Young Americans for Liberty club faces unique challenges in its creation

From the campus community here at Washington State University Vancouver, to broader society nationwide and even countries around the world, the current political climate is unpredictable with distant skies split by brewing storms. During such times, college students may wish to become politically involved. One of the ways students can do this is through student-led clubs and organizations such as the Young Americans for Liberty Club, an emerging club that members hope will represent a new political view for the WSU Vancouver community.

According to the Young Americans for Liberty website, there are over 900 YAL chapters and almost 309,000 members nationwide, and the organization serves as the “largest, most active and fastest growing pro-liberty organization on America’s college campuses.” YAL seeks to identify, educate, train and mobilize youth activists committed to “winning on principle.” Their goal is to prepare the leaders of tomorrow and reclaim the policies, candidates and direction of the United States government.

The YAL organization was founded after Ron Paul’s 2008 presidential campaign, and has since grown in size following his campaign in 2012. “YAL went from 150 chapters at the end of 2009 to 600 chapters as of April 2015, and now 900 chapters in 2017,” according to the website.

The WSU Vancouver chapter was created and is led by club president Andrew Colclough, who studies Public Affairs at WSU Vancouver. For Colclough, the chapter’s presence goes beyond just representing libertarian ideals and values. According to Colclough, the club will provide an important opportunity for civically engaged citizens to see that the message of freedom can bring people together and find common ground in politics.

“The club isn’t affiliated with any particular political party. We do, however, tend to identify as libertarians, limited government conservatives and classical liberals,” Colclough said. “This means that we advocate for voluntary behavior, see government as coercive and that respect for the individual’s property is fundamental to a peaceful society.”

The club had its first on-campus event during February’s Involvement Fair. According to Colclough, the experience was a positive one with many of the questions asked relating to what the club stood for. Members of the club were eager to answer any questions and welcomed potential incoming members. By answering questions, passing out club flyers and numerous pocket Constitutions, the Young Americans for Liberty raised awareness for the club’s profile.

A quick scroll through the club list on CougSync reveals that there are currently no active conservative or right-wing political clubs at WSU Vancouver. Since libertarianism typically aligns more centrally on the political spectrum, The Young Americans for Liberty club aims to add variety to the number of political organizations on campus.

The chapter has faced difficulties in its creation, however, and is still working to become an official club at WSU Vancouver. According to Colclough, the administrative steps necessary for the club’s creation caused the most difficulty.

“The next steps [to become an official club] will include getting recognized by the school, setting up a meeting date and then getting an event going that will promote liberty,” stated Colclough. “We are hoping to have our first meeting in April and our first event soon after.”

With at least three or four committed members at this time, the club welcomes individuals to learn more about its mission and purpose. If interested in joining, contact Andrew Colclough at a.colclough89@gmail.com. More information about the Young Americans for Liberty organization can be found at http://www.yaliberty.org/.

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