MassPirg is the Word

Posted on February 10, 2012 by

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By Marion Calabro

Senate Correspondent

Worcester State University’s student elections are approaching in April. Students have the opportunity to vote on campus issues and for student government representatives. One of the biggest votes on the ballot this April will be regarding MassPirg. Every 2 years WSU students elect whether to continue sponsoring MassPirg’s presence on campus through an optional $7 fee on their tuition bill.

Mid-April will be WSU’s Spring Elections. The elections are run by the Student Government Association and Student Senate. 2012 is an election year for MassPirg to renew their presence on the WSU campus. The last MassPirg election was in Spring of 2010 in which students voted in favor of maintaining MassPirg’s Worcester State Chapter.

Voting in favor of MassPirg allows $70,000 of potential annual student funding to go towards the group’s activities on campus. Since many students opt out of this fee, MassPirg receives about $34,000 annually from WSU students. MassPirg, although affiliated with the campus, is not a Student Organization and does not receive funding from the Student Activities Trust Fund. All financial support for MassPirg comes directly from the students.

Voting to discontinue WSU’s affiliation with MassPirg would mean the removal of the optional $7 fee from tuition bills. It would also cease all MasssPirg sponsored activities on campus.

On its website, MassPirg.com, MassPirg describes itself as a group that “[organizes] college students to solve some of the world’s most pressing public interest problems.” On the Worcester State Masspirg Facebook Page the organization further elaborates its goal as “a student-funded, student-directed organization that fights on behalf of students.”  

Through student funding this entails MassPirg hiring a non-student MassPirg representative to facilitate MassPirg activities on WSU’s campus.

Throughout the 2011-2012 academic year there have been two meetings advertised on the MassPirg Worcester State Facebook page. According to the MassPirg Worcester State Chapter web page there is an upcoming kick-off meeting on February 15th, 2012 in One Lancer Place in the Student Center.

During this academic year MassPirg also hosted “Textbook Rebellion” in September which advocated for lowering the cost of text books. The group also sponsored a food drive in October. Two of the better known MassPirg initiatives are expanding the Bottle Bill and supporting Pell Grants.

MassPirg group members gathered students’ signatures on a petition to expand the Bottle Bill to include recycling deposits on water bottles. The bill had previously just applied to soda and beer containers. Four Worcester State University students, as posted on the MassPirg Facebook page, accompanied the Fall 2011 MassPirg representative to the Massachusetts State House to hand in these signatures.

Government budget cuts threatened the existence of Pell Grants which provide financial assistance to university students. MassPirg representatives advocated this cause through a petition that the group gathered student signatures for.

A great thing about Worcester State University’s campus is its ability to grow with the students that study in its halls. The April elections are a fantastic opportunity to be a part of Worcester State’s growth.

To learn more about MassPirg attend the meeting, visits its Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/pages/Worcester-State-College-MASSPIRG/112157638803413 or the organization’s website http://www.masspirgstudents.org/.

If you would like to know more about the voting process contact your Senator or stop by the Foster Room in the Student Center at 4 p.m. on Thursdays.

Vote on the MassPirg question. Vote for your class’s Senators. Take the initiative to make this the campus you want it to be.

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