Ohio Public Interest Research Group (PIRG) is part of a national organization known as the Student PIRGs. Started by Ralph Nader in the 1970s, the goal of the Student Public Interest Research Groups is to organize college students to have a voice in government while representing the public interest. Student PIRG chapters, like the Ohio PIRG chapter, function as a very effective outlet for student activism; each school chapter has access to a full time campus organizer and the resources of a national organization, enabling students to tackle anything from making presentations to local politicians to taking part in a national campaign to install light rails across the country. Students can chose to be involved with any of the existing PIRG campaigns- such as the Hunger and Homelessness campaign, the Affordable Higher Education Campaign, the New Voters Project, to name a few- or students can create a new campaign based on their interest- the only requirement is that it serves the public interest.
Though Oberlin is the only OhioPIRG campus chapter in the state (after a statewide college republican movement took out the other Ohio chapters in the 80s), our campaigns are still effective and powerful. The Ohio PIRG climate change campaign has accomplished much for Oberlin and Ohio. In the past year we have:
- – organized Oberlin Earth Day 2010 celebrations
- – invited speakers such as David Kirby (author of animal factory) to inform students of the dangers of factory farming.
- – communicated with our Federal senators about their environmental platforms
- – registered voters for the fall election and the spring primary
- – Coordinated with OSEC to organize Ohio Power Shift 2009
- – and Much more!
Ultimately, all of Ohio PIRGs campaigns would be more effective if there were more campus chapters doing the same work around the state. If you’re interested in forming your own PIRG chapter at your school, please contact Ohio PIRG president Amanda Nichols.
Amanda Nichols, Ohio PIRG President