For over four decades, students have voted to fund their own non-profit that represents the voice of students and the public. OSPIRG Students has been making social change and fighting for the public interest since 1971.
What is OSPIRG Students?
We’re a statewide student directed and funded group that advocates for the environment, our public health, and democracy.
We should live in a world with a safe, clean, and stable environment, where our economy and corporate practices don’t threaten public health, and where everyone has the opportunity to make their voices heard and we have a democracy that works for everyone. We need to stop the worst impacts of climate change by transitioning off fossil fuels and to 100% clean and renewable energy. We need to stop the flow of unnecessary single-use plastics into our environment. We need to fix our farming practices so we don’t need to rely on pesticides that kill bees or antibiotics that lead to incurable infections. We need to rethink our food production and distribution so thousands of pounds of food aren’t wasted everyday while people go hungry. And we need the next generation to play a role in fixing these problems and pushing for a better future, starting with voting in our elections.
OSPIRG Students works to take on these issues by giving students the skills, opportunities, and resources to make real change. We combine the idealism of students with the expertise of professional staff who train students to run effective campaigns and create a greener, healthier, and more meaningful future.
What does OSPIRG Students do?
We run campaigns on issues that are in the public interest. This can take a variety of forms, but usually involves advocates working directly with decision makers in Salem or Washington DC, along with students and organizers working in communities to build and demonstrate public support for our solutions. Through that, we get results.
Racial justice is a public interest issue. Public interest issues impact marginalized and Black, Indigenous, and communities of color disproportionately and that’s what makes addressing them even more urgent.
Current campaigns: 100% Renewable Energy, Hunger and Homelessness, Indigenous Water Rights, Affordable Higher Education.
How is OSPIRG Students Funded?
OSPIRG Students is funded through the student body at the University of Oregon, Southern Oregon University, and Lane Community College.
At the University of Oregon, OSPIRG Students will be funded through a $3.75 per student, per term refundable student fee that students reaffirm every two-years through a student body vote. Students at UO have been a part of OSPIRG Students for 50 years, pooling together their resources statewide with other OSPIRG chapters to hire staff, such as advocates and grassroots organizers, to work with them on issues that they care about.
How does OSPIRG Students spend money?
We spend the largest portion of our income on hiring professional staff – organizers, advocates and researchers – some work on campus and others work in Salem and Portland, and DC full-time to fight for the issues that students care about and will benefit the public interest.
The problems that OSPIRG undertakes are large, statewide, and often national in scope. Our goals are not simply for students to “make their voice heard” on these issues, but to win concrete reforms that improve people’s lives. In order to make real, substantial change, we need organization and resources. Staff are an important part of having an effective statewide organization. They bring expertise to students’ ideas and continuity to long-term student campaigns.
We also spend a smaller portion on basic things it takes to run an organization – printing, materials, etc.