Corbettville Raises Awareness for Tuition Walk-Out
Walking into the first floor of the HUB, you may have seen a group of cheerful campers sitting indian-style on baja blankets with acoustic guitars and djembes. According to organizers, it isn’t just a group of kids finding new ways to spend their free time, it’s a movement.
Corbetville, as the campaign became known, was a three day sit-in designed to raise awareness about Gov. Tom Corbett’s proposed 50% cut to Penn State’s state appropriated funding. By making a physical presence on campus, curious students had the opportunity to talk to fellow students about the debilitating effects of Corbett’s bill. Organizers hoped that by educating passing crowds, they could build “a family of people to help fight for what is right.”
We’re all guilty of catching some Zs in the HUB’s comfy chairs, but this wasn’t just about camping out. The idea was that if tuition continues to rise, no one will be able to afford a better place to sleep than in the HUB. The movement that started with 10 people on Wednesday, contagiously spread to a group of 40 strong-willed individuals huddled under makeshift tents by Thursday.
Despite crashing on a hard floor for two nights, the group agreed that they were having a great time. When noon rolled around on Friday– the designated end time for the sit-in– amiable stragglers hung around to play music and continually answer questions from bewildered passerbys.
“If you build it, they will come,” joked one protester, admitting that whole event was formulated with a “just do it” mentality. Despite being a conglomerate of several campus groups like Young Democratic Socialists, United Students Against Sweatshops and Leftist Symposium, it boiled down to being about the student body coming together. There is no face or title but that of concerned individuals who are standing up against Gov. Corbett putting his hand in student’s wallets.
The sit-in was just a lead-up to a much larger protest, scheduled for Monday. The Walk Out for Penn State is calling for a mass exodus of students and faculty at noon. Participants are asked to leave whatever class they’re in and convene at the steps of Old Main for a rally. There will be a line-up of speakers present that include department of labor studies head, Paul Clark, NAACP President/UPUA runner-up Travis Salters and State College’s beloved mayor, Elizabeth Goreham.
Penn State, in my opinion, is a politically apathetic campus. If it isn’t alcohol legislation or the NFL draft, no one seems to care. However, now is the time to get active. Our education is under siege by unfair budget cuts from a disconnected governor. How can a family of 40,000 progressive thinking young adults take this injustice lying down? How can we sit quietly as money is being robbed from students and being used to build more prisons?
I’m confident that with the efforts of passionate Penn Staters coming together to fight for their right to learn, real changes can be made. Our voices will be heard. Our demands will be met. We just have to put down the Natty and Pokey Sticks and do it.