Appleton, WI: Lawrence University Fight For $15 campaign kicks off with student rally
Appleton, WI – On April 16, the Appleton Students for a Democratic Society (SDS), Sunrise Appleton, the Student Liberation Front and a grouping of international students kicked off their Fight for $15 campaign at Lawrence University. Many international students have been discussing the idea of a potential raise of the minimum wage at Lawrence University. Currently, the average student worker makes $7.25 an hour and for many students on-campus jobs are their only avenue of income.
The students who rely on these wages to survive, with the help of student organizations have started to collaborate in this fight for a living wage. The three organizations (Appleton SDS, Student Liberation Front and Sunrise Appleton) hosted an open rally at Warch Campus Center, raised a banner and passed out a list of demands to sign. There was a good turnout of around 30 students and faculty over the course of the event.
The rally was kicked off by Barrah Kunaan who spoke of her personal experience as an international student surviving on Lawrence University’s low student worker wage. Next, Terrence Freeman, president of Appleton SDS, gave a rousing speech calling out Administration.
“Lawrence University, just like any other institution of higher education, seeks to extract the most amount of profit from its students, its workers, its faculty and staff…and these profits go to pockets of administrators,” Freeman said.
Next, Gustavo Zuniga of the Student Liberation Front shared his experience as a student worker. Making only $81.00 bi-monthly, going to the grocery store is a luxury for him. Gustavo emphasized how an increase of the minimum wage can improve the material conditions of students who rely on Lawrence University paychecks.
As the speeches started to wind down, Terrence Freeman emphasized to the crowd that the struggle for a living wage will not come overnight, but instead is a long struggle that we must all fight for.
“This isn’t going to be an easy fight; we know we aren’t going to get what we want tomorrow. We came out here today to get the mass support to let the people know this struggle is happening” Freeman said.
For students looking to get involved, they should contact Appleton SDS via their Facebook page to find out when the next event and the next meeting is. They will be participating alongside a handful of other groups in May Day celebrations planned for May 1.