Preliminary Research- Erika Klein

I am in the process of trying to get everyone to collaborate ideas to make a wall of art, concepts, ideas, and more to display on our UMass campus as a representation of the economic squeezeimages we are facing as individuals and as a society.  The basis of this idea was developed by our class last semester in posting mug shots displaying each individual’s student debt.  I think it would be a great idea to continue with the mug shots but also to be able to incorporate articles, photos, original artwork, quotes, and more to draw greater attention and focus to this project that we all have become so invested in.  I found a good deal of information on first hand experience of being part of a middle class family which so many students in the UMass community can relate to and the struggles so many face with tuition costs alone.  I also thought it could be a good idea to somehow incorporate the sports industry DownloadedFileand the effect the economic squeeze has on that as well.  If students are so heavily interested in sports, games, events, and athletes, I think we have a great chance of using sports as a facet to show that student debt is not the only thing that is being squeezed by the economy.  I also believe that a solid portion of the student body and faculty are interested in the Occupy Wall Street DownloadedFile-1Movement, so being able to tie in how Wall Street has squeezed students at UMass and so many other universities would be a good way to draw attention to our study as well.  I have also developed an instagram account entitled, ‘economicsqueeze’ which we can use as DownloadedFileanother facet of social media to get our voice heard and appeal to students in a way that they enjoy and are used to seeing on an everyday basis.



Additional project description:

A Debt Fence for Community Dialogue on the Economic Squeeze


To generate a community dialogue around the severity of student debt and the economic squeeze so many are facing, we are creating a grassroots signage campaign around campus, including a “debt fence” outside the Student Union.  We want students to understand that they are not alone in facing hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt.

Beginning with mug shots that display the debt load a student faces, we hope to post other first-person testimonials, photos, information, articles, artwork, quotes, and more to grab the attention of students, faculty, and campus employees as they pass by.

To make this a grassroots process that engages a wide range of people, we seek to enlist various groups and organizations around campus to help support and expand this dialogue.

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