By Jonathan Moniz, Staff Writer
The Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group, or MassPIRG, held its kickoff meeting for 2017-2018, beginning a new season of activism. The meeting was held in the Woodland Commons Hall from 6 to 8 p.m.
MassPIRG is a student-directed and run organization on campus dedicated to promoting various socio-political goals on campus, whether it’s lowering the costs of textbooks to helping UMass Dartmouth switch over to an entirely sustainable energy program.
Run by Haylee Becker, a professional organizer for this current year, MassPIRG has been around for forty years, working on various student projects at the time.
It is funded by the nine dollar fee included within tuition and college payments at the beginning of every semester.
Then Dr. David Milstone spoke as well, making opening remarks about the future of the organization and the investment of students.
The meeting began with opening remarks by Becker, the current director for MassPIRG, who commented on her excitement for the new season.
She talked about the four new projects being put forth as the new campaigns for the season, and what the overall theme was.
“Our main goal this season is to help the campus become sustainable,” Becker said. In addition to that, they had an informative campaign going on with sustainable energy. They also showcased a campaign about lowering textbook costs, affordable incomes and food insecurity, and removing corruption from politics.
Many of the campaign managers themselves came from a place of personal reflection, noting how many of their own experiences affected the drives they were passionate about and how they wished to change those areas.
Patrick Medeiros, a junior at UMass Dartmouth, was running the campaign to get big money out of politics. He mentioned his dad, “who would come home from work every day, complaining about money and corruption.”
Every single campaign was hosted by a different member of the organization, who each stood up and gave a brief opening remark on their campaign and why they felt it was important to contribute.
They highlighted the various important reasons they believed their campaign was indeed worth something, and talked about why it was important to have.
Once the meeting had made their remarks and with a closing segment by Becker, they divided into groups in order to work on the various campaigns.
Becker implored the group to not only focus on one campaign and one group, but to instead fill whatever vocations or callings impassioned them.
She encouraged students to possibly even start campaigns of they own if they found an issue or idea they felt was worth exploring.
MassPIRG does many events every year, particularly focusing on mobilizing the student vote in the 2016 election season.
They also focusing on recruiting members of the student body and getting them interested, said Zack Dickinson, recruiter for MassPIRG. It’s one of his main focuses for the season.
The organization operates at the local, state, and federal level in politics, working on behalf of it’s members for the goals and projects that are ultimately run by the students.