MTSU Semester Report Fall 2011 or "What has MTSU YAL been doing for the past 6 months?"

Eric Sharp
Feb 27, 2012 at 4:15 PM

mt liberty

At MTSU, we kept meeting over the summer each week to maintain a sense of community and to plan for the upcoming fall semester.

As the summer came to a close, just before school started, the MTSU Anime Club put together a small anime convention on campus called ADACON. Now, it's an MTSU YAL tradition to attend the annual anime convention in Nashville dressed in the YAL BOT costume, and so a convention on home turf ought to be no different! So I and Galadriel Robinson attended the free convention passing out copies of the Morality of Capitalism, YAL palm cards, and Bastiat's The Law. I wore a libertarian YAL Van Helsing type get up, and Galadriel, as always, sported the YAL BOT suit.

yal bot 2

It was a really fun time, and is a fun, casual, and non-confrontational way to promote YAL and liberty. Click here to view the pictures inexplicably uploaded in reverse order.

YAL MTSU's recruitment drive started with the We Haul Move-In Days.  Kristen Breaux and I helped move in new students to their dorms wearing YAL shirts, Friday the 26th of August and Saturday the 27th.

 Things really kicked off at the anual student organization fair, September 9th. We had been planning and prepping all summer, so we were ready!

We picked out a table and instead of hiding underneath the tent, behind the table, cowering in chairs, we pulled our table out in front of the tent. I propped up a super-size Operation Politically Homeless Quiz that we made out of one of the boards from the debt clock:

alex-quiz

alex-table

It was a big visual draw and lots of people walked over from the circus tents to see what was on the big board. We had six different members working the table throughout the day, though only Alex Mosely is shown here. We garnered 50+ sign-ups that day.

We of course had YAL BOT rocking out as an additional visual draw. The costume sports Tyler Parrow well.

yal bot
The student organizations fair had been moved due to rain to the same day as the YAL informational meeting, so we only really had time to text and email all the new sign-ups. We had a very good turnout at the meeting, showing the Philosophy of Liberty slide show, answering some questions, and afterwards going out to discuss philosophy over a couple of drinks.

We tabled during the next week on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, garnering 16 sign-ups each day. Some of us attending YAL Vanderbilt's lecture and debate watching party that Wednesday evening and were interviewed by the local news outlet. Tyler Parrow and I were both mistaken for Vanderbilt students!

That Friday the 16th, we joined our university's Constitution Day celebration. Our box of PoCons had just arrived that morning so the timing was perfect. We set up our table with a spread of Constitutions, YARs, and 3 books from our library on display: The Making of America, The Politically Incorrect Guide to the Constitution, The Constitution and Economic Liberty. We also had the Constitution Quiz for students to take. 

 We made a splash promoting the message of a Constitution that actually means what it says. American Democracy Project, while sometimes statist-leaning, tried to focus more of civic engagement and awareness of the Constitution. Students read aloud the document, could register to vote, sign a huge Constitution, and received National Constitution Center PoCons from ADP. It was kind of cool that we could tack onto an already impressive Constitution Day display. We got a great many sign ups that day as a result!

adp
We took the week of the 19th -23rd off from tabling to promote and finalize our hosting of Micheal Badnarik's famous Constition Class. We promoted the event with this nice flier made by Media Director and former VP, Trey Ray. 

badnarik flyer

Badnarik flew in Friday night and we had dinner with him at a local restaurant, Demos'.  Saturday the 24th was the big day, and various activists and organizations across Tennessee had been spreading the word about the class and 40 people showed up to the event.

group phtoto

More than a few of the attendees were adults with established careers and post-college lives, so we were able to garner $113 dollars in donations after the event. I put together a short excerpt video from the class; view it here. We all had dinner and drinks with Badnarik again at The Boulevard next to campus, before he left Sunday morning for a voyage at sea. After the event one attendee, ChrisInMaryville, blogged about the experince on the 10th Amendment Center blog.

But YAL at MTSU wasn't done recruiting yet! The next week we tabled Monday, Wednesday, and Friday.

Tyler Parrow even read the Delclaration of Independence aloud for passersby to hear!  Thanks to Kristen Breaux for getting the video.

We drew in lots of new recruits and expanded our email and caller lists, but more important is how the members received our activites this month. From our Facebook wall:

"What a week! I lost count of how many conversations I had with others about Liberty and its application to a broad range of topics this week. Is it just me did September bring some significant gains to our friendly little group?" ~ Alex Mosley

"September has been an epic month! I hope it spills over into October!"
~ Kristen Breaux

"
I don't know what's more exciting: how relevant the concepts of liberty and self-ownership are becoming in this status quo, or all the great ideas we have to spread those ideals. The time is now."  ~ Tyler Parrow

steven-kenny


petition

group-tabling    
Pictured right: Eric Sharp, Adam Cicco, Kristen Breaux, Tyler Parrow, Steven Neusse, Nate West, and Shane Burks. Other members not featured, including Josh Fields, helped table as well.

                                             spooner

To ring in October we held a Clothes and Stuff Swap on October the 1st, and again on the 13th. A clothes swap is a lot like a Really Really Free Market, where everyone brings stuff that they don't need or want anymore, and they take the stuff that they do need or want.
Pretty simple, right?

This event was done to promote voluntary association and trade -- a free market. We created a state-free zone where trade was self regulated without anyone telling us what we could or could not trade for or telling anyone what they did or did not need.

            swap

October 2nd, the MTSU chapter of YAL attended, tabled at, and was an official ally of the Nashville Slutwalk.

The ... what? Slutwalk is an international movement to fight the blaming of the victims of sexual abuse and violence for the actions taken against them. It was started after a police officer in Canada told a classroom of girls that if they didn't want to get raped then they should not dress like "sluts."  But the fact of the matter is that women and men are abused and raped everyday irrespective of what they are wearing.

Slutwalk is a controversial event, even amongst feminists, but from a libertarian perspective sponsoring the event made perfect sense. Given that we all own our bodies, it would be utterly perverse to blame someone for violation of their right to self-ownership.

stop v blamingThe message of the event was instead of solely teaching people how to avoid getting raped, they ought to be taught not to rape.

Everyone wore what ever they wanted to. Some chose to dress provactively, while others wore ordinary clothes some holding signs saying, "This is what I was wearing when I was raped. Did I deserve it?" [1] [2]

Some higher quality photos of the event were taken by Chris M. Scruggs.

Galadriel Robinson, Kristen Breaux, and I also took the opportunity before and after the march to educate the attendees about individualist feminism, which is also known as libertarian feminism.

table 1

table 2
We passed out copies of Wendy McElroy's Individualist Feminism: A Voice for Gender Sanity , Eric Sharp's THL article 4th Wave: A Struggle For Gender Liberty, McElroy's history of Individualist Feminism in the 19th Century, information about the Association of Libertarian Feminists, YAL's Pocket Constitutions, The Economics of Freedom: Selected Works of Frederic Bastiat, and had McElroy's Liberty and Women: Freedom and Feminism in the 21st Century book published by the Independent Institute about individualist feminism on display as well.liberty for women

We also had an article about Ron Paul and Ralph Nader proposing a left/libertarian alliance to show common ground with progressive attendees.  That, afterall, was another important reason to participate in the event: To reach out to a left-leaning crowd and show that libertarians are not the bad guys, and bring the message of liberty and individual rights to people who may have never heard it before. Some of us may not have become libertarians had someone else not done the same.

The very next day was the beginning of our week to put up our enormous Free Speech Wall.

love
They say that hindsight is 20/20.YAL MTSU looked at the cost and expense of building a wooden free speech wall and decided instead to cover the walls of the student union with paper creating one enormous surface for free expression. Of course that does mean going without the wooden display for other events, but to create such a big visual display may well have been worth it.

Our Press Director handled his job like a pro. Josh Fields, who graduated on December 17th, landed us 4 different sources of earned media, two of which have been archived but two of which can be seen here and here

We tabled and ran the wall 5 days straight Monday - Friday, it was one of our best cooperative efforts and best uses of human resources yet. Look at all of our pictures hereHere's our video wrap-up of the event.

Halloween is said to be the one day of the year when the spirits of the dead are closest to our plane, so what better day to build a graveyard of deceased currencies.  I saw a post on the YAL Chapter President's page for a graveyard of fiat currencies, and so we ran with it.

graveyard

We passed out articles about hyper-inflation, a list detailing 10+ countries that had suffered failed currencies, and copies of A Guide to Sound Money.

That next Saturday, December 3rd, we gathered up some signs and a megaphone to bring a message to the Nashville Federal Reserve, joining several other libertarian organizations at End the Fed Nashville. Well, it was more of a going away party since the building is closed and is being sold off. We had a healthy sized rable of 20 or so people, and made it onto the Channel 2 news. The TN Sons of Liberty chronicled the coverage of the day well on their blog.

etf

kenny-etf

Barry Donegan and YAL Vanderbilt's own Kenny Tan gave addresses at the rally.

For our last official meeting on December 7th, we closed out with a wonderful speaker named Ralph Weber. Ralph is the CEO of MediBid and author of Medicrats.
weberweber 2

And that brought the semester to a close. We had one last meeting at La Siesta, and a Christmas Potluck with an afterparty at House of Humus. 

Great report, Eric!  You all have been ridiculously busy!

Bonnie Kristian's picture

Thanks Bonnie! We've got a few aces up our sleeves this semester too ; ]

Eric Sharp. ETF's picture