What is MASSPIRG?
MASSPIRG is a statewide student-run and student-funded advocacy group working to protect the environment, make college more affordable, and to help students get registered to vote. We work locally on college campuses, and have professional staff, like organizers, advocates, and lobbyists in Boston and DC, who work with us to make sure we make tangible changes. We bring issues that happen in the real world to college students so they don’t have to wait until graduation to make a difference.
Why is MASSPIRG beneficial for BCC students?
We want BCC students to have the opportunity to be engaged citizens and make a real, tangible difference on issues that matter to us and society. We think that having our voices heard in the broader political process by voting in elections, signing petitions for causes we care about, and gaining tangible leadership skills helps to fulfill this mission, and the mission of our Berkshire Community College as well.
Beyond making a difference on issues that affect all of us – whether that’s locally, statewide, or nationally – MASSPIRG offers students on campus hands-on training in a variety of skill sets that include public speaking, formal writing, planning events, and working collaboratively with other students and members of the government, to name a few. Our campaigns educate and engage students in current events and civics and make it possible for students here to start making a difference right now, instead of waiting until graduation.
How is MASSPIRG funded and directed?
We are funded by students through a $9 per-student, per-semester waivable fee that appears on your tuition bill. Students first voted to form and fund our chapter in 1983. We pool those resources with other chapters across the state and hire professional staff like organizers, lobbyists, and advocates, who work alongside us to advocate on our behalf, run strategic grassroots campaigns, and win reforms that help improve the quality of life for everyone.
Students make the decisions on what campaigns we run locally and which issues we prioritize statewide. The core group of MASSPIRG students on each campus elect student leaders to represent their campus at the statewide level on our Board of Directors. MASSPIRG is open to any and all students who want to participate. The student body at large has the opportunity to reaffirm their support of funding our own advocacy group every few years.
What was the result of the last MASSPIRG funding vote at BCC?
In spring of 2023, nearly 90% of students that voted in the student government elections voted YES to reaffirm support for funding MASSPIRG at BCC through the $9/semester waivable fee.
What are some of MASSPIRG’s recent accomplishments?
- Increasing the youth vote and civic engagement: We are the largest and most diverse generation alive, and we need to vote to have our voices heard. In the last 15 years, MASSPIRG has helped to register over 45,000 students to vote, including 600 students here at BCC. We help to increase youth voting by engaging people face to face, over the phone, and through creative social media outreach tactics. In the 2022 midterm elections, we made over 20,000 youth voter contacts across the state, contributing to historic youth voter turnout. And we won a leadership award from the Students Learn Students Vote coalition for our efforts!
- Tackling the climate crisis: Climate change is one of the biggest threats our generation faces, and we’re already feeling its effects, which is why we’re advicating to repower Massachusetts with 100 percent clean and renwable energy. And we’re making progress! Last spring we won a 100% renewable energy commitment from UMass Amherst, and over the summer we helped pass a climate bill expanding renewable infrastructure in the state. Here at BCC, we partnered with faculty and student groups to educate hundreds of students about our campaign to pass the 100% Clean Act – which would transition the state to a fully clean energy future.
- Making textbooks more affordable: One of our priority campaigns is working to make textbooks more affordable. We’ve been working locally, statewide, and at the national level to reduce textbook costs for decades – and we’ve made a lot of progress by helping professors switch to free, open-source materials that cost very little for students. In 2022, we convinced our federal leaders in congress to allocate $14 million to open education resource programs, saving students hundreds of millions of dollars in textbooks costs. Here at HCC we’re working with the Student Senate to spread awareness and make it easier for professors on our campus to make this switch.
- Preventing hunger and homelessness: Hunger and homelessness is unfortunately very common among college students—about 37% of students attending public universities in Massachusetts are food insecure. We have worked to reduce this number by hosting food and clothing drives with students both on campus and in the surrounding community.
See more victories here: masspirgstudents.org/recent-victories/
Want to join our efforts? We’d love to have you!
First, follow us online:
Then, sign up to volunteer!
If you still have more questions, please contact us at [email protected]