Yesterday, Nation intern Elizabeth Schuster and I went to NYU to check out the College Republicans’ ever-so-tasteful “Catch the Illegal Immigrant” game. The stunt works like this: College Republicans give a student a name tag that reads “Illegal Immigrant” and players scour the campus to find him or her. The winner gets a gift certificate.

This kind of event has been staged by College Republican chapters all over the country. There were about a dozen College Republicans and several hundred students who opposed them. The event demonstrated, once again, how fast word gets around on Facebook, and how powerful this tool can be for campus activists.

It was impressive to see so many passionate students protesting this offensive prank–but it’s a shame that this is what it takes to get students out on the streets. Why should the biggest political event of the year at NYU be a response to a provocation by Republicans? Isn’t it time for progressives to come up with our own creative tactics for getting students to show up and actively participate?