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One of the highlights of the International Students For Liberty Conference is the Annual Awards Presentation. This year, SFL will present awards for Student of the Year, Event of the Year, and Student Group of the Year. The awards will be presented at the International Conference on Friday, February 18th.

The winners will be chosen by a combination of the SFL Executive Board as well as open voting by the public! Each person can vote once per day up through Monday, February 14th at 11:59PM ET.

Cast your vote now at this link: www.surveymonkey.com/2011sflawards

Today we take a closer look at the nominees for Group of the Year. In alphabetical order, the 2011 nominees!

Group of the Year Finalists

Dalhousie Liberty Society – The Dalhousie Liberty Society is promoting liberty on a new frontier in Halifax, Canada. Founding members of the Dalhousie Liberty Society were tired of trying to make subtle changes through partisan Conservative groups. They chose to start the Dalhousie Liberty Society to change the discourse on campus to one that included pro-liberty values along with the traditional socialist elite that dominated student politics. Targeting campus media, the system of society financing and the directions of the Dal Student Union, the Dal Liberty Society has been active in teaching students what it means to support liberty as well as its implications for student politics and beyond.

They launched the group this fall with Student Freedom Week, featuring tabling with Operation Politically Homeless and speaker events. Later in the year they screened Indoctrinate U and organized “Suck my Liberty”, a presentation/discussion on sexual freedom, prostitution, emancipation, and gay rights. They also launched public campaigns against their school’s food service monopoly and school funding for the Nova Scotia Public Interest Research Group. On December 8th the DLS hosted a vigil for the lives lost under the tyrannical USSR regime, which ended on December 8, 1991.

East Carolina University Young Americans for Liberty – The ECU YAL stands out as a student group for being proactive in recruiting new members, raising awareness of liberty on campus, and hosting events. They work to promote liberty on their campus and wherever else they can.

On their campus they organized many educational events, such as a “Stop Spending our Futures” water bottle giveaway, a Fall of the Berlin Wall Day, an Education Drive featuring Dr. Beitler, Operation Politically Homeless tabling, a Constitution Day event, organized a marijuana march, hosted a V for Vendetta screening on Halloween, a nature trip to discuss environmentalism vs. property rights, and a GLBTSU Vigil emphasizing that gay rights are individual rights. Not just content to fight for liberty on their campus, they also helped out their fellow students at North Carolina State. When the NC State YAL group needed help gathering signatures to bring Ron Paul to campus, 3 ECU YAL leaders drove to Raleigh to help complete the drive and made it a success.

George Mason University Economics Society - The GMU Econ Society specializes in reaching out to students who are not already in the liberty movement by providing academic events for both advanced students and introductory students new to the ideas. They also provide students with opportunities to build their careers in liberty through career building weeks, internship information nights, and resume building workshops.

Some of their events include: a Health Care Debate with Bryan Caplan and David Balan from the FTC that drew in over 230 people, distributing The Economics of Freedom to incoming freshmen, co-hosting an event with the Atlas Foundation featuring Ian Vasquez from the Cato Institute on the economic transformation of Chile, hosting Dan Mitchell from the Cato Institute on tax competition, organizing an event on the Haitian earthquake disaster, designing and selling over 70 free market t-shirts, and far too many others to list. Their co-hosted speaker series with the Future of Freedom Foundation featured Larry White, Sheldon Richman, Richard Ebeling, Don Boudreaux, and Jeffrey Miron.

George Washington University Liberty Society - In just a year and a half, GW Liberty Society has become one of the, if not the most, active groups on GW’s campus. Not only has Liberty Society grown at an exponential rate, hosted dozens of events, and introduced the GW student body to the ideas of liberty, but they’ve also provided substantial support to other liberty-oriented student groups and think tanks alike.

In the past year they have hosted an incredibly diverse list of events: The Weiße Rose : the Freedom of Expression, Your Marriage and the State, Imad-ad-Dean Ahmad: Islam and the Free Market, Steve Davies: The History of the War on Drugs from 1906 to the Present, Tyler Cowen: Create Your Own Economy, Transform Americas: Chile as a Model for Economic Development, Misconceived Monuments Tour, Frederik Roeder: The European Student Liberty Movement, Nigel Ashford: Human Rights and the U.N., and Tom Bowden: It’s My Property – Or Is It?.

Liberty Society members also make an effort to attend the events of other pro-liberty student groups in the DC area, and several Liberty Society members have become interns and/or employees at pro-liberty non-profits and think-tanks. In the short time of the organization’s existence, it has developed procedures and a culture that will ensure the longevity of the organization for years to come.

University of California Berkeley Students for Liberty – The Cal Berkeley SfL thrives on one of the most statist campuses in the country. They table on campus four days a week to recruit new members and hold weekly meetings for discussion of various topics. They also maintain one of the most active student group websites, http://calsfl.com.

They hold many provocative events to stand out and appeal to a liberal community. Last spring they hosted libertarian activist Starchild on the struggle to decriminalize sex work. They also organized a 4/20 event with the SSDP chapter that was profiled by Bureaucrash. Recently they hosted a 4-Loko prohibition party to protest against a potential ban on the drink. They also take on the left by hosted events such as a debate with the College Democrats over gun rights.

This November they hosted the 1st annual Northern California Students For Liberty Conference, the first of its kind and a milestone for the region.

If you are a former student for liberty, consider joining SFL’s OWL Society.  “Old Wise Libertarians” (OWLs) are stalwarts of the liberty movement and understand the importance of providing support to today’s students in the battle for liberty.  You can join the OWL Society by donating just $10 a month.

On September 2, 2010, I sat down with Leonard Liggio, currently the Executive Vice President of Academics at the Atlas Economic Research Foundation.  While there have been students for liberty as long as there have been students, it’s fair to say that Leonard was one of the original students for liberty of the modern era, being one of the leaders in the 1952 Youth for Taft effort, literally working against the continuation of FDR’s New Deal policies, starting the first chapter of the Intercollegiate Society of Individualists, and going on to be one of the pivotal leaders of liberty in the movement since graduating.

In this interview, we cover topics ranging from what the political climate was like when he was a student, ISI’s shift from libertarianism to conservatism, his experiences with Ludwig von Mises and Ayn Rand, and his advice to today’s students.  He did his undergraduate studies at Georgetown University from 1951-55, followed by time at Columbia Law School and Fordham University where he pursued a PhD in history. Continue reading…

Earlier today Politico.com reported that Gary Johnson, former governor of New Mexico and a member of SFL’s Board of Advisors, had been denied a speaking slot at the upcoming Conservative Political Action Conference.  Many speculated that Johnson has been snubbed due to his libertarian views on the drug war and gay rights, especially since CPAC has already been involved in fair amount of controversy regarding the gay marriage issue.

However, to CPAC’s credit, they have now extended Governor Johnson a speaking invitation for Friday morning.  Time.com covered the breaking news here:

Gary Johnson, former Governor of New Mexico has been invited by CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference), to speak at their 2011 conference on Friday, February 11th at 9:30am. Previously, Johnson had been told there was not room for him on the program, but is now looking forward to the opportunity to address CPAC membership and highlight issues such as cutting spending, economic reform, marijuana legalization, gay rights and ending the war in Afghanistan. Governor Johnson will also be the keynote speaker at the Republican Liberty Caucus on Saturday, February 12th. His name will be included on the straw poll at both events.

The Time.com post also recognized that Students For Liberty and a host of other pro-liberty organizations are co-sponsoring a social event for Gary Johnson at CPAC:

During CPAC, the following organizations will come together to participate in an event to support Governor Johnson: Republican Liberty Caucus, Citizens Opposing Prohibition, Americans for Tax Reform, Log Cabin Republicans, Students for Liberty, Free and Equal Election Foundation and Young Americans for Liberty.

Read more: http://thepage.time.com/2011/02/08/call-him-johnson/#ixzz1DPwYc7c8

SFL is proud to announce our first giving society for loyal SFL supporters, the OWL Society:

“Old Wise Libertarians” (OWLs) are stalwarts of the liberty movement.  They have fought with distinction for many years in the battle for liberty, and have the experience and expertise needed to develop the best strategies for creating a free society.  The OWL Society consists of those who provide the mentorship and resources necessary for the student movement for liberty to succeed.  If you understand the importance of providing  support to today’s students in the battle for liberty, you can join the OWL Society by becoming a monthly contributor to SFL of $10 or more.  As a member you will receive monthly updates on how your contribution is helping SFL, invitations to SFL events in your area (where you can meet the students you are supporting), and exclusive briefing reports about SFL’s plans for growing the student movement for liberty.

To join the OWL Society, click here and become a monthly donor.  Even those who are young at heart can be old in wisdom, and understand the importance of supporting the student movement for liberty.

Students For Liberty’s Communications Manager Blayne Bennett teamed up with the Center for Freedom and Prosperity to make the following video on government spending and why it is harmful.