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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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:
- 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.
- 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:
- A YAL recruitment kit. Click here to apply for yours.
- A pack of dodgeballs. Click here to order the set that YAL recommends.
- A set of orange traffic cones. Click here to order the set that YAL recommends.
- 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.