For their ability to impact and influence both students and people in their surrounding community, University of Utah Young Americans for Freedom (YAF) has been named Chapter of the Month for September.
“You have to be a leader out there,” University of Utah YAF Chairman Dillon Clark points out as he reflects on guiding his chapter. “You’re going to face a lot of backlash. You’re going to have a lot of adversity. You have to be courageous.”
On September 27, the University of Utah was flooded with students eager to hear conservative ideas, with some coming from hours away to see conservative commentator Ben Shapiro. The event saw coverage from dozens of media outlets as more than 400 students and members of the public filled an auditorium to hear Shapiro break down the fallacies of leftist logic and provide conservative answers to the Left’s cliché arguments.
When asked how his organization was able to host such a wildly successful event, Clark boiled their success down to two things: delegation and planning.
After securing Ben Shapiro through Young America’s Foundation’s nationwide campus lecture program, U of U YAF formed a committee to begin planning for their event with Shapiro. The committee covered all aspects of the event including public relations, marketing, and funding. Duties were assigned up front so when unforeseen matters arose, the committee was able to organize and quickly respond.
As U of U YAF worked toward a successful event, the bold students faced a number of obstacles including intolerant student groups, administrative restraints, venue limitations, and hidden costs. These roadblocks did not faze the bold conservative students, and they pressed forward in preparing to host Ben Shapiro.
With demand increasing for their event, U of U YAF was pressured to find a way for more students to hear Shapiro’s conservative message. Confined to a venue that only sat 399 people, the chapter decided to live stream their event. This added a substantial cost that was not in their original event budget. Thanks to their thorough planning, the chapter quickly found a way to raise funds by reaching out to supporters in their community and by selling t-shirts commemorating their Shapiro lecture.
In the weeks leading up to the lecture, U of U YAF weathered a barrage of hateful emails, letters, and protests as leftists attempted to intimidate the YAFers and force them to back down from their bold representation of the Conservative Movement on their campus.
Leftist organizations such as Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), Black Lives Matter, and antifa were supported by U of U Professors. They called the YAFers every derogatory word imaginable, and even threatened violence on the evening of the lecture. The school responded to the danger by going on high alert in order to prevent the kind of violent protests seen at Berkeley and other schools across the country. For many students, the obstacles and threats would have been more than enough to prevent them from expressing their views, but YAFers are champions of conservatism, known for their endurance and ability to prosper in spite of persecution by leftists.
University of Utah Young Americans for Freedom withstood attacks from and overcame difficulties created by the belligerent Left, garnered a state-wide audience, and cemented their chapter as the most effective and influential group of conservatives at their school. For this reason, we congratulate U of U YAF on being selected as September’s Chapter of the Month.
U of U YAF Chairman Dillon Clark asked to recognize the following individuals: