the students started off talking about their backgrounds – several were grateful for good parents who taught them to be non-violent, question the system, oppose war, and live by their principles.

the students sited some reasons why they’re protesting: the burden of student debt, stresses of the modern world and wage system, human rights violations, solidarity with occupy wall street.

the group has already completed several projects to further occupy umaine, including:

  • chanting / singing “we are the 99%” on the mall
  • organizing marches on campus
  • staging “poverty on the mall” demonstrations, where a shanty town made of cardboard boxes was set up in front of the library – displaying different aspects of poverty and how it’s related to the 1% system
  • publishing a 99% / occupy umaine story in the maine peace and action committee (mpac) newsletter
  • promoting moving money from big corporate banks to local credit unions via flyers and handouts
  • sending supplies to occupy maine in portland
  • administering a guerilla projector display on the side of the library one evening – showing photos of activism – inspired by a brooklyn bridge march

some things they’re currently working on:

-bring awareness of non-violence to the movement – not bringing hate to people who oppress us
-build self and community
-read, watch, listen to issues – helps in interacting with community because questions can be answered
-plan, attend meetings – behind the scenes stuff big part of it
-practice non-violence
-bring awareness of oppression of students.  who’s profiting off our debt? 
-envision a society where we worry about meeting human needs and taking care of one another
-entitle everyone to basic needs like education, not money
-protest – discuss – call out
-buy locally
-be compassionate

when the panel was opened up for questions, the society for roots and trees asked, “how important is art to the movement?”

the students answered:

  • we promote valuing art and happiness over war and dollar
  • we are planning an occupy umaine “art-a-thon” – a day to discuss political themes on campus – “we declare art on war” – artathonflyer
  • storytelling is art – here we are telling our story
  • read political poems at open mic
  • we like the beehive collective of maine
  • art matters more than money
  • gross domestic happiness not gross domestic product
  • you can’t have freedom and inequality