Tuesday afternoon, dressed-up students waited excitedly outside Hofstra U.S.A, the campus eatery, to pick up their tickets for the debate. Lauren Mansley, a junior public relations major from Wantagh, found out she was one of the lucky few when she was at the mall Saturday night. “I received the email and started jumping up and down,” she said. Behind her, another student was annoyed to be waiting for the coveted tickets—one of 300 given through a student lottery—and said she’d only give the Press her opinions on the debate if we could help her cut in line.
“It’s not that people are irresponsible, lazy or stupid,” said Occupy Shirley-Mastic’s Terri Scofield as she plopped onto the sidewalk and lit a cigarette—representing just one of several Occupy contingencies that descended upon the debate, among them Ronkonkoma’s Occupy Storefront, Occupy the East End and two buses from Occupy Wall Street in New York City. “It’s just that they’re too stressed and busy to pay attention.” Scofield dismissed the oft-repeated notion from mainstream media that the movement’s power had waned since their eviction from Zuccotti Park: “Occupy is very much alive,” she said. “We’re doing the dirty work of organizing our communities at a grassroots level. It’s a long, slow process.”