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 Middlesex students?
We want MCC students to have the opportunity to be engaged citizens and make a real, tangible difference on issues that matter to us and society. 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, and the mission of MCC as well.
Beyond making a difference on issues that affect all of us – whether that’s locally, statewide, or nationally – MASSPIRG offers students on campus 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 educate and engage students in current events and civics and make it possible for students here to start making a difference right now, instead of waiting until graduation.
How is MASSPIRG funded and directed?
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 1988. We pool those resources with other chapters across the state and hire professional staff like organizers, lobbyists, and advocates, 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 locally and which issues we prioritize statewide. The core group of MASSPIRG students on each campus elect student leaders to represent their campus at the statewide level on our Board of Directors. MASSPIRG is open to any and all students who want to participate. The student body at large has the opportunity to reaffirm their support of funding our own advocacy group every few years. Here at Middlesex, students have voted affirmatively to fund our MASSPIRG Chapter for the past 32 years.
What was the result of the last MASSPIRG funding vote?
In spring 2023, 82% of students that voted in the student government elections voted YES to continue funding MASSPIRG at MCC through the $9/semester waivable fee!
What has MASSPIRG accomplished recently?
- Increasing the youth vote and civic engagement: We are the largest and most diverse generation alive, and we need to vote to have our voices heard. In the last 15 years, MASSPIRG has helped to register over 45,000 students to vote, more than 1400 students here at MCC. We help to increase youth voting by engaging people face to face, over the phone, and through creative social media outreach tactics.In the 2022 midterm elections, we made over 20,000 youth voter contacts across the state, contributing to historic youth voter turnout. And we won a leadership award from the Students Learn Students Vote coalition for our efforts!
- Making textbooks more 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 $14 million to open education resource programs, saving students hundreds of millions of dollars in textbooks costs. And 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. The past few years have been especially difficult with the pandemic – a recent survey by HopeLabs, which surveyed over 800 students at MCC, found that 32% of students had been food insecure in the previous 30 days, and 34% were housing insecure when they responded. Recently, we’ve worked closely with the on-campus food pantries on both Bedford and Lowell campuses and are making hunger and homelessness resources more visible and available for MCC students!
- Tackling the climate crisis: Climate change is one of the biggest threats our generation faces, and we’re already feeling its effects, which is why we’re advicating to repower Massachusetts with 100 percent clean and renwable energy. And we’re making progress! Last spring we won a 100% renewable energy commitment from UMass Amherst, and over the summer we helped pass a climate bill expanding renewable infrastructure in the state. Over 20,000 students have signed our petition in support of the 100% Clean Act, including nearly 500 from MCC.
See more victories here: https://masspirgstudents.org/recent-victories/
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]