|Campus Organizer: Marissa Zampino, [email protected]|
|Office Location: Bartlett 317A|
About Our Chapter:
The UMass Amherst MASSPIRG Chapter began in 1972. We are one of the oldest PIRG chapters in the country. For over 45 years, we’ve been organizing students on our campus to play an active role in making our society a better place by running local, statewide, and national campaigns on issues that affect us as students and citizens.
Recently, we’ve been working get our campus to be a leader in fighting climate change by committing to get 100 percent of our energy from clean, safe, renewable sources. You may also know us from our New Voters Project, our non-partisan youth voter mobilization effort to help first-time voters have the tools they need to get registered and turn out to vote. In the 2018 elections, we helped register over 1200 students to vote and saw a 75% increase at the student-heavy polling locations near campus since the 2014 midterm elections. We are also running a campaign to make textbooks more affordable by promoting open education resources, save the bees by making UMass a bee-friendly campus, and alleviate poverty locally and across the state.
We are able to do all this because students here at UMass have voted for the past 46 years to have a MASSPIRG chapter, funded through an $11 waive-able fee that appears on the tuition bill. This money, pooled together with students from all across the state, allows us to have a much bigger impact on these issues at the state and national level, by hiring advocates, lawyers, organizers, and experts to help us run effective campaigns and have a much stronger voice where decisions are made.
|Learn more about the MASSPIRG fee at UMass Amherst here!|
- 100% Renewable Energy: Our overdependence on dirty fossil fuels is causing . But we can make the switch to clean, renewable sources of energy like wind and solar! That’s why we’re pushing to pass the 100% Clean Act through the state legislature this legislative session! We can commit Massachusetts to 100% clean electricity by 2035 and 100% clean electricity by 2045!
- Make Textbooks More Affordable: College is expensive, and the skyrocketing costs of textbooks and course materials are restricting students’ access to education even further. That’s why we’re raising awareness of Open Education Resources, low-cost or even free alternatives to textbooks. We’re educating both professors and students about OERs and mobilizing students against the rise of expensive access codes and other initiatives running up costs for students.
- Hunger & Homelessness: No student should have to worry about where their next meal will come from or where they’ll sleep at night, but the COVID-19 has made this a reality for many students. We’re working with UMass Amherst to raise resources to combat food and housing insecurity in the Amherst community.
Jarrett Taylor // Chapter Chair
Class of 2022, Political Science Major
Why I joined: I joined because I decided that it was time for me to actually engage myself and try and make an actual difference. I wanted to join something that made a genuine impact in something I actually cared about and MASSPIRG has been that place.
One thing I love about MASSPIRG: Getting to work with all these fantastic students who are invested in activism.
Jacqueline Grundfast // Chapter Vice Chair
Class of 2022; Biomedical Ethics and Policy Major
Why I joined: I have always been passionate about the importance of voting, no matter one’s views or perspectives. Joining MASSPIRG gave me the opportunity to partake in an organization that was determined to help mobilize young people to vote, no matter their political leanings. Our generation has such a significant voice, and I want to make sure that everyone has the ability to vote exercises that right!
Caitlyn Egan // Chapter Treasurer
Class of 2023, Environmental Science and Public Policy Major
Why I joined: For the amazing people and the important issues we work on!
One thing I love about MASSPIRG: Making a difference on our campus and in the world
Ashley Agostinelli // Chapter Secretary
Class of 2023; Psychology and Linguistics Major
Why I joined: I joined MASSPIRG because I wanted to meet people while we were virtual, and to help make a difference. Registering students to vote, and making sure that they went out and voted inspired me and reignited my desire to make change. My favorite part of MASSPIRG is that we have concrete and tangible impact. We are able to get things done, and we do all that we can to make the world a better place.