Max, from Chile, is studying business administration and economics at the University of the Andes. He explains his involvement in his student body as an “active student leader in the libertarian student movement called Alternativa Libertad.”
Max is no stranger to the Leadership Institute. In December he participated in LI Chile with Dario Paya in “a two-day school with workshops on how to mobilize people, win elections, and how to get votes,” Max recounts.
Thirty-five attendees competed in the school for a trip to DC and to visit the Leadership Institute in Arlington, Virginia. Eight tests later, Max emerged the winner.
Three weeks after Max landed in DC, I met up with him to recap his adventure.
AC: What was your favorite part of DC?
MR: Definitely my favorite part of DC was the feeling of the city. The peak of both intellectual and political worlds met there and you could feel that in all the city. Events like International Students for Liberty Conference (ISFLC) and Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) were the maximum expression of this sensation. My favorite place was the Library of Congress though.
AC: What was your best memory?
MR: My most cherished memories will always be the conversations I had with friends I made during my DC stay. Also, trivia night at Oz [a local restaurant].
AC: You mentioned your group is a libertarian student movement (Alternativa Libertad). What do you hope to achieve or to promote as a student leader in Chile through this movement?
MR: Alternativa Libertad (and I) promotes the ideals of a free society, to teach people about the reduction of state influence in our daily lives, and defend the ideas of freedom and justice in our university and country.
AC: Which LI communications trainings have you taken in your time here?
MR: Advanced Debate with Dr. Shosky, On-camera TV Workshop with Elizabeth Peace, and the Public Relations School.
AC: Which training do you find may be the most help to you? Why?
MR: Probably the Public Relations one because it's more comprehensive. I've already started implementing some things. The social media class especially. I manage the social media for my group so the change has been pretty instant.
AC: That’s awesome. How do you plan to make changes to your social media specifically?
MR: Probably through the expansion of it. So far we’re too focused on Facebook. We have Twitter and Instagram [accounts], but they're a little forgotten. The training convinced me we have to start using Twitter and Instagram, not as extension of Facebook, but [for] what they're good at. Twitter to make things viral, and Instagram not to expand the message but to convince your people and to further relationships. So I’ve started re-activing our Instagram and Twitter accounts. I’m probably going to open a Snapchat account soon.
AC: So given what you’ve learned here, what would you tell someone needing comms training?
MR: Well I'd definitely recommend they take Chilean LI training or come to DC for more specific trainings. As to what I've learned, I'd teach them mostly that you can never underestimate the power of social media and communications. Especially in this day and age, most people aren’t going to see you in person so a lot of work has to be put into your comms department from social media to whoever manages your email to your press releases.
AC: How do you anticipate using the training you’ve received here at LI to continue your career as a student leader?
MR: I'm taking these lessons, what I've learned, back to Chile to hopefully set up a campaign for legislation and student council. Fifty percent of congressmen are student leaders before they're congressmen and run full blown actual campaigns. What I’ve learned in my passing through here, I plan on taking it back and helping my student group with student federation for 2017.
As I finished my questions, Max asked if he could say one more thing:
“I'd like to thank LI for being such gracious hosts. They've gone above and beyond what I expected from it. I'm grateful for that. You guys got me lodging and into CPAC. You could’ve done half of what you did, and I still would’ve been grateful. I feel like you've gone the extra mile. That makes me feel special and grateful.”
The Leadership Institute offers more than 47 types of training programs, working with more than 1,873 conservative student groups, and helping employers connect with conservative job seekers. Since the Institute’s 1979 founding, LI has trained more than 182,327 conservative activists, students, and leaders. Graduates include members of Congress, state legislators, local officials, media personalities, and conservative organization leaders.