157 students signed up to #FixTheSystem. After two days of tabling and a panel packed full of students, we had 157 people from the University of Virginia sign up to promote criminal justice reform. Our project started at Lowes. They would not cut the pipes for us so we did it ourselves (which was an experience) and gave the pieces two coats of grey spray paint.
We assembled the jail cell with help from the YAL Incarceration Nation How to Guide and painted signs for tabling. Our signs helped to catch students’ eyes as they walked by our table.
For tabling, we made sure to have fliers to hand out with our Facebook page name as well as the date and time of our upcoming panel. It was important to include our Facebook page so that students could tag themselves in the mugshot album we uploaded. From two days of tabling, we had 40 students take their mugshot.
When talking to students, we advertised free pizza, cookies, and prizes at our upcoming panel. A majority of the 100+ students that attended the panel got pizza and cookies, but they went fast!
Our panelists included Professor Sherri Moore (Commercial Law professor at UVA and former defense attorney), Ben Jones (Conservatives Concerned About the Death Penalty), and Luke Kenworthy (Generation Opportunity). The room was filled to max capacity and it was encouraging to see so many students care about reforming the criminal justice system.
The panel began with each panelist introducing themselves and their work then moved to the moderator asking prewritten questions. At the end, it was opened to the audience and several students asked thought provoking questions. We had a fantastic discussion about how to fix the system and our panel was covered by our school newspaper, The Cavalier Daily.
Incarceration Nation at the University of Virginia was a terrific success with 157 sign ups in total! We documented our whole experience and put together a video. Enjoy!