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Public Interest Research Groups

From Academic Kids

Public Interest Research Groups (also known as PIRG) are volunteer-driven, non-profit organizations based mostly out of University campuses around the North American continent. Inspiration for PIRGs started in 1970 when public advocate Ralph Nader spoke on college campuses across the country about increasing student involvement in society. Since then, PIRGs across the U.S. have provided training, support, and opportunities for members and the public to be active citizens in their communities. Their belief is that the way to create positive social change is to provide individuals with the information and tools they need to take responsibility for their lives and to participate effectively in their communities. Issues of environmental, consumer protection, political and social justice are the main targets of concern. PIRGs focus on public interest legislation, with some registered lobbying, but do not work directly on election campaigns.

PIRGs rely on two innovative institution-building mechanisms: a door-to-door canvass and student government fees funded through a waivable fee. PIRGs also have set up a variety of affiliated organizations, such as a mutual fund. Internally, experienced staff tend to determine the strategies and structuring of PIRG organizations, with oversight provided by a citizen and/or student board. Most PIRGs in the U.S. are affiliated through a jointly-managed support system, not unlike a franchise, with a few notable exceptions (e.g., NYPIRG).

The highest-profile and most successful PIRGs are USPIRG, CalPIRG (California Public Interest Research Group), and NYPIRG (New York Public Interest Research Group). Outside the US, PIRGs can also be found in Canadian provinces, such as Ontario, Canada.

Divisions

Canada:

United States:

  • AkPIRG (Alaska)
  • Arizona PIRG
  • CalPIRG (California)
  • CoPIRG (Colorado)
  • ConnPIRG (Connecticut)
  • Florida PIRG
  • Georgia PIRG
  • Illinois PIRG
  • Indiana PIRG
  • Iowa PIRG
  • MaryPIRG (Maryland)
  • MASSPIRG (Massachusetts)
  • PIRGIM (PIRG in Michigan)
  • MoPIRG (Missouri)
  • MontPIRG (Montana)
  • MPIRG (Minnesota)
  • NCPIRG (North Carolina)
  • NHPIRG (New Hampshire)
  • NJPIRG (New Jersey)
  • NMPIRG (New Mexico)
  • NYPIRG (New York)
  • Ohio PIRG
  • OPIRG (Ontario, Canada)
  • OSPIRG (Oregon)
  • PennPIRG (Pennsylvania)
  • RIPIRG (Rhode Island)
  • TexPIRG (Texas)
  • U.S. PIRG (federal lobbying office)
  • VPIRG (Vermont)
  • WashPIRG (Washington state)
  • WISPIRG (Wisconsin)

External link

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