Class Reunion: The Social Value of Student Debt and Repayment
Reverend Billy and Nehemiah Luckett of the Church of Stop Shopping
Alan Collinge of Student Loan Justice
Andrew Ross of Strike Debt
Class Reunion is a teach-in, sermon, and sing-along highlighting the financial history and emotional impact of student loan debt in America. Our rousing chorus features a range of the most inspiring and sobering commentators on the student debt crisis including Reverend Billy and Nehemiah Luckett of the Church of Stop Shopping, Alan Collinge (Student Loan Justice), Andrew Ross (Strike Debt), Josh MacPhee (Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative), Monica Johnson, and representatives of the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA).
With a total student loan debt of over a trillion dollars and the average student leaving college with a debt of over $27,000, the cost of higher education is rising faster than credit card debt, housing, healthcare and energy prices. How can graduates aspire to make a valuable contribution to society when the costs incurred by their education can so drastically limit their options for professional mobility and economic stability? By partnering with policy advocates, financial student loan advisers, activists, and artists Class Reunion provides a range of perspectives to creatively and constructively address the largest economic crisis in the history of higher education.
Representatives from Temple University's Student Financial Services and the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency will be on hand to offer advice and assistance in financial literacy.
Class Reunion will be accompanied by artworks and a publication by Josh MacPhee and Monica Johnson.
Class Reunion is organized by Temple Contemporary at Temple University's Tyler School of Art in partnership with Temple University's Financial Literacy Committee.
Biographies of participants:
Reverend Billy and Nehemiah Luckett of the Church of Stop Shopping:
Reverend Billy, Nehemiah Luckett and their gospel choir exhort consumers to abandon the products of large corporations and mass media; the group also preaches a broader message of economic justice, environmental protection, and anti-militarism. The Church of Stop Shopping is a New York City based radical performance community, with 50 performing members and a congregation in the thousands. They are wild anti-consumerist gospel shouters, earth loving urban activists who have worked with communities on 4 continents defending land, life and imagination from reckless development and the extractive imperatives of global capital.
His grass roots group, Student Loan Justice, seeks the swift return of standard bankruptcy protections and other consumer protections to all student loans in the U.S. The group was started in March 2005, and has focused primarily on research, media outreach, and grassroots lobbying initiatives. The group was credited as the inspiration for The Student Borrower Bill of Rights, and has broken numerous news items in the press with its research findings regarding conflicts of interest in the student loan system, Student Debt levels, Default Rates, corporate lobbying, and other areas.
Monica Johnson is the creator of Dorrit Little, a project that will be an online interactive graphic novel about the current student debt system as a restraint on the future labor, employment and income of its debtors. She is also the creator of EDU Debtors Union, an organization that sees student debt as a labor issue at its core, and therefore would benefit from union representation.
Josh MacPhee (Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative):
Josh MacPhee is a designer, artist, activist, and archivist. He is a member of the Justseeds Artists’ Cooperative (Justseeds.org) and the co-author of Signs of Change: Social Movement Cultures 1960s to Now, co-editor of Signal: A Journal of International Political Graphics and Culture. He recently co-founded the Interference Archive, a public collection of cultural materials produced by social movements (InterferenceArchive.org).
Andrew Ross is Professor of Social and Cultural Analysis at New York University, and the author of many books and other publications. His latest book, Creditocracy and the Case for Debt Refusal, is forthcoming from OR Books. Active within Occupy Wall Street, he is one of the founders of Strike Debt, an alliance dedicated to building a debtors' movement.
PHEAA (Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency)
Created in 1963 by the Pennsylvania General Assembly, the Pennsylvania Higher Education Assistance Agency (PHEAA) has evolved into one of the nation's leading student aid organizations. Today, PHEAA is a national provider of student financial aid services, serving millions of students and thousands of schools through its loan guaranty, loan servicing, financial aid processing, outreach, and other student aid programs.PHEAA conducts its student loan servicing activities nationally as American Education Services (AES) and FedLoan Servicing.
image courtesy of Reverend Billy
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