YAL @ University of Central Arkansas’s Constitution Week

UCA’s chapter of Young Americans for Liberty hosted a booth at UCA’s RSO Fair during Constitution Week. There was a huge turnout of students interested in individual liberty from all degrees of the political spectrum!

The central theme to our booth was economic freedom. In order to bring both the progressive tax code and economic freedom down to a microcosm level, we constructed a game for the students to play. The student would receive a certain amount of Monopoly money based on their GPA. This was intended to represent the progressive tax structure of the United States.

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The students then would decide how to allocate their money to UCA in $20 increments. There were twelve jars to choose from which represented UCA’s student activity fees — such as parking, sidewalks, police, health center, and so on. Each student had the choice to spend their own money however they wanted. They could even “opt out” and keep their money (thus having a lower tuition) by placing money in the “Don’t Take My Cash, Bro” jar. (That option had the most votes above all the others!) The various fees we chose corresponded with programs by the federal government. Each student who participated in the game was then entered into a drawing for one free pizza, courtesy of a local liberty-loving restaurant, Bear’s Den Pizza.

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To prepare for Constitution Week, we ordered t-shirts and business cards from a local shop and the printing charges were volunteered to us by another fellow liberty lover. The shirts have been a huge hit — one person even swiped the display shirt off of the booth and ran off! The business cards have proved to be very convenient for promoting the club — much better than digging around for a pen and paper!

An issue we ran into last year when tabling was being able to read people’s handwriting on the sign-up sheets, so this year we decided to put a space for their contact information on the back of their Monopoly money and having the chance of winning a prize as an incentive to write more clearly.

Another issue we had when tabling at the RSO fair last semester was that students made their way around the entire area and eventually accumulated so much material and a lot of times they couldn’t hold all of the material. So, this year, we ordered plastic bags with our logo on them. We included books, stickers, flyers, Constitutions, our business card, etc. in them and they were also able to use them for the other material they got from other clubs. Eventually, everyone was walking around the entire fair with a YAL bag!

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Tyler Roberts, our field rep from Leadership Institute, was invaluable with his help in getting us additional materials and coming all the way back to Conway, AR to help us table for the entire day!

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The economic freedom booth was a total success. Hundreds of students left with a better understanding of the perils of the progressive tax structure and what it means to really be economically free.

The chair of UCA’s Department of Economics learned of our booth and invited us to repeat the game at the College of Business’ first RSO fair for business/free market-related clubs at UCA. We gained an additional forty members from that tabling session!

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We analyzed the results from each time to determine if the students’ demands coincided with how UCA allocates all of our student fees. In short, they didn’t. The winning category by a landslide was “Don’t Take My Cash, Bro.” The majority of students would prefer to opt for lower tuition than paying for services in which the benefits don’t outweigh the costs.

The group raised so much attention at the RSO fair that fellow students covering a story for UCA about the election season sought our table out to do an interview. Additionally, prior to Constitution Week, The Echo (the school’s local newspaper) did a story about the “new liberty group” on campus!

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A few days later we held our introductory meeting where we did a presentation that welcomed new members, discussed what YAL is all about, why it matters, and detailed our plans for the fall semester. We began with a history of YAL and where it all started then moved to what we believe, specifically about the non-aggression principle and what it means to be a libertarian. UCA YAL gained an additional fifteen new members from the first meeting alone.

We get a lot of comments about the back of our shirts, which asks, “Who should decide whether you… You or the State?” It lists various things like give a portion of your paycheck to support others, choose to work for less than minimum wage, purchase pornographic materials, smoke marijuana, manage your own retirement, etc. For a portion of the meeting, we discussed all of these issues in a general sense and mentioned that future meetings will focus more specifically on a different one each time.

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We then covered our main plans for the year which include a free speech wall in UCA’s 50-foot-radius “free speech zone” and how we plan to work to overturn UCA’s abysmal free speech policy to which FIRE gave a yellow rating. We will also be hosting Dr. Walter Block, an Austrian economist and notable anarcho-capitalist, to talk about his book, Defending the Undefendable – which corresponds nicely with the backs of our shirts! We will also be hosting former editor of The Freeman, Sheldon Richman, to come speak. Our chapter happens to be very fortunate as Sheldon Richman lives in our city and is an invaluable asset to promoting liberty to our chapter and our community.

We concluded the presentation with internship opportunities for YAL members with YAL National, Institute for Humane Studies, and blogging. We set up a website (www.ucayal.com) in which UCA students may create an account and discuss anything liberty-related. (As a matter of fact, YAL @ UCA’s Treasurer, Stephen Gross, recently got this article published in The Freeman!)

At the end of the meeting, students were able to pick up any of the free material we had set up, including After the Welfare State, Morality of Capitalism, The Economics of Freedom, Inclined to Liberty, pocket Constitutions, YAL stickers, IHS stickers and information, flyers with more information about the internship opportunities mentioned in the presentation, other liberty/free market related material.

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Both events, the economic freedom table and the first meeting, were huge successes thanks to everyone’s hard work and dedication to liberty.

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