TPUSA promotes civic rights

A Turning Point USA table in Kilcawley Center. Photo courtesy of Maddy Lutz

By Madeline Hippeard
Jambar Contributor

Youngstown State University is home to over 180 active student organizations, including a chapter of Turning Point USA. 

Vice President Maddy Lutz said Turning Point USA works to educate students on the government and their rights. 

“It’s a national organization that has chapters at a ton of universities. They work to educate people on free speech, second amendment rights, pro-capitalism, and they have conservation efforts through the international order of [Theodore] Roosevelt,” Lutz said. 

According to Mike Costarell, TPUSA’s faculty advisor and professor of engineering technology, YSU’s chapter operates as a nonprofit organization, which prevents it from taking a stance on political matters.  

Lutz said she believes TPUSA has gained an unfair reputation in the past because of its affiliation with Turning Point Action. According to its website, Turning Point Action has the mission to “provide voters with the necessary resources to elect conservative leaders.”

“I would like to see people give it more of a chance. I saw us labeled as, on the Y-App or Instagram, as a right-wing hate group and that’s not at all what I’m here for. I’m here to hopefully educate students on their rights and environmental matters. I love talking to people, and I’d love to engage in more conversation about it,” Lutz said. 

Although the club is not as active as its members hope, Lutz said when it’s able to meet, members discuss current events both on and off campus. The club also holds tablings to hand out educational materials, pins and buttons to interested students.

Costarell said members are in total control of what is discussed in meetings. In the past, TPUSA conversations have focused on COVID-19, climate change, gender and race, which Costarell believes are topics members found stressful.

“We address one of those in our student meetings, and we come to some resolution where we acknowledge these problems, acknowledge our differences in each of these things,” Costarell said. “Not arguments, not shouting with protest signs and megaphones and things like that. Those are arguments, not discussions.” 

In the future, TPUSA hopes to bring speakers to campus. Lutz said the club is working with former Olympian Anthony Watson to schedule a visit in March. 

Costarell said he would like to see speakers on campus with a wider range of education levels and political ideology.

Students interested in joining Turning Point USA can contact Lutz at [email protected]