It was easy to be boiling over with excitement. My first month on the campus of San Francisco State University was a mixture of bewilderment and apprehensiveness as I became witness to the various political ideologies that were accepted, and the various ones that were not. So, when I was contacted by a representative for YAL asking me if I was interested in getting a chapter together at SFSU, I was more than enthused. Yet, intent without knowledge remains to be intent and the challenges I now faced were definitely outside of my comfort zone.
It starts with figuring out what the most important issues on campus are. Naturally, every campus has a different culture so every chapter must be aware of that when tailoring their delivery. Early on it was apparent that issues like Police Brutality and Racial Equality were definitely “hot sellers” on the campus. The next step became flyering. We had a couple members by now, but the schedules of hard working college students and the geographical limitations of a broad district made it hard for us to connect in person. Without the recognition from campus we were unable to table an event, so flyering became key. This is a unique experience because, and you will find, many students do not have the interest in hearing what you have to stay. This is when the importance of reading the culture comes into play. Break the ice. Ask them how they feel about the current state of Police activity. Ask them about the War on Drugs. Soon you watch them realize that some of the ideas that they have already had can be found in Libertarianism. Then the lightbulb goes off. Yet, this didn’t translate into members for our chapter, and a month in without much to show led into a feeling of ineffectiveness.
Sure, this would be an easy time to lose enthusiasm. Truthfully though, this is the time to double down on the enthusiasm. As a new Chapter President, I have found that my expectations and intentions don’t always inspire results, and that my actions have to be congruent with those intentions. This is the challenge, but the end result is so very important that it is a challenge we all must overcome. The presence of YAL chapters on college campuses today are going to shape the culture of those campuses for years to come. We have to be the voice for Liberty, and now is the time. Take hold.