Networking Site Boosts Conservative Student Ranks

Monday, 25 Jan 2010 09:03 PM

By John Rossomando

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A new social media outlet on the Internet akin to Facebook could connect conservative collegiate activists as never before and give them an unprecedented tool in their struggle to counteract the left’s stranglehold on campus.

The Obama campaign visibly showed social media’s power to energize college students in 2008 when it successfully brought them out to vote for Obama by nearly a 2-1 margin, and this site could do the same for energizing young conservatives.

The Leadership Institute says its new site, CampusReform.org, gives the thousands of conservative student activists an opportunity to link up as never before. The group isn’t a stranger to helping conservative students organize on campus, but Leadership Institute founder and President Morton Blackwell says the site gives the sort of activism his organization has fostered for 30 years an added boost unequalled on the left.

“I think the left has expressed worried concern about CampusReform.org,” Blackwell said.

“The well-known leftist magazine ‘The Nation’ warned fellow leftists that they’ve gotta confront this and lamented the left doesn’t have anything like this. The left is taking us very seriously.”

The site features 2,376 individual sites for each four-year college or university in the nation and gives students at each of those schools an online community where they can meet, organize and share ideas.

“The Web site has an enormous amount of information on it … that is useful to conservative students who want to do things on their campus,” Blackwell said.

Campusreform.org features customizable pages for conservative student groups; a national networking and resource center; more than 70 national conservative organizations; publicity resources for countering the left on campus; and a listing of national events to train conservatives nationwide among others.

Blackwell says he wants conservative students to form new groups and combat “leftist abuses and bias on their own campuses” while promoting conservative principles.

“It’s axiomatic among conservatives that most campuses are left-wing indoctrination centers, and this is the first time that any conservative organization has systematically addressed the problem,” he said. “Now with virtually every student active online, it’s an opportunity for students who are conservative to sign up as members of the subsite for their campus and get to know each other.”

This gives formerly isolated conservative students an unprecedented ability to connect with other like-minded individuals who might otherwise not have an opportunity to connect.

Since Campusreform.org debuted on Sept. 15, 2009, it has contributed to the foundation of 50 new student groups.

“These organizations take on whatever projects the local students are interested in,” Blackwell said.

These interest-oriented conservative groups specialize in issues such as gun rights, right-to-life issues, economic libertarianism, or have an across the board conservative agenda.

“Over 100 of these 1,366 conservative student groups [we have helped organize] are independent conservative student publications , which have been founded by people who have been trained in the student publications workshops that the Leadership Institute conducts frequently,” he said.

Blackwell says students can share information about Campusreform.org through social media outlets such as Facebook or Twitter to get their friends who might not know about the site involved.

He says CampusReform.org also stands to benefit the Leadership Institute’s traditional bricks and mortar schools because many of those who join the site will likely decide to participate in one or more of the organization’s 41 different training programs — especially those related to being electorally successful.


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