by April Foster
As Occupy Boise coordinates for a sustained, long-term encampment, keeping up group morale is of the utmost concern. Not only do protesters want to stay warm, have food and a decent place to go to the bathroom, but they also want to stay happy.
“The energy is holding up so good,” said Alison Vundterlandt, a 21-year-old who’s been with the encampment since its start. “It’s better than the first day even. Everybody is constantly encouraging each other, and we’ve bonded so much over these past few days—everybody is friends with everybody else.”
Robert Stevahn, a 51-year-old member of the group, agreed. “The vibe has been very positive and mellow here. There are always very interesting conversations going on," Stevahn said.
As the camp evolves, so does its infrastructure. Wi-Fi Internet was installed at the campsite on Thursday. On the camp’s third day, portable toilets were donated at cost. The camp also has a fully functioning kitchen, complete with pantry, stove and
running potable water.
“Everyone is still very excited about this process,” said John Howard, a 36-year-old who works in the Occupy Boise kitchen. “People have been looking for this for years. You’ll see smiles on everyone’s faces; they’re excited. Every day, you see the camp grow and evolve.”
Food, clothes, and other essentials are brought to the camp by individual sympathizers and supporters periodically.
“People are constantly bringing donations,” said Vundterlandt. “We have a list online of what we need, and every day we have to erase things because we are getting overflowed with stuff like toilet paper, clothes, food—everything we need.”
The protesters are also confident in their abilities to cook and serve food.
“A number of people here have experience in food service, so I’m pretty sure we’ll be able to come up with a menu that will be pleasing and appetizing,” said Howard. We’re planning on doing two meals, a 10 a.m. breakfast and a 6 p.m. dinner. The public is welcome to come at any time. We will not turn away anyone that is hungry.”