November is the time of year when we give thanks. This month we are thankful for the students we have worked with this semester, the folks who have taken the time to tell their student debt stories, the allies who stand with us, and the opportunities for campus engagement that we have had so far. The semester isn’t over yet, but here’s what we were up to in November:
We held our first ever student summit!
Students representing Tufts, BU, BC, and UMass-Amherst came together with our staff to learn more about the student debt crisis that we are facing, how to organize around it on their respective campuses, and spent time brainstorming ways to elevate the campaign heading into the spring. Getting student leaders together allows us all to gain new perspectives on the work that we all do, as well as giving us a chance to share our experiences with one another. We are lucky to have these students working alongside us.
You all are familiar with our founder and fearless leader, Bob Hildreth. This month we had the pleasure of introducing him to a group of students at Boston College:
Thanks to BC’s student government we were able to engage more students on the issue of student debt and how it has impacted them. From BC Heights: “Debt is restrictive and limiting, Hildreth noted, making life after college stressful and chaotic. He called student loans “confusing and personable,” and even “embarrassing” because they put students in an uncomfortable position that leads them to a lifetime of financial instability. He also pointed out that most students don’t want to talk about their debt, which is actually a huge problem.”
It is events like this one that allow us to educate students on the debt crisis and help feed the fire of student activism on their campus.
Throughout this year we have also been an ally of the SaveUMB coalition. This past week we were able to attend the final bargaining session between faculty/staff/students and the UMass Boston administrators. Here is Sam, letting the UMass admin know that it’s not ok to use increased parking fees to pay off existing debt:
We are always happy to stand in solidarity with campus coalitions!
We have had a wonderful first semester working on campuses across the state. If you are looking to join this effort, click here. If you want to engage with us in other ways, here are some options:
1. If you haven’t already, sign our petition for #ZeroDebt higher education
2. Follow our pages: Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, Medium
3. Share your story on your experience with student debt