Free Markets 101 a Hit at UWF

Engaging college students in political issues, much less economic-related ones, can be a challenge, as I’m sure most YAL activists can attest.

At our recent Spring recruitment fair here at the University of West Florida, “Blizzard Bash,” we faced that challenge, surrounded by everything from team “sled” races to puppies(!) at nearby tables to athletic competitions beside us. To make matters worse, a cold front had come through the area, and we Floridians were walking fast and shivering in the 40-degree weather (sorry, Northerners). How would we attract students to hear about economics, of all things? Luckily, we had an ace in the hole provided by Young Americans for Liberty.

Table setup

As part of YAL’s 2013 Spring Activism supplies with the Free Markets 101 project, we had been provided with one of my favorite games, Jenga, made even better—giant Jenga!

Our setup almost immediately began attracting attention, and students gathered in large groups to play the game and hear about economics in a unique and interesting way.

Discussing Liberty

One of the best aspects of this game is the endless icebreakers it provides along with the opportunity for conversation instead of just signup. Beyond simply attracting students to the table, we had their attention for extended amounts of time and could open up related discussions.

“You can play, but would you please sign up?” (Almost everyone did.)

“So we’re actually a political group—is anyone curious why we have giant Jenga?” (Almost everyone was.)

We were able to sign up dozens of students as well as give out fliers with information on our upcoming economics roundtable scheduled for late February.

The Game Became Intense

This game is an extraordinary resource because it provides a hook to attract students who might not consider themselves political—and an easy, accessible way to turn the conversation toward economic and other issues afterwards. We will definitely be using this game in the future!


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