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. At the same time, college campuses are largely self-contained communities, and therefore better able to find ways 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 and Colorado State University 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 2020.
To achieve these goals, 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 consider taking similar action.
No Bees, No Food
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).
Right now, we’re letting big agrichemical companies use more of the chemicals that are known to kill bees just as we’re in the midst of an unsustainable die-off in bee populations. That has to change. Now.
With the Student PIRGs, you’ll organize students—not just in classrooms, but in dining halls all across the country—to pass state and local legislation to ban these toxic pesticides, and get our campuses to go "Bee Friendly."
Stop the Overuse of Antibiotics
Livestock producers are routinely giving antibiotics to animals to make them grow faster or help them survive crowded, stressful and unsanitary conditions. Overusing these drugs — in humans or animals — breeds bacteria resistant to those antibiotics, threatening the future effectiveness of these medicines and putting our health at risk. Every year, at least 2 million people get sick, and 23,000 die from antibiotic-resistant infections.
Given the stakes, we shouldn’t allow even one large-scale farming operation to overuse antibiotics in this way. And yet approximately 70 percent of medically important antibiotics sold in the U.S. are intended for use in livestock and poultry.
We’re in a unique position to lead this effort. Our researchers, advocates and staff in 25 states are committed to protecting public health. This year, we helped convince McDonald’s to reduce antibiotic use in its beef supply chain. Now, we’re calling on other major fast food restaurants, starting with Wendy’s, to get our life-saving medicines out of their entire meat supply chains.
As an organizer, you’ll help build support for our call to stop the overuse of antibiotics.
New Voters Project
To make lasting change on important issues, PIRG students know we need to show our leaders and future leaders that they have to pay attention to our voices.
Despite increased turnout in the 2018 midterm elections, younger generations still vote in lower numbers than older generations. That’s why our New Voters project will be working to register and get first-time voters to turn out for the 2020 elections.
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.
We can save students a ton of money, and put the heat on publishers to make textbooks affordable.