What is Florida PIRG?
Florida PIRG is a statewide student-run and largely student-funded advocacy group working to protect the environment, fight hunger on campus, build a zero-waste future, make college more affordable, and more. We work locally on college campuses such as Eckerd College, and have professional staff, like organizers and advocates who work with us to make sure we make tangible change. 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 Florida PIRG beneficial for Eckerd College students?
We want Eckerd 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 the college as well.
Beyond making a difference on issues that affect all of us – whether that’s locally, statewide, or nationally – Florida PIRG 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 Florida PIRG funded and directed?
At Eckerd College, we are funded by students through the college’s student activity fee, as well as through grants that students help to raise to support the program. We use those resources to hire professional staff like organizers 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. Florida PIRG 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.
What has Florida PIRG accomplished?
- Turning out the youth vote: Just last fall, we trained more than 200 volunteers, helped to register thousands of students across the state. Here at Eckerd, we’ve registered over 1,500 students since 2018, and helped increase voter turnout in local elections by 1,000% (yeah, a thousand!). We even participated in Michelle Obama’s ‘When We All Vote’ week of action — and she highlighted our Florida work with a retweet! Overall, we’ve made voting more accessible for students, always making sure their voices are heard in local, state, and national elections.
- Building a Zero-Waste Future: We helped get Eckerd to be the first college in the country to sign the Break Free From Plastic pledge to phase out single-use plastics on campus. This has paved the way for dozens of other colleges and universities to take action to build a zero-waste future. In addition, Florida PIRG Students at Eckerd participated in a global brand audit through the Break Free from Plastics coalition, which revealed the top corporate polluters in the world. Now, we’re working to eliminate other forms of waste on campus by creating battery recycling programs, and putting a bulk goods store in our pub!
- Fighting Hunger & Poverty: This semester, Eckerd’s chapter led students across the state to introduce the Hunger Free Campus Bill into the Florida State Legislature. This bill would create a grants program so public schools across our state can invest in ending food insecurity. And here on campus, we’re working to make sure students have access to the food they need, and collecting data on food insecurity, so that our school can take real action for students. And since 2018, we’ve raised over $3,000 for groups like Alpha House, St. Vincent de Paul, and the St. Pete Free Clinic.
How do I get involved with Florida PIRG?
We have volunteer and internship opportunities available! Fill out this form and we’ll be in touch! You can also follow us on Instagram @ec_flopirg
If you still have more questions, please contact campus organizer Isabel Muir at [email protected].