Young Americans for Liberty met Saturday for their state conference at UNC's Kenan Conference Center and focused on sharing their philosophy of liberty — the idea of freeing Americans from the government’s fiscal and social infringement.
In the morning session, participants heard from speakers about civic engagement and activism, and the afternoon consisted of speeches from prominent politicians and Young Americans for Liberty affiliates.
“I liked it a lot,” said UNC junior Meredith Allen about the first half of the event. “The people who were talking had a lot of experience with campaigns. And I liked having that more hands-on experience, as opposed to having a professor talking to you.”
Alex Johnson, director of UNC’s YAL chapter, said she was excited the state convention was held at UNC and is enthusiastic about the student organization’s growth.
"I’m excited that we have such a large chapter, and it’s really grown this past year, and that we’ll have more opportunities to do more activism and educate the student body,” she said.
Edward King, director of programs and operations for the national YAL, said the Libertarian-centered movement started in 2008 after Ron Paul, then a presidential candidate, mobilized youth through “Students for Ron Paul.” After the race, YAL was established to continue engaging youth in Paul's principles.?
“We are a 501(c)3 nonprofit,” King said. “What we run our field program out of, we are focused on civic engagement, but we can’t get involved in political parties.”
He also said the nonprofit status of the organization means they aren’t overtly political — they can’t make specific endorsements — but can host events to share political philosophies and engage students in conversation.
Freshman Austin Bright said he joined UNC’s chapter of YAL because he liked their political philosophy.