Protest the endless and costly wars which our government has waged for nearly all the time we've been alive. We're a generation which has grown up with war, and we're ready to end it. This activism event will highlight the tremendous cost in lives, liberties, and dollars of America's numerous wars and foreign interventions.
Your chapter may participate in one or both of these activism ideas (or create your own!) by following the activism instructions and applying for free resources here:
Get started now! Read through all of these instructions, pick the activism idea(s), apply for resources, and get creative!
Pin the Drone on the Warzone is a new tabling game created just for YAL chapters. Remember playing Pin the Tail on the Donkey as a kid? That's our inspiration—but now, participants will learn about our over-extended foreign policy while having fun! Instead of placing a pin in a donkey drawing, you'll ask blindfolded students to put a pin on a part of a map of the Middle East/North Africa which has a U.S. military presence (this should be pretty easy!). After the game, you'll have a chance to explain just how many unconstitutional, unaffordable, and immoral wars our government has started in that region.
First, apply to participate in this project and get a FREE, custom activism kit:
Next, make your Pin the Drone on the Warzone display. Here's how to do it.
Purchase the materials. You'll start by buying:
❶ A 36" x 48" presentation board to be a backing for your warzone map
❷ A large display easel
❸ 300-500 push pins
❹ A blindfold — maybe an American flag bandana
Together, these materials should cost about $40, and your professional printing costs (discussed in #2 immediately below) should total $60 or less. A YAL Activism Grant will cover all purchases.
- Put together your map. Download and print the Pin the Drone on the Warzone map and attach it to your foam board prior to your event. Also, print out the "We're against war. Are you?" banner to display near your map.
We strongly suggest getting both professionally printed, in color, using your YAL Activism Grant. The map will cost about $40 to print matte at Staples, and the banner should be $20 or less.
The map should be big, bright, and impossible to miss. We've also provided a sticker template which you can get printed so your "pins" can literally be drones.
- Play the game. Ask passing students to play your version of Pin the Tail on the Donkey. When someone agrees to play, blindfold them and ask them to put a pin on a part of a map of the Middle East/North Africa which has a U.S. military presence — any country our military has invaded, bombed, or used as a base in the last decade.
As you'll see in the answer key, almost every country on the map has been invaded, bombed, or hosted a U.S. military base in the last decade — this game is way easier to win than Pin the Tail on the Donkey.
After the game, you'll have a chance to explain just how many unconstitutional, unaffordable, and immoral wars our government has started in that region and deliver the Decade of War Quiz to those interested in further testing their skills.
As you talk to new people, be sure to tell them about your chapter and invite them to a follow-up event.
This is a big-impact activism idea designed to be impossible to miss or ignore on campus. You'll create a giant display to show your campus the huge toll our interventionist foreign policy has taken on the lives of American soldiers and local civilians in Iraq and Afghanistan. There's more way than one to build an eye-catching Cost of War Memorial, but make sure it's unforgettable!
First, apply to participate in this project and get a FREE, custom activism kit:
Next, make your Cost of War Memorial. Here's how to do it.
Purchase small American flags, plant them en masse on a lawn on campus, and make each represent a certain number of soldier or civilian deaths.
Your flag display will be too big to miss, so it's guaranteed to attract interest and questions from passersby. Consider some creative options. You could use toothpick flags or 4x6 inch flags (as shown above). A toothpick flag could represent one US soldier casualty, one civilian casualty, etc. Or a larger flag could represent 10 lives lost. Just be sure to note the representation on a prominent sign at your event so the meaning isn't lost. You can find the most up to date casualty numbers here.
As passersby take a minute to absorb the memorial you'll have a chance to discuss the need to reevaluate our foreign policy. Have them take the Decade of War quiz to test their knowledge. As you talk to new people, be sure to tell them about your chapter and invite them to a follow-up event.
Everyone loves taking a quiz as long as it ends with free stuff instead of grades! For this component of the project, you'll use a simple, 5-question quiz to get students thinking and spark conversation about our foreign policy. We've already made the quiz, so all you need to do is print it and add it to the conversation during your Pin the Drone on the Warzone or Cost of War Memorial display.
Here's how to do it:
- Print more copies of the quiz than you think you need. The last thing you want to do is run out. We suggest getting the quiz professionally printed, in color, using your YAL Activism Grant.
- Quiz time! Ask passing students if they want to take a short quiz to test their knowledge of foreign policy and see how it measures up to their classmates. Hand them the quiz and tally up their score once they're done.
After the quiz, you'll have a chance to talk to interested students about our foreign policy — and just how much it needs to change.
- Optional Pro-tip: Consider building a scoreboard on a vertical piece of poster-board to show the distribution of quiz scores — a little competition will encourage participation.
Here are some action items you can take right now to prepare and execute a successful Generation of War event.
1. Reach out to YAL's Leadership Team for support
Find a YAL leader near you who can help you execute your activism event. Your Regional Director and the State Chairs in your area are your best resource for learning how to organize an effective activism event. If either position has not yet been filled, learn more and apply to join the Leadership Team here.
2. Get Your Plans in Order
Make sure that you've thought through your chapter's timeline for executing your event. Be sure to allow for at least two weeks to receive your YAL resources. Get everyone on your Executive Board on the same page about who is going to volunteer on each aspect of the project so that you know it will go off without a hitch.
Tabling Preparation — When is your chapter going to put up your Cost of War Memorial or Pin the Drone on the Warzone display? Be sure to reserve these times with your school and coordinate with your volunteers ahead of time. Check out YAL's guide to effective tabling.
- Get professors on your side. Many professors and department heads (especially in political science and other social sciences) will be excited to learn that you're hosting a foreign policy-focused events, even if they don't share your noninterventionist perspective. Ask them to help you out by allowing you to announce the event in class or assign extra credit to their classes for students who attend your follow-up event. Learn how to work with faculty to your advantage here.
- Make sure you have a clean presentation and don't forget to print your Decade of War Quiz and to bring candy and other other free stuff to give to interested students. Print this colorful "Generation of War" banner to make your table attractive and inviting:
Follow-up event — Plan ahead of time what your follow-up event will be. Some ideas to consider:
- Host a speaker. Bringing speakers to your campus, if done properly, can attract large numbers of students and increase interest in your chapter. For this event, you'll want to host a noninterventionist foreign policy expert, like Ivan Eland, Bruce Fein, Glenn Greenwald, or even a principled professor from your campus. YAL offers an assortment of high quality, and FREE, virtual speakers through YALU. You may also find a good speaker by working with a veterans organization. Many of the fiercest opponents of unconstitutional and unwinnable wars in America are those who have experienced such wars firsthand: our veterans. Your school may have a veterans group right on campus, or you can get in touch with Veterans for Peace to find a VFP chapter in your area!
- Screen a movie. Want to educate students on noninterventionism? A movie screening may be the way to go. Find a noninterventionist documentary or even a feature film which raises serious questions about war. Depending on the movie you select, you may wish to hold a brief discussion session afterwards to ensure that the message got through. Visit the YAL documentary and movie database for a list of foreign policy movies and tips on running a successful movie screening or check out one of these movies with antiwar themes.
- Organize a debate. Instead of hosting just one speaker, consider having three or more! Organize a debate on campus between representatives of at least three political perspectives—conservative, libertarian, and liberal—and have them talk foreign policy. Learn how to organize a debate.
3. Sign Up EVERYONE
Stay focused. The purpose of every activism event is to build your chapter and grow the youth movement for liberty — so sign up everyone you possibly can, and make sure to upload their contact information to your chapter page using the member upload tool.
The number one method, by far, to recruit new members is running an effective table on campus in high-traffic areas. Cover your bases by reading this breakdown of what goes into running an effective recruitment table.
Follow Up or Fail
Sign-ups are worth nothing if you don't execute a proper follow up with each new contact you have. Don't rely on email follow-ups: no one reads them besides the government.
It's vital that you call every sign up that you spoke with at your table, and ask them if they can come to your follow-up meeting/event. Students are far more likely to come to your meeting if they verbally commit to doing so. As a last reminder, send a text to each sign up the day before your meeting.
4. Document Your Activism
Your events and activities on campus can reach a much larger audience than just the students you interacted with directly. But sharing your successes is only possible if you properly document everything you do. Take pictures and record everything — you can always cut some footage later, but you can never add more.
Check out our how-to guide for effectively documenting your activism.
Share Your Success Story on the YAL Blog
After completing your event on campus, we want to hear about it! Write a short, but comprehensive summary of your Generation of War event for YAL's national blog. Everyone who is listed as a chapter officer on your chapter page of the YAL website already has blogging permissions, so it's easy to share all the details, photos, and video footage with your fellow YAL activists!
Finally, if you want some more inspiration make sure to check out these excellent examples of previous activism reports.
5. Earn Media Attention for your Event
Expand the reach of your activism event by earning media for your chapter's event. Earning media, especially by your campus's newspaper, can be surprisingly easy. Learn everything you need to know to earn media attention for your chapter's event here!
Use this Momentum for Your Next Activism Project!
Remember, every event you do on campus should be used as a launching pad for your next big project. Use this energy to mobilize for your next big activism project!