Young America’s Foundation is proud to announce that the Young Americans for Freedom Board of Governors has selected University of Michigan Young Americans for Freedom (UM YAF) as the 2019 Chapter of the Year.
To recognize them for their leadership on campus and their work to boldly promote conservatism, YAF is pleased to award UM YAF a $10,000 grant to bring conservative speakers to their campus in the upcoming school year.
This year, Young Americans for Freedom chapters nationwide advanced America’s founding principles and staunchly opposed socialism at levels unmatched by any other youth advocacy group. From pivotal First Amendment legal battles that secured the speech rights of all students, to support for then-SCOTUS nominee Brett Kavanaugh, to influential activism that inspired on-campus support for President Trump’s border security plan, YAF chapters have proven themselves again as the voice for freedom on America’s campuses.
The YAF chapter at the University of Michigan typifies this bold activism strategy. UM YAF hosted over 2,000 individuals at their speaker events featuring conservative icons Steven Crowder and Ben Shapiro. These events ignited more excitement than any other speaker event at the University of Michigan in recent years, with over 8,000 students registered on waitlists for a chance to hear from some of America’s most influential voices.
UM YAF also organized speaker events with the Daily Wire’s Michael Knowles, University of Michigan Regent Andrea Fischer Newman, President of the Manhattan Institute Reihan Salam, National Review’s David French and Alexandra DeSanctis, and many others. In addition to their lecture events, UM YAF organized impactful campus initiatives including the 9/11: Never Forget Project and Freedom Week, as well activism backing strong border security, supporting the Second Amendment, and pro-life advocacy.
Despite attempted sabotage by leftist students, the university administration, and a local ANTIFA group, UM YAF thrived. While YAF was organizing to host Ben Shapiro, the school sponsored a “Shut Down Shapiro” event which aimed to paint Shapiro and his new book – which hadn’t yet been released – as advocating for neo-Nazis. Furthermore, when the chapter organized a pro-life display, titled Cemetery of the Innocents, members of the YAF chapter found themselves faced with angry and spiteful protestors who attempted to destroy the chapter’s display, ripping crosses from the ground and throwing them, in addition to spitting at the conservative activists.
These attacks did not silence UM YAF as leftists hoped they would. Rather, the YAF chapter found themselves pushed to secure even larger meeting venues as their membership expanded to 115 active members.
On their accomplishments, the chapter chairman Jacob Chludzinski said, “When Grant Strobl started our chapter several years ago, students were hesitant to say they were conservatives and scared to stand up for their views. Thanks to the hard work of the members of University of Michigan YAF, conservatism is alive and well at the University of Michigan.”
UM YAF is a good example of the impact courageous conservative activism has when carried out by students on campus. Whether activists find themselves on campuses riddled with belligerent leftists or spotted with apathetic conservatives, a proud and powerful advocacy of freedom and America’s founding principles will always ignite a movement and inspire others to join the battle.
The accomplishments of Young Americans for Freedom chapters do not end here. YAF chapters nationwide excelled in promoting conservative ideas and empowering conservative students to stand up for their beliefs. While other student organizations simply engaged in photo-op activism, Young Americans for Freedom chapters set a high bar for what it means to be a campus activist, always working toward a clear understanding of conservatism.
The following chapters were nominees for 2019 Chapter of the Year:
Young America’s Foundation is proud to provide necessary training, knowledge, and resources to outpace leftists for Young Americans for Freedom chapters at high schools and colleges across the country We are honored to support these bold activists in their vital work to reach their peers.