MU students taking part in Occupy Mizzou gathered in Speakers Circle and raised homemade signs, wielded hula-hoops and even played an African drum to voice their solidarity with Occupy Wall Street.
Occupy Mizzou, a part of the Occupy Colleges movement, claims solidarity with the larger Occupy campaign, which organized the nationwide movement Thursday. The “National Student Solidarity Protest” urged thousands of students at more than 100 schools across the country to protest and raise awareness for the Occupy Wall Street movement.
Occupy Mizzou’s protest included approximately 15 students. One of those was sophomore Holden Ginsburg.
“I found out about the Occupy Wall Street movement through Facebook, and continued to observe the media’s reaction to it and as well as continued demonstrations by the movement themselves,” Ginsburg said. “Eventually I saw Occupy Colleges come up on Facebook and I committed myself to coming out, creating a sign that would express my sense of freedom of speech and what we can do to create more dialogue among students, professors and the industry in which they work.”
Students were able to register their college or university online for the National Student Solidarity Protest and then gather support for the event using Facebook pages and events, and in some cases, Twitter feeds and online streamings of the protests.
“Our overreaching goal is to get as many people out there to support the Occupy Wall Street movement, whether it be going to Wall Street itself and supporting them there, or to do local occupation,” Occupy Colleges spokeswoman Natalia Abrams said. “It’s about spreading the word — we’re not separate, we’re in solidarity.”
On the eve of the Occupy Mizzou protest, the Facebook event page had 21 confirmed attendees.
“Granted, people may join in if they see it happening, but I'm not sure they've done a great job at getting the word out,” Missouri Students Association President Eric Woods said. “College students are notoriously difficult to organize and to motivate. Success will probably be relative in this case.”
Occupy Colleges sponsored and organized similar protests earlier this week, encouraging students to walk out on classes in order to protest rising costs in higher education, according to the group's website. Occupy Mizzou was not a part of the movement at this time.
The National Student Solidarity Protest has a different aim.
“We’re not asking students to walk out of class this time." Abrams said. "This is a solidarity protest. It’s not anti-school.”
“I think that (the protest) will give students the opportunity to talk with other people about the movement,” she said. “I really think this is an educational moment for students to learn about what’s going on with Occupy Wall Street.”