YAL @ the University of Texas at Dallas has hit the ground running as we kick off our first official full year of organizational activity. Our officers spent the summer months meeting and discussing plans for approaching the school year with a focus on recruitment, the content of meetings, and the overall direction in which we want to take our YAL chapter.
Recruitment began with tabling sessions aimed at gaining exposure for the group. Coupled with an on-campus flyer campaign, our efforts resulted in a number of signups and even in some students approaching the group directly outside of our tabling sessions. Even on a campus with an apolitical reputation such as UT Dallas, it was refreshing to see just how many people YAL’s views resonated with, and to see the number of students seeking an outlet for political activism.
Our first meeting was held on September 16. We formally introduced YAL to our new members and illustrated YAL principles through a series of videos touching on topics from classical liberalism to the Bill of Rights.
After the formal introductions, we each explained our personal reasons for participation in the liberty movement, events that shaped our views, and what we hoped to take away from involvement with YAL.
For Constitution Week, our chapter distributed Constitutions on the university’s Student Union Mall. Many students stopped by to ask about the organization, and we used the opportunity to talk to students about the focus of our chapter’s Constitution Week: the Fourth Amendment.
As the NSA scandal is still topical, many students were familiar with the controversy over privacy rights, but few were familiar with the Constitutional angle.
Discussions with students would sometimes stray into the territories of other amendments (such as the First) and it was interesting see the diversity of student opinion on issues such as free speech and surveillance. If students felt inclined to do so, we asked them to answer the question: “Why does the Fourth Amendment matter to me?” and write their answers on poster board of students’ collected responses.
“Free flow of information.”
“Why are you watching? Individual freedom matters!”
“Many have died for this freedom.”
“My right, my life.”
Being able to engage with the students on campus was a pleasure for all involved and, as we continue our campaign of growth, we hope to have many more opportunities like Constitution Week to reach UT Dallas students!