“We are up and coming and going to keep growing hopefully,” said Brooklyn Raymond, the Spark Freedom Coordinator for the Madison Liberty Institute. The institute started in September of 2018. It’s holding its end of the semester social April 4 at 6 p.m.
“[It’s] really just to socialize and make connections, network with each other … It’s really just going to be a low-key environment for a bunch of high-key students to get together,” Raymond said.
Everyone who has been involved with the institute will be in attendance, including Dr. Ron Nate and Dr. Daniel Moncayo. Although it is a celebration of what the institute has achieved thus far, anyone who wants to learn more or get involved are encouraged to come. For anyone who needs extra encouragement, Raymond said there will be root beer floats.
Just a reminder, the Madison Liberty Institute is a non-profit, non-partisan organization. It focuses on three different areas: policy, civic, and student outreach.
“We’re kind of like a seminary for liberty,” Raymond explained. “We’re located off campus but we kind of focus on a lot of values that are important for college students to know and the community as well.”
Not only is it a place for student groups to meet and have discourse but it also offers multiple resources. There is a library, liberty lounge, a green screen and a podcast room where students can do projects. Students can use these resources whether or not it has anything to do with the Madison Liberty Institute.
There are many opportunities for students to engage with the institute from groups to internships.
“This semester has been very successful, we had a very good turnout,” Raymond.
They hosted had a debate between Young Americans for Freedom and Progressive Student Society, both are student groups that meet at the institute.
“There was a lot of political discussion, a lot of engagement, people were able to speak their minds and kind of think about their positions on a lot of things,” Raymond explained.
Keeping things civil during such an event is always a concern. When the founders started the Madison Liberty Institute they knew they would need a plan to keep things civil between all the participants who hold very different views.
“One thing that we’ve really stressed is the importance of political discussion and discourse and just basically getting your ideas out there for people to understand and talk about in a civil way,” Raymond said. “We stress the importance of just understanding each other and where opinions come from.”
In addition to all the activities in Rexburg, the students have ventured out to Boise to meet with state legislators. The students talked with them about current issues and policies. Raymond said they wanted the legislators to know that students in Rexburg know and care about what is happening at the state capitol.
Looking toward the future, next semester the institute will start hosting constitution classes. These classes will be taught by the Restoration Generation and are open to anyone in the community who wants to attend.
The institute is also planning an opening social for the second week of Spring semester, although nothing has been solidified yet. Raymond teased they are looking at having a rock wall, a cotton candy machine, a barbeque, among other things.
To stay up to date on what is coming up Raymond said to just go to the office. But if you don’t want to make the trip across the street from the Eliza R. Snow Building on campus to their building you can visit their Facebook page, Instagram account or madisonliberty.org.