History

In addition to providing students with a valuable educational experience, the Student PIRGs have also served as a vehicle for students to win concrete solutions to society’s problems. These are just a few accomplishments from the past fifty years:

Timeline

2018
2018

Convinced the University of California system to commit to 100% renewable electricity by 2025.

2018

Helped pass SB100 in California which committed the state to 100% renewable electricity by 2045.

2018

Helped convince Dunkin’ Donuts to phase out use of polystyrene foam cups by 2020

2017
2017

In the 2017 budget proposal, the U.S. House proposed cutting $3.3 billion from the Pell Grant program. MASSPIRG Students and Student PIRG volunteers came together to generate more than three thousand calls and petitions to their Senators urging them to stop this enormous cut to financial aid, ensuring that it did not become law.

2017

The Student PIRGs launched the Open Textbook Alliance, which works with student governments nationwide to pass policies supporting the adoption of free open textbooks. It seeks to replicate successful programs like the ones at UMass Amherst and UConn Storrs that have saved students millions of dollars.

2016
2016

Chris Lindstrom, USPIRG’s Higher Education Program Director, worked in a Department of Education negotiated rulemaking session to craft the “borrower defense” program. It investigates complaints from students who have been taken advantage of by predatory lenders and for-profit schools, like Corinthian College and ITT Tech, and allows them to get some or all of their loans forgiven.

2016

In California, we collected thousands of petitions, held nearly a dozen press conferences, and helped pass Prop 67 which finalized California’s plastic grocery bag ban – the first statewide ban of its kind in the country.

2015
2015

In Massachusetts, we passed city council resolutions in Salem and Dartmouth to move towards 100% renewable energy, and successfully lobbied our State Representatives to raise the cap on solar which will provide enough new clean energy to power over 100,000 homes in across the state.

2015

In Oregon, we helped pass the Coal to Clean bill which will double Oregon’s clean energy usage and get the entire state off all coal by 2030.

2015

In California, we blocked utility efforts to gut the state’s strong solar energy incentives.

2015

WashPIRG Students helped gather signatures to qualify the Honest Elections Initiative for the ballot, then helped canvass and phonebank to pass the initiative in November.

2015

Convinced McDonald’s and Subway to stop serving meat raised on the routine use of antibiotics

2014
2014

CALPIRG helped ban plastic grocery bags in Los Angeles, the Bay Area, Santa Cruz, Davis and Santa Barbara and helped pass the first statewide ban.

2011
2011

Volunteers from Arizona PIRG, CALPIRG, ConnPIRG, INPIRG, Maryland PIRG, MASSPIRG, MoPIRG, MontPIRG, NJPIRG, Ohio PIRG, PennPIRG, WashPIRG, and WISPIRG generated thousands of calls and petitions to their Senators to stop H.R. 1, a federal budget that included a $5.7 billion cut to the Pell Grant program.

2010
2010

Students working with Arizona PIRG, CALPIRG, ConnPIRG, INPIRG, Maryland PIRG, MASSPIRG, MoPIRG, MontPIRG, NJPIRG, Ohio PIRG, PennPIRG, WashPIRG, and WISPIRG help pass new law to lower health care costs for families including young adults by allowing them to stay on their parents’ coverage until age 26

2010

Students working with Arizona PIRG, CALPIRG, ConnPIRG, INPIRG, Maryland PIRG, MASSPIRG, MoPIRG, MontPIRG, NJPIRG, Ohio PIRG, PennPIRG, WashPIRG, and WISPIRG help to pass the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act, which among other things, adds $36 billion into the Pell grant program

2009
2009

Arizona PIRG, CALPIRG, ConnPIRG, INPIRG, Maryland PIRG, MASSPIRG, MoPIRG, MontPIRG, NJPIRG, Ohio PIRG, PennPIRG, WashPIRG, and WISPIRG help pass strong legislation that will end some of the worst abuses of the credit card industry, including some which are often targeted at college students

2008
2008

Students working with Arizona PIRG, CALPIRG, ConnPIRG, INPIRG, Maryland PIRG, MASSPIRG, MoPIRG, MontPIRG, NJPIRG, Ohio PIRG, PennPIRG, WashPIRG, and WISPIRG help pass provisions to lower the cost of textbooks for millions of students

2008

MASSPIRG helps pass the Global Warming Solutions Act, which requires reduction of greenhouse gases emissions from the Commonwealth by 20 percent below 1990 levels by 2020 and 80 percent by 2050

2008

CALPIRG helps pass Prop 1A, an initiative to build a high-speed rail line connecting California’s major cities

2008

Student PIRGs’ New Voters Project helps register 118,000 young voters and contacts 440,000 voters to turn them out to the polls

2007
2007

Student PIRGs’ What’s Your Plan? Campaign talks to the presidential candidates over 100 times on the campaign trail, to ask them about their plans for global warming and higher education

2007

Student working with Arizona PIRG, CALPIRG, ConnPIRG, INPIRG, Maryland PIRG, MASSPIRG, MoPIRG, MontPIRG, NJPIRG, Ohio PIRG, PennPIRG, WashPIRG, and WISPIRG help pass the College Cost Reduction and Access Act through Congress, the largest higher education bill in decades

2007

WashPIRG helps pass the College Textbook Transparency Act, requiring publishers to disclose book prices when marketing textbooks to professors

2006
2006

Student PIRGs’ New Voters Project helps register 75,000 young voters and makes 94,000 get-out-the-vote contacts to get youth out to the polls

2006

CALPIRG helps pass the Million Solar Roofs bill and Global Warming Solutions Act, making California a leader in the fight against global warming

2006

WISPIRG helps pass new law requiring that 10% of Wisconsin’s energy come from renewable sources by 2015

2006

ConnPIRG helps win new law requiring that publishers disclose textbook prices to faculty

2005
2005

In response to Hurricane Katrina, PIRG students across the country raise hundreds of thousands of dollars and send hundreds of volunteers to the Gulf Coast to help with rebuilding efforts

2005

WashPIRG helps pass new rules requiring cleaner cars to be sold in Washington

2005

MASSPIRG passes new energy efficiency standards for common appliances

2005

The New Voters Project contributes to dramatic increases in youth voter turnout in New Jersey and Virginia’s off-year gubernatorial elections

2004
2004

WashPIRG helps pass I-297, which prevents more nuclear waste from being dumped at the Hanford Nuclear Reservation

2004

The Student PIRGs’ New Voters Project helps register 524,000 young voters and works to turn them out to the polls

2004

ConnPIRG helps win new law to require cleaner cars be sold in Connecticut

2004

MaryPIRG passes new energy efficiency rules and a law to require that more of the state’s energy come from clean, renewable sources

2002
2002

U.S. PIRG helps win critical Senate vote blocking drilling in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

2002

Ohio PIRG student activists help win $15 million to move schools off toxic waste dump

2002

U.S. PIRG efforts are instrumental in defeat of dirty energy bill

2002

NJPIRG Student Chapters win city inspections of rental housing in New Brunswick

2002

Statewide coalition including ConnPIRG wins cleanup of state’s dirtiest power plants

2002

CALPIRG and coalition win law to ensure 20 percent renewable energy by 2017 in California

2001
2001

Ohio PIRG and PIRGIM help win federal two-year moratorium on Great Lakes drilling

2001

Coalition including NJPIRG wins campaign requiring GE to clean up Hudson River PCBs

2001

MASSPIRG wins nation’s strongest power plant emissions regulations

2001

MASSPIRG helps win rules to reduce pollution from diesel trucks and buses by 90 percent

2001

MaryPIRG helps win law to clean up brownfields

2001

CALPIRG-backed law helps victims of identity theft to correct financial records

2001

CALPIRG helps win law providing $850 million for energy conservation and renewable energy

2000
2000

WISPIRG helps win nation’s strongest law to control polluted runoff

2000

President Clinton announces PIRG-sponsored plan to protect 60 million acres of national forests

1999
1999

WashPIRG helps block Cross-Cascades pipeline

1999

CALPIRG leads efforts to win California Clean Water Enforcement and Pollution Prevention Act

1998
1998

Student working with Arizona PIRG, CALPIRG, ConnPIRG, INPIRG, Maryland PIRG, MASSPIRG, MoPIRG, MontPIRG, NJPIRG, Ohio PIRG, PennPIRG, WashPIRG, and WISPIRG win law requiring colleges to distribute voter registration forms to students

1998

MASSPIRG and AmeriCorps launch Massachusetts Community Water Watch, which organized more than 180 river cleanups

1998

CoPIRG helps win inclusion of light rail in Denver’s 20-year transportation plan

1997
1997

MaryPIRG helps win law to promote redevelopment of urban brownfields

1997

CoPIRG backs governor’s winning proposal for 700-square-mile urban growth boundary around Denver

1996
1996

MASSPIRG wins passage of law to give consumers profiles of their doctors

1996

MASSPIRG helps win River Protection Act

1996

MASSPIRG helps recycle 500,000 pounds of newspapers on Boston-area subway platforms

1996

MaryPIRG helps double acreage of state’s protected wildlands

1995
1995

WashPIRG advocacy strengthens Seattle’s “Buy Recycled” policy

1995

Arizona PIRG, CALPIRG, ConnPIRG, INPIRG, Maryland PIRG, MASSPIRG, MoPIRG, MontPIRG, NJPIRG, Ohio PIRG, PennPIRG, WashPIRG, and WISPIRG deliver 1.2 million petition signatures to Congress, helping stop rollback of environmental laws

1995

CoPIRG sprawl study helps convince state to fund purchase of open spaces

1994
1994

NJPIRG and AmeriCorps launch NJ Water Watch, which has conducted more than 300 river cleanups, removed nearly 800 tons of trash, and educated more than 80,000 students

1994

MoPIRG and OSPIRG win ballot initiatives setting low campaign contribution limits

1994

CALPIRG helps win law blocking new offshore drilling

1993
1993

MoPIRG wins energy-efficiency plan for Missouri buildings

1993

CoPIRG convinces newspaper publishers to double use of recycled newsprint

1992
1992

CoPIRG helps win Colorado Clean Air Act

1991
1991

CALPIRG helps win law to limit childhood lead exposure

1990
1990

NJPIRG leads coalition effort winning nation’s toughest Clean Water Enforcement Act

1990

ConnPIRG helps win law creating funding to clean up Long Island Sound

1989
1989

MoPIRG helps win Missouri Safe Drinking Water Act

1989

MASSPIRG opens Consumer Action Center, saving consumers an average of $140,000 each subsequent year

1989

MASSPIRG authors and wins passage of Toxics Use Reduction Act

1988
1988

WashPIRG helps win referendum creating one of nation’s strongest toxic waste cleanup laws

1988

CoPIRG leads successful campaign to pass Colorado Safe Drinking Water Act

1987
1987

MASSPIRG helps win credit card industry Truth In Advertising Law

1985
1985

Student PIRGs and USA for Africa launch National Student Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness

1985

CALPIRG wins law to help ensure car manufacturers must install airbags

1984
1984

The PIRGs’ newly launched National Student Campaign for Voter Registration helps register 750,000 student voters in its first year

1984

CoPIRG leads successful campaign for “Motor Voter Initiative”

1983
1983

MASSPIRG and MoPIRG pass state Superfund laws

1980
1980

MoPIRG’s Community Energy Program helps tenants in Missouri weatherize their apartments

1979
1979

ConnPIRG helps win Connecticut Bottle Bill

1976
1976

MoPIRG helps establish Missouri’s Small Claims Court System

1976

CALPIRG wins improved access to hospital care for the poor

1976

CALPIRG creates Consumer Education Program with City of San Diego

1974
1974

CoPIRG helps win law protecting consumers from rental agency rip-offs

1973
1973

OSPIRG wins ban on credit discrimination against women in Oregon

1973

OSPIRG work helps shape goals for Oregon’s seminal land use planning program

1970
1970

INPIRG helps win landlord-tenant law in Bloomington, Indiana