In a city lacking many liberty-minded groups, three passionate student activists have set out on a mission to revitalize Cleveland's YAL network. After years of inactivity, Cleveland State University's Young Americans for Liberty chapter has gotten off to a roaring start. Last week, Chapter Co-Presidents Kirsten Pomales and Cameron Zakrasjek began their ambitious plan to rapidly expand membership.
Their goal is to reach more students without omitting the conversations that make one on one outreach so effective. The group is experimenting with two tactics to connect with students more effectively - establishing a consistent presence and using individualized messaging.
"It is our goal to have members actively hand out materials and discuss liberty issues with students every day of the week." said Isaiah Traben, Vice President of CSU YAL.
"It's all about relating to people on an individual basis - piquing a CS major's interest by talking about government surveillance and metadata collecting or discussing interventionism with International Relations majors." said Kirsten Pomales, Co-President of CSU YAL.
"We hope that, at the end of a good discussion, students will walk away asking themselves 'Huh, maybe I am a libertarian' or thinking 'Wow, I'd like to know more about this viewpoint, I'll attend the next meeting." said Cameron Zakrasjek, Co-President of CSU YAL.
Building up a cohesive liberty-minded network at Cleveland State has its challenges. As a commuter school, it's harder to reach a broad audience efficiently. This has not phased the new chapter leadership.
"Necessity is the mother of invention. It may more difficult for us to build up our group than if we were operating on a more integrated campus, but that just motivates us to come up with nuanced methods of outreach and event planning." said Kirsten Pomales.
"We have a lot of work ahead. We are in the process of planning three events for the spring 2017 semester! For the next few months, our group will be spending a lot of time meeting and talking and planning... and of course, we'll be handing out a boatload of pocket constitutions while we are at it." said Cameron Zakrasjek.