By Alex Kerravala, Staff Writer
On February 6, MASSPIRG held a Spring Kickoff event on campus, encouraging new students interested in making a difference to join. Our UMass Dartmouth’s MASSPIRG chapter informed members of plans for the semester, leadership opportunities, and how exactly one can get involved.
The UMass Dartmouth chapter is led by Chairman Nate Roberts, a sophomore political science and economics double major with a minor in sustainability and, hopefully, history. Regardless, Nate was able to walk me through the details of what MASSPIRG has planned, both long-term goals as well as the short term of this upcoming semester.
MASSPIRG has four campaigns in progress for this Spring semester. Hunger and Homelessness, Save the Bees, and Voter Registration. The last campaign is one I imagine every student on campus has heard of, the one-hundred percent renewable energy campaign.
If you were to take these goals as impossible for a mere student-run organization that survives off a nine dollar waveable fee billed to every student, you would be very mistaken. Since the beginning of the Fall 2017 semester, MASSPIRG has been able to raise over one-thousand dollars for the hurricane victims in Puerto Rico, as well as eight hundred cases of water for Flint Michigan. While those numbers may sound small to some, that is from UMass Dartmouth alone.
Along with that, MASSPIRG has taken great strides on their campaign to make UMass Dartmouth running solely on renewable energy by 2050. About a third of students and a quarter of faculty have signed petitions in support, and calls are being made regularly to state legislature.
Of course this is all what has been done in the past, and what matters more to MASSPIRG is the future. By this semester MASSPIRG plans to have some form of commitment from the chancellor to make the campus 100 percent renewable. In addition, there are plans to increase voter institutionalization on campus, perhaps by having some form of voter registration during orientation.
The Hunger and Homelessness campaign plans to reduce the “SNAP Gap,” and bing attention to those eligible for food stamps in Massachusetts, but are not receiving them.
Group numbers continue to rise for MASSPIRG, but an organization this important really cannot have too much support.
Back in Spring of 2017, Masspirg’s Spring Kickoff had about twenty-five students attending, and by the Fall kickoff they had fifty, and now with the number even higher as of the 2018 Spring Kickoff. If even one of these causes matter to you, MASSPIRG urges students, faculty, and staff to attend one of their weekly meetings. Every Friday at 4 p.m. in Woodland Commons, the individual campaigns meet, discusses plans for the week, as well as assign roles. If making an important change matters to you, consider bringing your ideas to MASSPIRG!