A word from MPIRG

By Mattew Butler and Sklyer Larrimore

On December 10th, there will be a special election to enrich the Macalester campus experience by raising the student activity fee. A $3 portion of the proposed raise will go to the Minnesota Public Interest Research Group (MPIRG). MPIRG is a non-partisan, non-profit, student-run, statewide, grassroots organization that empowers and trains Mac students to take collective action in the public interest throughout the state of Minnesota. MPIRG offers Macalester students a unique opportunity to design and direct their own non-profit organization and has been an active force on the Macalester campus since 1971. Mac students are involved at every level of the organization — from collectively determining our statewide legislative agenda to sitting on the Board of Directors.Students like you started MPIRG because they saw the solutions to Minnesota’s biggest problems being ignored by decision makers. Students knew then, as we know today, that the problems facing Minnesota would not be solved in the lecture hall or the library. In order to have an impact on wilderness protection, campus and local sustainability, gender and sexuality initiatives, health care coverage, worker’s rights, and fair trade, we need to activate the public and engage citizens. MPIRG does that each day through our advocacy at the Capitol and the campus programs hosted by our chapter. All of this being said, MPIRG is doing the same work today with far fewer resources. In 1971, MPIRG received $1 a semester per student and currently receives $3 a semester per student, an amount that has not kept up with inflation. Increasing the fee to $6 per student will expand the capacity of the organization and open up even more opportunities to Macalester students.

With additional revenue, students will have expanded access to off-campus work study and internship positions in Nonprofit Communications, Development, and Public Policy at the MPIRG State Office. In addition, this revenue will allow for the creation of an annual conference at Macalester on Politics, Policy, and Community-Organizing. The purpose of this conference will be to provide students with an opportunity to hear first-hand testimony from local nonprofit leaders, politicians, and professors concerning issues facing our communities today and opportunities for engagement during and after college.

MPIRG’s staff organizers, and its connections to the wider nonprofit community, distinguish the organization in its ability to train students in grassroots-organizing skills. Additional revenue will allow us to offer monthly, open skill-trainings to prepare students for internships and careers in the nonprofit sector after college. If there is sufficient interest and resources, MPIRG will also lead a delegation to lobby our legislators at the federal level in Washington D.C.

Next Friday, students have the opportunity to enrich the Macalester campus experience by voting yes on the MCSG and MPIRG referendum.