We are thrilled to report on the amazing reception The Seasteading Institute received at the 2012 International Students for Liberty Conference — the largest gathering of liberty-minded students ever held. We owe a huge thanks to our awesome ambassadors Matt Pritchard, Charles Peralo, Alex Merced and Tony Cotzias, who bused down to Washington D.C. to help us maximize our presence at the event. Their efforts enabled us to add nearly 100 passionate students to our monthly mailing list, and inspire many more in various conversations with conference participants. Michael’s breakout speech on how students fit into the seasteading movement was one of the most widely attended, and had students lined out the door. We have already received new applicants to both our volunteer student research and ambassadors programs.
The opening night of the conference featured a keynote speech by seasteading co-founder and major funder, Peter Thiel, who talked about the need for greater entrepreneurship among young people, something we’ve been promoting at The Seasteading Institute through our new volunteer research program for students. Several questions during the Q&A portion of Thiel’s speech revolved around seasteading, which was an early indicator of the excitement and curiosity about seasteading among the conference attendees. Thiel pointed out the role the Institute plays in furthering a public discussion about the lack of competition and consumer choice in the government industry. He also plugged Ephemerisle, the annual floating festival on the Sacramento River Delta, noting that it is a great venue for exploring radical but important ideas in a safe space of open-minded and forward-thinking individuals.
Later, we hosted a social gathering at our rental apartment for the most enthusiastic students we met over the course of the weekend. Conversations about the present and future of the seasteading movement lasted until the wee hours of the morning, as we connected with to potential future ambassadors, supporters and other people interested in our ideas.
It was especially helpful to receive feedback directly from our ambassador team on how we can hone our message for different purposes and audiences. We also talked about possibilities for new ambassador projects. For example, YouTube gurus Matt Pritchard and Alex Merced offered to start producing a frequent seasteading-themed podcast (you can find videos from the conference on Alex’s YouTube channel), and others suggested more active event-organizing on college campuses. We’re eager to continue these conversations, and to start new ones with other ambassadors and community members who have cool ideas for bolstering our movement-building efforts. Please leave feedback in the comments on this post or through email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Once again, we give a big shout-out to all the volunteers who helped us this weekend, and we hope to meet more of you at similar events in the future!