How do I vote YES for MASSPIRG at UMD?
You can vote YES to continue MASSPIRG’s funding online on April 3-14. Check back here closer to the vote for the link!
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 UMass Dartmouth students?
We want UMD 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 UMass Dartmouth 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 1974. 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.
Learn more about the MASSPIRG fee here
What have we accomplished?
- 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, including more that 6,000 students here at UMass Dartmouth. 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! Here at UMass Dartmouth, MASSPIRG and the campus Vote Coalition held a number of events to get students registered and out to vote, including a “Donut Forget to Vote” table on National Voter Registration Day.
- 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. Here at UMass Dartmouth we’re working to spread awareness and make it easier for professors on our campus to make this switch.
- Supporting students’ basic needs: Hunger and homelessness is unfortunately very common among college students—about 37% of students attending public universities in Massachusetts are food insecure. MASSPIRG has been working to alleviate hunger and homelessness for decades. Here at UMD, we worked with Jeanne’s Cupboard to gather food donations for the campus food pantry and held a Pie-In-The-Face fundraiser to help generate funds for hurricane relief in Florida and Puerto Rico. In collaboration with the Leduc Center, Global Health Collaborative SAIL Club, Honors Student Council and CVSA we helped achieve the goal of $1000!
- 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. Across the state we’ve collected over 20,000 signatures (including 2,300 from UMD) in support of the 100% Clean Act – which would transition the state to a fully clean energy future.
- Protecting students as consumers: In January 2021, Our advocacy and organizing efforts resulted in the passage of the Student Loan Borrower Bill of Rights, which will protect the 855,500 students who have had to take out loans to pay for college from unfair and deceptive lending practices by loan servicing companies. Our professional staff advocates and student leaders testified on Beacon Hill each time this bill came up for discussion. In the final weeks of the legislative session, we delivered letters signed by over 100 student leaders from across campuses in MA (including eleven from UMD) to the key decision-makers, including Governor Baker, to get this bill over the finish line.
See more victories here: https://masspirgstudents.org/recent-victories/
Want to join our efforts? We’d love to have you!
First, follow us online:
Then, sign up to volunteer!
If you still have more questions, please contact us at [email protected]