From Zero to Summit in 60 Days (Give or Take)

As we blow past the middle of our spring semester, we can confidently say it has been a dashing success thus far here at Mansfield University. After our Spring Recruitment Drive (our very first here), we added several new faces to our chapter. We went from five to twenty involved on campus, and doubled our dues-paying members from four to eight. I attribute our success in growing our chapter to a few factors.

1. – We recruited with Positive Energy. 

We were energetic and showed people how liberty makes us feel. Nobody wants to join an organization with unmotivated, lax membership. 

2. – We handed out flyers.

Our flyers included the YAL logo, our mission statement, and the date, time, and location of our follow-up meeting. We didn’t just hand them to signups, either. We handed them to absolutely everyone who would take them. (Note: There are lots of people who won’t take flyers. Just laugh at them. They’re missing an opportunity by not taking the flyers, but you’re not missing the opportunity to try to reach out to them.) 

Our flyers also included a brief description of what we’d be presenting at the info session. We listed it as follows:

“—   info about Young Americans for Liberty, our mission and what we believe

—   exciting plans for the rest of our spring and moving forward

—   amazing opportunities for you, yes YOU, within thelargest, most active, and fastest growing student pro-liberty organization in America”

To me, that really drew prospective members in and piqued their interest, and in my opinion made the difference between going and not going for several people.

3. – We ran a lecture-based follow-up informational meeting and segued right into a business/social meeting which anyone who was there could participate in.

I think structuring the follow-up meeting like a class session definitely had a nice result. We ran a PowerPoint presentation and covered every possible area we could discuss about YAL and what happens within and around the organization. I took questions at several points, and the other officers of the club pitched in and rounded out most every point of discussion in the presentation. 

At the end of the presentation I told everyone they were welcome to leave or they could stay if they wanted while we talk about business matters. Everyone stayed, so I started us going around the room explaining why liberty was important to us and what inspired us to fight for it. That got lots of people thinking and is another thing which I think helped retain new members. 

Moving forward from the informational meeting, we retained an attendance of about ten at every weekly meeting between that and our summit in Pittsburgh. We got a Constitution nailed down, found a faculty advisor, and I went to an exciting Student Government budget workshop as required in order to make a budget or receive SGA funding during next school year. These steps are all working toward our official recognition by both the University and Student Government. The benefits of such recognition are quite notable here at Mansfield. In addition to being able to receive money from the school, we can also use University vans for transportation to events, have our events put on the university calendar, be part of the group of “first come, first served” clubs that also have official recognition when trying to sign out spaces for our events, and the list goes on. Our goal is to receive such recognition by the end of the semester.

On April first, I filled up a giant coffee mug at 3am, and at 3:15, four more liberty warriors hopped in. We departed for Pittsburgh in the freezing rain, and arrived by 8:30. It goes without saying how incredible of an experience that was. The others from my chapter who came have expressed their delight with the proceedings. I’m currently urging them to write blog posts of their own to talk about it. 

One of the exciting things about our group that went to the summit was that while three of us were quite seasoned in our knowledge of political issues and rather staunch in our views of the role of government and the importance of liberty, the other two were fresh and ready to learn. They joined our chapter because they felt the drive to learn and build their world views. What better place to do that than our organization? I was overjoyed to watch them learning, taking notes, and thinking through the things that were presented to us during the summit. I personally witnessed precisely two lapses in consciousness from our group, and they were both me, owing to the fact that I was unable to sleep out of excitement the night before, but they were only momentary and I can happily say I didn’t miss a single nugget of information from a single person who presented to me. The entire ride home from Pittsburgh was rich with discussion about the role of government, our plans for more activism, feelings about different issues, a bit of fangirling in the aftermath of Ron Paul photos, and of course, four different stops at four different Sheetz’s for Heath to get more coffee. 

We’re looking forward to doing two more events this spring at Mansfield, and I’m personally looking forward to regaling you all with stories of their success.

Until next time,

Heath DeGaramo, Chapter President, Mansfield University of Pennsylvania

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