Opinion

Go far with MPIRG

Since graduating from college, I have had the privilege of doing work that I care about and doing it professionally. I was hired as the Regional Field Director for the Raise Up Massachusetts campaign less than a year out of college, in charge of a large part of the largest grassroots ballot initiative in the Commonwealth’s history. We raised the minimum wage in Massachusetts to $11 and provided earned sick time for all workers by collecting 320,000 petition signatures and winning on November’s ballot. I learned those skills gathering 80 petition signatures for on-campus composting, and introducing measures at our Mac-Groveland community caucus. These opportunities would not have been available to me through other orgs, and I don’t know where I’d be today without MPIRG.

MPIRG provided me classroom-based skills trainings at weekly workshops and semester retreats. Here, I learned hard organizing skills— everything from facilitating meetings to campaign planning— that I have since taken to other campus organizations, internships and eventually jobs.

The fact that I became a professional organizer is largely due to work with MPIRG; in fact, the fact that I knew that I could become a professional organizer is due to working with MPIRG, too! The three campus organizers that I had at Macalester helped guide me from a sporadic participant, to an active member, to a two-time environmental task force leader. It was with MPIRG that I was told I was a leader, an organizer and an activist. Being coached and mentored by professional organizers helped build my skills and my confidence as an organizer.

Losing the Macalester chapter of MPIRG would obviously be a loss in and of itself. But it would also be a direct loss to other organizations on campus, to the broader Mac-Groveland Community specifically, and to Minnesotan and national progressive politics generally. But closing the chapter and the classroom, mentorship and hands-on-experience that MPIRG provides would also end the legacy that the organization leaves with the students who graduate.

November 14, 2014

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