Announcing TU’s Student Leader Program


How Do I Apply?

Please complete the online application by Wednesday, May 27th.


Do You Want To Join An Exceptional Leadership Development Program?

The Undercurrent is recruiting 10 ambitious students to become the founding leaders of The Undercurrent Student Clubs network. Candidates accepted into the program will participate in five months of intensive training and development and, as the TU 2015 Leadership Team, will play a central role in creating and implementing the Undercurrent’s visionary new student-centered programming.

The ideal candidates are familiar with Ayn Rand’s ideas and have an interest in applying them to their own lives. They also have at least 2 more years of study planned at their current institution and will undertake to participate in 5 months of training, at The Undercurrent’s expense, prior to rolling out new programming on campus in the 2015/16 academic year. They will continue as local club leaders in the throughout 2016 and will also be candidates for the first generation of the National TU Executive, training the TU 2016 Leadership Team.


What is changing at TU?

The Undercurrent is updating its vision of student clubs to create a self-renewing student movement. To make the kind of impact we envisage, it’s not enough to simply study Ayn Rand’s philosophy and debate the best way of applying it to the world. We must think hard about how to use the principles of first-handed judgment and pursuit of a rational purpose to our own lives, and develop the leadership skills to engage others in this process of self-examination as well. We must inspire and invite not only those interested in political activism, but a much wider audience of students—those interested in living full, rich, meaningful lives. To the extent that we can empower and intellectually support the next generation of students who choose to live this way—in the pursuit of his own life, liberty and happiness, without encroaching on others—we will transform and save the world around us.

So how does this new focus impact the way we run Objectivism-inspired campus clubs? The answers are not obvious—it requires a lot of deep thinking and creative work to define and enact a program that achieves these outcomes. We have developed the outline below, and have some good preliminary ideas. The next step is to turn this promising beginning into a robust, integrated program.

The first step is very simple. We are looking to recruit 10 exceptional student leaders to work with the Undercurrent leadership, and with professional Objectivist intellectuals, to develop this new programming, and then roll out a pilot version in the Fall Semester. The new programming will be centered around 4 pillars:

  • “It’s Your Life, OWN It”: These workshops—open to all students—will offer insights on how to make rational, first-handed choices in matters related to career, personal development, friendships and relationships, and how to overcome parental, religious, and societal obstacles to doing so in a reasonable way.
  • “O-Fundamentals”: These workshops will introduce Objectivism, the philosophy of Ayn Rand, to club members, from a personal perspective: “how does it apply to my life and my dealings with others?”
  • “Writing”: These workshops will give club members the opportunity to develop clear thinking skills by writing on topics relevant to their life as a student… and the best pieces get published in The Undercurrent Magazine.
  • “Social”: Objectivism is a philosophy for living a full and happy life, and so The Undercurrent’s new programming will seek to incorporate music performances, art shows, parties and sports events open to all students on campus


What commitment will I be making?

Monthly Weekend Development Meetings from April to August. As a TU Student Leader, you will engage to participate in weekend meetings, held monthly, for the purpose of brainstorming and developing the new TU Programming. Generally speaking, you can expect to fly to the meeting location on a Friday night, and return home on a Sunday evening. We will cover the cost of your flight, lodging and a daily meal allowance. We expect the weekends to be hard work, but also a lot of fun, spending time with 10 other like-minded, highly motivated peers. The current Board of Directors of TU met while developing their student clubs and became friends for life, despite pursuing very different professions.

May 1-3 Meeting (St-Louis, MO): Understanding the new vision for TU. Refining it. Deciding on the “TU Story”—what we stand for, who we recruit, why we are an awesome group to join. Training on leadership. Club registration and launch fundamentals.

June 5-7 Meeting (Hoboken, NJ and NYC): Developing the “It’s Your Life, Own It” workshop themes. Training on how to deliver a workshop. Working through any hiccups in club registrations.

July 3-5 Meeting (Charlotte, NC): Developing the “O-Fundamentals” programming for the clubs. Training from experts on Objectivism on how to teach and communicate Objectivist ideas. Starting to brainstorm ways to launch and market the new TU Clubs in the Fall.

July 31-August 2 Meeting (New Orleans, LA): Developing the “Writing” program. Learning to discuss controversial ideas and present them in writing in an engaging and thought-provoking, rather than incendiary way. Training from TU writers and editors on how to write for TU. Final TU Club launch logistics prior to club launch at start of academic year.

Aug 28-30 Meeting (TBD): Developing the “Social” programming for your TU club. Training on project and budget management. Creating marketing and promotion strategies for the new TU Clubs.

Program Development Between Meetings (About 15-20 hrs/month). Between meetings, you will be assigned a topic for further development based on the brainstorming and work that occurred during the meetings. The goal, at the end of August, is to have a full “User Manual” on how to start and run a The Undercurrent club. We expect this to be about 15-20 hours of work each time.

Optional: Honorary Alumni Project. A key aspect of the “It’s Your Life, OWN It” campaign is connecting students with professionals who can act as role models, sharing how they may have made a difficult career decision, or how they apply rational ideas to their work and in their workplace. As Student Leaders, you will have the opportunity to connect with professionals and engage them into this project. This will also be exceptional exposure for you and an opportunity to network. By participating in this project, you increase your chances of joining the TU National Executive in 2016.

Optional: Fall Student/Professional Conference. We will all be working together on hosting a fall Student/Professional Conference. The TU Student Conference will be the second conference on Objectivism for liberty-oriented students—and a great recruiting ground for new club members and the 2016 Student Leadership Team. The Professional Conference will be the first conference by Objectivist professional on they apply Objectivism and rational ideas to their work and workplace, discussing what works well and what challenges they face—and a great recruiting ground for Honorary Alumni. Most importantly, the students and professionals will have opportunities to network and get inspired by each other. Working on this project will be great for leadership development, project management skills and networking. By participating in this project, you increase your chances of joining the TU National Executive in 2016.

Monthly Implementation and Review Meetings from September to November.

September Meeting: Debrief the TU Club launches on your campuses and results of your recruitment efforts; share learnings. Final preparation prior to the Fall Student/Professional Conference.

October Meeting: Debrief the TU Club launches on your campuses and results of your recruitment efforts; share learnings. Final preparation prior to the Fall Student/Professional Conference.

November ConferenceHost the Fall Student/Professional Conference in Atlanta, GA.

2016: Leading Your Campus Clubs & Applying to Join TU National Executive. In 2016, you will be the leaders of your local campus clubs, and candidates for the TU National Executive, a group of paid student leaders who will be responsible for the national direction of TU and for the recruitment of the 2016 Leadership Team. The National Executive will meet with the 2016 Leadership Team and train them to start clubs on their campuses much like you were trained by TU to start a club on yours. The National Executive will be ultimately responsible for TU’s programming and project management in 2016, as well as for fundraising, donor and Honorary Alumni outreach, working closely with the TU Board. Election to the National Executive and exposure to this level of leadership experience will be a phenomenal resume item, making any National Executive member a strong candidate for the professional workplace after his or her one-year term expires.


What will I get in return?

  • A unique opportunity to transform the Objectivist student movement by creating the blueprint for the new TU Clubs
  • A tremendous opportunity for personal development and training in key life skills, including leadership, workshop moderation, project management, writing skills and more
  • A potential to meet your best friends for life—any intense experience where you work closely with a team to deliver a common goal will create a bond, and here it can be made stronger by your shared values and purpose
  • Great networking with Objectivist professionals and academics, with possibilities for on-going mentorship and career opportunities
  • A big challenge, a big reward when it all works out, a great line in your resume and a lot of fun!


What Are We Looking For?

  • A strong interest in Ayn Rand’s ideas, a belief that applying them to one’s own life and decision-making is important to be successful—so you feel comfortable running an “It’s Your Life, OWN It” workshop
  • Good academics—so you can keep up with your studies even in face of this extracurricular commitment
  • Evidence of leadership—have you created or helped create a unique program or event? Have you been a team leader? This program will require you to launch an Objectivist club on your campus – so some experience of leadership will help


How Do I Apply?

Please complete the online application by Wednesday, May 27th.



How is this TU student program related to the Ayn Rand Institute’s student programming?

The past year ARI and TU have increased their level of collaboration in reaching and supporting college students, to ensure the efforts of each organization complement rather than duplicate each other. This program–as all of TU’s programs–remains independent from ARI, but the organizations will continue to work together in the delivery of the new vision.

Can I apply to this TU program as well as to ARI’s internship or OCON programs?

Yes, absolutely. We will make sure that the June meeting doesn’t conflict with interning at ARI and that the July meeting doesn’t conflict with any obligations you may have towards ARI as a result of being a sponsored student at OCON.


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