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Turning Point USA starts at Wofford

Photo courtesy of TPUSA  Turning Point USA logo. The organization has recently erected a chapter on Wofford’s campus.

Since the disbandment of Wofford’s chapter of College Republicans in March 2022, the college has experienced a lull in official activities among its Republican students. However, with the recent appearance of a chapter of Turning Point USA on campus, the inactivity looks to change.

Turning Point USA, more commonly abbreviated to TPUSA, is a national nonprofit organization founded by American conservative radio host Charlie Kirk. The organization has a mission to “identify, educate, train and organize students to promote the principles of freedom, free markets and limited government.” 

In a previous Old Gold & Black article addressing the dormancy of Republican organizations on campus, former president of Wofford’s chapter of College Republicans, Matthew Shouse ‘23, cited Turning Point USA as a common replacement for Republican voices on college campuses in South Carolina.

Though chapters of TPUSA often consist primarily of Republican students, the organization is hinged upon the promotion of American conservatism rather than Republicanism, specifically to a younger audience. 

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Joshua Trotta ‘23, club officer of Wofford TPUSA, believes the organization’s lack of party affiliation to be a way for students to “reach across the aisle” of the often divisive and party-central arena of American politics.

With the ever-growing emphasis on party labels among American politicians, the focus on ideology rather than party could prove to be impactful.

Wofford TPUSA president, Hannah Kunkle ‘26, cited personal past experience with TPUSA as another reason for its founding at Wofford.

“(All of the club officers) are pretty passionate about politics,” Kunkle said. “We wanted to give students who don’t necessarily side with College Democrats a place to share their opinions.”

Since Turning Point’s national establishment in 2012, chapters of TPUSA have sprung up at high schools and colleges across the United States. Through this network of “conservative grassroots” activism and youth summits, and the contributions of conservative influencers, the organization aims to advance its principal conservative and pro-American beliefs.

With the construction of TPUSA’s message spotlighting the conservative ideology rather than the Republican political party itself, chapters have been seen to attract negative attention for staged acts of controversy. 

Most recently, the nearby chapter of TPUSA at Clemson University held an “affirmative action bake sale” on the first day of Black History Month, an occurrence which, while drawing attention, also received much negative backlash. 

Despite such current controversies falling beneath the TPUSA name, both Kunkle and Trotta look forward to reigniting the voices of Republican and politically right-aligned students at Wofford.

“We’re about finding a way to make all voices heard on campus, not just one group,” Trotta said. “TPUSA has been very helpful, especially after College Republicans went away, and we look forward to having the right side represented again.”

Nationally, TPUSA holds conferences and media events, one of which Kunkle attended, furthering her interest in the organization. 

When asked about the club’s mission at Wofford specifically, Kunkle stated “getting people inspired to vote,” a concern previously addressed in an article discussing the effects of Wofford’s lack of a Republican organization during midterm elections.

Kunkle also asserted that “Turning Point as a whole is about educating students.” 

Whatever the future brings for Wofford TPUSA, the brisk student establishment of a political meeting space is an energy to be admired. As the younger generations age into an era of tumultuous politics and media, places for such discussions are more integral than ever, regardless of their affiliation.

Wofford’s chapters of TPUSA and College Democrats are both examples of the momentum of younger generations in politics.

Nola Webb, staff writer

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Nola Webb
Nola Webb, Staff Writer
Economics & French Major from Charleston, SC
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