Early in September, YAL @ Texas State University hosted our unique activism event on our university’s quad, the Red Balloon Project:
The Red Balloon Project (#RedBalloonProject on social media) caught the attention of many students as well as campus media.
The Red Balloon Project was inspired by the German anti-nuclear war protest song “99 Red Balloons” by Nena, and the goal behind it was to open a conversation with students about their individual concerns and dreams. To facilitate this, students were invited up to the table to write two things on a red balloon: (1) a way in which government had made their lives worse off, and (2) a dream that they had for the future.
When we first arrived on the Texas State quad, our signs and the few first balloons garnered a lot of curious glances. Before we could even finish setting up we began to see a constant stream of students that rarely abated throughout the day.
Some things written on the balloons that were particularly impactful included:
“Government hurt me by not giving my people a chance before sending them back across the border.”
“I dream of a world with free flow access to resources, information, and human power. Food and energy to ALL!”
“I dream of a world beyond fear…people fear police, economic instability, the media, etc. We shouldn’t be scared of our government!”
Throughout the day the balloons grew in number, becoming a bright red beacon at the center of campus and drawing students’ eyes as they walked to class. Everyone who stopped by the table was invited to return in the afternoon for the release of the balloons.
The release of the balloons was a beautifully cathartic moment, and as we watched them disappear into the distance we noticed many of the students passing by pause to watch them on their journey.
At the end of the day we’d released over a hundred balloons and brought over 40 new students into our chapter’s network. Will your chapter host the next Red Balloon Project?