On December 19, Occupy Harvard will launch the next phase of its occupation, with a focus on moving beyond physical occupation to occupying the hearts and minds of those beyond the university’s walls.
“Occupy Harvard 2.0 will focus on education, activism, and strengthening the connections between Harvard’s Occupy outpost and the world outside our university’s gates,” said Maggie Gram, a doctoral student in English. “It is our hope that with this action, Harvard administration will respond by returning access to the Yard to the larger community it belongs to.”
In moving to this next phase, Occupy Harvard will consolidate the footprint of its original encampment to a winterized geodesic dome—provided by Occupy supporters at MIT—serving as a hub of activity and growth for the movement.
"Our second phase will consolidate the footprint of our original encampment while broadening our movement’s energy, spirit, and base," Gram continued. “We feel that Occupy Harvard has achieved what it set out to achieve with the original encampment by occupying the attention of students, faculty, staff, and administrators. The Harvard community is focused on issues of social justice in an entirely new way, and we hope to encourage that conversation even more with Occupy 2.0.”
In existence for just over a month, Occupy Harvard counts among its successes the negotiation of a better contract for custodial workers, increased attention on the social impact of the university’s multi-billion dollar endowment, and a teach-in where hundreds of participants heard faculty lectures on the economic, historical, and legal implications of the Occupy movement. With this next phase, Occupiers say they’re more committed than ever to making their movement impossible to ignore.
"Our visceral disruption of business as usual on campus would not have been possible without the physical presence of our encampment,” Gram concluded. “Our challenge now will be to find new ways to turn Harvard’s attention — and the world’s — to the transformative questions the Occupy movement asks.”