Contact: Leigh-Anne Cole, [email protected]

Office location: Suite 3100, 3rd Floor of Campus Center

Who We Are:

 The UMass Boston chapter is the only MASSPIRG chapter in the city of Boston, giving us easy access to our legislators downtown and representing students’ voices where big decisions are made on Beacon Hill. We work to bridge the gap between the campus community and the Greater Boston area, tackling issues like climate change, alleviating hunger and homelessness, helping students get registered to vote, and making college more affordable.

Read more about the MASSPIRG fee at UMass Boston here!

Current Campaigns:

  • 100% Renewable Energy: Because of our overdependence on dirty fossil fuels, climate change is the biggest issue facing our generation. 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 and continue to be an environmental leader in the country.

  • 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 (OER), low-cost or even free alternatives to textbooks. We’re educating both professors and students about OER and mobilizing students against the rise of expensive access codes and other initiatives running up costs for students. We’re working to establish an Open Educational Resources Program through the campus library to make textbooks cheaper at UMass Boston, and get more funding at the statewide level in Massachusetts.

  • 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 pandemic made this a reality for many students. We’re working with U-ACCESS, the on-campus food pantry at UMass Boston to fundraise, hold clothing and food drives, and more awareness of available resources to the campus and Greater Boston communities.

  • Protect Our Oceans: Cashes Ledge, the underwater mountain range 90 miles from the coast of Boston, is an ocean treasure. It’s home to the healthiest and deepest kelp forest in New England and a hotspot for whales, puffin, and cod. The area has some protections, however they are not permanent and are threatened by the commercial fishing industry. When we set ocean places aside to conserve nature and stop destructive human activities in those spaces, we see ocean life recover and become more resilient. In order to keep this ocean treasure safe for generations to come, we need President Biden to act–but he’ll only do so if he hears loud and strong from locals/students who love the ocean. That’s why Environment Massachusetts and MASSPIRG are working this semester to gather petitions, generate media coverage, and hold media events to highlight the support for protecting this kelp forest.

Recent Highlights:

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.

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