They had to do something. Anything. But they were no revolutionaries.
In wake of the radical actions taken against the recently passed 32.5 percent fee hike, creative writing students developed Stories for Solutions, a blog where students can post poems, narratives, letters and various writing supplements that depict their personal experience with the budget crisis.
Ian Flanagan, a third-year who has made contributions to the blog, views his class’ efforts as “building a movement that isn’t necessarily abrasive so that it appeals to so many people.”
The collective idea came about on the evening of Nov. 18, moments after UC Regents voted to increase UC’s fees by over $2,000 annually for undergrads starting next school year.
“Everybody came into class around five o’ clock really angry,” said graduate student Aliyah Khan, the creative writing instructor. “They wanted to do something but they felt like participating in the occupations isn’t what they wanted to do.”
The blog uncovers student’s stories using different styles and forms, from humourous limerics to slam poems to standard letter format.
Brooke Velasquez, a second-year who monitors the blog’s public submissions, says the blog is subjective.
“It’s not necessarily the truth, [but] it’s someone’s truth,” said Velasquez.
While the blog is open to the public, the creative writing students who founded the blog have publishing power.
“We want a place where we feel safe to voice our own opinions and to hear other peoples opinions,” Velasquez said. “Dialogue is the most educating tool. There hasn’t been a lot of dialogue between students and students … and the powers that be. This is a place where we can [have a] dialogue with each other.”
In addition to forming a blog where students can share their stories, students plan to send UC regents, state legislators and various politicians a hard copy of their parables.
Flanagan sees the writing campaign as means of giving all UC students representation without taking radical action.
Flanagan said, “It’s the simple things, like going out and telling people we have an opportunity to flood this representative’s office with letters — to let them know that there are a lot of students here that are really upset with how this is going without necessarily bringing a front to them. We can appeal to them on their level just by telling our story.”
Leah Henderson, a UCSC fourth-year, said that regardless of whether people respond to the blog, it is beneficial to the students itself.
“I don’t know if [the blog] is going to inspire anything, but at least it’s for us,” Henderson who plans to contribute to the blog by writing letters, said. “[The blog] is not as visible as an occupation … but at least we are not sitting idly by, which I can’t say for many others of the UC system.”