On October 24th, 2016, I had the pleasure of tabling with Wyatt, a boots on the ground YAL representative. Since being contacted by YAL to start a chapter was so sudden, College of Saint Benedict/Saint John's University still has to undergo a confirmation process to recognize YAL as a club. That did not stop Wyatt and I from being able to table and spread a message of principle.
We immediately set up a table by the main dining area in our sister school (CSB). We had basic posters and stickers for display and a giant Post It paper with letters across the top that said “Free Speech Wall.” Students walked by staring in confusion when asked “would you like to write on our free speech wall?” We then explained that we were an organization that encouraged the American people to practice their Constitutional rights through the First Amendment.
We then started explaining to students what YAL stood for. While engaging in conversation I has one student ask me “Is this another version of College Republicans?” I then responded to her that we are not an organization based off of party, but principle instead. That although we advocated for smaller government, we also advocated for personal freedom to choose what one can do in the privacy of their own life. At this moment I have noticed that, within the short time of engaging with my classmates, most students are not Republicans nor Democrats. Instead, we are in a middle ground of ideology that is not subject to party identity. This is what YAL provided, something different. Something we can all gather around for.
Within the time of tabling we received about 10 signatures. We had to cut the time short because of how sudden this event happened but I continued talking to students on a personal level about what YAL is and what it can do for CSBSJU and many students are completely supportive of starting a chapter. YAL is still undergoing a process to be officially recognized as a club, but with the help of our community I am sure we will be able to encourage our beliefs.