This past weekend, American University YAL took a road trip, all in the name of Liberty. After an exhausting four hour-long drive from the nation’s capital to Blacksburg, VA, the team attended the Young Americans for Liberty Virginia State Convention at Virginia Tech.
The convention provided AU YAL the opportunity to network with some of the most esteemed pro-liberty organizations, learn how to most effectively teach others about liberty, and perhaps most importantly, make connections with fellow YALers from all over the region. Needless to say, it was a good way to spend the weekend.
Long before the convention even started, AU YAL was hard at work. After spending some time to help set up the event and prepare for the long day ahead, AU YAL and all those who were willing to show up early got a special treat.
Steve Sutton, the Leadership Institute’s Vice President of Development and former Chief of Staff in the House of Representatives, led a “campaign bootcamp.” As a seasoned veteran in the political arena, Mr. Sutton shared some very valuable advice for working on a campaign and attracting voters.
In addition, Mr. Sutton shared his own predictions about the presidential campaign and offered commentary on what he believes a candidate needs to win it all. Regardless of if using Mr. Sutton’s strategies to get someone elected or just promote an idea, there is no doubt students will find his simple training effective and efficient.
During the convention, AU YAL had the privilege of getting to hear from some of the most influential leaders of the liberty movement. Jim Lark, a professor of engineering at the University of Virginia, talked about the many challenges that arise when attempting to interpret the liberty philosophy. Rather than providing any answers, Professor Lark’s discussion sparked questions on a deep, philosophic level.
President of the Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) Lawrence Reed took the stage to talk about role models throughout history that have helped shape the modern liberty movement; they range from Marcus Tullius Cicero during the Roman empire to a couple living in Poland during the Soviet occupation. Mr. Reed’s stories echo the struggles endured by individuals for the sake of liberty.
Finally, David Boaz, Executive Vice President of the Cato Institute, took time to discuss libertarianism as defined in his new book, The Libertarian Mind: A Manifesto for Freedom. Mr. Boaz walked us through the beliefs of libertarianism, including a strong support for individual rights and limited government. Lark, Reed, and Boaz all delivered incredible speeches that have only further inspired us to be leaders of the liberty movement.
Of course, Young Americans for Liberty was not the only organization responsible for planning such a wonderful convention. On behalf of AU YAL, we would like to thank the organizations including (though not limited to) the Leadership Institute, Students for Liberty, and the Reason Foundation for making the convention possible. Without support from organizations dedicated to the ideas of individual liberty, we cannot expect bring about change.
The YAL state convention was a great opportunity for liberty lovers to get together, exchange ideas, and develop strategies for spreading the message; AU YAL was no exception.