Nonprofit, nonpartisan organization starts at FMU


Photo by: Caleb Reeves

Turning Point USA is a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that focuses on issues such as gun control, free speech and abortion.

This semester, FMU students created the first nonprofit, nonpartisan political organization on campus, a chapter of the national organization Turning Point USA.

The organization is an activist group that aims to protect freedoms and get students involved in politics. FMU’s chapter receives guidance and support as well as packages of advertising materials from members of the national organization.

After hearing speeches from political figures such as Donald Trump, Mike Pence and Charlie Kirk, CEO of the organization, Jonathan Howle, marketing major, said he was inspired to bring the organization to FMU.

Howle said creating a new chapter of the organization was a joint effort. Howle worked with Christian Lemke, the southeast deputy regional director of Turning Point USA, to bring the organization to FMU and recruit new members for its first semester.

Howle said bringing Turning Point USA to FMU was a difficult process spanning nine months. He worked with Student Affairs to ensure that the advertising materials provided by the national organization will be approved for distribution.

“There’s a lot of red tape when it comes to being a nonprofit, nonpartisan group on campus,” Howle said. “There’s a lot of red tape with this advertising because FMU doesn’t want another Republican group or another Democrat group. They want something in-between, so now I’m appealing to both and everyone in between.”

According to Howle, the goals of Turning Point USA include registering students to vote, freely discussing controversial topics such as abortion and gun control, bringing proven facts to the forefront of political discussions and informing students of current events occurring worldwide. Howle plans to reach these goals through the events that Turning Point USA will host this year.

“Turning Point focuses more on capitalism and the pros of it and free speech,” Howle said. “This first semester, we’re going to be focusing on what being an American means.”

Howle said his inspiration to bring Turning Point USA to FMU came from his love of politics. This passion for politics began when he participated in the American Legion’s Boys State program in Anderson, S.C.

He was the first student from his high school, the Academy for the Arts, Science and Technology in Horry County, to be selected to attend the Boys State program. After the program, Howle continued to pursue political science.

Howle also became involved with Turning Point USA by attending a trip to Washington, D.C. While he was there, Howle made connections with Turning Point USA members and learned more about the organization.

One of the first events Howle said he is planning is a discussion on socialism in Venezuela focusing on the economy. The discussion will allow for debate from all points of view on the political spectrum. Howle also hopes to attend a free event in West Palm Beach, Fla. to hear political speakers. He said that he would like for members to inquire about attending this event.