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Students for Change: Occupy Penn State Launches

“I am here because it seems so hard to make change. And it seems like something is finally happening”. The first General Assembly meeting of Occupy Penn State started with a discussion of why each person was there. Frustration with the current political, social, and economic climate was a recurring theme, as was a desire to unifying people, creating a movement of solidarity.

The Occupy Penn State movement’s headquarters are located in the HUB, where a number of students have set up camp. The area they’ve occupied is complete with a food share, a small library, and a number of banners, signs and posters. Around 50 people showed up to the meeting, held in the HUB at 7 p.m. last night. A livestream can be found here and the meeting minutes here.

The group stated that it intends to formulate a local plan centered around the University and State College communities, as well as a global plan. The latter will focus on global political and financial systems, and will be discussed at the General Assembly tonight. One member also mentioned that a main focus should be on education and informing people about Occupy Wall Street’s objectives. Objectives, I might add, which haven’t always been crystal clear. The movement has undergone significant criticism for what many call its lack of direction. So what exactly is Occupy Wall Street? One student summed it up: “Our voices are not being heard. And it’s time for us to change that.”

Poignant and ideologically appealing, but still a little vague. The rest of the meeting, however, focused on rendering the idea concrete. Community goals included the following:

  • More affordable tuition
  • Greater UPUA representation
  • Transparency on Penn State’s part
  • Sustainable curriculum in all fields, with a focus on learning through experience rather than solely in the classroom
  • Getting PSU to support the local community more by buying local foods, etc.
Although it’s only in its nascent stage, #OccupyPennState seems poised to create a significant presence on campus. Check back to Onward State for more coverage in the coming days!

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