Editorial: UConnPIRG continues to champion important causes

UConn PRIG cones to talk about the issues of Hunger and Homelessness with a screening of Frontline's "Poor Kids" film. (Jon Sammis/The Daily Campus)

In recent memory, UConnPIRG has been one of the most vocal activist groups on campus, spreading the word of their initiatives in every setting from 8 a.m. lectures to dining halls. This year is no exception, and UConnPIRG has continued its tradition of pursuing ambitious goals aimed at improving UConn in a variety of ways.

Their main initiative continues to be their “100 Percent Renewable Energy” drive, which aims to get the university to 100 percent renewable energy by 2050. Protecting the environment is of utmost importance, and every community that commits to this goal brings the overall goal of staving off catastrophe closer to fruition. UConnPIRG is currently working with other groups to support an environmental gen-ed requirement to better educate students on the environment. Between this and other efforts, they have made great strides in raising awareness and fostering a productive dialogue on the topic. Thanks in part to their presence and pressure, UConn has continually been ranked highly among colleges as an eco-friendly campus. While getting to 100 percent renewable energy is an ambitious goal, it would be nigh impossible without the work UConnPIRG has done and will surely continue to do.

While renewable energy is their main thrust, the organization is also working on a number of other campaigns (eight in total). Their efforts toward affordable textbooks have already yielded substantial merit for students at UConn. UConnPIRG is working to increase the number of open educational resources (textbooks that are published under an open license which allows for free use) available to the student body. This is critical because the price of college textbooks is often ridiculously high and can add to the already significant cost of college. Every course that switches over to open source textbooks can potentially save each student hundreds of dollars. This is especially important for students in large general classes where the overall savings after a few years will likely be hundreds of thousands of dollars.

UConnPIRG works on a number of other great projects, from attempting to save bee populations to registering voters to targeting homelessness and hunger in CT. Even if you are not a part of UConnPIRG, it takes less than a minute to sign a petition. If these and other causes the group is working on interest you, UConnPIRG presents a fantastic opportunity to do some work that has the potential to make a real difference.