Occupy Auburn was recently formed as a means of expressing local support for protesters in New York opposing the federal government’s involvement with large corporations—a movement known as Occupy Wall Street. A number of other cities nationwide, such as Atlanta and Birmingham, have already formed organizations, collectively referred to as Occupy Together, to express local support for the protesters.
“We have a lot of different people in our group that have different thoughts on politics and political ideology, so we decided kind of on a baseline position that we don’t think businesses should work with the government to receive unfair privileges, just in general,” said Ross Kenyon, chief organizer of Occupy Auburn.
Katelyn Cowser, senior in English and member of the group, said she viewed Occupy Auburn as a way for her to participate in a nationwide issue.
“Well, I got involved with this just because I wanted to go to Wall Street to help out with the protesters there, but being a student here I can’t really skip my classes to go to Wall Street,” Cowser said.
Kenyon said the movement began when he created a Facebook page approximately two weeks ago advertising the idea of Occupy Auburn. As people discovered the page, the group grew in membership.
“I have some friends that have been doing it in different parts of the country that kind of encouraged me to do it here in Auburn,” Kenyon said. “I just started the page one day on a whim.”
The group held its first general assembly last Sunday at 1 p.m. in Ross Square, the courtyard area in front of Ross Hall on campus. Kenyon said approximately 40 people attended the meeting.
“There were a lot of people from the community that were older, other folks that were younger, people from all different political backgrounds that wanted to take an active interest in Auburn,” Kenyon said.
Cowser said participants in the first meeting were overwhelmingly members of the community rather than students.
Cowser said she is in the process of securing a permit to distribute flyers on campus so the organization can become more involved with recruiting members.
“I think it gives potential to grow the movement in terms of diversity of people, but I think what we’ve already encountered is that a lot of people don’t even know about Occupy Wall Street movement, you can’t describe this to them if they don’t know about that,” Kenyon said.
Kenyon said some students have also discussed going through the process of having an official Occupy Auburn student organization on campus.
Tyler Look, freshman in aviation management and member of the group, said he thought Occupy Auburn would be unique among student organizations if this were to occur.
“I think if that did happen, I would personally not want it to be mixed up with other organizations, like recreational and stuff because this is actually something going on in our nation today, it’s extremely applicable to our lives and our future,” Look said.
Occupy Auburn is organizing several more events to take place on campus this weekend.
“On Saturday, Oct. 15 is the National Day of Solidarity, so Occupy Together groups around the country are gonna be having demonstrations and showing that they stand with the occupiers of Wall Street,” Kenyon said.
Members of Occupy Auburn will be present on the Student Center green space Saturday before the football game, handing out flyers and talking to people about the organization in the hopes of recruiting more members.