Lauren Cooley, a 24-year-old campus organizer and University of Miami graduate student, is traveling to colleges across the country as part of her “Make Campus Great Again” speaking tour, an initiative that she hopes will motivate other young conservatives to get involved in politics.
Cooley’s interest in politics began at a young age, according to a recent profile by CNN. Her parents, she said, would bring her to local elections where they gave her signs to hold. When she enrolled as a freshman at Furman, South Carolina’s oldest private school founded by Southern Baptists, she said was shocked to find that the school was dominated by a “liberal administration.” Efforts made by Cooley to force the school to bring Ann Coulter and British creationist Dr. Terry Mortenson to campus as speakers would make local headlines, as would her protest of Rev. Jesse Jackson’s appearance at the school.
After graduation, Cooley returned to her hometown of Fort Lauderdale, Florida, where she ran for chair and vice-chair of the Broward Republican party in 2015 and 2016, respectively. Cooley lost those votes by narrow margins, but in so doing caught the eye of conservative leaders. Cooley went on to form the organization Campus Red with Cade Marsh, then-president of the Florida Federation of College Republicans. By going door to door in college dorms, Cooley used Campus Red to help energize young conservatives to participate in the 2016 election.
Morton Blackwell, the founder of the Leadership Institute, a conservative organization that Cooley says helped develop her activism and organizing skills, was a pioneer of the dorm-to-dorm strategy employed by Cooley’s Campus Red. According to Blackwell, the current environment makes campuses ripe for conservative activism.
“People get motivated when they get outraged,” he said. “There’s more conservative student activism going on because leftist activism is so outrageous.”
Cooley, a Trump supporter who has called feminism a cancer and the Women’s March “gross,” says that she sees the college campus as a massive opportunity to fight back against liberal thought.
“Fighting for conservative values to be represented on campus is fighting for conservative values to be more mainstream,” she said. “The further left campuses go, the more moderate conservative thought will be.”
Read the full story at CNN.