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The student movement for liberty is growing at an amazing rate. It is exciting to watch as large numbers of students join libertarian groups on campus. Motivated libertarians are making a great effort to spread the philosophy of liberty to students who would, sadly, rarely hear these ideas from their professors. But as student groups develop, it can be tempting to stick to inner-group discussions and forget about spreading the message outside of the club.

One solution that my libertarian club at Michigan State University has found is to organize debates with other political groups on campus. Organizing a debate requires few resources, creates a dialog regarding political philosophy on campus, and places libertarians in contrast to the false dichotomy of the two-party system.

Organizing an on-campus debate is a great way to practice decentralized decision-making. I would suggest that all participating groups share responsibilities and have as many members of your group help organize the event as possible. The first step you should take is to get in touch with other political groups on campus that you think will contribute to the debate. In my case at Michigan State University, it was the College Libertarians, College Democrats, College Republicans, and Young Democratic Socialists.

Next, you should schedule a meeting between group leaders to discuss possible topics, and establish some preliminary logistics such as date and location. You can be as broad or as specific as you would like when deciding on a debate topic. My group has had success organizing general “political debates” where we covered foreign policy, monetary policy, and various domestic policy issues all at once. We also dedicated one debate solely to education policy. You should find out what topics the participating groups are interested in discussing and consider which ones are likely to draw in a large student audience. It is also important to establish a debate format in advance so that the debaters are prepared. The coach of our university’s debate team helped us develop a format for our debates and even volunteered to moderate them. Once the logistics are complete, I recommend the participating clubs split up the responsibilities for the event. At Michigan State, for example, one group can handled advertising, one group reserved the location, and one group coordinated with the debate moderator.

When preparing for the debate, I would encourage the debaters from a group to split up the content. This allows your team to best prepare for the debate while handling schoolwork and other responsibilities. When researching information for the debate, look for alarming facts or touching anecdotes on the topic. Most importantly, you should think about how to frame the case for a free society. You will get a better response from the student audience if you show how a free society benefits college students rather than how it benefits captains of industry.

After the debate is finished, it may be a good idea to have group members walking around and speaking to members of the audience. Taking a few minutes to ask students about their thoughts on the debate is an easy way to find potential members for your group. When you find students who were receptive to the libertarian ideas, you should develop a personal connection with them so they are more likely to come to a meeting. Find common ground and exchange contact information so that you can let them know when your group is holding an event that is relevant to their interests.

Once the audience has cleared out, gather the group leaders together for a quick follow-up. What worked and what did not work? Is there interest in holding another debate? If so, when will you meet to determine the logistics?  Hopefully, the various political groups will develop strong bonds and friendships by continuing to hold debates—a challenging and exciting way to provide college students with a presentation of various views on political philosophy. It is also important to have a follow-up with your group about their feelings towards the debate. Did they feel prepared? How well was the group able to frame the case for a free society? What will you do to improve as a group for the next debate?

Personally, I have found debates to be one of the the most effective ways to present college students with the libertarian philosophy as an alternative to the false dichotomy of the two-party system, and I hope you’ll find the same!

Young Americans for Liberty announced a campus tour with three civil liberties experts, titled “The War on Terrorism, Civil Liberties, and the Constitution.”

The tour brings together Glenn Greenwald (a liberal), Bruce Fein (a conservative), and Jacob Hornberger (a libertarian) to discuss the greatest threats to our constitutional republic and individual rights.

The tour will be moderated by YAL’s own Jack Hunter, and hosted by YAL chapters in conjunction with The Future Freedom Foundation. Here’s the schedule:

  • Monday, February 6:  Columbia University in New York City, NY
  • Tuesday, February 7:  Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis in Indianapolis, IN
  • Wednesday, February 8:  Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro, TN
  • Thursday, February 9:  Ohio State in Columbus, OH
  • The details for one final tour stop are still being worked out — stay tuned for an update!

Make plans today to attend a tour stop near you, and spread the news about this important event far and wide today!

Learn more about YAL’s Campus Tour here: http://www.yaliberty.org/tour


We are thrilled to announce that the upcoming 2012 International Students For Liberty Conference will feature the first ever Students For Liberty Straw Poll.

The International SFL Conference is the premiere event of the year for students dedicated to liberty and advancing freedom on campus.  This is the 5thedition of the annual event that has grown in size and scope each year, setting a record with over 500 attendees last year. The conference will be held February 17-19 at the Grand Hyatt Hotel in downtown Washington, DC and feature a keynote address by PayPal founder Peter Thiel and a taping of the STOSSEL Show.

The Students For Liberty Straw Poll will measure conference attendees on political affiliation, ideology, key issues, and support or lack thereof for politicians. Of particular interest will be a question on which candidate for President of the United States the attendees support, with all of the candidates in the field as well as “principled nonvoter” as options. With libertarian ideas and frustration with the status quo on the rise, the SFL Straw Poll will explore which issues actually matter to students.

Full information on the 5th annual International Students For Liberty Conference can be found at www.PoliticalConferences.org. Media inqueries can be send to Blayne Bennett at bbennett@studentsforliberty.org.

Standard Registration for the conference ends on December 31st with prices increasing across the board after that. Save your spot and register now by clicking here.

One of the highlights of the International Students For Liberty Conference is the Annual Awards Presentation.  In 2009, Students For Liberty began to recognize outstanding students and student groups that have distinguished themselves in the battle for liberty on campus. That tradition has continued with the awards becoming  more competitive every year as more and more students demonstrate their outstanding accomplishments for liberty.

The Cal Berkeley SfL, 2011 Group of the Year.

Award recipients are chosen based on their hard work, organizational skills, value creation, innovation, and entrepreneurship.  You can find information on past winners herehere, and here.

This year, SFL will present awards for Student of the Year, Event of the Year, and Student Group of the Year.  The awards presented at the International Conference on Friday, February 17th.

The deadline for all nominations is this Saturday, December 31st

The nomination process is open to all students and alumni, and yes, students are encouraged to nominate themselves.  The time frame under consideration is from January 2011 up to the present.  Nominations should be as descriptive as possible and show how the student/event/group created value for liberty.  Submitting pictures and other documentation is encouraged.

Click here to learn more and nominate a student, event, or group today!

The Fifth Annual International Students For Liberty Conference is almost here and we need your help to make this the largest gathering of pro-liberty students in the world! In order to reach as many students as possible, we are calling out to our talented network of student activists to make creative videos to promote the conference.

We are going to bring together student activists from around the world for a weekend of networking, sharing tips about running student organizations, and presentations from some of the top minds in liberty. This year features PayPal founder, Facebook investor, and venture capitalist Peter Thiel, rapper GoRemy, and a special taping of “Stossel” with John Stossel for Fox Business and many more. This will be the biggest event in history for the student liberty movement, but we need your help to make it amazing!

How can you help? We know that we have some amazing talent in our network and we want to show off that talent while promoting the ISFLC.

Cap you rap, like this?

Can you make an exciting ad like this?

Or can you make a funny skit like this?

Or make your own awesome internet meme?







Can you do better? Prove it! Do you have a brilliant idea for a video that you want the world to see? Do it! Send us your ideas and we will post the best ones on our website, Facebook Page, and Twitter for thousands to see! We might even feature some of them at the ISFLC.

Here are the rules:

  • Stay Classy, SFLers! Don’t be vulgar or profane. If we want to be taken seriously, we need to have fun, but be professional.
  • Encourage attendance at the ISFLC. Be creative, funny, edgy, or even serious, but make them interesting and informative. Make sure you include information about SFL, the ISFLC, and how to register for the conference.
  • Upload videos to YouTube and send them to Clark Ruper cruper@studentsforliberty.org by January 31st!

Go here for more information about the Fifth Annual International Students For Liberty Conference.

And Register for the conference here!