2010’s been an amazing year. Thank you for being part of the Student PIRGs – here’s a quick look at some of the work we accomplished together.
New Voters Project: It’s time to make politicians pay attention to us. The best way to get them to pay attention to young people and the issues we care about is to show up to the polls, so this year we ran a large voter registration and get out the vote effort. We helped over 30,000 students register to vote and had 170,000 conversations with students in the days leading up to Election Day to remind them to vote.
Making Higher Education More Affordable: Last spring Arizona PIRG, CALPIRG, ConnPIRG, INPIRG, Maryland PIRG, MASSPIRG, MoPIRG, MontPIRG, NJPIRG, Ohio PIRG, PennPIRG, WashPIRG, and WISPIRG helped pass the biggest financial aid bill in history, increasing aid for students by $36 billion by cutting subsidies for banks and private loan campaigns like Sallie Mae and Citibank.
Wall Street Reform: Arizona PIRG, CALPIRG, ConnPIRG, INPIRG, Maryland PIRG, MASSPIRG, MoPIRG, MontPIRG, NJPIRG, Ohio PIRG, PennPIRG, WashPIRG, and WISPIRG helped lead a year-long campaign to “Rein in Wall Street” and protect consumers, investors, and taxpayers from further financial meltdowns. This July we had a huge victory when the Consumer Protection Act was signed into law.
Making Textbooks More Affordable: The average student spends $900 per year on textbooks. To put a stop to rising prices, we helped pass a new
federal law that will make textbooks more affordable.
Ending Credit Card Ripoffs: The Credit CARD Act went into effect in February, making it illegal for credit card companies to profit by tricking people into paying late and then tripling the interest rate on their balances. It also includes other protections from abusive practices the banks have used to rip us off, and it offers college students additional special protections. It was the outcry of students like you that passed this law, and the banks aren’t happy about it – this is the first time in 40 years any law opposed by credit card companies has passed!
Energy Service Corps: We partnered with Americorps to launch a new program. Energy Service Corps will work to promote energy efficiency through service and education. We’ll be educating K-12 students about energy efficiency and organizing projects to reduce energy consumption in homes and businesses throughout California, Wisconsin, New Jersey, and Colorado.
No Drills, No Spills: After the Gulf oil spill disaster, we joined a national coalition of groups to call for an end to new offshore drilling and a renewed commitment to breaking our country’s dependence on oil. More than 400,000 Americans signed petitions and made calls to the Obama administration calling for a ban on new offshore drilling. And despite heavy pressure from big oil and gas companies, we won. On December 1st the Obama Administration announced that it will protect the coasts of the continental United States from new drilling through 2017.
Prop 23: This fall, CALPIRG students helped defeat Proposition 23 in California, a ballot measure funded by Texas oil companies Valero and Tesoro that would have essentially repealed California’s landmark clean air and global warming law. With our coalition partners we collected more than 160,000 pledges from students to vote NO on Prop 23. We also educated 400,000 students across the state through face to face conversations. Over 1000 students volunteered with PIRG statewide, helping to make the No on 23 campaign the broadest environmental field campaign in history.
Protecting Consumers: The marketplace can be daunting even for the most educated consumer. To help students avoid rip-offs and unsafe products and have the information to make educated choices, we’re creating a set of guides for students. This semester, we released the Young Person’s Guide to Health Care and the Guide to Credit Cards.
Hunger and Homelessness: With the global recession, more and more people are struggling to meet their basic needs. For national Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week we held a series of education and service events on hundreds of campuses across the country to make sure that these problems stay on the forefront of people’s minds.