Student Association recently chartered the new group TU Conservative Union, or TU Conservatives. Brennen VanderVeen, the group’s president, describes the club as “a discussion group for current events, public policy, and conservative philosophy.” This doesn’t mean, however that the group is associated with the Republican party or is aiming to support local or national candidates. VanderVeen explains that “refraining from those activities will help us be more inclusive, especially… when there is a lot of disagreement even amongst conservatives.”
This draws a significant distinction between TU Conservatives and the recently chartered student group Young Democrats, aimed at electing Democratic politicians at the local level, as well as groups like College Republicans that have been established on campus in the past. Though the initial idea for the group was to be a chapter of College Republicans, VanderVeen and Vice President Ryan Lane decided that “forming an ideological, discussion-based group [was] the best way to go.”
It also seems that this style of group garners more student interest than a party-affiliated group. VanderVeen points out that “[students we asked] disliked the idea of being in an explicitly partisan organization, but they had no problem being in an ideological group.”
Part of this hesitation may be that, as VanderVeen puts it, “often, especially on a college campus, more left-wing assumptions reign.” He hopes that this group can help students “get to fewer left-wing assumptions being taken as a given.”
VanderVeen’s goals for the club also include being able to “represent the best of conservatism by refining our arguments” and attempting “to improve the state of political dialogue.”
You don’t have to be strictly conservative to participate in the group, however. VanderVeen emphasizes that “conservatives are not a monolith, and I know I enjoy hearing other people’s perspectives on issues.” Though he does admit that he’d be “thrilled if we’re actually able to convince anyone” to think more conservatively, VanderVeen stresses that “proselytizing is not our main goal.”
TU Conservative Union plans to meet every Wednesday from 5:00 PM to 6:00 PM, tentatively in Chapman Hall 251. Meetings will partly consist of reading and discussing articles and will give students who may be interested in political careers a chance to get practice by “communicating his or her ideas with a group of people who probably already have a similar perspective.”
VanderVeen also mentions he has plans to bring Subway cookies to meetings, which for some may be reason enough to go.