Inspiring Conservative College Students Across the Nation
Spencer Brown ’16 (College of Arts & Sciences) grew up in a small, Midwest town with small-town values. He’s taken those values with him to the nation’s capitol as he manages the social media face of Young America’s Foundation (YAF). The organization originated in 1960 and supports conservative values, ensuring conservative students have a voice on college campuses. Brown started a chapter, Young Americans for Freedom, at Regent University in Virginia Beach. He’s finishing his final class online, studying government, international relations and foreign policy, while representing the organization in Washington, D.C.
“I think I have the coolest job in the conservative movement,” said Brown. “Being able to take all of this content, and all of the activities that we’re doing and showcase it online is amazing.”
Brown works on the digital side of YAF’s public presence. He handles student email communication, social media, and some of the web content. He also produces man-on-the-street interviews. One showing a lack of appreciation for American exceptionalism made its way onto Fox News.
“Not a single person I asked thought there was something special about America,” said Brown. “The concerning thing was most of them attributed that to their education, saying that, since coming to college, they’ve learned that we aren’t exceptional. At Regent, that’s something I never had to worry about, but it’s something that’s going on all of the time. I take it for granted that people know how crazy things are on college campuses, but when I released the video, Fox News picked it up, had it on a Saturday morning show, and ran with the video and talked about how concerning it is that on college campuses today, students are being taught that there’s nothing special about us as a country.”
Brown says he is giving a voice to students who face challenges from liberal college administrations when they try to host conservative speakers on their campuses. YAF has been able to walk students through necessary processes to hold conservative lectures on college campuses and encourage students with a conservative message. President Ronald Reagan loved the organization, which now owns his ranch in California.
“Reagan said, ‘There’s a flickering spark in all of us that, if lit at the right age, can light up the rest of our lives.’ Everyone wants to be a conservative. Everyone wants to believe that America’s great, and everyone wants to be free,” said Brown.
Brown found Regent while working for Representative Michele Bachmann in a district office. She was Regent’s commencement speaker that year, and Brown was researching the university. He ended up applying and says everything fell into place.
“Learning in the classroom is really important,” said Brown. “But unless you apply it, it is wasted. Being involved in the community at Regent and seeing how the school helps young people become passionate about what they believe in or feel called to do, inspired me. That’s what I get to do every day now, working with other college students at YAF, whether it’s helping them get active on their campus, getting them to a conference, or to experience the Reagan Ranch, it’s great to see young people inspired by the same things that President Reagan believed in.”
Brown was active in political campaigns while attending Regent, did internships and networked with people making his current journey in D.C. possible. He describes his Regent experience as the craziest adventure he’s ever set out on, and says he never wasted a day.