The YAL chapter at Indiana University -Kokomo started our “fight for free speech” event by rolling a free speech ball around campus. We purchased a giant, 5-ft diameter beach ball in order to allow students to write their thoughts and opinions on it. This was a really fun and engaging way to get students talking and thinking about free speech, as well as to experience it for themselves.
After purchasing the beach ball, the markers, and the compressor, we began to promote the movie by putting up posters all over campus, as well as leaving little fliers with the time, date, and location of the movie screening on tables and other surfaces around campus. After about two weeks of promotion, the time finally came for our free speech ball event.
The ball itself was a big hit. We had tons of students and even some professors stop by and express their opinions, political or otherwise. There were a few bible verses written, and some pro-environmental sentiments. In order to get things started, one of our group members wrote “Nobody 2016” to express their disapproval with the current crop of presidential candidates.
We carried a clipboard in order to get sign ups for both the group and the movie screening during the time that we had the ball on campus, and we also had a table set up nearby to distribute promotional materials and general YAL literature. Many students got involved and seem to be very receptive to the idea of letting people speak their minds, even if they happened to disagree with the opinions that they were expressing.
Two days later, we had our movie screening. Although the turnout wasn’t as much as we wanted it to be the movie itself was great and it helped start conversations about free speech and comedy. We may attempt to show this movie again next semester, mainly because it has such a good message. It has a little something for everyone and can appeal to people across the whole political spectrum.