Students of fortune: The story of the Cypress College Chapter

Many of us recall as if it was yesterday the reelection of President Barack Obama and the sense of activism urgency which came with it for those of us who support liberty. Personally, I was busy preparing to return to college in the spring 2013 semester, and I realized I needed to start a pro-liberty student organization on campus.

So after attending a Leadership institute Youth Leadership School training in Los Angeles this past January — and extensive discussions with YAL’s West Regional Director Adam Weinberg — I decided to start up a Young Americans for Liberty chapter at Cypress College in Cypress, California.

Offiers Andrew Vermiglio and Tony Tran at the Southern California YAL 2013 regional convention

And so in February, conducting my first tabling, I met my current chapter adviser, Andrew Vermiglio, and other liberty-minded students who I never thought I would meet on campus.

Of course, the day would not of been complete without a confrontation with the bureaucrats of the campus — but like Morton Blackwell’s first law of public policy states, “never give a bureaucrat a chance to say no.” And despite all the hoops I had to jump through to get the chapter recognized, with the assistance of my current leadership and students who where fed up with the big government status quo on campus, we got our official club recognition on April 16 — and we never looked back.

Even during the time we where going through the process of getting recognized on campus, we networked with YAL chapters from California State University-Fullerton, University of California-Los Angeles, and the University of California-Irvine. Our biggest interaction with other California YALers was during the California Young Americans for Liberty regional Convention at California State University-Fullerton in April. If our chapter had any doubt about the future of YAL, those doubts where gone after the convention!

Most certainly, there have been rocky times for our chapter — when we butt heads with each other, disagreeing with how the chapter should operate — but that’s the case with any organization (especially one as diverse as our chapter).

And so, the chapter was started with a bang and the chapter ended the semester with a bang. Our events have ranged from club rush, separation of marriage and state, Jenga-nomics, and the Memorial day/Choose Charity event held at the Loma Vista Memorial ceremony, and we plan to double our events and efforts in our second semester!

So what is the point of this blog besides telling the story of the Cypress College chapter? My ultimate goal, not just as the founding president of the Cypress College chapter, but as a regular YAL member who has since fallen in love with the organization (some might call it an obsession), is to inspire both potential YAL members and potential YAL chapter founders.

The challenge of starting a new chapter seems nearly impossible at first, but no matter what the circumstances are, no member is alone. The national YAL leadership and staff are the most dedicated and helpful — if not the best in everything they do in this nation. Never be afraid to ask for help from them.

But one thing that my chapter has that I think all chapters should have is the essence of fellowship and family-like bonds. As founding chapter president, I made a promise that I would look after my chapter members like family, and they said they would do the same for me. Other YAL members across the nation should have that bond. We are a band of brothers and sisters — activist warriors with a common cause of liberty — and we ultimately depend on each other for success and support.

My challenge is for all YAL members to have a bond so close with their fellow liberty activists that it will be worth telling our children about.

Content published on the Young Americans for Liberty blog is only representative of the opinions and research of the individual authors. It does not necessarily reflect the views, goals, or membership of YAL. 

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