This past weekend, over 30 Hillsdale College stu­dents attended the Young America’s Foun­dation con­ference in Columbus, Ohio. As of this semester, Young Amer­icans for Freedom is an official club at Hillsdale College and has only been growing.

According to chairman Nathan Brand, YAF is emerging as “the new hot group on campus.” His rea­soning: last year, the budding student orga­ni­zation attended the YAF con­ference in Mil­waukee, Wis. as one of the smallest chapters rep­re­sented with six stu­dents. This year in Columbus, Hillsdale’s 30 stu­dents made the the college one of the largest chapters at the con­ference.

Vice chairman junior Philip Wegmann believes that after this past con­ference, the future of Hillsdale’s YAF chapter is promising.

“There is longevity built into a four year plan here,” Wegmann said. “We have so many freshmen who are so engaged. This is going to be their thing. When Nate and I graduate, our position is going to filled.”

At the Freedom Con­ference in Columbus, con­ser­v­ative icons such as Liz Cheny, Stephen F. Hayes, and Rick San­torum addressed the student audience on pre­serving upstanding political ideals and incor­po­rating con­ser­vatism in everyday pol­itics.

“It rein­forces what we hear in the classroom,” said Wegmann. “Here, we learn about the good, the true, and the beau­tiful. At the YAF con­ference, we’re learning about social policy.”

According to Brand, the con­ference was little more than 200 stu­dents. Due to the small size of the con­ference, the stu­dents exploited the oppor­tunity of one-on-one time with the speakers. Brand and Wegmann both joked with Hayes about the Green Bay Packer’s loss and later pestered San­torum on the fact that he failed to show at Hillsdale College last spring.

Wegmann said that one of his favorite parts of the con­fernce was meeting such iconic figures outside of their suits, holding con­ver­sa­tions with them as normal people. All this first hand expe­rience for $20.

The next YAF con­ference will be held in Orlando, Fla., over fall break with speakers such as Karl Rove and Dinesh D’ Souza.

In addition to club’s youth, the con­stant involvement of YAF encouraged Brand and Wegmann that the club will have a sig­nif­icant on Hillsdale.

“It’s some­thing that we’ll do year in and year out,” Brand said. “Not just in November. There’s more to life than studying Aris­totle. There’s real life.”

YAF will hold several events this fall. One of which includes a voter reg­is­tration drive that will be assisted by the College Repub­licans later this month.

“YAF is a breeding group for gen­er­a­tional leaders,” Brand said. “Like Reagan and Buckley. The next gen­er­ation is going to come out of YAF.”