UDATE: Attention SFL Regional Conference Directors! The Atlas Society has SPEAKERS available for SFL Regional Conferences in 2014! See our staff list . Contact Laurie Rice at firstname.lastname@example.org for details.
Students For Liberty , with their boundless energy and persistent success, are easily compared to a force of nature—and their annual regional conferences are no exception. The conference season begins like a single leaf turning yellow on a tree or the first migratory bird crossing the sky: someone mentions that he'll be in a particular college town for a conference, someone else comments on looking forward to a popular liberty speaker. Then, one day, the excitement is in full color and volume, due to the strategic planning and internet savvy of SFL's staff. Once the regional conference dates are set in mid-July, online channels are surged with announcements—emails, Web site posts, Twitter feeds, shared pictures, Facebook cover banners, status updates, and memes—all toward the good of a nation-wide (and increasingly world-wide ), months-long rally of liberty in the fall. SFL will have hosted a total of 15 regional conferences across the U.S. (and five European conferences ) by the end of the rush on November 17.
As part of The Atlas Society's ongoing alliance with Students For Liberty, and in our mission to promote Open Objectivism, TAS has dispatched staff members to a number of SFL's conferences. On October 13, TAS Founder David Kelley was the keynote at the regional conference in Dallas, Texas, where he spoke about the primacy of the individual as the basis for liberty. Dr. Kelley's keynote speech was so appreciated that he received a standing ovation from the audience. Alexander Cohen, Managing editor of TAS's Business Rights Center , attended Regional Conferences in Tempe, Arizona, on October 20 and in New York City on October 27; Cohen and TAS Director of Advocacy Ed Hudgins will attend the Philadelphia Conference on November 10; and Assistant to the COO Aaron Rainwater will be at the Northwestern conference on November 3 and at the Denver, Colorado conference on November 10. Will Thomas, TAS Director of Programs, will attend the Boston conference on November 3, where he will host a table and give a talk on "Objectivism in Liberty."
I attended the conference in Gainesville, Florida on October 13, where I represented TAS, expanded our network, discussed the ideas of Objectivism and Ayn Rand with other attendees, gave away all my Atlas Shrugged Part 2 T-shirts, and offered resources and information to students .
Speakers at the Florida conference included Sharon Harris of Advocates for Self-Government, Professor Harold Orndoff of the Institute for Humane Studies speaker series, and Professor Sam Staley of Florida State University. Professor Nikolai Wenzel , also of the IHS speaker series, gave a lively talk about the nature of a free market in contrast to the government regulations which caused the economic crisis. Opening and closing keynote speakers were Lawrence W. Reed, President of the Foundation for Economic Education, who spoke about "The Unsung Heroes of Liberty," and Tom Palmer, VP of the Atlas Network and Cato Senior Fellow, who spoke on the message of his new book, After The Welfare State . (Followers of TAS may remember David Kelley's essay , "Ayn Rand and Capitalism: The Moral Revolution" in The Morality of Capitalism , a similar joint project of the Atlas Network and Students For Liberty.) A student panel with Colin Harris, David Deerson, Zac Corbett, Michael Zeman, and Kate Franzese featured best practices to promote liberty and strategies for the success of student groups. To that end, The Atlas Society has also hosted efforts with Students For Liberty to provide Objectivist resources to student groups, including the availability of TAS staff as speakers and student scholarships to TAS's annual conference, The Atlas Summit .
I would highly recommend SFL regional conferences. The topics are important, the speakers are great, the cost is little, and the energy is irresistable.
I would highly recommend that TAS readers attend a regional conference by Students For Liberty—everyone is welcome (not just students), the events feature quality speakers, they are well-organized, the topics are important and of immediate relevance, the attendees are bright and engaging, the cost is little to nothing, and the energy is irresistable. Check to see if there is an upcoming conference in your area . I and my colleagues at The Atlas Society look forward to our ongoing work with the Students For Liberty and to The Atlas Society's presence at the 2013 International Students For Liberty Conference in Washington, D.C., February 15-17.
UPDATE: November 12, 2012. The Students For Liberty Philadelphia Regional Conference was covered by Michelle Ma in The Daily Pennsylvanian. Ayn Rand and Atlas Shrugged are mentioned and Ed Hudgins' speech, " Fighting For Freedom Against Re-Elected Obama " is cited extensively. Read the article at The Daily Pennsylvanian.
UPDATE: Our condolences go out to the friends, family, and community of Andrew Kaluza, who died in July of 2014. He is pictured above with Ken Stanford and TAS's founder David Kelley at the 2012 Dallas Regional Conference.