Turning Point USA provides alternative voice on campus

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Turning Point USA provides alternative voice on campus

Turning Point USA at SDSU  members table every Thursday at the farmers market.

Turning Point USA at SDSU members table every Thursday at the farmers market.

Photo courtesy of TPUSA at SDSU

Turning Point USA at SDSU members table every Thursday at the farmers market.

Photo courtesy of TPUSA at SDSU

Photo courtesy of TPUSA at SDSU

Turning Point USA at SDSU members table every Thursday at the farmers market.

by Brenden Tuccinardi, Engagement Editor

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Turning Point USA at San Diego State is one of over 1,300 college and high school chapters in the conservative activist network. However, that’s where the similarities end, according to TPUSA at SDSU President David Allen Pomeranz. 

“TPUSA activists are the community organizers of the right,” according to the national organization’s website. Yet Pomeranz offered his own characterization of the political group on campus. 

“We’re nonprofit, nonpartisan and what we are trying to do is increase political awareness on campus,” Pomeranz said. 

Pomeranz, as well as others in TPUSA at SDSU, can often be found tabling on Thursday at the farmers market. It is not uncommon to see members of the group participating in discussions with other students. It doesn’t matter if the people they talk to agree or disagree, Pomeranz said. The conversation is the ultimate goal.

“All of us have different viewpoints,” film production junior and the club’s Campus Coordinator Campbell Soutter said. “I was tabling today with another board member, and we were having a conversation with someone, and he and I had our own disagreement in the middle of talking to this person.”

Each TPUSA campus chapter is given a great deal of autonomy, Pomeranz said. The only requirement is that campus chapters remain active and table every week to reach out to more students. 

“We’re completely distinct from the national organization,” Pomeranz said. 

However, it can be challenging to stand apart from a national organization that often associates itself with conservative causes and figures. TPUSA provides its campus chapters with marketing materials that say “Big government sucks,” and “Fossil fuels save lives.” The national organization also boasts conservative political commentator Tomi Lahren among its recommended campus speakers. 

“We’re not remotely radical,” Soutter said. “We don’t really care what other people think. We do have signs that say specific things, but if you’re really looking at what they say, I don’t think any of them classifies us into any party.”

Pomeranz also said TPUSA at SDSU uses bold signs and merchandise, including signs and t-shirts with the slogan “Socialism sucks,” as a way to engage students in thoughtful discussions about controversial issues. 

“The signage and most of the tabling materials are designed to start conversations,” Pomeranz said. “They don’t even necessarily completely reflect our personal beliefs at all.”

Another way TPUSA at SDSU encourages political discussion on campus is through sponsoring speaking events. 

Currently, Pomeranz and his fellow board members are in the early planning stages for a significant event in the spring. They expect 800 to 1,000 people to attend, though Pomeranz did not provide any indication of what or who the event will feature. 

Until then, students can stop by the TPUSA at SDSU table at the farmers market on Thursday or email tpusaatsdsu@gmail.com to receive updates and more information regarding their weekly meetings. 

Pomeranz emphasized all are welcome, regardless of their political beliefs. 

“It’s not about whether you believe this or believe that, as long as you think about it more,” Pomeranz said. “What we hope from either people that join or maybe just attend one of the events is that they think about some of the issues presented in more depth.”

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