Work on critical issues to shape our future
As an organizer with the Student PIRGs, you’ll work with students to make a difference on important issues facing your community and your country. Take a look at some of our current priorities:
America’s more than 5,000 universities, colleges and community colleges are big energy consumers with large buildings, many of which are open 24/7. In an age where clean, renewable energy sources like wind and solar can more than meet our energy needs, it makes no sense to power our campuses with polluting fossil fuels. As largely self-contained communities, college campuses are already well-equipped to generate all the power they need from clean, renewable sources — especially given the expertise among their faculty and the enthusiasm among their students for going green.
Cornell University, Green Mountain College, Colorado State University and, most recently, the University of California, are among the campuses that already have committed to going 100 percent renewable. Our goal is to get at least 50 college campuses to commit to 100 percent renewable energy by June 2022.
To achieve that goal, our organizers are working with the campus communities at 50 campuses in 10 states. To date, more than 350 faculty members from across the country have supported us in calling for commitments to 100 percent renewable energy — many of whom will prove to be valuable allies when we ask local and state government leaders to take similar action.
Break Free From Plastics
Every day, people throw away tons of plastic “stuff” — which not only clogs our landfills, trashes our parks and litters our streets, but also washes into our rivers and oceans, where it can harm wildlife.
A measly 9% of all plastic ever produced has been recycled. As a society, we need to stop creating enormous quantities of unnecessary waste in the first place, rather than focus only on recycling waste after the fact. That's why we’re calling for campus, city, and statewide bans on single use plastic products, including bags and take-out foam cups and containers.
The action of our advocates and organizers is playing a major role in building momentum to move the country beyond plastic. From helping win Connecticut’s statewide plastic bag ban to convincing the University of California to phase out all non-essential plastics by 2030, the Student PIRGs are at the forefront of the movement to break free from single-use plastics.
New Voters Project
Another crucial element of our work is youth voter engagement. Young people represent the largest and most diverse group of potential voters in the country, with our own values and our own ideas. But the issues that affect us are not being addressed because we don’t vote in high enough numbers. That’s why the Student PIRGs have been working to help students register to vote and make their voices heard in our democracy since 1984.
Learn more about our work to help register voters by hearing more from our organizers in the video below:
Save The Bees
Millions of bees are dying off, with alarming consequences for our environment and our food supply. We rely on bees to pollinate everything from almonds to strawberries to the alfalfa used to feed dairy cows. What happens if the bees disappear? It’s simple: No bees, no food.
Scientists point to several causes behind the problem, including global warming, habitat loss, parasites and a class of bee-killing insecticides known as neonicotinoids (or neonics).
Agribusiness, giant retailers and government agencies all have a role to play in eliminating pesticides that are killing off the bees — and PIRG students are working to get corporations, as well as their campuses, communities and states, to stop the use and sale of bee-killing pesticides.
Make Textbooks Affordable
College is already too expensive. Why are millions of students forced to pay hundreds of dollars each semester for brand-new textbooks, especially when there are cheaper, smarter alternatives? We’re working to make sure students have access to these other options — at an affordable price.
For more than a decade, the Student PIRGs have led the way in exposing publishers' practices that rip off students, championing cost-saving textbook options such as used books and rental programs, and advocating for open textbooks as a long-term solution. As we continue this work and put the heat on publishers to make textbooks affordable, we can save current and future generations of students a ton of money.