A month later, the school again served as a backdrop for illustrating the problem and calling for reform. Dani Galietti, a MFA student at UC Davis who was setting up a performance art piece when I arrived, greets everyone cheerfully and is thrilled about the Occupy movement.
"I wanted to share myself and my work with the movement," Galietti tells me while taping a "paper trail" to the sidewalk; she plans to walk on it with home-made stamps attached to the bottoms of her shoes.
But her mood darkens when I ask about her student debt. "I came out of five years of education $100,000 in debt," says Galietti, "and I'm not the only one."
She is a first generation college student, she explains, who helped pay for school with McNair scholarships.
"I grew up one of five, with a single mother," Galietti explains. "We struggled my whole life, as a lot of people have, financially."
"So many people are graduating with so much debt. There's this looming fear, fear and hopelessness. The economy's bad, the job market sucks. I'm so thankful that they're out here. People are active, they're making a difference."
"We need education," Galietti says. "I mean, knowledge is power."