Chapter Building Strategy 3: The Aesthetics of Tabling

The upcoming “Visualize the Debt” activism at the end of March is a perfect occasion to develop awareness of how you visually present your YAL chapter. 

Aesthetic elements are incredibly important in recruitment; they should have positive visual appeal to passersby glancing at your displays and tabling decorations.  When painting your debt signs, for instance, take the time to make smooth lines on your numbers, consider doing more than just scribbling slogans with a sharpie on posterboard, and be more generally aware of what visually appeals to the broadest cross-section of your student body.

Be conscious of how your table appears to others. Does it look intimidating or inviting? Does it look corny and cliché? How is it differentiated from the tables of other student groups?

As much as possible, look professional, but also remember that you are on a college campus and not a business fair. What visually attracts you may not be what the majority of students find attractive, so be mindful of the attitude of the campus. If it is more professional, you may want more printed media. If you have a more laid back campus, try street art (e.g. stencils — more on stenciling here) and chalk.

Most people will find hand-drawn posters and excessively wordy signs corny or potentially sloppy, so consider investing just a little more time into creating something like a stencil, which is just as cheap as a pack of sharpie markers, but can be more creative and artful. Additionally, you don’t need a ton of words in your visuals, just enough to tease someone into approaching you for the rest of your message.

Remember that you don’t need a bullhorn to be loud. Building large visual displays, such as the type you are encouraged to construct for the “Visualize the Debt” March activism event, can be far more effective in leaving an impression than anything audibly shouted at passersby.

Read last week’s Chapter Building Strategy “Building Community for Sustainability.”

Your correspondence and feedback is always appreciated.  Contact Josh Jackson, Southeast Regional Director, at josh.jackson[at] with ideas, insults, or improvements to these chapter building strategies. 

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