On April 25, 2012, the unprecedented debt of American students surpassed the trillion-dollar mark. Consequently, students at small and large colleges and universities across the nation will use their final moments as collegians – graduation ceremonies – to wear blow up ball-and-chain shackles and other symbolic props that reflect what lays ahead for them. Institutions signed up to participate in this nationwide demonstration include, George Washington University (graduation ceremony – Thursday, May 17), CU, Boulder (Friday, May 11) and the University of North Carolina (Sunday, May 13), where New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg will conduct the commencement speech honors.

Occupy Graduation was an idea formed by the collective voices and initiatives of OccupyWallSt.org, Occupy Colleges, Occupy Student Debt, Occupy Together,  Ben Cohen, from Ben and Jerry’s ice cream; Rebuild the Dream, “Default: The Student Loan Documentary,” Workhouse, OWSPR, Backbone Campaign, Occupy Student Debt, EDU Debtors Union, Forgive Student Loan Debt and Wear Your Debt.

Occupy Graduation urges students to participate. Signing up is as easy as organizing a group of 10 or more students and then visiting the Occupy Graduation website. Please note, this demonstration is meant as a way to express student frustration without unduly disrupting graduation or disrespecting the meaning of this event for classmates and parents.

Organizing students interested in more ideas on how to effectively and respectfully be “heard” on graduation are encouraged to visit Occupy Graduation. The site is even offering students interested in wearing the staple ball-and-chain props, but unable to purchase them for financial reasons, can contact Occupy Graduation for a reduced rate.