A day in the life of a student journalist during the Cal Poly Humboldt protest


It is now day three of the Cal Poly Humboldt campus protest as students remain inside Siemens Hall, barricaded behind furniture.
But outside other Cal Poly students have switched to remote learning.

“With everything being online, those frustrations come back and that anxiety of being like – I can’t perform in an online setting. The anxiety of being like “Oh gosh, is this going to affect my grade? Am I going to pass this class?,” student photojournalist Savana Robinson said. “I have one class that’s online that I’m pretty behind in. With all this going on, it’s hard to focus on school.”

Robinson is a student photojournalist for Cal Poly Humboldt’s “The Lumberjack.” She is also a part-time multi-media journalist with Redwood News.

Robinson has covered the protest since day one – with her pictures and videos that have been seen across the country. But at the heart of it, she’s a student.

Student spaces on campus remain closed, including food resources. College Creek Marketplace, the Depot, and Giant’s Cupboard are closed.

“The only open thing is The J [a Cal Poly cafeteria], which it’s funny I haven’t really gone to the j all semester but I don’t have the energy to cook anything right now. It takes about ten minutes. My legs are so tired.”

Compare this campus closure to the times of COVID-19. During my time here at the school, the j wasn’t even an option to get a meal.

The library also remains closed meaning students have to find other spaces to study.

“My roommate’s a zoology major and she basically lives at the library and she can’t go there right now. She’s having to drive to – I think – eureka to go to the county library to study,” Robinson said. “For her, she has to continue school. For me, I’m a journalist, this is school for me.”

And with that comes a juggling act for the intrepid reporter.

“I’m trying to be out here and cover this because I don’t want to miss it. I’m sure cellphone video will circulate, but not everybody has the eye of a photojournalist. There’s definitely a lot of anxiety going on right now with me because I wanna do a good job, but I also wanna do my homework,” Robinson said. “We’re living in this moment, but there’s always gonna be homework.”