As the forlorn whistle of the last Burlington Northern Santa Fe train sailed through the night, hundreds of new people jumped train to travel to the newest Hooverville on the Union Green at Seattle University. Growing larger by the day, this encampment first started mid-winter quarter as students struggled with the difficulty of finding affordable housing near campus. “I’ve been livin’ in this shack made of whatever I could scavenge for several quarters now,” croaked Junior Biology student Jennifer Hernandez as she warmed her hands by a humble trash can fire, “between the difficult myHousing portal and the high cost of rent, moving into this shanty was my best option. The biggest worry for the town — dubbed Learyville after School Administrator Tim Leary — is that Public Safety will clear out the camp. Citing the student experience, safety, and a lack of a permit and proper paperwork, Public Safety has been sending Campus Safety Notifications for weeks now, although has yet to act. Until then, the residents of Learyville gather quietly to eat their hobo pie and listen to the twangy ring of the banjo and eerie rustle of the harmonica. All they can do is take it one night at a time and hope for a brighter future.
— Mark Wilson