Student Debt and the Economic Squeeze Workshop

Two weeks ago I held a student debt and economic squeeze workshop for the Res Life staff of Coolidge Hall. I started off introducing our independent study group and explained our mission and goals for the semester. My first task was to try and get everyone on the same page on the student debt crisis that our country is facing. I asked the group, with a show of hands, who knows someone who has to take out loans for their DSCN0328college education. Everyone raised his or her hand. I then asked what they thought the average amount of debt was for graduates and the total amount of debt our country is in just from student dent alone. The whole room was stocked by the figures. Some students had no knowledge of this epidemic. I then had them talk amount themselves in groups of 2 or 3 on how student debt/economic squeeze affects them and how their stories connect to the larger picture. After a few minutes we had student share their stories. Their was an amazing amount of passion and anger in their voices and the most recurring question of the night was…”Why didn’t I learn about this in high school?”. We then moved on to signage. Students were asked to illustrate what student debt and the economic squeeze looked like to them. After about 10 minutes we came back to share what we all created. I ended the workshop on information on what to do next and how to get involved. I gave them the resources to follow up on other organizations around the nation fighting for an alternative system and also ways to get involved through our group that are right on campus! The workshop was a huge success and everyone gave me great feedback!

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