Hear from Taylor Roth, a chapter founder at the University of Florida, about how NeW has empowered her to stand firm in her conservative beliefs on a liberal campus.
It is no surprise that college campuses throughout America are becoming echo-chambers for leftist political views and doctrine. Since my senior year in high school, I can remember fearing discrimination for my conservative beliefs within the classroom. As someone who deeply cares about my academic performance and relationships with others, I became concerned that my professors and peers would exclude me from conversations and isolate me for my stances on certain social and political issues. Because of this, I made the decision to remain silent when these concerns were brought forth. I convinced myself that it is better to remain silent and liked than vocal and ferociously judged for my traditional opinions. After all, my political beliefs are just part of who I am as a person. Why let my stances on public policy ruin my reputation in the eyes of other students and faculty members?
Although I attempted to stay silent, my passion for political engagement, civil discourse, and rigorous debate remained unsatisfied. If I truly valued the principles and values that make America exceptional, why was I so hesitant to stand up for them in an institution that was created for open dialogue and genuine education? By the end of my freshman year, I felt deprived of the discussions I longed to be a part of. Most of all, I was angry at myself for allowing my fear of judgment to prevent me from being honest with my friends and instructors. Thankfully, I discovered the Network of enlightened Women during my sophomore year, and I soon became inspired by the organization’s commitment to empowering conservative women to connect with like-minded peers on campus. After deciding to start a chapter at the University of Florida, I quickly discovered, much to my surprise, that I was not alone. Through starting NeW at UF, I have been able to meet other strong conservative women who are determined to stand up for economic liberty, individual rights, and free speech.
The Network of enlightened Women has provided me with the encouragement I desperately needed to share the principles and morals that are instilled in me and continue to guide me throughout my life. Since creating a chapter at the University of Florida, I have had the opportunity to connect with women who are not only steadfast in their conservative convictions, but are now also my closest friends. This past semester, we have held meetings to discuss certain public policy issues, current events and instances of liberal bias we have experienced on campus. We have also held discussions on different readings we have chosen throughout the spring. So far, we have read Bullies and Brainwashed by Ben Shapiro and The Silencing by Kirsten Powers. It is always uplifting to share our opinions and to discuss different topics that are brought up.
I am incredibly grateful to have the Network of enlightened Women in my life because it has motivated me to be true to who I am. It has also taught me that I am not alone in my conservative beliefs. In fact, if I had not made the decision to start a chapter on my campus, I would not have had the opportunity to connect with the women I admire and constantly look to for continued encouragement and support. I am now vocal in my classes, and I am no longer as afraid to contribute to conversations on issues that I lean right-of-center on. As a rising junior, NeW has led me to feel emboldened and proud of my values and ability to articulate my conservative positions in an open and respectful manner. I look forward to growing our chapter at the University of Florida, and I cannot wait to continue meeting other exceptional women.