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Occupying the classroom: Movement activists hold teach-in at OCC

OCC student Shara Jean Hansen, pictured here, organized a recent Occupy movement teach-in at OCC.

OCC student Shara Jean Hansen, pictured here, organized a recent Occupy movement teach-in at OCC.

— As the Occupy movement continues to sweep the nation, advocates are making even more of an effort to reach out to one demographic that is radically moving towards a world of depleting job markets and heavy financial debt.

Recently held as a two-day event, “Occupy Colleges — In Solidarity with Occupy Wall Street,” united movement activists across the country this past week with teach-ins to educate college students on the purposes behind the movement.

Shara Jean Hansen, 30, has been participating in Occupy Syracuse. Hansen is a student in the environmental tech program at Onondaga Community College who lives in the Westcott neighborhood of Syracuse. To help further the message, she decided to take part in the solidarity event by organizing it at her own place of learning on Nov. 3.

“My hope for tonight was to bring this [movement] to OCC students and let their voices be heard,” Hansen said.

With approximately 30 people among a variety of ages, the event included several speakers discussing their ideas of the movement, as well as videos demonstrating some of the protests throughout the country.

Aside from being a speaker at the event, Adam Desantis is among one of the hundreds of teachers who were laid off this past school year from the Syracuse City School District.

“I wouldn’t be unemployed right now if the [district’s] budget wasn’t an issue,” Desantis said to the crowd, explaining how school districts, particularly inner city public ones, depend so much on government funding.

“Instead of being one of the people who complains about the way things are, but never gets up and does something about it . . . I’m here to speak for the middle class,” he said.

Speaking on education, Desantis explained several simple ways students can help bring change to ongoing economic hardships, such as buying locally, “going green,” and switching from banks to credit unions.

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