Carthage College, a small, private liberal arts school, has as much political apathy as any college does. In the past, YAL has struggled to get members, and has struggled to even be recognized by the Student Government. At the beginning of last year our YAL chapter had only one member after the graduation of the preceding class. After a tabling event on September 9th, however, our numbers skyrocketed, due in no small part to the volatility of this election cycle, the increasing amount of libertarian ideals in the mainstream media, and, of course, to the hard work of our members and help from YAL and Turning Point USA.
We tabled at a Student Org Fair. Our rival political groups on campus, College Republicans and College Democrats, were both at opposite ends of the spectrum in preparedness; Republicans had a table full of merchandise paid for by the local GOP, all of which conspicuously lacked any likeness of the party's nominee, and Democrats had a single member show up, not even bothering to print out a sign-up sheet. Our table was covered in posters, books, and other literature from YAL and Turning Point USA, and these materials were an integral part of increasing interest for our group. The World's Shortest Political Quiz, a perennial favorite, was among many of the things that drew a crowd to our table. After the Org Fair, we were surprised by the number of signatures we received. In the past, our YAL chapter struggled to get ten or fifteen signatures at tabling events. This time, we received nearly eighty, about half of whom approached us. It was an invigorating realization that, regardless of the cause, there seem to be more liberty-minded students than ever.
We had our first meeting the next Wednesday, where we discussed opportunities available through YAL, conventions hosted by Students for Liberty, and various activism events we have planned. In addition, we began planning an outing to see Snowden in theaters, as well as a screening of Deep Web. Again, my e-board and I were all surprised by the turnout; of course, nowhere near 80 people actually ended up coming, but we did get 20 people, all of whom were very interested in what we have to offer. A far cry from the one person we started with at the beginning of last year, and the two people we had this time last year. In addition, multiple people texted or emailed me or other members to say they have a conflict, but will attend the next meeting. It is worthy of note that our school is home to fewer than 3,000 students. As of typing this, my next meeting for YAL is in about half an hour. I have no doubt that this week will be better than last week, and that our YAL chapter will continue to grow. Most of all, it's thrilling to know that, however small or large it may be, my friends in YAL and I are helping to grow the liberty movement.