As a newly-formed organization here at Sinclair Community College, our YAL chapter needed an event that would draw attention from our peers for our April Innovative Activism. We wanted something to gain more reputable recognition and something people would enjoy participating in — and boy, did we get attention! With 27 new sign-ups and several dozen participants, we made our presence known on campus.
To decide on an attention-getting project which could also be used on any other college campus across the country, we gathered a committee and brainstormed a few ideas. We quickly came to a unanimous decision to inform the student body of the misconceptions of marijuana. With the help of Students for Liberty, we were able to obtain informational resources to help support our innovative idea.
We wanted to depict two different scenarios with marijuana being the focal point. We created two display boards, each containing a list of five things. One of the display boards depicted incarceration rates. This showed the percentage of our prison population for each crime committed. We asked our fellow peers to guess which offenses had the highest incarceration rates and rank them accordingly.
- Marijuana use
- Property Offense
The other display board was to show how many people die each year from marijuana use. We asked participants to rank these causes of death in order from greatest to least according to their best guess.
(All stats for the display boards were fact-checked with the Bureau of Justice Statistics and with the Federal Bureau of Investigation websites.)
We had everything we needed: innovative, interactive displays, a full crew to run the tables, free candy and goodie bags to give to participants, and the highest traffic location on campus. There was only one thing standing in our way: administrative bureaucracy. We were scheduled to run our event from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., but our event was pushed back because of some policy that only allows one event to run at a time in each facility. This scheduling error (on behalf of our Library Administration) delayed our event two hours! So there we were, in the middle of the library with all of our hard work and preparation and we were forced to sit in a study room for two hours.
At 11:45 a.m., we got the go-ahead to setup our event and by 11:50 a.m., we were ready to talk anyone that walked by. Things started slow, with just one or two participants by noon. A few individuals were very intrigued by our event and our organization. Small waves of people stopped and participated, but as lunch time rolled around, we started to draw a crowd.
People of all walks of life started to line up to participate in our event. Literally, we had to start a line to gain some control of the mass amount of people who started crowding. One after another participants guessed the lineup for each of our displays. Even with our shortened event time, we still were able to have over fifty participants (we know it was at least 50 because that is how many goodie bags we pre-made).
With this event we drew in 27 new sign-ups and three new active members. Overall, this event was a huge success. Even a week before finals, we were able to recruit new members and make our presence on campus known to the student body!