The YAL chapter at Auburn University got started with a few strangers who met while visiting the Auburn Libertarians’ last meeting of the fall of 2009. The group banded together in the spring of 2010, gained provisional status with Auburn, and finished off the semester by creating a 44′ long display of the national debt to promote a Tom Woods lecture at Auburn. Approximately 150 students, professors, and community members attended! We also attended a county-wide Tea Party event.
Auburn YAL at a local Tea Party event at the Opelika Courthouse in Opelika, AL
At the start of this fall, our group’s Street Team immediately hit the concourse before the university’s official organization day (O-day), which helped us build our membership even before the real O-day. With a Dr. Paul “Freedom is Popular” stencil, an “End the Empire” sign, an Operation Politically Homeless kit, and a table covered with books including The Revolution, The Case Against the Fed, and Nullification, we attracted the attention of quite a few excited students!
Aubie examining our “Against Apathy” sign on O-Day
A few weeks later we notified local news affiliates about our organization’s intentions as we displayed our country’s national debt again, since it had gone up another half-trillion dollars. By doing this, we made the evening news on NBC 38 out of Columbus, GA!
And by the end of September the Auburn chapter had grown to 36 nationally registered members! A full report regarding our early activities is available here.
We decided to get creative with our presentation to the student body for Constitution Day by creating a 4′ x 8′ free speech board (our university only regulates speech in the oral fashion). Also for Constitution Day, Dr. Rodger Newman, a professor of journalism at Columbia University, came to speak about the increasingly invasive monitoring conducted by the government under the guise of enhancing our security.
For the first few weeks, we were on the concourse twice a week, and we were consistently on the concourse once a week for the rest of the semester. In our attempts to bring Ron Paul to Auburn, we made a 4′ x 8′ “Bring Ron Paul to Auburn” sign to have behind the table, while also traveling throughout the campus to engage students for their support by directly asking them to sign our petitions. With our efforts, we gathered about 1700 signatures in 6 days!
We implemented the same strategy for our “End the Meal Plan Mandate” campaign throughout the semester. Auburn, like many other schools, requires its new students to pay $300 or $1000 for a mandatory meal plan. Regardless of whether or not they spend the money, it is lost at the end of the year.
We hosted tailgates for two of our home football games, where we were able to casually meet a different crowd than we were otherwise able to meet on the concourse.
In late September, YAL@AU was featured in The Auburn Plainsman, the campus newspaper, as the alternative voice to the political nonsense of the left and right.
Being so fortunate to have the Mises Institute in our backyard, we attended their Supporter’s Summit on October 8th – 9th. There, nine members of Auburn’s YAL met YALers from Mississippi State University, Florida State University, and Clayton State University. More details are available here. Later in the semester, we arranged for all our members that were interested to be given a formal tour of the Mises Institute. This served to introduce them to the people and the atmosphere of ideas there.
Auburn YAL with Dr. Peter Klein
On October 25th, we were fortunate to have Dr. Mark Thornton speak to our group about the dangers and consequences of prohibition in a discussion entitled ‘Homer Economicus,’ a lesson using an episode of the Simpsons as an illustration.
Three of our members attended the Mises event in Greenville, SC at Furman University on November 13, 2010. The subject of this occasion was “The Coming Currency Crisis and the Downfall of the Dollar” with a speaking lineup including Doug French, Tom DiLorenzo, Timothy Terrell, Mark Thornton, and Lew Rockwell. Members were also honored to be seated and share conversation with Bettina Greaves, a personal friend to Ludwig von Mises and editor of several of his works.
On November 15th, Jeffrey Tucker discussed the past, present, and future of Intellectual Property and why it predominantly harms the market and restricts freedom.
Jeff Tucker from the Mises Institute speaking to YAL@AU
On November 17th, four of our members carpooled to Samford University in Birmingham, AL to hear Gary Johnson, the former Governor of New Mexico, speak about the future of Liberty. This also provided us the opportunity to interact with other YAL groups in Alabama.
Auburn YAL with Gary Johnson former Governor of New Mexico
With Thanksgiving behind us, we plan to protest the TSA’s further antipathy towards our liberty with their recent usage of new full-body scanners which are capable of producing what is essentially a nude image of the person being scanned and have the potential to cause significant health problems. We will also be interested in hearing about any of our YAL members’ and other student’s “special” experiences at the airports. We will kick off the new year with a fun, educational experience about the Federal Reserve, including how it destroys our purchasing power, makes the poor poorer, and facilitates the welfare/warfare state!Published in