Nothing causes more sadness than when another individual becomes the victim of a violent assault. Most people turn to big government solutions to curb violent crime because they don’t know the real effects of these policies.

Advocates of limited government understand that the more easily law-abiding citizens can access weapons––never to endanger others but only to protect themselves––the more easily they may prevent a violent crime from ever happening. Campus policies and government laws that restrict people’s ability to defend themselves must be reformed now: #NoMoreVictims.

The four goals of every “Your Life. Your Right.” 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 to expand its outreach
  4. Reform campus policies that inhibit individual liberty

YAL is offering two unique ways for you to raise awareness on campus and champion the right of self defense. We recommend that you do both so that you can make the biggest impact on campus as possible. No matter how you decide to advocate for responsible self defense, be sure to follow these steps to execute an impactful and educational event.

  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:
    • An activism grant for up to $100
    • A recruitment kit packed with materials, clip boards, sidewalk chalk, books, flyers, 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. 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. (Read below about how you can organize a Your Life, Your Right petition.)
  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 Your Life, Your Right activism project:

1. Recruit new members
2. Educate your classmates
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 Your Life, Your Right 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.

Choose an event

Use one or both of these activism ideas to make your Your Life, Your Right event eye-catching and effective.

1. Circulate a No More Victims petition

This is a great tool to increase support on your campus for the right to self-defense and recruit new members for your YAL chapter. Print off YAL’s Your Life, Your Right petition sheets and gather as many students’ contact information as possible. Your list of contacts will be essential for mobilizing students to your follow-up event. YAL activist Jacob Pritchett first developed this tactic when he and the rest of his YAL members organized a Students for Self-Defense group on campus and circulate a No More Victims petition.

This tactic will be most impactful if you also put up a Dodgeball-Free Zone to get recruits (read below).

2. Create a “Dodgeball-Free Zone”

This activism event is for chapters that are ready to go above and beyond to make a splash on their campus. Many colleges, high schools, and our government prohibit the possession of many self-defense weapons including pepper spray, tasers, and many more.

These weapon-free zones do not protect individuals from assaults. Rather, they make it much easier for criminals to target defenseless citizens and students. We’ve devised a fun, engaging, and safe way for you to show the students on your campus what the real effects of these defenseless zones are.

Order your materials

You can apply for an activism stipend through YAL to cover the cost of the materials needed to create your Defense-Free Zone on campus.

Here are the materials you will need to execute your event:

  1. A YAL recruitment kit. Click here to apply for yours.
  2. A pack of dodgeballs. Click here to order the set that YAL recommends.
  3. A set of orange traffic cones. Click here to order the set that YAL recommends.
  4. A bullseye-target shirt to help the students who approach your table aim. Click here to order the one that YAL recommends.

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: 
 
Whether you decide to collect sign-ups on a Right to Defend petition, erect a Defense-Free zone or another eye-catching display, make sure to set up on campus at a high-traffic area in order to maximize your engagement with students.

Set up your display

You’ll want to set up your cones on the ground in a rectangle shape. Make sure that there is a cone in the middle of each “long” side so that you have an invisible middle line to divide the zone into two sides. Keep your dodgeballs at your recruitment table to give to students once they sign up.

 

Get students to play

Approach every student that walks by your table. You never know who could be a high-quality member of your chapter. Post colorful flyers all around campus and make a Facebook event to advertise your tabling event and your follow up meeting.

Ask students if they would like to play a very quick game of dodgeball. Once they agree, give them a dodgeball, and tell them that they have to choose a team to represent.

Ask them if they want to play the role of a law-abiding citizen or a criminal. Then, tell them that the game will be “sudden death style”––each person gets one ball, and the first person to get hit loses.

Have one of your YAL members stand across from the student to face off with them. If your student decided to be the law-abiding citizen, then inform them that the coned area is actually a Dodgeball-Free zone. Since they are a law-abiding citizen, they have to follow the rules and give up their dodgeball.

Then, explain that since you are the criminal in the situation and you don’t follow laws, that you will still get to keep and use your dodgeball. Then… throw!

After they’ve been hit––or you have––explain to them that your Dodgeball-Free zone illustrates the dangers of banning weapons that can be used for self-defense and to stop violent crimes. Don’t engage in debate. Instead, ensure that they sign up, and tell them that there will be ample time for discussion at your follow-up meeting.

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. Always keep plenty of Your Life. Your Right. petition sheets on hand.

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. Use these resources to learn how you can make the news at the campus, local, state, or even national level!

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 Dodgeball-Free Zone the other day. It was great getting meeting you. We’re all getting ready for our follow-up meeting and social right now. How all 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.

blog

  • 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 Your Life, Your Right 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 pub, a nearby bar, or do something more creative like go to one of your school’s football games together.

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!