Georgetown University’s YAL chapter had our first big project today, where we made a free speech wall and put it right in the middle of campus. We chose the free speech wall because we felt that it would be the best, most noticeable project for our growing chapter. Georgetown also has a huge free speech problem and we felt that the wall would give students an opportunity to express their own opinions.
First, we made a run to our local hardware store to buy the materials needed for the project. It turns out that none of the three members that went had any clue about anything hardware related, so that managed to take a little longer than expect! And in the end, we ended up messing up our wood and missing a inner support, shrinking our wall by half.
However, things got easier when it got down to the sawing; the problem kicked in with the screwing. With complete novices holding the screwdriver, we managed to take a grand total of 6 hours to finally finish screwing the supports together. The problem was, of course, that this process finished literally one hour before we were scheduled to table.
We managed it in the end, of course. After lugging the supports, table, plywood, and other assorted materials a half mile to our destination, we set up in prime territory in Georgetown University’s Red Square. And as soon was we set up, we began attracting attention from the students walking by. Students were interested in the question being asked, “What do you think about the government shutdown?” — especially the College Republicans who were tabling right next to us. Our pocket Constitutions and support of the First Amendment ended up being a smashing success with them!
As the day went on, we began filling up more and more space on our smallish wall; eventually we had to ask writers to squeeze their comments in. Our wall wasan’t the only hit, as we managed to exhausted all the pocket Constitutions we were given. Faculty, tourists, and students all appreciated the Constitutions and we had many positive comments about our support for the Founding Documents.
We also unearthed some libertarians who were ecstatic to learn about the existence of a YAL chapter on campus (and SFL, who was tabling with us). We signed these libertarians right up!
Finally, at 4 p.m., we took down the wall. All in all, we considered it a smashing success for the club. We managed to excite our members with seven members contributing to the project, we managed to excite the campus with the existence of a new activism group, and lastly we managed to educate the campus about the Constitution and free speech! We hope to set up a free speech wall every Friday from now on; and this time our wall will be bigger!