The Spring 2018 semester kicked off this week at Los Angeles Valley College, and with it, all the opportunities of a new school year. Taking advantage of these opportunities, Young Americans for Liberty has taken the steps towards starting a chapter at LAVC. With help from the president of the Philosophy Club, Robert Gold, I have signed on to establish YAL’s presence at LAVC.
The first step in the journey required us to host a small booth at our school’s club-based event where students can learn about existing or new clubs on campus. Due to the fact that we are not a “chartered” club on campus, I was not permitted a table for YAL’s use. Robert did me a solid and made plenty of space on his booth for the Philosophy Club. It was a bright Wednesday morning this event, but the sun shone high and illuminated the numerous tables set up for “Club Day.” Our booth consisted of copies of the Constitution, keychains, pens, informational brochures and pieces of literature, some mine, others provided by YAL and the rest borrowed from the library. The one book I felt got the most attention was my copy of Sir Roger Scruton’s How to be a Conservative. That’s probably because many students still reside within a form of thought bubble that prevents them from embracing views not seen by their own. This is the beauty of what we’re trying to do at LAVC.
The whole point to fighting for freedom of speech is to encourage dialogue on campus, therefore, we should also be allowed to meet and host events as well. To do this, we must first become a chartered club with at least ten currently enrolled students signed on to form the club. We then elect officers who represent the club at the Associated Student Union. This will further legitimize YAL’s presence at LAVC and will give us a place to hold our meetings and discussions.
The bewilderment of the students we spoke to when explaining what our mission is and what our values are suggest that there is an obvious lack of platforms for discussion; that, or students just don’t care to raise their hands to participate in classroom discourse, which I see often. This needs to change since we very rarely are truly happy with the way our society is guided by its dependency on government institutions. YAL’s presence at LAVC looks to change that and provide that platform where students can truly express themselves as Liberals, Conservatives, or Care Bears, if they so choose.
Next week we will move away from the booth and will mobilize on foot to try and foster more interest in our club at school and in Young American’s for Liberty as the mother organization. The tentative plan is to meet every Monday and Wednesday as a group, the tentative time is 1-2pm. Any spare time in between classes and meetings can be used to take some laps around campus and try to recruit. The opportunities that an organization like YAL offers students is something these guys will not want to pass on. I struggle to think of a club at school that has the influence and support that YAL does in its incentives and opportunities. State and national summits, conferences with established politicians in D.C., internships and paid job offers, there is nothing but excitement to be felt.
The fundamental right to freedom of speech guarantees us a chance to try and make a difference in our society but most importantly, in our schools. Allowing for students to engage in dialogue with others who may hold opposing views encourages the free exchange of ideas and makes for interesting debate. Our goal should not be to point out our philosophical differences, but to find common ground through reason and shared values. With this chapter, we hope to grow Young Americans for Liberty at one of the most popular colleges around and to see our organization reach further accolades.