Student organization promotes conservative ideals on campus

Nicole Ares

A student organization “advocating for conservatism and speaking out against the liberal agenda” has just emerged on WKU’s campus.

The Young Americans for Freedom is a student organization is sponsored by the Young America’s Foundation. The WKU chapter is currently in the process of registering at the university.

Erin Bardin, a senior from Bowling Green, is the current chairman for the organization and started the YAF chapter at WKU this year.

This summer, Bardin attended a conference through the Young America’s Foundation in Washington, D.C. There, she was introduced to its student organization and the opportunity to start a chapter on her campus.

“Young America’s Foundation talked about bringing its key principles back to college campuses,” Bardin explained. “Those principles are limited government, individual freedom, free enterprise, traditional values and a strong national defense.”

According to the Young America’s Foundation website, the organization was founded in 1960 to “provide a visible presence for the Conservative Movement, energize other students and encourage them to speak out.”

Tuesday was the first meeting for the organization and it had a turnout of approximately 25 students. WKU’s YAF chapter hopes to gain 50 student members by the end of the year and is hoping its public outreach will help with the recruitment process.

One of the organization’s first projects will be on Thursday, Sept. 11. It will be placing 2,977 American flags on campus to commemorate the lives lost during 9/11.

“We’re thinking after this 9/11 project, we will hopefully recruit 10 or 15 more students,” Bardin said.

While the Young America’s Foundation has its own speaker series, including lecturers like Steve Forbes, the WKU YAF chapter is hoping to host a speaker of its own this year.

“We would like to bring in a big speaker like Steve Forbes, but one that we can say we put on ourselves,” Bardin said. “We want to be able to pick out that speaker and pick out the topic we are most interested in.”

But while hosting events is important to the organization, promoting the key principles of the Young America’s Foundation are equally important, says Bardin.

However, this is not the first time the Young America’s Foundation has had an impact on WKU’s campus. It is also currently a sponsor of the WKU BB&T Center for the Study of Capitalism speaker series.

Brian Strow, associate professor for the department of economics, runs the WKU BB&T Center for the Study of Capitalism as well as acts as an advisor for the WKU YAF chapter.

This year, he has helped bring Steve Forbes as a lecturer to campus to educate students and other attendees on capitalism.

“With Steve Forbes this week, I just want people to be aware that there are some people who not only believe capitalism is not evil, but actively helpful in increasing the standard of living for broad swaths of people,” said Strow.

While the Young America’s Foundation is one of the main sponsors for the Steve Forbes Lecture, it does not provide funding to the WKU YAF chapter.

Therefore, Bardin and Bowling Green senior Douglass Stratton, vice chairman of the WKU YAF, will be reaching out to local businesses and community members this week asking for sponsorships.

“We are going to tell them what our cause is and what we stand for and see if they would be willing to donate to the cause,” Bardin explained.

Reporter Nicole Ares can be reached at 270-745-2655 and [email protected].