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 Fitchburg State students?
We want Fitchburg students to have the opportunity to be engaged citizens and realize their dreams. 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. MASSPIRG offers internships on campus that offer students 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 engage, educate, and engage students in current events and civics.
How is MASSPIRG funded:
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 1982. We pool those resources with other chapters across the state and hire professional staff 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, who represents us at the statewide level, and it’s open to all students. The student body at large has the opportunity to reaffirm their support of funding their own advocacy group every few years. Here at Fitchburg State, students have voted affirmatively to fund our MASSPIRG Chapter for the past 35 years.
- Affordable College: In 2019, PIRG students & our D.C. based advocates lobbied Congress allocate $7 million for open textbooks. This federal grant program is in its third year and is estimated to have saved students $170 million. PIRG also worked to pass the FUTURE Act, which simplifies federal student aid and loan repayment. Students will see the FAFSA shorten by a third in the coming months. On campus, we’re working with the librarians, SGA, and faculty to increase the use of Open Educational Resources (OERs) that are high-quality, easy-to-access, affordable textbooks and class materials.
- Increasing civic engagement: We are the largest and most diverse generation alive, and we need to vote to have our voices heard. Since 2008, MASSPIRG has helped over 40,000 students register to vote across the state, including 1600 students here at Fitchburg State. We help to increase youth voting by engaging people face to face, right on college campuses. This past semester we helped register over 100 students for the 2020 Presidential Primary, made over 400 voter contacts before Super Tuesday on March 3rd, and co-hosted a Results Watch Party in the FalconHub that was attended by all of our local and state elected officials and 100 attendees. We partnered with SGA, FAB, Res Life, Greek Life, the Poli Sci Department, and the Office of Student Life on our efforts this year, and we plan to continue this coalition into the fall.
- Supporting students with basic needs: MASSPIRG has been working to alleviate hunger and homelessness for decades. Here are FSU, we’ve run food drives and fundraisers to support the Falcon Bazaar. With the recent COVID-19 pandemic, many people’s living situations and ability to provide their basic needs have been challenged even more. So, we have worked to publicize websites for people to find resources they need, including food pantries, shelters, and emotional comfort. In addition, we have also advertised ways for people to help others suffering from COVID-19 by donating, if they are able.
- Fighting Climate Change: We introduced the 100% Renewable Energy Act in the MA legislature and got a majority of our legislators to co-sponsor the bill as of January 2019. Students here at FSU collected hundreds of petition signatures, signed-on dozens of small businesses in town, and mobilized students to make a phone call to their legislators to demonstrate support for commiting MA to get 100% of their energy from clean, safe, renewable sources.
See more victories here: https://masspirgstudents.org/recent-victories/
“Since 1982, the Fitchburg State University PIRG Chapter has been empowering students to take action, making their voices more powerful on campus, at the State House and in Washington, DC. I’m thankful to partner with the FSU MASSPIRG Chapter to move vital legislation forward, including tackling climate change and making public higher education more affordable and accessible.” – State Representative Natalie Higgins
“At a time of accelerating climate change and threats to the environment and biodiversity, Fitchburg State’s MASSPIRG chapter helps organize at the grassroots level to work to ensure a stable climate and healthy environment. I applaud the work that MASSPIRG has done and will continue to do.” – Professor Benjamin Lieberman Economics, History, and Political Science at Fitchburg State University
MASSPIRG plays a vital role promoting issues that benefit students. Their civic engagement helps make a more just and healthier world.” – Dr. Michael Hove, Professor of Psychology at Fitchburg State
“I got involved because all throughout high school I worked with food pantries and other organizations that helped those in need. Being able to run my own events right here on campus allowed me to provide the same services while at college. The experience gave me more insight into how to approach the cause and make connections with people in order to open their minds to the issues we see all around us.” – Emily Vitale, second year Psychology major
“MASSPIRG really made me realize the importance of fighting for a cause you believe in. We live in a world of uncertainty, and now more than ever it is the best time to take action for the issues we care about as a community and as a planet. I am so grateful for the resources MASSPIRG has given me to fight for what I believe in: a cleaner and more prosperous world for all of us.” – Gonzalo Camprecios Gari, fourth year Psychology Major
Want to join our efforts? We’d love to have you!
First, follow us online:
If you want to volunteer or learn more about our internship program, learn more here.
If you still have more questions, please contact us at [email protected]