Joshua Aminov is the current President of the Turning Point USA chapter at Rider University. He kindly sat down with Turning Point News at the Conservative Political Action Conference in late February for an interview.
Here, Aminov spoke of his background of his parent’s and grandparent’s immigration to the United States from the Soviet Union and its communist regime. Aminov then transitioned into his experience with Turning Point USA and what the impact the organization has made in his life.
In a follow-up interview with Turning Point News, Aminov opened up about his commitment to the conservative movement.
Aminov first became passionate about politics after subscribing to conservative personalities such as Mark Levin; however, Aminov has always been the conservative type:
“CONSERVATISM was always a way of life for [my family]. it’s not just an ideology…”
Aminov explains that conservatism works both on the political level and the personal level. He stands by his family values, religious beliefs, and the upholding of individual liberty – and he fights for those ideals on campus now more than ever.
Shortly after joining PragerFORCE his freshman year in college, Aminov found out about Turning Point USA. Upon reading TPUSA’s mission and its teachings of free market principles and limited government, Aminov knew it was the right movement for him:
“[Turning Point USA] is everything I believe in…”
“If you can convey [TPUSA’s] principles through the variety of activist means that Turning Point offers, you’re going to be unstoppable,” Aminov states. “You can show anyone why they would want to be a conservative or how they already stand by conservative ideals.”
Rider’s TPUSA chapter has done just that. According to Aminov, in the first two days of recruitment, 300 students signed up; in the first semester, recruitment was close to 500 – totaling to just under 10 percent of the university’s entire student body.
Across campus, students’ passion for the conservative movement seems to be increasing, Aminov addresses. “I always have students come to me, anonymously or out-right, telling me they really believe in what [TPUSA] is doing,” the chapter president states. “They hope that we succeed. And, there are a lot of students who email us, asking us how they can help us…”
“[Students] generally want to get involved, and they’re trying to find ways to help spread the message.”
To get these students involved, the chapter hosts a myriad of events. As of late, Rider U. has hosted 3 speaking events, with the fourth coming in early April. Aminov explains, “we try to speakers that can give a more personal story about their lives so that students can relate more to the messages we’re trying to spread.”
Generally, Aminov tries to invite speakers who have experienced socialist or communist governments or tyrannical government takeovers to the university. He says that these stories are the most impactful towards students.
One speaker, the Dean of Continuing Studies at Rider University, grew up in Croatia under a communist regime. During his speech, he told the students in attendance about his life experience before he moved to America at the age of 18. Aminov assured that the dean was not political at all, even in daily encounters; he wanted to make students aware of the true horrors of communism.
“Situations like this show students that you can stand for something without being biased.”
On campus, certain university departments and students are biased against the TPUSA chapter. As featured on Campus Reform, Rider University had troubles hosting Brandon Tatum and Anna Paulina of TPUSA on the basis of “fake facts.” Aminov elucidates that there are a host of other examples where conservative students and clubs have been ‘blocked’ from sharing their ideas.
” …[THE faculty] is either STAUNCHLY supporting of us or against us.”
The students, on the other hand, are more diverse according to Aminov. Students will comment under Facebook posts about TPUSA events at the university, bashing the club for its values.
Many students, conservative and liberal, have been recently banning together, responding to these comments with rebuttals such as “if you really believe they are wrong, you should go there and voice it,” or “you should support free speech.”
“[TPUSA] is the platform that is helping push people towards feeling okay with expressing themselves.”
“I really am glad that we’re able to persuade people or motivate people to speak their minds freely,” says Aminov. “Because this is America – to feel afraid to voice your opinions is unacceptable.”
Aminov says that the conservatives he has met through Turning Point USA and on Rider’s campus are some of the most open-minded people. He states that in New Jersey, home of Rider University, the populous lands all over the political spectrum. “We are all able to unite around the principle of free speech at the end of the day,” Aminov proudly said.
Through TPUSA, Aminov has learned that he, and the other activists, must make their point, regardless of where the opposition stands on the issue. He says that activists must be able to make a point and “[know] that your right is not enough.”
“Turning Point has taught me how to [make my point] through appealing in fun ways, not always making it a boring conversation, making everyone excited about protecting liberty.”
Aminov contributes his success today to Turning Point USA, saying that “if it had not been for Turning Point USA, I don’t know where’d I’d be today…” He says that he is grateful for the privilege to be the founder and president of a Turning Point USA college chapter.