Club tries to bring Occupy ideas to Boone

Michael Bragg

Freshman computer science major Austin Mann talks about the principles behind the formation of the new club ASU Students for Local Change. The club aims to use local change to effect global change. Maggie Cozens | The Appalachian The group of students who attended the Occupy Movement’s one-year anniversary in New York –along with other students — are in the process of forming an on campus club that espouses many of the ideals and uses many of the mechanisms of Occupy. 

The group is called ASU Students for Local Change. 

“Our most basic goal – to put it simply – is to use local change to effect global change,”  freshman computer science major Austin Mann said.

Mann, however, is one of the founders of the club who did not attend Occupy. 

For Mann, this club grew out of a reading group that he was a part of earlier this year, set up by the International Socialist Organization. 

“We had a gigantic outpouring for the first meeting,” he said. “The second meeting people did not really show up.” 

This experience inspired Mann to treat this new club differently.

“A part of the creation of this club is so that everybody can participate without having to come to a meeting every week,” he said. “One of the things I want to do is organize this club around events and not necessarily meetings.” 

The group has a few recruitment and awareness events in mind already, including film screenings, a tent event on Sanford Mall and a question-answer panel. 

“We want to get together a panel of people who went to Occupy so that people can ask them questions about what Occupy is about, whether it will work, what we can do that Occupy hasn’t done so far, so that we can kinda critique the Occupy movement and learn from it,” Mann said. 

Besides attempting to educate the masses, the group has begun forming concrete plans for how to enact change close to home. 

Currently, they are working on bringing a credit union for students to the university.  

“Privatized banks will work to satisfy their shareholders,”  Jose Garrido, sophomore biology major said. “Wells Fargo is doing things now where if you don’t have enough money in their bank they’ll subtract money from you. But credit unions are federal and they are co-ops.  They work for the people and so they’re gonna work to do whatever is best for the people involved in them and not the investors.” 

The closest bank to what Garrido and the rest of the local changers are talking about that Boone has to offer is The State Employees Credit Union. 

“My dad was as a CPA and he worked as an accountant,” Mann said. ” He’s agreed to come and help us try to set up a credit union.”

Though they have only officially met twice, the group has already drafted a charter and a constitution and recruited a faculty advisor — Beth Carroll, who works in the University Writing Center.

On their Facebook page, the group description says the club is for “socialists, communists, anarchists, syndicalists, occupiers, leftists of all sorts and anyone interested in a better world.” 

“I think there’s a lot of misinformation about what leftism really means — like communism’s pretty much a dirty word,” Cameron Keener, sophomore journalism major said. “A lot of these things are just taboo terms.  And we’d like to change that.”  

Story: EMMA SPECKMAN, A&E Reporter

Photo: MAGGIE COZENS, Photo Editor