The Wisconsin Student Public Interest Research Group kicked off the fall semester Wednesday with a rally.
Those present were treated to an overview of WisPIRG, skits and general information on each of the six major campaigns being run by the group.
Chapter Chair Emily Larson said the purpose of the meeting was to inform the public about WisPIRG’s different goals.
“Basically this meeting is to educate everyone about the different issues, and inspire them ? and hopefully they will get involved,” Larson said.
The Ecopledge campaign asks students to show their disapproval of a list of select corporations that fail to meet certain standards by refusing to work for or support them.
“Right now we are asking students to sign a pledge showing that they refuse to work for eleven different companies,” said Mark Sadowski, co-chair for Ecopledge.
Another WisPIRG campaign is “Big Red Go Green.” Aquene Fairchild, co-chair of BRGG, said their goal is to pressure UW into lowering energy usage.
“We want the university to make a solid commitment to lowering energy usage by seven percent by 2008,” she said.
The “Keep It Wild” campaign aims to protect 58.5 million acres of wilderness areas found throughout the United States. “Keep It Wild” wants to protect this wilderness land, which includes the National Arctic Wildlife Refuge in Alaska, from mining and logging companies.
A fourth WisPIRG campaign, Consumer Protection, works on protecting public interests. Their main goal for the fall semester is working on new legislation making all genetically modified foods have to be labeled as such. The Consumer Protection group is also working with “Bookswap”, a student organization that would allow students to purchase textbooks for less and sell them back for more money.
The “Hungry and Homeless” campaign will educate students about the problems in the Madison and UW community.
“We want people to know what’s going on, and we want to mobilize them to do something about it,” said Megan Larson, co-chair of the committee.
“One of our projects is an awareness week, which we hold in November,” Larson said. “We [also] have panel discussions, a sleepout on Library Mall, and we also run SPLASH [Students Pushing Legislative Action to Stop Hunger and Homelessness].”
WisPIRG’s sixth campaign is the Clean Water Campaign. Currently, campaign members are trying to get the Department of Natural Resources to write and pass legislation protecting water supplies from contaminated water runoff.
Aside from these campaigns, WisPIRG will also work on other, smaller projects as well as planning trips. The largest of these upcoming events include trips to the Eco-Conference in Washington, D.C., and the Hunger Conference in Memphis, Tennessee.