On Thursday, April 18, 2013 YAL at Texas State University put on one of our most successful events of the Spring Semester! With a little elbow grease and some spur of the moment creativity we put together a HUGE Free Speech Wall to attract students to our Generation of War Protest.
The massive 8ft tall by 24ft long wall attracted scores of students and faculty, as well as prospective students touring our Quad area through out the day. Never before had a campus organization been so ambitious with their activism display, and the hard work paid off. By the end of the day students had used the opportunity to express their views on everything from religion, art, war, and the nature of free speech (since we were restricted to our schools “Free Speech Zone”).
We included on the left 1/3rd of the wall flyers with statistics sent to us in an activism kit, as well as pictures depicting the true horrors of war. These served to help us focus our conversations when students approached us with interest, questioning what our organization was all about. Not only did this section hit home for many of the regular students on campus, but also the veterans who had experienced it all first hand.
As you can see, some students chose to be outlandish. This only helped to further spur debate and conversation. We saw that when someone became offended by another person’s comment, they were more likely to speak their own thoughts and thereby generate the dialogue that makes up the value systems that our society is built around.
In the end, YAL at Texas State became stronger and gained more recognition on our campus by deciding to do something that engaged students in a way they were comfortable with. Our chapter’s Treasurer, Will Taff, was quoted as saying, “When you are part of a University that doesn’t seem to value the input of students, whether reasoned or not, the opportunity to speak without being scorned or sneered at is priceless. That is why we are here today. To provide students that opportunity.”Published in