It’s been a while since our last update, and much has happened since then. I’d like to fill you in on some of what we’ve been up to.
First, although The Undercurrent will remain the official title of our publication, the organization itself will henceforth be known as STRIVE: STudents for Reason, Individualism, Value-pursuit and Enterprise! With this switch comes the birth of our first STRIVE campus clubs—groups that help students develop both a clear, rational purpose in their own lives and a moral certainty about their right to pursue it. In other words, to empower them to “ignite the hero in their souls!”
Clubs are centered on three activities: our workshop series, our mentorship program, and our upcoming fall conference (a favorite from last year).
The workshop series, inspired by Ayn Rand’s philosophy of Objectivism, is composed of three pillars: “It’s Your Life, Own It” (IYLOI), “O-Fundamentals,” and “Writing.” IYLOI workshops focus on helping students to actively apply Objectivism in their lives. O-Fundamentals workshops equip students to explore the fundamentals of the philosophy most-applicable to their everyday lives. Students at writing workshops engage in group discussion of a particular topic and compose follow-up pieces, working together to hone their writing (and thus their thinking) skills.
Our mentorship program is all about empowering students to chart their next steps in life. Whether students are interested in specific careers or grappling with the challenges of college life, they’ll be linked up with seasoned mentors who have succeeded in that career or confronted those same challenges, to receive guidance in taking their next step.
Our fall conference this year is on “The Morality of Value-Creation and Trade.” The conference is for “enterprising students who wish to learn about the philosophical and business principles that govern value creation and trade, informed by the ideas of Ayn Rand,” and will feature businessmen and philosophers who “understand that creating and trading values is a profoundly moral activity, and who are serious about making the most of their own lives.” In addition, it will feature events like “Speed Mentoring” (speed dating, but with mentors instead) and a Saturday night social.
These are the big-picture projects we’ve been working on since May, when the new student leaders met for the first time. We’ve made a lot of progress since then.
We have three outstanding club leaders who started STRIVE clubs this fall: Jennifer Minjarez, Kaitlyn Quis, and myself. Jennifer started a club at the University of Arizona, Kaitlyn started one at American University, and I started one at the University of Illinois—Urbana-Champaign. In addition to starting clubs, each of us took on an executive role at STRIVE: Jennifer as VP of Operations, Kaitlyn as VP of Development, and myself as VP of Student Outreach.
Each club kicked off with a table at their start-of-semester club fair; students were interested. We got dozens of signatures, some clubs getting upwards of 80! Afterwards, the clubs kicked off with general info sessions to explain STRIVE in greater depth, followed by three consecutive workshops: two from our IYLOI pillar (on “Approaching College Purposefully” and “How to Think about Relationships in College and Beyond”) and one from O-Fundamentals (on “Rethinking Selfishness”). Although Kaitlyn’s club has been a bit slow to launch due to a difficult culture on campus, Jennifer and I have seen steady club growth since their inception, with an average attendance of eight members per meeting.
Check out our STRIVECon Presentation Video for a closer look into our journey:
So, given the new and exciting things going on, how can you get involved? There are several ways!
For students: find (or start) a STRIVE club near you, get involved with STRIVE national, or write for TU. We’ll be recruiting our next round of student leaders and volunteers at the conference. Although we’re booked to capacity, if you’re interested in starting a club, you should still reach out to us at one of the links above or emails listed below. Alternatively, you can contribute as a volunteer for STRIVE national. As a fast-growing organization, we’re always in need of enthusiastic students to help coordinate emerging projects. For example, Sarah Martinson from Columbia College has been running our mentorship program for the last few months, and Aldo Mayro from Rutgers has been in charge of organizing our conference speakers. If you’d like this sort of leadership experience, volunteering for STRIVE national is just for you. And of course, you can also write for TU. We’re looking to bring on a number of students to write articles ranging in difficulty from more basic reporting pieces to our more involved editorials. Whatever your skill level, if you’d like to practice and improve (while getting published along the way), consider reaching out to us at one of the emails below to get started.
For everyone else: become a mentor, promote us on social media, or even donate! There isn’t a limit to the number of mentors we’d like to have in our database. If you’re a professional with solid experience under your belt, consider becoming a mentor for our club members. If that’s not how you’d like to participate (and even if it is), give us a share on Facebook or a retweet on Twitter (@striveclubs). The more we’re shared, the greater our reach, and the greater our impact. Every bit helps. But none of this is possible without the generous donations of passionate supporters like you. If you like what STRIVE is doing, and want to see us keep it up, please donate.
That’s everything that’s been happening at STRIVE to date. If you’d like to know more, feel free to reach out to me personally at firstname.lastname@example.org, or contact our general inquiry email at email@example.com.
Until next time,
STRIVE Student Leader
University of Illinois—Urbana-Champaign