Contact: [email protected]
Who We Are:
MASSPIRG is a statewide, student-directed, non-partisan, & non-profit organization. For over 45 years, students on college campuses across MA have worked alongside professional organizers and advocates to create a more meaningful future. We believe that college students don’t need to wait until graduation to make an impact – and that’s why we mobilize students to get involved by running grassroots campaigns that make concrete social change. We work on a variety of issues such as protecting the environment and public health, reducing the cost of higher education, increasing youth participation in elections, and alleviating poverty.
The thing that makes us so effective is that students here at MCC vote to fund MASSPIRG through an $9 per student, per semester waivable fee. We pool these resources statewide to hire professional staff like lawyers, advocates, and organizers. We work together to run local and statewide campaigns, and they fight on behalf of the students full-time where key decisions are being made on Beacon Hill and in Washington DC.
|Read more about the MASSPIRG fee at Middlesex Community College here!
- Make Textbooks Affordable: One of our priority campaigns right now 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. Recently, we convinced our federal leaders in congress to allocate $7 million to open education resource programs, saving students $170 million in textbooks costs. Most recently at MCC, we worked with the other community college partners– including librarians, professors, and current students at NSCC, HCC, MBCC, and BCC– to host a statewide, community college panel event during National Open Education Week.
- Supporting students’ basic needs: MASSPIRG has been working to alleviate hunger and homelessness for decades. In the most recent survey by HopeLabs this past summer, which surveyed over 800 students at MCC, 32% of students had been food insecure in the previous 30 days, and 34% were housing insecure when they answered the questions. This year, we worked closely with the on-campus food pantries on both Bedford and Lowell campuses; we are working to make hunger and homelessness resources more visible and available for MCC students! We made virtual class announcements and sent emails widely to the student body to bring awareness to the issue of student hunger, and help those affected. We distributed a survey which has the opportunity to sign up for additional assistance, and then we distributed necessary aid. We hope to expand this project into the greater Lowell and Bedford communities next semester.
- Tackling the climate crisis: We work to eliminate our dependence on fossil fuels and reverse the worst impacts of climate change. In 2008, we helped to pass the Global Warming Solutions Act in MA which helped us set goals to reduce our carbon emissions which we’re on track to hit. Now we’re working to make sure MA commits to a goal of getting 100% of our energy from clean, safe, renewable sources. Just this semester, we’ve collected over 10,000 signatures in support of this effort, including 300 from MCC students.
- Saving our pollinators: We need our pollinators, like bees and butterflies, to grow almost all of our crops as we know them. Bees especially pollinate 71/100 of the crops that make up 90% of the world’s produce. We have a goal of making MCC a more bee-friendly campus through community gardening and education.
- Protecting Our Oceans: Not all is well in our oceans – they’re warming and becoming more acidic. Oil drilling and pollution foul the waters, commercial fishing has devastated fish populations and harmed other species, and plastic debris creates floating garbage patches. We can do better. Join us in calling on the Biden Administration to protect an area off our cost called Cashes Ledge – New England’s ocean treasure.
Fighting Hunger On Campus: Last semester, more than 1,000 students took action on our campaign to pass Hunger-Free Campus legislation and help end student hunger. We held a statewide lobby day with our friends at the Hunger Free Campus Coalition to support the bill and turned out over 60 students and community activists. In just one day, we met with over 30 legislative offices and got FIVE legislators to co-sponsor the Hunger Free Campus bill. And we celebrated a victory when Governor Healey signed the annual budget which included $1 million for the initiative!
Making Textbooks Affordable: We recently released our 21st report on textbook affordability, titled “Open Textbooks: The Billion Dollar Solution” to call for more free open textbooks in classrooms. We worked with State Representative Mindy Domb to introduce a bill to fund OER resources in the state. And during Open Education Week, we held an online panel discussion on successful OER strategies with the MA Department of Education, Representative Domb, the UMass Amherst library, and our partners at SPARC.