Conservative Student group hopes to Spark ‘Respectful Conversations’

One of the newest student groups at Minnesota State University, Mankato comes with a simple — but eye catching — slogan.

“Right now, with everything going on with the new administration, one of our bigger topics is the saying ‘Big Gov Sucks,’ meaning the habit of the government expanding themselves to obtain more money, more control, and more power,” says Addison Rodel, MNSU sophomore and future group president of the campus branch of Turning Point USA.

“When we say that phrase, we’re saying the bigger the government is, the less freedom you have in education, healthcare, speech, religion, and more,” she added. “The more government that is involved means less say in what you do. One of the ideas we stand for is having limited government in order to have more freedom and choices within our everyday life.”

Turning Point USA is a nonprofit, politically conservative organization whose main goal is to, according to its website, “identify, educate, train, and organize students to promote the principles of freedom, free markets, and limited government. … Since its founding, Turning Point USA has embarked on a mission to build the most organized, active, and powerful conservative grassroots activist network on high school and college campuses across the country.”

The group says it has a presence on more than 2,500 campuses, and calls itself “the largest and fastest-growing youth organization in America.”

At MNSU, meetings are held 6 p.m. Thursdays in the Centennial Student Union Heritage Room. The group’s first discussion topic was titled “I Love America.”

TPUSA hopes to open the floor to anyone wishing to share thoughts and viewpoints about current situations within the U.S. government. 

That sentiment resonates with some students.

“I absolutely think we as college students need to be aware of the different political parties and not just listen to what we want to hear,” says MNSU sophomore Jonathan Mor. “Most people our age don’t watch the news or read the paper so I think it’s easy for people to get an inaccurate view of the far right or far left side.”

MNSU freshman Taylor Peterfesco agreed.

“I think most people just follow what their parents political views are,” he says. “So I think it’s good for college students to educate themselves and learn about all types of views.”

“Educating yourself is what college is all about so I think that students should educate themselves on all areas especially politics,” Sanjaya Balami, MNSU Alumni stated.

TPUSA was founded in 2012 by Charlie Kirk, an American conservative activist and radio talk show host, and has since spread nationwide. 

“We’re really excited to be re-amping TPUSA and I hope all students, whether they are the farthest left liberal or the farthest right conservative, can be involved and be open to conversation and discussion because that is what we are really trying to focus on as a chapter here in Mankato,” Rodel says. “Being able to have respectful conversation with one another regardless of our differences is very important.” 

TPUSA at MNSU has a few upcoming events planned. The first will continue the discussion of “loving America” via Zoom 7 p.m. March 10. Another Zoom event is set for April 13 that features Ben Larrabee, who is on a professor watchlist through TPUSA.

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