Editor’s Note: Ryan Fournier is the National Chairman for Students for Trump. This op-ed is in response to Kaitlynn Critchfield’s College Fix story on Students for Trump, “Students for Trump goes into hibernation, leaving campus chapters without direction.”
Students for Trump started as a Twitter account in 2015 with no intention of becoming a national organization. Within months, the account gained thousands of followers as it slowly became a representative of the millennials who supported Donald Trump’s candidacy for president.
In response to the positive feedback it received on Twitter, Students for Trump expanded efforts to other social platforms such as Facebook and Instagram. With the advice of Trump campaign staffers, student outreach, and social media advertisements, including photos of students wearing the iconic ‘MAGA’ gear, became priority within the organization — all with a minimal budget in mind. This, however, did not stop us or the passion and dedication of each member involved.
President Trump created a brand, a brand of four words: “Make America Great Again!” This brand motivated students across the country to share their photos, to volunteer and eventually, win their vote. This movement wasn’t created by “Students for Trump” or any other organization. It was created by President Donald J. Trump and loved by the people. This brand helped us gain the attention of thousands of students across the country, giving us around 5 million social media impressions per month on all of our accounts. By the end of the election we had gained over 111 million social media impressions.
In order to fully gain the support of college students, we knew we needed a strong and united movement. Around December of 2015 we began scouting for regional and state directors, with the intent for these new leaders to help find chapter leaders. We targeted large universities across the country, looking for dedicated and like-minded individuals who supported Donald Trump and his policies.
After finding chapter leaders, state directors and regional directors, we had to create a way to engage students on campuses — which was far different from social media. One of our first initiatives we coordinated with Dan Scavino, Donald Trump’s social media director, came to be known as ‘The Chalkening.’ This initiative took wind quick and was picked up by large social media presences such as Old Row. The movement gained attention of networks Fox News and Newsweek, which in turn helped promote our message. Other initiatives such as ‘Trump Gear Day,’ where students wore their Trump gear in masses on college campuses across the country, were successful in engaging and empowering those students to vote for Donald Trump.
Students for Trump was focused around the election. Its purpose was to gain millennial support for Donald Trump. The social media accounts will remain active and aim to support him throughout the entirety of his presidency.
The organization itself, however, will be restarted in 2020 when or if he decided to run for re-election.
In the meantime, I and many other former Students for Trump staffers are launching a nonprofit called “Generation Onward,” which will target millennials across the country. Our mission is to promote, educate and engage the politically inactive population on the importance of America’s founding principles and fundamental values as it necessitates a truly fair and representative government. More information about Generation Onward will be released via the official website in the near future.
Furthermore, I would like to personally thank all of the students that sent and continue to send us their photos as well as those who volunteered and voted for President Donald Trump. He could not have won without the support of students.