In my time at Binghamton University I spent three years as a member of, the conservative publication, the Binghamton Review (BR) and the Binghamton University College Republicans (BUCR). During those three years I made friendships and memories that will last a life time. The people I met and the events I have attended helped to make me the conservative I am today. Organizations like these are the future of the conservative movement.
These organizations are where young conservatives get the experience they need to eventually become our leaders. They get valuable experience by learning to run organizations, handle finances and learning to budget, how to organize and put together large events, and they learn the skills they need to win the arguments against liberals.
Some of you may not be aware of the hard work that young conservatives put into their organizations. Judging by some of the comments on my posts about college conservative life, it seems like many older conservatives have written off the younger generations or have forgotten that young conservatives exist. Hopefully I can encourage many of you to reach out, get involved, and lend a hand to your local college conservative organizations.
Learning and Growing
It is organizations like these that are helping shape our next generation of conservative leaders. In our meetings we are able to reaffirm our conservative beliefs, test our knowledge on the issues, and expand that knowledge. All of this is needed especially in an environment that is not always open to opposing lines of thought (see my Destruction of the Liberal Arts series part 1 and part 2). Even though we may not always agree we are able to respectfully disagree and work towards constructive conservative solutions. We learn from each other, especially from upper class-men, about how to deal with liberal professors and how to handle and control the arguments that we inevitably have with our liberal counterparts.
These organizations play the very important role of being the face of the conservative movement to the younger generations. We show moderates and, the growing, independents that we are not what the liberals claim conservatives are. As we know, the younger generations are starting to turn away from the policies of Barack Obama and the Democrat leadership. I have seen first had that they are becoming increasingly disgusted in the way their side acts and handles arguments. They see that we are not racist, sexist, and hateful. We are able to walk them through our logic and help lead them to the conclusions that we draw from the world. In the long run it helps to make them more willing to listen and be more open to our policies.
Mobilization and Grassroots
Conservative college organizations like these help to cultivate our grassroots efforts and gets young conservatives mobilized early in life. During election years, BUCR often aides in the campaigns of Republican candidates running for local political offices. They typically do the leg work of knocking on doors and manning phone banks. The grassroots efforts for these clubs are not isolated to their respective communities.
In the fall of 2013 a delegation from the New York Federation of College Republicans (NYFCR), myself included, traveled down to Virginia to work on the Ken Cuccinelli campaign alongside the College Republican Federation of Virginia (CRFV). The members of NYFCR were able meet and network with other students from all over the state of New York, many meeting for the first time. When we were down in Virginia we were able to network with other young conservatives from various schools from around the state. We worked with members of the campaign staff and learn about what it takes to organize and mobilize something as big as a gubernatorial campaign.
Getting the younger generations interested in campaigns and grassroots organizations early helps ensure that we are able to stay competitive, on the ground, in the future. It can also motivate some to make a career out of mobilizing grassroots efforts. Ensuring that we have excited and energized boots on the ground is vital to the future of the conservative movement.
How You Can Help
Getting involved with your local college conservative organizations is quite easy. The organizations will be open to any assistance you can offer. There are many more college conservative organizations than you might realize, there are the College Republican National Committee, the Young America’s Foundation, and the Collegiate Network, which works with publications, to name a few. The links lead to their chapter location pages.
A simple way for you to get involved is to attend their meetings. BUCR often has members of the local Tea Party chapter sit in at our meetings and participate in our discussions. It is good for college conservatives to know that that have support from members of the local community. Whenever BUCR bring a speaker to campus they are sure to invite the local community to attend the event. If you want to get more involved than that, you can ask if they would like you to come and speak at a meeting. For example, if you work in the medical field you can speak about what effect Obamacare is having on you or your place of work. Whether you are a doctor, coal miner, chef, business owner, or teacher I am sure they will enjoy hosting you. If your local college has a conservative publication ask if you can be a guest writer, do an interview, or take out an ad for your business. Let these future leaders know how much big government, federal and state, are negatively affecting you and the community. Who knows, listening to your story might inspire a young leader to take up a particular cause and be a great reformer in the future.
If you do not have the time to attend a meeting or do not feel like you are a good writer or speaker you can always make a donation. The only way for these organizations to get the job done is with the proper funding. Most college organizations receive there funding from their respective student governments through an established budget allocation process. The allocated budgets vary from school to school based on the process and the amount of other groups and available funds. A good way for the organizations to make ends meet is through fund raising efforts. You do not need to break the bank to help your local college conservatives. In a college environment a little goes along way. Speaker costs can run well into the mid to high thousands of dollar ranges. For a group with a small to mid-sized budget it can be difficult to raise the money or it can drain a budget entirely. Donating money can provide a helping hand to a club that would like to bring multiple speakers in a year or help them with smaller projects and expenditures. A small amount of money can cover pizza for a meeting or cover the cost of supplies for a bake sale. Having the proper support whether it is financially or another method helps the organizations function properly.
When the organizations function properly it keeps its members engaged and active in the conservative movement. College conservatives being well engaged in the movement is essential for it to have a power and effective future. Young conservatives have a powerful drive and the brilliant minds that can propel the movement forward. They are our boots on the ground, our face to the younger generations, and they can go toe-to-toe in any debate. They truly are the future leaders of our movement. I hope you take the time to look up your local college conservative groups and reach out to them anyway you can.
[Thank you for reading! You can follow me on Twitter @NickFondacaro. You can also follow the Binghamton University College Republicans @BingRepublicans, the Binghamton Review @bingreview, and the New York Federation of College Republicans @NYCRs]