Spare some change for students

Rachel Bauman

The list of accomplishments that the Minnesota Public Interest Research Group has generated since its inception nearly 40 years ago is extensive. It is easy to applaud the enormity of these endeavors and to celebrate such large public policy victories, but many overlook that people are what make these accomplishments possible. The fact of the matter is that MPIRG is an organization that exists because of people; it is comprised of people, it advocates for people. The issues we work on are important and real, but people are the agents of change. Passion lives in people, grows through community and is translated into change. Grassroots organizing canâÄôt happen without passion, and passion canâÄôt happen without people. Not only does every person involved with MPIRG emanate passion for the issues and campaigns on which they work, but they are almost all students. MPIRG is unique in this way: It a statewide, nonprofit, nonpartisan organization that is completely student led, student run and epitomizes the definition of an operation that works from the bottom, up. Because of this, MPIRG could not be more in touch with what is relevant to students and their communities. In this economic climate, everyone is tightening belts. As a result, MPIRG has seen funding cuts in the fees we have been allotted for next yearâÄôs budget. Organizing requires funding. To put it plainly, you do less with less and more with more. Cutting MPIRGâÄôs funding is a debilitating move. It limits us not just because of cuts in programming or staffing, resources or supplies, but ultimately because cutting funding cuts student passion, the lifeblood of this organization. The cost of the fee increase to keep MPIRG from damaging budgetary cuts is only $0.43 per student. For less than the cost of a postage stamp, students would be supporting an organization that works endlessly on their behalf and benefits them in ways they may not even be aware. Considering the breadth, depth and lasting impact of the work that MPIRG does, this organization more than deserves an increase equivalent to the loose change found between your couch cushions. Rachel Bauman, University undergraduate student MPIRG member