We of YAL @ Ripon College began our spring activism at the Student Activities Fair on December 31, 2013. We used a combination of the materials provided to us by YAL and Advocates for Self Government in our tabling. Our table, which was advantageously positioned so that everyone who walked in the room saw us, was filled with the materials we thought would appeal most to our audience.
In addition to weekly meetings, YAL @ Ripon College took a trip to Green Lake to see journalist Olga Halaburda, daughter of Ukrainian immigrants, speak on the recent events in Ukraine and Russia. Her passionate presentation engaged the 200 people in attendance, nine of whom came with YAL. She examined the history of Ukraine and its relevance to today, and she opened up to the audience, conveying terrible yet unforgettable stories about Russia’s influence on her country and her family. It was a unique experience which greatly benefited all in attendance.
Our next activism event will take place this week. We will host a round-table dialogue during which we’ll discuss the topics and perspectives from CPAC. This dialogue will include members of the College Republicans, as well as whoever else shows up (of course, it will be open to the entire campus). After that, we’ll engage in our spring activism War on Youth project.
The large YAL @ Ripon College sign hanging from the front of the table as well as the stickers and pocket Constitutions on the table attracted nearly every student who walked in. The World’s Smallest Political Quizzes (supplemented by a large poster on which students put a sticker reflecting their political orientation) engaged these students. Unfortunately, the fair took place from 5-7 p.m. on the first Friday when everyone was back from break; you can imagine that most students were not at all concerned about student organizations at that time. Even so, our group made by far the biggest splash at the fair.
Overall, over 50 people participated in our event, and as a result we added over a dozen people to our email list. Additionally, it resulted in an increase of average attendance at our weekly meetings, from an average of 7-8 students to an average of 10-11 students. But most importantly, it allowed a majority of the young people who participated a chance to realize that their interests and beliefs are not being recognized on Capitol Hill. A vast majority of participants landed in the centrist and libertarian fields, and as a result they had little choice but to realize that they are neither Republicans nor Democrats.