A trip to the White House

For decades, the Student PIRGs have been organizing to fight climate change. In the last year, Congress has passed two landmark bills that do just that and our Political Director was invited to the White House to celebrate. Their report on how PIRG students contributed to this victory below.

Blog Post

This week, I had the privilege of representing student activists across the country at the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) Celebration at the White House. The historic bill invests more than $360 billion in climate solutions and is an important first step towards a livable future for the next generation.

From the left: Colorado PIRG Director, Danny Katz; Director of PIRGs Healthcare Campaigns, Patricia Kelmar; Student PIRGs Political Director, Dan Xie; Director of PIRGs Environmental Campaigns, Matt Casale

This moment would not be possible without the decades of organizing by young people like you organizing on campuses across the country. When I got my start as a climate activist in college with CALPIRG Students at UC Davis in 2005, we were working to make California the first state in the country to pass legislation to cap carbon emissions (AB32, which we won!) I remember students asking what global warming was and how it worked when petitioning on the quad in those early days.

Thanks to the persistent efforts of young people across the country, we’ve come a long way since then.

We know that federal change is only possible if we build enough support in our states and communities. For 50 years, PIRG students have led the way through organizing on campus.

In just the last year (!!) —

  • MASSPIRG Students won their campaign to get the University of Massachusetts Amherst to commit to being powered by 100 percent renewable energy by 2032,
  • NJPIRG Students helped pass the Rutgers Climate Action plan which commits the university to carbon neutrality by 2040,
  • MaryPIRG at the University of Maryland helped pass the Climate Solutions Now bill, which commits the state to net-zero emissions by 2045,
  • CONNPIRG Students helped pass Senate Bill 10 which commits Connecticut to a zero-carbon electric grid by 2024,
  • Florida PIRG Students successfully defended the state’s solar policies by defending their net metering rules,
  • And literally this morning, CALPIRG Students won their campaign to pass a suite of climate bills including SB 1020 which hastens clean energy adoption in the state.

Between the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill (BIF) and the Inflation Reduction Act (IRA), the federal government has invested more than half a trillion dollars in climate solutions in the last year. These bills will bolster the work already underway in the states and make bigger, bolder commitments possible.

The author and PIRGs DC Director Lisa Frank with Vice President Harris at the White House for the Bipartisan Infrastructure Bill celebration.

While we still have a lot of work to do, with the passing of these bills, I am hopeful that we can come together to build a future powered by 100% clean energy.

You can join our effort to fight for a livable planet by interning or volunteering with your local PIRG chapter or club.


Dan Xie
Political Director
Student PIRGs