Student Spotlight - Elena Reynolds
Elena Reynolds knew she was conservative long before she began her studies at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, CA. Elena says that having a mother who came to the United States from the Middle East was key in developing her conservative principles. She says that she was “taught from an early age to love and appreciate my country and all it has to offer…I’m a conservative because I want to see that it remains a land of freedom and opportunity. I believe conservative principles will ensure that this country continues to be a place where anything, through hard work, is possible.”
Elena experiences a strong left-wing bias every day on her campus in California coming from both her professors and her peers. “My professors typically glorify socialism while attacking capitalism and free enterprise.” It also isn’t uncommon for conservative ideas to be mocked on a regular basis in her classes. If conservative students speak out against abortion or gay marriage, they are seen as “an intolerant bigot who has not yet been enlightened.”
Never one to sit back while the left runs rampant on campus, Elena and her conservative campus group undertook the impressive task of hosting Ann Coulter on their campus in February, 2012. Elena says that “bringing her to campus was a victory for free speech and intellectual diversity.” Bringing Ann Coulter to campus exposed Elena’s peers to the conservative ideas that they will probably never here in class.
Not content to allow conservative ideas to be heard on campus, the Inclusive Excellence Council at Cal Poly, along with the Gay Pride and Multicultural Centers, filed a complaint against Elena and her group. They attempted to argue that Coulter’s visit violated the school’s Statement of Commitment to Community. Elena says that they “fought back by exposing the incident in our school newspaper…it was a deliberate attempt to prevent our group from bringing conservative speakers to campus in the future.”
Elena looks to leaders like Condoleeza Rice as a role model saying “she carries herself with dignity, class, and professionalism. She’s a bright articulate woman who worked hard to get where she is and never expected people to hand her opportunities because she was black.” Elena is also inspired by how Condoleeza holds her ground and refuses to be intimidated by attacks from the Left. “She is proof that hard work, determination, and persistence can take you anywhere.”
Elena’s advice to other conservative students is to stand your ground and never give up. “Sometimes it gets discouraging and you might feel like you’re the only conservative on campus, but that is exactly how the liberals want you to feel.” Elena urges other conservative students not to be afraid to challenge their liberal peers and professors and emphasizes how important it is to make a difference saying “let’s get busy!”
In 10 years, Elena hopes to be where God leads her – “perhaps teaching at a 4-year university in history or political science, or working for a conservative or Christian organization.” If Elena tackles her future plans with the same determination she has shown in defending conservative ideas as a campus leader then she will certainly achieve her goals!
Stand your ground, be aggressive, and above all, never give up.