It is hard to find a school quirkier than Macalester College. For one, we are one of the most liberal (and not classically liberal!) campuses in the nation — back in 2010, the Princeton Review ranked us the most liberal college in America. Take this group, KWOC (an abbreviation for Kick Wall Street Off Campus). The group is pushing Macalester to cut its contract with Wells Fargo in solidarity with those who were victims of the foreclosure crisis, but their tactic to push this policy was to occupy a campus building for days and propose a contract with US Bank instead.
So it takes a lot to earn sign-ups on our campus. We actively worked in front of our table, getting passers-by to take pictures with a cardboard Ron Paul and pushing the World’s Smallest Political Quiz.
We did all of those things, and it paid off with a number of signups at our small school of less than 2,000 people.
1) Find female tablers. Historically, our chapter was a very ‘bro-ey’ chapter. We brought in a volunteer, the all-star Brittany Johnson, from the YAL chapter at the University of Minnesota to add a friendly face that would help recruit females to our club.
Brittany Johnson with our Ron Paul cut-out and Macalester YAL Co-Chairman Andrew Ojeda.
2) Don’t let the perfect be the enemy of the good. We had several sign-ups from people who scored in the far left quadrant of our chart. In general, don’t let your expectations of people stop you from transforming them into activists. One of our best members started out as a union-loving member of the Working Families Party back in New York, and now he actively tables and believes in libertarianism.
Many of the individuals who took our quiz landed on the left-liberal side of the spectrum, but we still got them signed up for YAL.
3) It’s not all about Ron Paul. Our Ron Paul cutout helped us identify people who were more hardcore about their love of liberty, but he comes with a whole set of preconceptions from a lot of people. Instead of talking about Ron Paul, some of these people are just vaguely socially liberal and fiscally conservative. For them, we pushed them to our political quiz — if they didn’t like Ron Paul but still fell closer to the libertarian section of the grid, we would still get them to sign up.
Sophomore Lauren Holm was enthusiastic to take a picture with our cardboard Dr. Paul.
A special thanks to Co-Chairman Andrew Ojeda, who drove with me two hours each way to pick up our Ron Paul cutout, and Brittany Johnson for coming out to help us from an entirely different chapter!Published in