CALPIRG stands for California Public Interest Research Group. It is a statewide group that stands up against powerful interests and has a chapter at UCSC! CALPIRG has chapters in all the UC's (except Merced) and at USC. They work on issues like the New Voters Project, the National Student Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness, and textbook affordability.
You can register to vote with them online here.
Because of support from students at Santa Cruz and other UC's through the pledge system CALPIRG has been able to achieve many successes for students accross the state and nation.
- In 2007 CALPIRG worked with a national coalition to convince the U.S. House of Representatives to pass HR 5, which would cut in half the interest rate on student loans. The bill passed with overwhelming bipartisan support, by a vote of 356 to 71. The bill would lower interest rates over five years on subsidized Stafford student loans, which are used overwhelmingly by students from low- and middle-income families. This would save the average low or middle-income borrower starting school in 2007 $2,300 in debt.
- On May 26, 2006, the CALPIRG Student Chapter at University of California Santa Cruz officially won their campaign to bring 100% renewable energy to the campus. Over 70% of the student body voted to assess themselves a $3 fee per quarter to pay for any added costs of buying all of their energy from clean, renewable sources like wind and solar power. The CALPIRG Student Chapter helped to write and put the question on the student ballot, and then did aggressive outreach to encourage students to vote for the measure. Only a handful of colleges in the country currently buy all of their energy from clean sources.
- In 2006, after a year long campaign by CALPIRG students in coalition with groups from across California, Governor Schwarzenegger petitioned the Bush Administration to protect all 4.4 million acres of National Forest in CA from development. CALPIRG students gathered over 1000 public comments, signed on faculty to a letter and generated media including a concert at UCSB that drew approximately 300 people.
CALPIRG offers students internship credit for working on their campaigns and is always looking for interested folks!