Public Interest Research Group

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
"PIRG" redirects here. For the Albanian municipality, see Pirg.
U.S. PIRG
Logo of U.S. PIRG
Motto Standing up to powerful interests
Formation 1971
Type Advocacy organization
Website uspirg.org

In the United States, Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs) are non-profit organizations that employ grassroots organizing, direct advocacy, investigative journalism, and litigation to affect public policy.[1]

History[edit]

The PIRGs emerged in the early 1970s on U.S. college campuses. The PIRG model was proposed in the book Action for a Change by Ralph Nader and Donald Ross. Ross helped students across the country set up the first PIRG chapters, then became the director of the New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG) in 1973.[2][3]

The Minnesota Public Interest Research Group (MPIRG) was the first state PIRG to incorporate, on February 17, 1971.[4] It was followed by Oregon (OSPIRG) and Massachusetts (MASSPIRG). Among other early accomplishments, the PIRGs were responsible for much of the Container Container Deposit Legislation in the United States, also known as "bottle bills."

There are now state PIRGs in nearly 30 states. Most states are affiliated with USPIRG, but MPIRG and NYPIRG are not in order to remain grassroots organizations. In addition, the state organizations sponsor a national lobbying office in Washington, D.C. Collectively, the national federation of state PIRGs is known as U.S. PIRG. The PIRGs employ nearly 400 full-time staff, including organizers, attorneys, and policy analysts.[5]

Issues[edit]

At the national level, the PIRGs are running campaigns around the following issues:[6]

Creation of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau[edit]

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) was founded as a result of the Dodd–Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which came about as a result of the late-2000s recession and the economic meltdown. Its goal is to protect consumers as well as to reform the financial sector. U.S. PIRG's role in passing the bill was applauded as one of 2010's top ten lobbying victories.[7]

Promoting Civic Engagement[edit]

The New Voters Project is the PIRGs' project to help register young voters and turn them out to the polls. Since 1984 the project has helped to register more than 1.7 million young people to vote.[8]

State Affiliates[edit]

The following is a list of the state PIRGs:[9]

Other Public Interest Groups[edit]

The PIRGs are members of a larger network of non-profit organizations called the Public Interest Network, a coalition of independent groups that fosters new and existing organizations that work to make corporations and government more responsive to the public interest.[10] The PIRGs have also helped to launch a number of other independent public interest non-profits, including Green Corps,[11] the Toxics Action Center, Environment America, and the National Environmental Law Center.

PIRGs in Canada[edit]

Canadian PIRGs are unaffiliated with U.S.-based PIRGs and are, for the most part, based around college campuses.[12] They also operate on a different model; for example, Canadian PIRGs have a very different political agenda and employ a consensus decision making model.[13] Six Canadian provinces are home to PIRGs:

British Columbia:

°Kwantlen Public Interest Research Group (KPIRG)

°Prince George Public Interest Research Group (PGPIRG)

°Simon Fraser Public Interest Research Group (SFPIRG)

°Vancouver Island Public Interest Research Group (VIPIRG)

Alberta:

°Alberta Public Interest Research Group (APIRG)

°Lethbrige Public Interest Research Group (LPIRG)

Saskatchewan:

°Regina Public Interest Research Group (RPIRG)

Ontario:

°Laurier Students' Public Interest Research Group (LSPIRG Laurier)

°Ontario Public Interest Research Group Brock (OPIRG-Brock is Your Brock)

°Ontario Public Interest Research Group-Carleton (OPIRG-Carleton)

°Ontario Public Interest Research Group-Guelph (OPIRG Guelph)

°Ontario Public Interest Research Group Kingston (OPIRG Kingston)

°Ontario Public Interest Research Group McMaster (OPIRG McMaster)

°Ontario Public Interest Research Group Ottawa (QPIRG Ottawa)

°Ontario Public Interest Research Group Peterborough (OPIRG Peterborough)

°Ontario Public Interest Research Group Toronto (OPIRG ToronTo)

°Ontario Public Interest Research Group Windsor (OPIRG Windsor)

°Ontario Public Interest Research Group York (OPIRG York)

°Waterloo Public Interest Research Group (WPIRG)

°Ontario Public Interest Research Group / Groupe de Recherche et d'Intérêt Public de l'Ontario (OPIRG/GRIPO)

Quebec:

°Quebec Public Interest Research Group (QPIRG) / Groupe de Recherche d'Intérêt Public (GRIP)

°Quebec Public Interest Research Group Concordia / Groupe de Recherche d'Intérêt Public de Concordia (QPIRG Concordia, GRIP Concordia)

°Quebec Public Interest Research Group at McGill / Groupe de Recherche d'Intérêt Public à l'Université McGill (QPIRG-McGill, GRIP-McGill)

°Groupe de Recherche d'Intérêt Public de l'UQAM (GRIP UQAM)

Nova Scotia:

°Nova Scotia Public Interest Research Group (NSPIRG).

Canadian PIRG chapters are independent of each other, despite efforts toward collaboration.[14]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "U.S. PIRG: About Us". Retrieved October 8, 2012. 
  2. ^ Nader, Ralph; Donald Ross (1972). Action for a Change: A Student's Manual for Public Interest Organizing. New York: Grossman Publishers. ISBN 670-10319-5 Check |isbn= value (help). 
  3. ^ "Public Interest Projects: History". Retrieved 25 May 2012. 
  4. ^ "About MPIRG". Minnesota Public Interest Research Group. Retrieved 2008-08-19. 
  5. ^ "U.S. PIRG: About Us". Retrieved October 8, 2012. 
  6. ^ "U.S. PIRG: Issues". Retrieved October 10, 2012. 
  7. ^ "The Hill: Top 10 Lobbying Victories of 2010". Retrieved October 8, 2012. 
  8. ^ "New Voters Project: History". Retrieved October 8, 2012. 
  9. ^ "U.S. PIRG: Find Your State". Retrieved October 9, 2012. 
  10. ^ "Public Interest Network". 2012. Retrieved October 9, 2012. 
  11. ^ "Green Corps: History and Mission". 2012. Retrieved October 11, 2012. 
  12. ^ "Canadian PIRGs". Retrieved October 8, 2012. 
  13. ^ "About OPIRG York". 2012. Retrieved October 11, 2012. 
  14. ^ "Canadian PIRGs". 2012. Retrieved April 30, 2012. 

External links[edit]