Building Campus Libertarian Groups
James W. Lark, III, Ph.D.
Advisor, The Liberty Coalition
University of Virginia
This article will deal with some of the nuts-and-bolts issues in building libertarian
groups on college campuses. Of course, several of my remarks will be applicable to building
any type of group. Many of my comments will seem obvious; indeed, much of what I shall say
is a straightforward application of common sense. However, during my group-building efforts,
I have observed that the most basic principles are frequently forgotten or ignored.
There are several other useful information sources on building groups. The Libertarian
Party (www.lp.org) publishes the College Libertarian Handbook, assembled by Stephen Wilcox.
This handbook is being updated; it should be available soon. My articles “Speaking on
Campus: Key points on how to talk effectively to college students” and “Knee-Jerk
Libertarianism: Increasing Your Credibility as an LP Spokesperson” are available from me; they
should be available on the LP website in the near future. Trevor Southerland, chairman of the
National Libertarian Party Youth Caucus, has established a Yahoo group (LPYouthCaucus) at
Jarret Wollstein of the International Society for Individual Liberty (ISIL) has written a
useful pamphlet, “Creating a Successful Libertarian Outreach Organization,” which is available
at www.isil.org/resources/lit/create-successful-outreach.html. The Libertarian International
Organization (www.libertarian.uni.cc/) has a very nice Activist Guide link on its webpage.
Tom Isenberg has written a nice guide for campus groups that may still be available from John
McPherson (email@example.com), administrator of the Libertarian Professors (Libprofs) e-
mail list. The Advocates for Self-Government (ASG) (www.self-gov.org) has many items that
are useful in building a group. The organization Bureaucrash
(http://bureaucrash.com/modules/news) has a great deal of material that should be of interest
to campus activists. Aaron Biterman (AULibertarians@aol.com), founder of the AU
Libertarians at American University, has organized a Yahoo group for college Libertarians
(LibertyStudents) at http://groups.yahoo.com/group/LibertyStudents/.
If you have comments or suggestions for building groups that you believe should be
distributed to fellow libertarian activists, or if you find information within this article that
should be updated, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I can also be reached at the
The Liberty Coalition
P.O. Box 400514
Charlottesville, VA 22904
Home: (434) 973-5958
Voicemail: (434) 982-5016
I. Starting the Group
If you wish to start a libertarian group on your campus, you should first determine the
requirements mandated by your school concerning student organizations. (Some examples:
Must your group have a faculty advisor? Must your group have some specified minimum
number of members? What requirements must be satisfied in order for your group to use
school property for meetings? Can people who are not affiliated with the school set up
information tables or conduct an “Operation Politically Homeless” survey at the school?) You
should also inquire whether libertarian groups have existed in the past at the school. If so, are
the names and addresses of group contacts available? In addition, you should determine
whether the school sponsors a fair at which groups sponsor information tables, and the
requirements for participation in this fair.
After you have obtained this information, you may wish to write a letter to the editor of
the school (and town) newspaper(s) announcing the formation of the group. You may also
place ads in the school newspaper. You should post notices in the library, the student union,
the dorms, the commons area, and at strategic locations in town (e.g., at a public library). In
some cases, you may be allowed to place flyers in student mailboxes, or to place information
cards (“table tents”) upon dining room tables. Also, many campuses have e-mail user groups
to which you may be allowed to post information about your efforts. In some cases, there is a
well-known location (such as the “painted rock” at Northwestern University or the Beta Bridge
near Fraternity Row at U.Va.) where you can paint a message. You may also send
announcements about the formation of your group to radio stations and TV “bulletin boards.”
An increasingly popular tool for locating Libertarians is to use the “Facebook.com”
website, which college students join in order to network with others. Frequently students listed
with the “Facebook” provide information about their political preferences and affiliations.
You should contact various libertarian organizations to inquire if there are libertarians
already in the area. The Libertarian Party is usually willing to help in this matter. Also, the
Institute for Humane Studies (IHS) (www.theIHS.org), ASG, ISIL (www.isil.org), the
Foundation for Economic Education (FEE) (www.fee.org), and the American Jury
Institute/Fully Informed Jury Association (FIJA) (www.fija.org) will occasionally provide this
In the early stages of the group, you may wish to sponsor discussions (open to the
public, of course) of various books, such as Charles Murray’s In Pursuit of Happiness and Good
Government, P.J. O’Rourke’s Parliament of Whores, or David Bergland’s Libertarianism in One
Lesson. Such activities do not cost much money; they promote a sharpening of the intellect, and
may help you find more libertarian sympathizers. The same is true for events in which you
show and discuss videotapes of libertarian speakers. Another worthy activity is to get together
on a weekly basis to write op-eds and letters to the editors of various newspapers. This is a
low-cost way to disseminate the libertarian philosophy, and it provides practice in putting
forward your ideas cogently and concisely.
Once you have the people, time, and resources to expand your activities, you should
gather your activists and discuss the following matters:
1. There are basically three types of activities for libertarian groups: proselytizing (helping
non-libertarians become libertarians), “black-belt” (sharpening the intellectual and polemical
tools of group members), and social (providing pleasant gatherings for your members, such as
monthly dinners). Of course, these categories are not sharply defined. To what extent do you
wish to emphasize each type of activity?
At U.Va., roughly 80% of our effort is essentially proselytizing, 10% social, and 10%
black-belt. Students for Individual Liberty (S.I.L.), our oldest and largest group, sponsors
information tables, decorates display cases in the student union, place large message banners
(we use white paint on large blue tarpaulins) in the U.Va. Amphitheater, and sponsor 5-10
speakers per year. We frequently have an Octoberfest and an end-of-the-year picnic or
banquet. We may add beer-tasting festivals and “Tex/New Mex” food fests in the near future.
I believe the importance of social activities is frequently undervalued by libertarian
activists. For most libertarians, the world can be a cold, cruel, lonely place. I enjoy
tremendously getting together with my libertarian friends to have food and fun, listen to music,
and shoot the breeze (and other things).
2. Do you want to emphasize local issues (campus and/or community) or national issues? Do
you wish to emphasize certain issues, such as gun control, taxation, the war on drugs, or U.S.
3. Do you wish to take a soft-sell or a radical approach, or both (i.e., depending on the issue)?
4. Do you want to affiliate with national organizations, such as the Libertarian Party or ISIL?
I believe it is useful to set up at least two groups at each school. At least one group
should be explicitly politically-oriented, perhaps with a formal connection to the Libertarian
Party. At least one group should be explicitly nonpartisan. At U.Va., University Libertarians
and Law Libertarians are Libertarian Party-oriented. Students for Individual Liberty, Law
Students for Individual Liberty, the Classical Liberal Roundtable, Students for the Second
Amendment, Law Students for the Second Amendment, and The Liberty Coalition have no
direct connection to Libertarian political activity.
The main reason for separating political and nonpolitical activities is that most people,
including many libertarians, are not interested in politics or do not belong to the Libertarian
Party. We want people to attend our educational events without the worry that they are in
some fashion endorsing the activities of the Libertarian Party. In addition, some speakers will
not, or cannot, address political organizations. (This is particularly true of IHS personnel.)
5. In what activities do you wish to engage? (See next section for suggestions.)
6. After you have decided in what activities you will engage, how will the duties of the group
be divided? It is important that these duties be clearly specified and allocated, and that there be
a clear indication of who is responsible for the actions of the group (in honoring contracts,
fulfilling paperwork requirements, and other matters).
7. Do you wish to cosponsor any events with other campus organizations? Are there other
organizations at your school that share the libertarian perspective on one or more issues? For
example, the Federalist Society is a national society of law school students who have a
conservative or libertarian philosophy. Society chapters frequently bring speakers to campus
who are of interest to libertarians. In some cases, joint sponsorship of events with “the Feds”
will be mutually profitable.
8. From which media in your area (newspapers, radio, TV, computer bulletin boards) can you
obtain coverage of, and free publicity for, your events? What are their requirements in terms of
lead time, appropriate means of submitting information, event content, etc.? You should
prepare a media contact list (including fax numbers); the list should be updated regularly.
9. Which members of the faculty and staff are libertarians, or are interested in libertarianism?
Which ones are willing to help your group? Note that at some schools, faculty sponsors are
needed in order to obtain recognition for the group.
10. Are there townspeople who are willing to help the group? “Townies” can provide much-
needed expertise, money, and legwork for the group. Also, townie participation can lend
stability to the group. A major problem for campus groups is that they frequently break up
when the most enthusiastic activists leave school. Townies can provide a solid core of activists.
11. What are the specific, measurable goals of the group? For example, do you have a goal
concerning the number of new members to recruit by next year? I believe it is a good idea to set
goals for the group, although it is not crucial to do so.
12. Do you wish to obtain student activity fee funding for your activities? This is a very
important topic, as it may involve several philosophical issues. At U.Va., we have never asked,
nor have we taken, student activity fee money. For several reasons, we prefer not to take these
funds, even though our groups are eligible for funds.
After discussing these matters, you should contact libertarian and free market groups to
ask about useful literature, books, speakers, scholarship and fellowship programs, etc. Among
these groups are IHS, the Cato Institute (www.cato.org), the Reason Foundation
(www.reason.org), the Mises Institute (www.mises.org), the Competitive Enterprise Institute
(www.cei.org), FEE, ISIL, the Intercollegiate Studies Institute (I.S.I. (www.isi.org), a
conservative group that is frequently very helpful), ASG, and the Libertarian Party.
As an aside, I strongly recommend that every Libertarian campus activist become
familiar with IHS. This organization provides all manner of assistance to students who are
interested in promoting the classical liberal/libertarian perspective.
II. Group Activities
The following is a list of some very basic activities in which your group can engage.
Every successful group I have encountered sponsors most (if not all) of these activities.
1. You can publish a newsletter, which will include information about your upcoming events.
In addition, you can put together a reading list of books and periodicals about libertarianism
that are available in your campus and/or town library. Such lists can be very helpful to those
who are new to the ideas of liberty. Also, if you have the funds, you can mail pamphlets or
flyers to selected groups of students and townspeople as an outreach project.
2. You can set up information tables, particularly during a student group activities fair. You
should have a nice mixture of literature from your group and other libertarian organizations.
Incidentally, it is not necessary to cover your table completely with literature (i.e., it is possible
to have too much literature on the table). You may wish to conduct an “Operation Politically
Homeless” or a formal campus opinion survey during these events.
3. You can establish regular discussion meetings, the topics of which are announced at the
beginning of the school year. One way to do this is to ask each member of the group to select a
topic of particular interest. That member would be responsible for leading the discussion
group on that topic.
4. In addition to gathering on a regular basis to write op-eds or letters to the editor (both local
and national publications), a member may wish to be responsible for contacting people whose
letters to the editor have a libertarian flavor. This contact should include congratulations to the
person for his fine letter, some info about the campus group, and an invitation to participate in
the group’s activities.
5. The group can hold “black-belt” sessions for the committed activists. For example, the
group may reserve one evening per month to engage in mock debates, mock interviews
(preferably with a tape recorder and video camera rolling), discussions of the “hard questions
for libertarians” (such as abortion, the rights of children, capital punishment, etc.), and quizzes
dealing with knowledge of certain aspects of libertarian theory.
6. The group can organize rallies to support or protest against various causes. In addition,
members of the group can attend meetings of other campus groups in order to put forward the
7. The group can set up a “libertarian library” which will lend material on libertarianism. Also,
the group can purchase books and subscriptions to periodicals (such as Reason) to put in
campus and/or town libraries. In addition, you can send interesting articles from these
publications to columnists at the school newspaper.
8. You can invite speakers to address the group. Campus faculty members are a good source
for speakers. One way to encourage them to speak is to ask them to present their current
research ideas (if appropriate) to your group.
Whenever possible, seek cosponsors for your events. This is a good way to find larger
audiences; in some cases, other groups may help fund your event. Also, don’t restrict your
interest only to groups sympathetic to our principles. One of the great victories S.I.L. won a
few years ago occurred when a group with a notoriously statist leadership cosponsored a
speech by Anne Wortham and paid a substantial part of our expenses.
IHS, FEE, the Mises Institute, I.S.I., and other groups are frequently able to provide
speakers. I.S.I. is a particularly good source. Note that there are several ways to present
speakers. Your group can sponsor or arrange debates, panel discussions, “roundtable” or
“fireside” chats, open forums, and lectures to college classes by your invited speakers.
Another possibility is to determine whether there are dormitories on campus which
have lecture series. For example, the Tuttle Dormitory at U.Va. sponsors the “Tuttle Tuesdays”
lecture series; I gave a lecture in the series in my capacity as chairman of the Libertarian Party.
At many universities one can find dormitories in which all residents are studying the same
subject, such as business administration, law, political science, etc. These dorms may also
sponsor speakers on various topics. Hence, you may be able to arrange talks by libertarians at
As an aside, my favorite part of sponsoring speaking events at U.Va. is that in most
cases, we treat the speaker to dinner following the address. Members of our groups, as well as
some address attendees who wish to learn more about our ideas, are invited to join us at
dinner. The result is a really nice time to unwind and chat with our guests. Our speakers enjoy
it, because it gives them the opportunity to meet local libertarians in a relaxed setting, and to
discuss the topic of the evening’s address in greater detail.
9. In some of your classes, you may be able to obtain permission from your professors to
distribute copies of interesting articles from Reason or other publications. Also, you may be
allowed to distribute copies of the “World’s Smallest Political Quiz.”
10. You should establish an e-mail account for your group (using an easily remembered name,
if possible) to facilitate distribution of information. You should also establish a webpage for
your group. Incidentally, the URL for The Liberty Coalition is www.uvaliberty.org. There are
several libertarians who may be willing to assist you in this effort.
11. Be creative in your thinking about events. You may wish to sponsor rock concerts and “pie
a politician” events, show movies (such as The Fountainhead or We the Living), perform street
theater, etc. All of these events can be used as fundraisers.
III. Several Suggestions
This section deals with some of the “little things” which can help in building a
1. Make or purchase a banner giving the name of your group and college. For example, several
of the U.Va. groups have both large (3’ by 4’) and small (1.5’ by 2’) banners in school colors,
featuring the group name and the U.Va. Rotunda symbol. These banners add a wonderful
touch of class at our events, and they really stand out when displayed at information tables.
We place the smaller banners on podiums for our speakers.
2. Create stationery for the group. Also, have T-shirts made which feature the name of the
group, as well as (depending on your taste) the name of your school, your school crest or logo,
or some symbol such as a libersign or the Statue of Liberty. Our U.Va. S.I.L. T-shirt is white,
with a man in black and white (against a magenta background) smashing leg irons on an anvil.
The caption reads, “Smash the Chains of Statism,” with Students for Individual Liberty
underneath the graphic. These shirts are very popular. We sell them at our events, and give
them to our guest speakers and supporters.
3. Always write “thank you” notes to your speakers, newcomers and special guests, people
who send you donations, and people who help you in some significant way.
4. A good way to start the school year is to sponsor a talk by a high-quality speaker on the
basics of libertarianism, to be followed by a reception featuring food and drink. A picnic,
barbecue, or banquet is a nice way to end the year.
5. Determine if there are other libertarian groups within a short distance; if so, make contact
with them and find ways to help each other in attracting speakers, obtaining publicity, etc. If
there are other schools (high schools and colleges) near you which do not have libertarian
groups, determine whether you can help to start groups there. An important principle to
remember is that we are part of a libertarian network. When you assist others in the network,
you are helping yourself.
6. Try to do as much preparation work as possible during the summer. This will make life
much easier for you when school starts.
7. When you contact newspapers and radio and TV stations, particularly for the first time, it is
better to visit them rather than contacting them by phone.
8. Endeavor to have your major events videotaped, and to have photographs taken. Videotapes
of your speakers can be lent to people who were unable to attend; in some cases, you can use
the videotapes as the focus for issue forums. Also, you may be able to arrange to have the
videotapes shown on public access TV.
9. If you have a really nice event scheduled, such as an appearance by a big-name libertarian or
a Libertarian Party presidential candidate, invite the school’s governing board, members of
student council, the mayor and town council, prominent citizens, etc. Even if they do not
attend, you have given them a message that the libertarians are around and ready for action.
I consider virtually every activity undertaken by our groups to be a form of advertising.
When Tom Brokaw of NBC News was chosen as a speaker at the May, 1993 valedictory exercise
at U.Va., I wrote him to suggest that he meet with Bill Olinger, outstanding S.I.L. leader and
member of the Class of ‘93. I knew Mr. Brokaw was unlikely to meet with Mr. Olinger.
However, I wanted Mr. Brokaw to know that an active, well-run libertarian group existed at
U.Va. When it was announced that Charlton Heston would attend the Virginia Festival of
American Film (an important annual event in Charlottesville that draws artists and attendees
from around the world), I wrote him to say I had read the interview he gave to Reason, and to
state that S.I.L. wanted to sponsor a small reception for him. While I knew he was not a
libertarian, he agreed with us on many points. Again, I wanted him to know we were around.
In both cases, the worst result that could occur for us was that the invited party would
decline. If the effort had succeeded, who knows what additional benefits might have come!
IV. Some Things to Remember
1. When you are selling ideas, the messenger is frequently more important than the message (at
least at first). Your behavior will be a big factor for some people in determining whether to
listen to you. Many people believe that libertarians don’t give a damn about others; don’t
reinforce that belief. Also, try to maintain a pleasant demeanor even if you are dealing with
incredibly hostile or stupid people. Pleasant, reasonable people usually make a much better
impression than upset, flustered people do. Also, if possible, do not give your enemies the
pleasure of knowing that they can upset you.
2. Don’t be disappointed if people are not immediately convinced by your arguments. When
people first encounter libertarian ideas, they may need to give the ideas a great deal of thought.
Many current libertarians spent years pondering these matters before becoming libertarians.
As an example, when I was an undergraduate at Va. Tech many years ago, I was not a
libertarian. I was somewhat sympathetic, but I thought some of the ideas were at best
problematic. It took five years for me to become a hardcore libertarian. Because of this, I
realize that the young student who now seems incredibly ignorant (or disgustingly statist)
about these matters may eventually become an important member of the libertarian team.
Never underestimate the effect you can have on someone. Seeds you plant today may
bear tremendous fruit in the future. Also, note that your biggest victories in influencing people
may not be in helping someone to become the next great exemplar of libertarian values, but in
keeping someone from becoming the next Karl Marx.
3. “Little Things Mean a Lot,” as the song suggests. Such items as being late for appointments,
routinely making spelling errors in your literature, and incorrectly specifying the titles or
credentials of your speakers and guests can be very harmful to your efforts to gain respect and
attention for the group.
4. Try to follow the rules set for campus groups by the school administration. Don’t
antagonize administrators needlessly; you may need their help someday. At U.Va., we have
always attempted to treat the administration and staff with courtesy and respect. Aside from
being the right thing to do, this effort has paid off handsomely, in that we have been granted
favors (or the benefit of the doubt) concerning some of our projects.
5. Try to get out in front of counterrevolutions on campus, such as anti-PC, anti-quota, anti-
censorship, and anti-drug prohibition campaigns.
6. Don’t oversell the product. A libertarian society will not be paradise, in my humble opinion;
I believe it will likely be more wealthy and more just, but not perfect. Libertarians are usually
quick to criticize statists for their unjustified confidence in government; we should not make
the same mistake in touting the market. On a more general note, set rigorous standards for
intellectual integrity for group members. Be willing to examine carefully your own arguments,
just as you ask others to examine their arguments.
7. Try to develop an “institutional memory” for the group by maintaining files in which you
store information about your activities. At U.Va., we save anything in the local media which
pertains to our groups, such as op-eds, letters to the editors, news coverage of our speakers, and
advertisements, as well as copies of any outreach material we publish. This provides a sense of
history, continuity, and perspective for our members, as well as a great deal of pride in our
8. Many libertarian groups are good at generating names of prospects. The hard work,
however, is the follow-up. Make sure that your prospects do not lose interest because you
failed to follow up with them.
9. Some people believe that bad publicity for our groups is better than no publicity. I strongly
disagree. Be aware that what your group does today could come back to haunt you.
10. Note that many of the most telling points you make in your criticism of statism
(particularly in the area of economics) will have nothing specifically to do with libertarianism.
For example, the argument that minimum wage laws hurt the poor has nothing to do with
libertarianism per se. Furthermore, most of the arguments you will have about libertarianism
will not involve the basic moral principles of liberty, but will center around disputes as to what
happened during the Great Depression in America or the Industrial Revolution in England.
Thus, when possible, study your history and know your facts.
11. Take the time to think through your plans and tactics. A little thinking before you act can
prevent lots of problems. At U.Va., we devote a fair amount of time to planning our efforts
(usually two or more major strategy sessions per semester), which has paid off handsomely.
12. Be careful not to devote so much time to your libertarian activities that you neglect your
studies. Many libertarian activists become so concerned about building a good group that they
do not attend properly to their schoolwork.
13. By constantly sponsoring speakers, putting up posters and banners, setting up information
tables and display cases, and writing to and for your campus paper, you can have a
tremendous impact (both real and perceived) that, in some cases, is greatly out of proportion to
the size of your group. For your amusement, I offer the following three examples:
On November 29, 1989, the University Journal (one of two U.Va. student newspapers)
ran major op-ed pieces by Bart Hinkle and Kelly Young. Mr. Hinkle and Mr. Young were two
of the three S.I.L. members who wrote weekly columns for the Journal. (Another S.I.L. member
wrote a weekly column for The Cavalier Daily, the other U.Va. newspaper.) Both op-eds
strongly stressed libertarian ideas. Also on that page was a long letter to the editor which I
wrote in response to an ignorant, badly-reasoned attack on libertarianism. That evening S.I.L.
sponsored a forum on the topic of “AIDS and Civil Liberties.” One of our guests was a
graduate student at U.Va. He asked me about S.I.L. and its programs, and then inquired (in all
seriousness) whether the Journal was a S.I.L. publication.
In the October 28, 1992, issue of the University Journal, an op-ed by U.Va. student Justin
Brookman began, “The College Libertarians play far too large a role at this University. With
their mass mailings, huge publicity and constant pumping of their Marrou/Lord ticket, one
might think that the Libertarian Party was bigger than the Democrats or Republicans. In fact, at
college campuses across America, their cause has picked up support.” At that time, 99% of the
work for our groups was being done by three people (Jim Lark, Bill Olinger, and Boris Starosta),
only one of whom (Mr. Olinger) was a student. (We had many members, but few workers.)
On September 30, 1996, University Libertarians sponsored an address by Libertarian
Party Vice-Presidential candidate Jo Jorgensen. Prior to her address, I escorted Ms. Jorgensen
to an interview with The Cavalier Daily. Ms. Jorgensen asked the reporter, Catherine Crump,
about the political scene at U.Va., and inquired which political party was the strongest. Ms.
Crump, a first-year student, immediately responded, “The Libertarians. They’re the most
active and well-organized; at least, they’re the most visible.”
In conclusion, building a good campus group requires lots of time and hard work.
However, the rewards in both personal satisfaction and promoting liberty are tremendous.
Many people deserve thanks for their help during the past two decades. Of particular
note are: Dave August, Hans Bader, Scott Bailey, Greg Banik, Joe Bishop, Don Boudreaux,
Mark Brady, Marc Brandl, Jeff Breen, David Brown, Derwood Chase, Alex Checkovich, Chris
Coyle, Steve Creacy, Jim Elwood, Don Ernsberger, Audrey Fenske, Jay Friedenberg, David
Garland, Dan Garrett and N. B. Soles, Larry Gasman, Richard George, Leonard Harris, Matt
Heiser, Rick Henderson, Karl Hess, Bart Hinkle, Jacob Hornberger, Jesse and Nancy Howell,
Paul Jacob, Karl Jahn, Austin Jamison, Dave Kellogg, Scott Kjar, Jim Lee, Jim Lewis, Chris
Marshall, Bill Martin, Vince Miller, Alison Millett, Marc Montoni, Joe Nacca, Bruce Newman,
Bill Olinger, Tom Palmer, Roger Pilon, Jamie Plummer, Virgy Quist, Charlie Rea, Bill Redpath,
Steve Reed, Rich Robins, Joe Rudmin, Gerhard Schoenthal, Whitney Sheets, Rick Sincere, Byron
Smith, Boris and Janet Starosta, Eric Stetson, Holly Stiefel, Dave and Tina Switzer, Jim Turney,
Gavin Watson, Kurt Weber, Mike Weiss, Gary Westmoreland, Larry Wright, and Kelly Young.
About the author:
James W. Lark, III serves as Assistant to the Athletics Director for Special Projects,
Adjunct Professor of Systems and Information Engineering, and Lecturer in Applied
Mathematics at the University of Virginia. He has served as a visiting scholar at the Center for
the Study of Public Choice at Virginia Tech, an Earhart Foundation fellow at the Center for
Research in Government Policy and Business at the Graduate School of Management at the
University of Rochester, and an adjunct professor at the McIntire School of Commerce at the
University of Virginia. He has also served as director of research for DRA Research in Berkeley,
California. He received a B.S. in Mathematics from Virginia Tech and a Ph.D. in Systems
Engineering from the University of Virginia. He is the author of publications in the areas of
mathematics, operations research, and artificial intelligence.
Dr. Lark currently serves as advisor to The Liberty Coalition and its constituent
organizations at the University of Virginia. He founded most of the Coalition organizations
while a graduate student at the University of Virginia. He also advises college and high school
libertarians throughout the country on promoting libertarian ideas on campus. He has lectured
and conducted workshops on campus organizing at several state Libertarian Party conventions,
and at Libertarian Party national conventions in 1987, 1991, 1996, 1998, 2000, 2002, 2004, and
2006. He currently serves as a member of the faculty of the Libertarian Leadership School.
Dr. Lark currently serves as a regional representative on the Libertarian National
Committee and as a member of the founding board of directors of the Libertarian National
Congressional Committee. He served as chairman of the Libertarian Party during the 2000-
2002 term. From 1998-2000, he served as an at-large member of the Libertarian National
Committee, and as vice-chairman and secretary of the Libertarian Party of Virginia. He was a
member of the Libertarian Party’s platform committee in 1991 and 1998, and a member of the
Bylaws and Rules committee in 2000. He has served as a national campus liaison for the
Libertarian Party, and has conducted three campus organizing campaigns on behalf of the
Party. He has been active in ballot access efforts, and has been honored by the Libertarian
Party for his work on ballot access. He is the recipient of the 2004 Samuel Adams award (given
at Libertarian Party national conventions to the person deemed the most effective activist in the