Happy New Year from PIRG Campus Action! We are looking forward to continuing the great work on all of our campuses across the country as we work to make textbooks more affordable, help students vote, alleviate hunger and homelessness in our communities and more!
Across the country, thousands of students took action on our campaigns. From collecting canned food and other basic needs to lobbying our members of Congress to support solutions for climate change. We had a great 2023, here are some of our highlights from the fall!
Protecting the Environment
We ran a number of campaigns to help protect our environment. We built support to protect America’s wildlife by getting student leaders to support Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, a bill that will provide vital resources for states to implement wildlife conservation plans. At the University of South Florida, Club President Annabelle Folsom worked with the Student Government to pass a resolution in support of our campaign and held beach and park cleanups over the course of the semester
In many of our states, our focus was protecting funding for climate solutions by encouraging our Federal leaders to continue to support action on climate. We collected petitions from more than 1,900 students and met with six representatives in their district offices.
Some of our top student leaders helped welcome the new EPA’s first ever National Environmental Youth Advisory Council in Washington D.C. this November. At the national convening students like Gerod Ford, from our our GeorgiaPIRG club at Georgia State University encouraged the new members to take action on a range of different environmental topics including: stronger restrictions on soot, reductions in climate pollution from power plants, and protecting water from lead and toxic PFAS pollution.
Finally, we hosted our first Climate Change is Scary photo petition competition where hundreds of students took photo petitions and posted on Instagram to raise awareness about the campaign. Nearly 800 students took photo petitions with signs that share why they care about addressing climate change.
Addressing Hunger and Homelessness in our Communities
This fall, PIRG Campus Actions clubs participated in Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week. During the week of action more than 50,000 people took action at events around the country, and the #HHWeek hashtag was shared over 4,000 times and reached millions online. These events not only raised tens of thousands of dollars and collected thousands of pounds of items for the needy—from food to clothing to basic necessities—they also raised awareness and helped break the stigma around hunger and homelessness.
Our VirginiaPIRG Students club at George Mason University made an impact with direct service and advocacy. For Hunger and Homelessness Week they held a PB&J Drive in the heart of campus. With the help of many participants, we were able to make 177 sandwiches to donate to Bailey’s Shelter & Supportive Housing. Over the course of the semester, Club President Amanda Magpiong worked closely with Virginia legislators to introduce the Hunger Free Campus Bill and have already started to build coalitions across the state to build the support needed to pass it in the spring.
At the University of North Carolina – Chapel Hill, the End Hunger and Homelessness Campaign ran a clothing drive in residence halls and walked around neighborhoods in Chapel Hill, leaving flyers at doors to advertise a clothing donation pick-up drive. In total, we were able to collect over 300 pounds of clothes to donate to Urban Ministries of Durham, which provides clothing to homeless and low-resource households.
Turning Out the Youth Vote
We know democratic engagement is an every year, year-round effort. So this fall we helped thousands of students get registered and turned out to vote in local elections. In total, we reached more than 20,000 students connecting them with important information to turnout to vote and had fun doing it! We hosted a number of themed tables during National Voter Registration Day like Donuts and Democracy, Exercise your Right to Vote, and had some appearances from the Vote Goat.
At Florida State University, New Voters Project Coordinator Sam Appel worked with coalition partners to establish an on campus polling location that will help students more effectively make their voices heard through voting in the 2024 election.
Thanks to everyone who made this year a memorable one, looking forward to 2024!
Manny Rin // PIRG Campus Action Organizing Director
Manny began his career in college as a student leader with CALPIRG. Now he works with staff and students to make sure the largest voting block in the country is activated and empowered. Previously the executive director of Change Corps, Manny has extensive experience leading campaigns, including working with MoveOn.org Political Action to get out the vote in swing states in 2014, and with Everytown for Gun Safety to pass gun safety legislation in Oregon. Manny lives in Denver, where he enjoys running, playing pool and trivia with friends.