November YAF Chapter of the Month: University of Notre Dame
By Raj Kannappan
One would imagine that the University of Notre Dame—a major Catholic university—would be a welcoming place for young conservative activists. Yet, the opposite has been proven true.
For its efforts in overcoming numerous obstacles to champion conservatism and advocate for free market principles, Notre Dame Young Americans for Freedom is our November Chapter of the Month.
After submitting the paperwork required to start a new student organization on campus, Notre Dame YAF waited one full year before finally receiving approval from the university. According to Jack Connors, the chapter chairman, the university was reluctant to allow the formation of the chapter due to the existence of another conservative group on campus. Connors added that he and the core group of students who were interested in founding the chapter were forced to justify their cause to the university administration.
This persistence paid off, and the chapter went into full force once gaining approval.
For one of its first major activities on campus, Notre Dame YAF organized last month a high-profile and incredibly successful lecture by businessman and publisher Steve Forbes, titled, “The Morality of Capitalism.” The event drew an overflow crowd of 400 students and faculty members, with some being forced to squeeze into the auditorium. Forbes delivered a powerful talk on the importance of the free enterprise system and its history of lifting millions of people into economic success.
Organizing this event, too, proved a challenge, with ongoing campus construction serving as an obstacle to securing event space. Additionally, the chapter was forced to determine how to draw a large audience while numerous other events were occurring on campus the week of the lecture.
Fortunately, the chapter was able to gain assistance from the university’s Constitutional Studies Department. The chapter also organized a major advertising push the week before the lecture. Connors added, “We tapped into the media’s constant attempt to vilify capitalism, and provided a new conservative perspective on the issue.”
Notre Dame YAF’s success in organizing this event is indicative of the demand for free market ideas on college campuses around the country. We congratulate the chapter for its efforts and results.
Notre Dame YAF has plans to take its momentum into next semester. The chapter will seek to organize an event to encourage members to exercise their second amendment rights, an event to show appreciation for police officers and military veterans, and another major campus lecture.
Stay tuned for more activism from conservatives at Notre Dame!
Raj Kannappan is a member of the Young Americans for Freedom Board of Governors.