“Identify, Educate, Train and Organize.”
These are the words that embody the mission statement for one of Sonoma State University’s youngest political clubs on campus called Turning Point USA, also known as TPUSA.
According to their website, the organization has chapters on over 1,300 college campuses and high schools across the country and is the fastest growing youth organization in America.
Senior Melanie Raymond and former TPUSA Chapter President brought the organization on campus her sophomore year after a convention in Florida.
“It was literally life changing. I met so many cool people all around the world and I thought, wow I’m not alone being a conservative.” Raymond said.
One reason why TPUSA was established is that many of its club members often feel as though they are not welcomed to voice their opinion on campus.
“One of my professors would be lecturing on the history of Lebanon and they would start talking about how he hated Trump and I would think what does this have to do with the subject? I wanted to change something, I just didn’t know how.” Raymond said.
Junior Samuel Smetzer, the current TPUSA club President, said that even though the club has a different opinion in general than the overall campus, they want to open the conversation.
“One of the most rewarding things about this club is that when you’re tabling you get people that aren’t interested but when you find people that are interested, they are so excited to see what I’m doing. Some people can’t believe that I’m doing it.” Smetzer said.
Another club member and board representative, Grant Morley, said that he saw a lot of aggression going towards the right, and more than that, a social pressure to conform to leftist ideas.
“I saw several examples of people completely discounting anyone on the right as racist and I thought it was ridiculous. Forty percent of voting Americans voted for Trump.” Morely said. “To call 40 percent of Americans racist is a gross statement that only further alienates the two sides from each other, and it prevents discussion on why these Americans felt as if Trump was the right choice.”
When asked what backlash Morley has received, he said that he hasn’t received much aside from a few negative comments while tabling, but he has felt proud to give people with the same conservative thoughts a space to voice their opinion without being discounted.
“Several women in the club have already said they do not feel comfortable voicing their beliefs on campus, or even in their friend groups and every time I hear that I feel pride that I was able to help these people feel safe in expressing their beliefs.” Morely said,
The club has meetings about every other Tuesday at the Sonoma State Univeristy library in room 2015B from 12-12:30 p.m.
Anyone with any view is welcome to come and take part in their discussion. TPUSA is hoping to host an event at a gun range as a club event this semester. The club can also be found on Facebook at “Turning Point USA at SSU” and on Twitter at @TurningPointUS1.