Vermillionaires Against Corporate Greed held its third demonstration Friday, Dec. 2, with "Occupy. Educate. Liberate."
Stationed in the Pit Lounge of the Muenster University Center, members of the group gave speeches, showed
videos and staged a musical performance.
Attendance was low, but steady, organizers said.
"At any given time there were only a dozen people in the Pit Lounge, but we never intended the event to be a 'rally' in the same sense that Occupy Vermillion was, and we got quite a lot of positive feedback, both in terms of approval from passersby, but also in terms of engaging people who disagreed with us," group member Tom Emanuel said in an e-mail.
The group previously staged two events off-campus in September and October, taking its cue from the "Occupy" movement that has staged protests in major cities across the nation the past few months.
"We want to show the world that people are protesting everywhere, and we can all play a part in changing the world," said USD student Cole Heisey during the event. "…We are here today to draw attention to the gross inequalities and the injustices running rampant, and maybe, just maybe, by our assembly here, in the future protests we can be an instrument of change."
Emanuel focused his speech on a photo that has been circulating the Internet that depicts a girl hiding her face with a sign, on which she has written that she will graduate from college debt-free thanks to scholarships and hard work, and that other people shouldn't blame Wall Street or big business for their own poor decisions.
He said that while the girl obviously has accomplished this by being a hard worker, she is in the minority, as most college students graduate more than $20,000 in debt.
"We're not just fighting this for you and me," Emanuel said. "We're fighting it for people like (the girl in the picture), too, who have to work too hard in order to barely get by, while some Americans, some people just generally in this world … because of their position, because of their luck, because of who they might have been born to, they get ahead without condition of work."
Heisey acknowledged that capitalism "has helped the world in very real ways," but said the system is outdated.
"We want a better system, which distributes the fruits of our labors more fairly, more equally, and with a human person in mind," he said. "We want to feel that we matter, that we make a difference. We want a meaningful future for ourselves, for our children and our children's children."
Music was provided by USD student Jimmy Bloomquist.