No matter how your chapter chooses to have fun with this event, following these steps will ensure that you optimize the outcome of your event:
- Reach out to YAL’s Leadership Team for support: YAL’s Leadership Team is your number-one tool for success. Find a YAL leader near you who can help you execute your activism event. Your Regional Director and the State Chairs in your area are your best resource for learning how to organize an effective activism event. If either position has not yet been filled, learn more and apply to join the Leadership Team here.
- Apply for resources: YAL is offering FREE resources and recommendations to every participating YAL chapter:
- An activism grant for up to $100
- A recruitment kit packed with materials, clip boards, sidewalk chalk, books, flyers, a political quiz and chart, and everything else you’ll need to draw students to your chapter.
- We’ve also created a fun Government Zombies Flyer (color) (B&W)
- Always recruit for liberty: With every activism event you do, you should recruit new members. Print out plenty of YAL sign-up sheets to sign up interested students. When your event is over, use the Member Upload Tool to upload all your new members’ information to your chapter page. Once you upload member information, each new member will get an email asking them to join your chapter.
- Make your plans:
Meet up with your chapter members and plan the dates and details for your activism event. Take some time to brainstorm and put your ideas on paper. After a productive meeting, you should walk away with a clear and executable plan with specific tasks assigned to your members.
Ask yourselves some basic questions: What do you want to do? Who is going to do what? When are you going to do it? How much preparation time is needed? When are you going to meet again to prepare?
Always keep in mind the three most important goals for any activism project:
1. Recruit new members
2. Educate your classmates
3. Earn media attention
For each activism event, there are two major components:
- An on-campus tabling exercise, including visual display and/or interactive quiz, to recruit new members and promote your upcoming YALOWEEN meeting/event.
- A large chapter meeting/event to educate all attendees and discuss the issue you want to address. This could be a speaker, PowerPoint presentation, politician, professor, movie, and/or general discussion.
Choose an event
For your event, get creative with your chapter about how you want to spread the ideas of liberty on campus. You can draw a lot of inspiration from seeing what other YAL chapters have done for their events!
Civil Liberties Graveyard
One of the most popular ways YAL chapters have executed their events is by building and displaying a “civil liberties graveyard” in order to catch student’s attention, and show them just how scary big government is.
If you want to attract new recruits, then you have to gain their attention. There are two simple ways to grab any student’s attention while tabling:
1. Engage students to interact with you,
2. And build a large display students cannot ignore.
For this activism event, your chapter will need some very simple supplies in order to build your civil liberties graveyard:
- Wood, thick cardboard, or styrofoam to make your tombstones out of
- Wood or metal pegs to attach your tombstones to and place in the ground
- Gray spray paint or liquid paint for your base coat on your tombstones, and
- White or black spray paint or liquid paint for writing your deceased liberties
You might also choose to save some time by purchasing cheap, pre-cut “tombstones” that you can then paint and write various liberties on.
Regardless of how you choose to make your tombstones, make sure that they are bold and will catch students’ attention when you put them up next to your recruitment table.
Reserve a high-traffic area to table on campus once you have picked your dates for execution. As a recognized student organization, it should be as simple as contacting your student affairs office and jumping through the necessary hoops to receive permission to table.
If your YAL chapter is not yet officially recognized by your university and it won’t let you reserve tabling space, don’t fear. Get creative, and always remember that the table doesn’t get recruits: you do.
If your campus gives you any trouble and tries to relegate your activism to a “free speech zone,” please contact us so we can help you defeat these unconstitutional regulations.
Reserve a classroom and the necessary video equipment, to accommodate your goals for your follow-up event. Predict how many students you think will attend the film screening, and reserve a room to accommodate.
Pro tip: Always reserve rooms that are only big enough to accommodate 75% of the amount of people you expect to show up. It is better for everyone to think that your event ended up having standing room only when you host it in a smaller room rather than think that no one showed up when you host it in a large auditorium.
We strongly suggest that you walk through the room before the event, so you understand how the equipment works and how to set up the room properly.