Turning Point USA at ASU encourages students to promote free market principles, oppose socialism

Turning Point USA at ASU focuses on keeping Sun Devils informed on economic and fiscal policy, opposes socialism

Topics such as global terrorism, social justice and personal character flaws are at the forefront of this presidential campaign season, leaving standard debate topics such as fiscal policy and economic responsibility on the back burner.

However, Turning Point USA hopes to keep these topics relevant.

The group is a non-partisan political non-profit organization whose mission promotes the principles of fiscal responsibility, free markets and limited government to students.

The national organization began June 5, 2012 and has since gained representation on more than 1,100 high school and college campuses nationwide, while employing over 75 full-time field staff members.

Turning Point USA started its ASU chapter in the spring semester of 2016. 

Perhaps the most captivating aspect about Turning Point is its young core — at least Jason Chisato-Rodvik, TPUSA at ASU media director, thinks this is the case.

“I think the fact that we’re so young, we’re so new and we’re completely 100 percent student-based and student-led is what sets us apart from other grassroots organizations,” Chisato-Rodvik said. “We work with other (ASU) grassroots organizations, and they probably have a more broad reach than us, but the fact that we’re young — we’re out there everyday — we are really making a difference on college campuses.”

Chisato-Rodvik also feels it’s refreshing to have a grassroots organization on campus that has a non-partisan platform, though it still takes a stance on certain issues that are important to the group.

“We’re non-partisan, but we definitely took a stance against Bernie Sanders — only his economic platform though,” Chisato-Rodvik said. “The way we kind of handle it is, we don’t really touch on any of the social issues, we just focus on mainly the economics of the United States and economics of the world.”

While TPUSA does take a stance on certain issues, the group encourages those that have different economic and social viewpoints to become involved with the group.

The ASU chapter typically meets bi-weekly on Wednesdays. During these meetings, the group organizes events that rally against opposing economic stances.

For instance, the organization held an event on campus during primary season that expressed members' dismay over former Democratic nominee Bernie Sanders' platform — one that the group says was too socialist.

Chisato-Rodvik also enjoys the aspect of several stances being heard in one room.

“As an organization, we are definitely filled with many different political parties,” Chisato-Rodvik said. “We do get a little feisty sometimes when we debate within ourselves or on the streets, but when it comes down to the actual group, I think everyone just has a mutual respect and we stay pretty civilized towards each other.”

Kevin Calabrese, ASU College Republicans president and TPUSA member, is someone who wears his political viewpoints on his sleeve but admits he developed different ideas on certain topics due to Turning Point.

“I definitely don’t always go into the meetings believing the same thing as I do when I leave,” Calabrese said. “Some of the speakers that we bring in help open my eyes, so that I learn new things, and I’ve developed new viewpoints because of that — so that’s always refreshing.”

Turning Point has shown it has the ability to grow at a rapid pace. Emily Parry, TPUSA Arizona deputy field director, said she believes this is just the beginning.

"I only see (Turning Point) growing faster and faster," Parry said. "In the next three to five years, I know for sure we're going to be in all 50 states, and no matter what side of the aisle you're on, you're going to know what Turning Point is and be very familiar with what we do."

Reach the reporter at vkeys@asu.edu or follow @VKeys1231 on Twitter.

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