Young America’s Foundation is excited to announce that the Young Americans for Freedom Board of Governors has selected University of Wisconsin – Madison Young Americans for Freedom (UW-YAF) as the 2017 Chapter of the Year.

UW-YAF, led by Chairman Kara Bell, is best known for its campus lecture this past November. The student organization brought in Ben Shapiro for an event that saw an audience in excess of 550 students, faculty, and community members. The chapter and its members faced threats of violent protests. They underwent investigations from the student government and the university for false hate & bias reports. University of Wisconsin–Madison administrative officials instructed the YAF chapter to cease all activity and involvement with issues that students may disagree with; however, University of Wisconsin–Madison Young Americans for Freedom ignored the Left’s attempts to silence their voice on campus. This lead to a the New York Post publishing its support of the YAF chapter. Thanks to the YAF chapter’s activity and persistence, the Wisconsin legislature introduced the Wisconsin Free Speech Act – a bill designed to protect students’ rights to voice their beliefs.

The group of conservative students boldly continued their activism and went on to protest the student government’s Anti-Campus Carry campaign and other liberal campaigns like #UWBlackOut and #NotOurCampus. UW-YAF investigated the Associated Students of Madison (ASM) Legislative Affairs Committee and liberal organizations that were communicating with legislators to denounce campus carry. UW-YAF exposed violations made by the student government and actively tabled for pro-campus carry legislation outside of ASM, landing the group coverage in local news broadcasts and newspapers. The YAFers also conducted research on the spring 2017 course catalog and shed light on a class titled “The Problem of Whiteness.” This garnered the attention of state legislators and received coverage from Fox News. UW-YAF wrapped up the school year with another Young America’s Foundation-sponsored lecture by Steve Forbes.

Two years ago, University of Wisconsin–Madison YAF was made up of only four members and maintained a small presence on their campus. However, in the fall of 2016, the Kara and her executive board readjusted how the club operates.

UW-YAF opened a savings account, procured an office on campus, and designed swag unique to the chapter to use as a tool for recruitment. The club’s leadership sat down and planned out the entire school year. They marked their calendar with conference dates, activism initiatives, and speaking events. This constant drum of activity caused membership to skyrocket to unprecedented numbers. The YAF chapter began hosting socials and dinners to familiarize new members with the club and to develop a strong sense of community within the club.  This was essential for the success in the chapter’s activism activities.

Effective campus activism takes effort year-round. Week after week and month after month, UW-YAF worked ardently to maintain a prominent profile on campus. UW-YAF is a prime example of a successful conservative activist organization. Their activities allowed them to become the largest and most active conservative club at their school. To recognize them for their leadership on campus and their actions to boldly promote conservatism, Young America’s Foundation is proud to award UW-YAF $10,000.

The success of Young Americans for Freedom does not end with UW–Madison however. YAF chapters nationwide saw a rise in victories their campuses. While other student organizations may simply partake in tabletop activism or refrain from challenging the status quo, Young Americans for Freedom chapters break the mold of traditional campus activism and work hard to promote a clear understanding of conservatism and freedom’s principles. This year’s Chapter of the Year runner ups are:

  • University of Buffalo YAF

They successfully countered an anti-American rally, debated the organizers of a university-funded socialist event, and hosted Robert Spencer – all in spite of a barrage of obstacles organized by leftist professors and students.

  • University of Notre Dame YAF

They hosted four campus lectures and challenged leftists on campus who published anti-American and Marxist flyers around Notre Dame threatening supporters of President Trump. The club also found their activities covered in multiple local and national media outlets.

  • California State University–Los Angeles YAF

They hosted four speakers and continued to champion free speech on their campus. Furthermore, the chapter also saw a continued growth in membership with their numbers now exceeding 100.

  • Southern Methodist University YAF

They hosted both Dinesh D’Souza and Carly Fiorina and assembled an audience that required overflow space each time. They also carried out a voter registration drive and a ceremony to honor the Dallas Police Department in response to the targeting of police officers in an attack earlier that year.

Young Americas Foundation is proud to provide Young Americans for Freedom chapters at high schools and colleges across the country with the necessary training, knowledge, and resources to outpace leftists, and we are honored to support these bold activists in their vital endeavors.