robin Hanson, and Thomas Rustici to educate the general student public about the consequences of government-run health care, organized and co-hosted the Economic Liberty Lecture Series with speakers including speakers included Lew Rockwell, James Bovard, Peter Boettke, Robert Higgs, Thomas DiLorenzo, Steve Horwitz, Bruce Fein, and Lawrence Reed, hosted a debate between GMU Economics Professors Bryan Caplan and Robin Hanson on Efficiency vs. Liberty. She has also hosted an amazing line-up of speakers to educate students on liberty, economics, and the rule of law: Ben Powell, Richard Ebeling, Ed Stringham, Charles Rowley, and Mark Skousen. She helped hold the “Internship & Seminar Information Session” to expose students to opportunities with FEE, IHS, Koch, SFL, AEI, CATO, and many other organizations, and participated in SFL Students Rights Week and passed out constitutions to economics classes. Off campus, she has interned at the Institute for Humane Studies, the Foundation for Economic Education, and Citizens Against Government Waste along with being a leader this whole time on her school’s debate team. This past summer Liya participated in Students for Liberty’s debate against Students for a Democratic Society to help liberty triumph over statism.
SFL Student Group of the Year: Drexel University Student Liberty Front
The Group of the Year award recognizes those groups that have 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 this group has both. It is about having 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 highlights organizations that SFL considers to be models, an example of what a group should be that others can look toward for inspiration.
In the past year the Drexel Student Liberty Front has hosted a wide array speaker events. Last spring they held an event featuring both Cato Institute Vice President David Boaz and John Stossel. This fall they held a number of events such as a Tenth Amendment Event featuring PA State Representative Sam Rohrer and economist Thomas Dilorenzo, a Police Militarization event featuring Reason’s Radly Balko, and a debate on “Minarchy v. Anarchy” featuring former LP Presidential Candidate Michael Badnarik and Freedomain Radio’s Stephan Molyneux.
The Student Liberty Front also hosted a number of entertainment events to promote liberty. These included a Student Liberty Front Barbecue, a “V for Vendetta” movie screening, and a “Free Philly” concert.
Perhaps their most defining characteristic is their activism. To open the semester they hosted an event-packed Students Rights Week which included numerous tabling events where they passed out Cato Pocket Constitutions and FIRE handbooks, hosting FIRE speakers, and even bringing in a Philadelphia Public Defenders Office representative. They also do not limit their activism to their own campus, participating in many community activism events such as the Philadelphia End the Fed Rally.
These accomplishments might be enough to qualify the Drexel SLF for a nomination for group of the year. However, in a just over a 1 week span they held two events which make them truly stand out. On October 28th the Drexel Student Liberty Front hosted a special student-focused edition of Judge Napolitano’s Freedom Watch. The event was held in the lobby of the Main Building of Drexel University and features special guests such as Stacy Litz and Pericles Niarchos of the Drexel SLF, Aaron Moyer of the Philadelphia Forum for Freedom, Alexander McCobin of Student For Liberty, Jeff Frazee of Young Americans for Liberty, and Irena Schneider of the AU SFL.
Then, just over a week later, the Drexel SLF hosted the 2009 Mid-Atlantic Students For Liberty Conference, which claimed the largest attendance of any Regional Conference this fall. Congratulations to the Drexel Student Liberty Front for coming so far in just 2 years since their founding!