By Rebecca Malkin
Protecting our environment, raising money for the homeless, and reducing the prices of textbooks – these are causes we can all really get behind, right? That’s what Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group (MassPIRG) campus organizer Ethan Davis believes. Unfortunately, things like sports, Facebook, and parties can often get in the way of even the best of intentions of busy teenage students.
“Being in college is an amazing opportunity, and a lot of people take this for granted,” said Davis. “I believe that people should feel a sense of responsibility to give back to their community.”
MassPIRG on campus is in recruitment mode once again, as it is this time every year. The group works to better the campus and local communities by volunteering, fundraising, and spreading the word about important issues.
Those involved with MassPIRG work to gather more support by setting up tables outside of the dining hall to ask students to sign petitions, collect interest cards, and speak in front of classes. Members of the group then call those who are interested to inform them about meeting dates and times.
Self-proclaimed workaholic Samantha DeManbey is Fitchburg State University’s MassPIRG president. She has been a part of the group since she was a freshman four years ago.
DeManbey said that her involvement with MassPirg started with her hungry stomach. “The sign said ‘free pizza’ and I hadn’t had lunch that day,” DeManbey explained. Like many students, she was hesitant at first to get involved, but has thoroughly enjoyed having such an active role in her community. DeManbey’s priorities are updating the Bottle Bill, and improving recycling on campus.
If you haven’t seen MassPIRG around campus, you might have seen them on your tuition bill. Like other student organizations, there is an activity fee for MASSPIRG, which this year is $9.
“The fee is important because it provides us the necessary funds to hire our own professional staff, like organizers, lawyers, scientists etc. to work on our behalf to research solutions, write bills, run local and state wide campaigns, and even lobby our legislators on Beacon Hill and in Washington DC,” Davis explains. However, if you are strongly opposed to paying the fee, you are able to waive it by speaking with Financial Aid.