C-U residents bring ‘Occupy’ protests to Quad

In support of the Occupy Wall Street protests, the Champaign-Urbana movement hosted its own event on the Quad Tuesday afternoon.

Daniel Werst, sophomore in LAS and member of the International Socialist Organization, said many students don’t know what these protests are about. He said his understanding of the purpose of “Occupy the Quad” was to exercise the power of the people.

“There’s been more excitement among community members with the suggestion that students are insulated from economic issues so we’re trying to get people aware of the news that there is a movement building on this campus,” Werst said.

Ariann Sahagun, graduate student and one of the protest organizers, said she believes protesting is a useful and productive effort in supporting the Occupy movement.

“I think it can raise awareness as to what’s going on at Wall Street and also help people understand that they could be a part of change,” Sahagun said. “Whereas voting is important, this kind of thing can be transformative. I don’t think voting can do that right now.”

One of the aspects the protest focused on was University reform.

“We could have a stronger Office of Sustainability with implementation power and building a coalition,” said Sahagun. “I know there are a lot of other concerns that people bring to this protest today.”

Some protesters said they think it’s important for students to get involved with these protests because it directly affects them now and in the future.

Andrea Herrera, senior in LAS, said students need to be involved with issues that affect them on this campus, especially students with financial concerns. As a student who depends on financial aid, Herrera said the University could reform the way tuition costs increase annually, which would especially affect students struggling financially to remain at the University.

“As students and as people who are going to be engineers or future scientists or economists, I think it’s important for us to see and be critical of what is going on now, what is working for us now and what isn’t,” Herrera said.

“If we don’t learn from this, we’re just going to keep repeating this cycle of mistakes,” Herrera added.

Occupy Champaign-Urbana will be hosting more events this week, including protests in Champaign and Springfield.