Contact: Carissa Englert, [email protected]
The UMass Lowell MASSPIRG Chapter began in 1978. For over 40 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 600 students to vote and saw a 82% increase at the student-heavy polling location near campus since the 2016 presidential elections. We are also running campaigns to save the bees by making UMass Lowell a bee-friendly campus, and stop the overuse of antibiotics by convincing fast food chains to change their practices.
We are able to do all this because students here at UMass Lowell 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.
|Read more about the MASSPIRG fee at UMass Lowell here!|
- Hunger and Homelessness: No student who attends school should be going hungry. Here at UML, we are working to make sure students have resources, both on campus and off. We are working to not only advertise where students can get resources to meet their needs, but also organizing efforts to increase the resources available.
- 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 helping UMass Lowell transition courses to using OERs. We’re established a Textbook Working Group in partnership with the Vice Provost, library, and SGA, which will begin designing a transition program to assist professors and students in making the transition to OERs at UMass Lowell, and get more funding at the statewide level in Massachusetts.
- Protect Our Oceans: Our oceans are at rist. We can do better. We’re working to protect Cashes Ledge, New England’s ocean treasure, from fossil fuel extraction, overfishing, seismic testing, and other threats to preserve our incredible ocean ecosystems.
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.