Do you value your privacy? Are you satisfied compromising liberty for a false sense of security? Following the 2013 Edward Snowden leaks, it was revealed that millions of US citizens’ communication records were collected daily by the NSA. Privacy remains a major issue in today’s political discussion, but why should you care?

-Government requests for Facebook data soared 27% in the first 6 months of 2016.

-Under the USA Freedom Act, one surveillance warrant could cover 40,000+ people without individualized warrants due to the two “hops” authorization. This permits the surveillance of all suspects contacts, as well as all of their contact’s contacts under one umbrella authorization.

-Nearly 30% of Americans have consciously changed their means of communication or content of digital discussion due to fear of surveillance.

-Even former FBI Director James Comey urges individuals to tape laptop webcams due to the ease of access to personal cameras connected to the internet

-Director of National Intelligence James Clapper has stated the potential of government agencies using the internet “for identification, surveillance, monitoring, location tracking, and targeting for recruitment, or to gain access to networks or user credentials”

-An internal NSA audit found that the agency broke privacy laws “thousands of times per year”

YAL’s national #RestoreThe4th initiative is designed to educate students on both the history of spying in the US as well as current capabilities.

The three goals of every activism event are to:

  1. Educate new students in the ideas of liberty
  2. Recruit new members for your YAL chapter
  3. Earn media attention for your event

Don’t forget to use your #RestoreThe4th PowerPoint for your follow-up meeting!

YAL’s #RestoreThe4th kit has you covered with everything you need to advocate the vital importance of privacy on campus.

  1. 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 plan and 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.
  2. Apply for resources: YAL is offering FREE resources and recommendations to every participating YAL chapter:
    • A #RestoreThe4th kit packed with materials including clipboards, surveillance warrant palm cards, a poster, laptop webcam stickers and everything else you’ll need to draw students to your chapter.
  3. 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. Add your new sign ups to your chapter page, and each new member will get an email asking them to join your chapter on the website.
  4. 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 actionable 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 four most important goals for any Restore the 4th activism project:

  1. Recruit new members
  2. Educate your classmates on privacy rights
  3. Earn media attention
  4. Reform campus policies that constrain liberty

For each activism event, there are two major components:

  1. An on-campus tabling or clip-boarding exercise, including a visual display to recruit new members and promote your upcoming #RestoreThe4th meeting/event.
  2. A large chapter meeting/event to educate all attendees and discuss the issue you are addressing. This could be a speaker, PowerPoint presentation, politician, professor, movie, and/or general discussion.

Take action.

Issue “surveillance warrants” to your fellow classmates

Suit up! Wear a suit (if accessible), rock your YAL spy shades, pin up your “Government Surveillance Officer” badge and play the part of a government agent!

While wearing your YAL spy shades, government surveillance officer badge, and spy earpiece, flag down your classmates on cause of suspicious activity! Use YAL’s “Government Surveillance Warrant” palm cards and check off the box that best fits their “reasonable suspicion”.

“Excuse me but you’re walking suspiciously fast right now, I’m going to have to check your bags as authorized by this secret warrant.” “Oh you refuse? That’s great! I’m ______ with Young Americans for Liberty advocating against government surveillance on everything from your phone calls to your social media accounts. Come join us in taking our liberty vs surveillance quiz!”

YAL’s #RestoreThe4th activism event is designed to educate students on the extensive surveillance history of the US government as well as its current capabilities.  Spark a discussion on whether they believe it’s intrusive, efficient, or event constitutional for the government to spy so broadly on US citizens. Use an outward facing laptop with an active webcam and pretend to monitor students as they walk by on campus. Use this display alongside your Big Brother poster to draw students attention to the issue of telephone and internet privacy. Once you get the signup, don’t forget to hand out the #RestoreThe4th laptop security sticker and invite them to your next meeting on privacy rights!

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, so you can host a film screening, a speaker, or give a presentation. 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 hardly anyone 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.

Once you know what event you want to conduct on your campus, be sure to follow these simple steps in order to make it the best thing your campus has ever seen:

Set up your display

If you’re capable of reserving a table, first prop up your “Big Government is Watching” poster so it is easily visible on campus from a far. Lay out your YAL “FISA Court Warrant” palm cards, YAL webcam safety stickers,  so they’re accessible for you to issue some warrants and hand out some gear!

Sign up EVERYONE

Stay focused. The purpose of every activism event is to build your chapter and grow the youth movement for liberty. This is the only way that your YAL chapter can grow and maintain a lasting presence on campus.

Sign up everyone you possibly can, and make sure to upload their contact information to your chapter page using the member upload tool. And always follow up with the students who have signed up at your table.

Pro tip: Ask every student who you get to stop at your table to sign up for a reminder about the follow up event, and ask them if they can make it to the event. Students are more likely to follow through on something they verbally commit to.

Distribute flyers at your table, and post them around campus to promote your follow-up event. Be sure to create a Facebook event and invite all your friends and YAL members. Write with chalk on campus sidewalks to educate students about your activism effort and promote your follow up event. Think of creative ways to get the word out. You can never promote too much!

Even if it’s your campus paper, getting media attention for your activism event can reach hundreds, if not thousands, more people. Contact YAL’s Director of Communications to get direct help on earning media for your activism.

Host a productive follow-up meeting/event

You only have one chance to make a good first impression. Your first meeting after your tabling event should set the proper tone you want to convey as a chapter. That’s why YAL created a guide to running a successful meeting so that you can know exactly how to retain your new members with your meeting.

Here are some great resources for your informational meeting.

Follow up or fail

Sign-ups are worth nothing if you don’t execute a proper follow up with each new contact you have and get them to your follow-up event.

This is the perfect time to talk with the new students that you engaged with during your project about the importance of preserving the right to self defense.

Follow up in multiple ways

Don’t rely on email follow ups: no one reads them besides the government. Be sure to give each interested student a personal phone call and ask them if they can come to your next meeting. Remember, students are more likely to follow through with something that they verbally commit to do.

Pro tip: Have the YAL members who recruit at your table put their initials next to the students they sign up. It will be easier for them to convince people they actually talked to to come to the follow-up meeting by calling them.

After you’ve called everyone, send a follow up text the day of your event to round up any stragglers who wouldn’t show up otherwise. Try something like this:

“Hey [name], this is [name] from YAL. Thanks for stopping by our Restore the 4th privacy event the other day. It was great getting to meet you. We’re all getting ready for our follow-up meeting and social tonight. How many people are you bringing with you?”

Email will only serve as a good reminder to those whom you’ve already reached by phone, text, and social media.

Engage

Host your event to feature a speaker, a documentary screening or a presentation as soon as possible. Your event should be within a couple days of your tabling activities so students don’t forget.

Schedule the meeting during an evening time slot which will conflict with the fewest number of classes possible, and don’t schedule events (other than socials) on weekends — don’t give your new recruits any reason not to attend!

At the meeting, begin by introducing YAL and explain how to get involved in your chapter. Next, screen your film or give your speaker the floor. After the meeting, offer an opportunity to socialize by going out for pizza, drinks, or whatever works best for your chapter to discuss the meeting and the ideas of liberty.

Conduct follow ups consistently even after students have come to their first YAL meeting. Consistent communication with students is the only way to ensure that they establish lasting friendships within your chapter, and therefore, stay involved after their first exposure to YAL.

Use the Member Upload Tool to upload all your new members’ information to your chapter page.

You can greatly increase the impact of your chapter’s activism efforts by documenting and sharing your story with other YAL activists on the YAL national blog within one week of your event. If you’re a chapter officer, it’s simple: Click here.

Learn how to properly document your activism event. Read this quick guide or watch this short (and funny) video to learn how you can submit the best activism blog posts.

  • Have detailed reports: Post all your pictures, give us all the details, and share with us how students reacted to your activism.
  • Include your best pictures and video: Take as many photos as you can including action shots and group photos. Aim for at least 5 awesome pictures in your report. Include short videos (about 3-4 minutes). Make them upbeat, and mix in some music. Post your video to YouTube and embed the video in your chapter report.
  • Include how many recruits you got: A primary goal of every activism event is to recruit new members into your YAL chapter. Share in your blog post how many sign-ups you got, how many participants you had in your event, and how many students you engaged overall.

Include all of your earned media: Chapters that earn media attention reach a much wider audience and greater respect on campus. Include links to all of your media coverage in your report.

Once your chapter has conducted a successful Restore the 4th event, it will pay to have a social to bring everyone together, celebrate your hard work, and provide an opportunity for your new recruits to feel welcomed into the group.

After your follow-up meeting, consider hosting a social. You can go out to a local pizza shop, a nearby pub, or do something more creative like go on a hike or attend a school sports event.

People may first become interested in your YAL chapter because of the ideas of liberty, but no one will stay as a member unless your chapter proves to be a source of camaraderie and friendship for them.

Use this Momentum for Your Next Activism Project!

Through conducting a successful activism effort, you won’t convince everyone to join your chapter, but you’ll see your membership grow quickly. You’ll be thankful you put in the effort when you have a record-setting turnout at your next chapter meeting!

Remember, every event you do on campus should be used as a launching pad for your next big project so don’t let your momentum end with this event! Use this energy to mobilize for your next big activism project. Check out more of YAL’s National Activism projects.

Contact your Regional Director to help you plan your event!