Introducing EMU to YAL

If you think Congress acts slowly, try getting Campus Life approval for your student organization! I was first recruited to start a YAL chapter at EMU in early January of this year. It has taken me an entire semester to secure a meeting with the coordinator for student organizations, which will take place April 30. The new coordinator seems eager to work with me and I couldn’t be more excited to get YAL officially recognized by Eastern. After being told that I should just join the ACLU, and some unanswered emails, this is a pleasant fresh start.

Attending the International Students for Liberty Conference in February and witnessing the energy that YAL helped bring inspired me to persevere. Hearing from a lot of “big names” in the liberty movement helped me see the greater cause that we are fighting for as young intellectuals and activists. In addition, receiving advice from other chapter founders was a great learning experience.

When I returned to campus, I began setting up our social media platforms and worked with EMU’s SFL chapter to establish theirs. Hesitant to begin recruiting on campus without university recognition, and bogged down by midterms and internship interviews, I waited until April to begin activism so that I could give my baby YAL chapter the energy it deserved. 

Students Take the Quiz!

On April 2, I attempted my first Spring Recruitment Drive with the Operation Politically Homeless kit at our Student Center. I had to operate under SFL’s name to reserve the table, but their president — my good friend, Ian Anderson — was very helpful as my partner in crime. The students seemed to enjoy the World’s Smallest Political Quiz, but most were apathetic to current events and politics. Unfortunately, none of the 18 sign-ups (3 had illegible handwriting) answered my follow-up messages. A bit disheartened, and knowing that our largely commuter campus would be quite empty that weekend, I took to Facebook and started graph searching. 

Using Facebook was quite successful as I received positive and enthusiastic responses from 7 students. I quickly invited them to my first meeting at Halle Library and the Michigan State Convention at CMU that weekend. While only 2 could make the meeting, I was happy to see their curiosity and willingness to help me get YAL established. What was most exciting to me was the easiness of conversation, their eagerness to help me with future events, and willingness to bring their friends without me asking.

I left my first meeting very satisfied with what I immediately knew would be passionate and helpful members. Shout out to Connor Beausejour and Jonathan Weideman!!  

Though I had done tabling before for SFL, I pushed my introverted self to stand in front of the table and asked students if they would like to take a short political quiz. I was successful in the sense that I got students to think more critically of things like gun control and Obamacare when I challenged their quiz scoring. I also encountered an older gentleman who discussed Tea Party politics and the morality of Capitalism with me. I even attempted to push the table more in the center of the walking aisle to grab more attention until building authorities told me to push it back towards the side.

I was able to spark attention among students, however I learned that location makes a huge difference. It may have been a more successful recruitment event if I targeted political science majors who mostly take their classes in Pray Harrold. Also, from that point on, I decided I would write down recruits’ names myself or repeat their information back to them to ensure legibility. 

YAL and SFL Tag Team

In the end, I was happy to finally get recruitment started and have in-person interaction with 2 new quality members. This made me eager to learn more about how to grow my chapter at the MI State Convention that weekend. 

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