English: artwork for OccupyWallStreet movement (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
The New Student Activism
“Ashley Ward, an aspiring idealist with waning faith in the world, was standing in the newsroom of her college paper at Humboldt State University in Northern California when a fellow student rushed in with startling news.
Three thousand miles due east, on a tiny patch of Lower Manhattan, people were camping out to protest Wall Street, decrying its stranglehold on politics and continuing enrichment as the economy flatlined. It was the first that Ms. Ward, then a senior, had heard of Occupy Wall Street, and as she learned more about it, her heart glowed. “I’ve been waiting for something to happen for years,” she said. “I was personally starting to get afraid that something like this wouldn’t happen in my lifetime.”
She and a friend resolved to bring Occupy to their campus. They printed fliers, set up a Web site and blasted out e-mails. They told as many people as they could about their action plan. On Oct. 1, they held a sprawling, consensus-style meeting on campus, a version of the general assemblies being held in Zuccotti Park in New York, and set up tents. And thus was born one of the first Occupy Wall Street college protests.”
Can a divestment campaign move the fossil fuel industry?
“US climate activists have launched a movement to persuade universities, cities, and other groups to sell off their investments in fossil fuel companies. But while the financial impact of such divestment may be limited, the campaign could harm the companies in a critical sphere — public opinion.
Last fall, the climate advocacy group 350.org held a series of rallies in 21 cities across the U.S., making the case that combating climate change requires fossil fuel companies to leave a large portion of their reserves in the ground — and that large-scale divestment by their shareholders could help convince them to do so. Since then, four small U.S. colleges have committed to ridding their endowments of fossil fuel investments, and more than 250 other colleges and universities have spawned student- or faculty-led divestment campaigns pushing for action in the next five years.”
Student Loan Bill Passes House, Setting Up Face-Off
“… At stake is a subsidized loan rate of 3.4 percent for more than 7.4 million students with federal Stafford loans, which will jump to 6.8 percent if Congress fails to act. Democrats fixed the 3.4-percent rate before Republicans took control of the House in 2011. Last June, Republicans buckled under political pressure and extended the subsidized rate for one year, just two days before its expiration.
This time, Republican leaders insist they will hold firm, but they face Democrats in the Senate dead set against their approach and a threatened White House veto.”