Students at Kent State University are camping out downtown in the rain and bitter October weather for two reasons: to support the local economy and Occupy Wall Street movement.
Occupy Kent State started its "occupation" of downtown Kent Thursday to draw attention to the local economy and support the bank protest movement started in Manhattan.
Karch Marhofer, one of the Occupy Kent State organizers, said they want to inject the idea of community based economics and supporting local businesses into the national conversation.
"What we're doing is responding to the Occupy Wall Street movement ... except in Kent we have different resources, so we're trying to do it in a different way," he said.
The student participants set up tents outside three downtown businesses this morning and planned to have tents at a total of eight businesses by the end of the day. The students will camp out until 11 a.m. Saturday morning with signs encouraging passers-by to shop locally.
Amanda Boyd, manager of Skullz Salon, said she likes having a tent outside her business.
"When you’re trying to support the local economy, you can’t really go wrong," Boyd said.
Joe Reino, a member of Occupy Kent State, said Thursday's start to the movement downtown was slow because of the rain.
"The people that we have had walk up to us supported us, or they disagree with us in a way that they still support our message ... support the local economy," he said.
Marhofer said they timed the three-day occupation downtown to time with Kent's unofficial Halloween celebration to send a message to students and other young people who will be coming downtown Saturday. He said they want to tell students to have fun but respect the community while doing it.
"We want to display, or demonstrate, what a respectful relationship looks like between the students and community," he said.