Accomplishments

ConnPIRG has a 38 year history of advocating for students, the environment and consumers.

Here are just a few of ConnPIRG’s recent accomplishments:

New Voters Project: It’s time to make politicians pay attention to us.  The best way to get them to pay attention to young people and the issues we care about is to show up to the polls, so this year ConnPIRG Students joined a nationwide voter registration and get out the vote effort.  We helped over 36,000 students register to vote and had 170,000 conversations with students in the days leading up to Election Day to remind them to turn out to the polls.

Making Textbooks More Affordable: Everyone knows that textbooks costs are out of control—the average student spends $900 per year!  We're promoting cost-saving solutions on campus while also tackling publishers' stranglehold on the market to change prices for good.  We're educating students, faculty and bookstores and raising awareness through research and media attention.  This year ConnPIRG Students along with PIRG students across the country to hold 23 educational events and gather surveys from more than 3,600 students.  We were also able to educate more than 700 faculty members about low cost options and make it easier for students to shop around.

Making Higher Education More Affordable: In February, the U.S. House passed H.R. 1, a federal budget for 2011, which included a $5.7 billion cut to the Pell Grant program. If passed, that budget cut would have resulted in a $845 per person decrease in financial aid to the most needy recipients and have a chilling effect on the number of college students who can graduate and get into the workforce - at a time when our economy is just recovering.  ConnPIRG Students and Student PIRG volunteers came together to generated thousands of calls and petitions to their Senators urging them to stop the cuts and helped to make sure they did not become law.  

Protecting Consumers: The marketplace can be daunting even for the most educated consumer.  To help students avoid rip-offs and unsafe products and have the information to make educated choices, we're creating a set of guides for students.  This semester, we released the Young Persons Guide to Health Care and a Guide to Controlling Your Information on Facebook.

Hunger and Homelessness: With the global recession, more and more people are struggling to meet their basic needs.  This year, we held a week-long series of education and service events on hundreds of college campuses to make sure that these problems stay on the forefront of people's minds.  This spring, ConnPIRG students and students across the country held the annual Hunger Cleanup, raising more than $45,000 to fight hunger in their communities.

Sustainable U: Right now, global warming pollution is altering our climate in ways that will cause more heat-related deaths, more unhealthy air days, the spread of infectious disease, and many other negative impacts to our environment.  But instead of encouraging the Obama Administration to solve these problems, polluters and their allies in Congress pushed for a series of proposals to block the Clean Air Act from doing its job.  Teaming up with other student organizations around the country, ConnPIRG volunteers convinced lawmakers to stop these rollbacks.

No Drills, No Spills: After the Gulf oil spill disaster, we joined a national coalition of groups to call for an end to new offshore drilling and a renewed commitment to breaking our country's dependence on oil. More than 400,000 Americans signed petitions and made calls to the Obama administration calling for a ban on new offshore drilling. And despite heavy pressure from big oil and gas companies, we won. On December 1st the Obama Administration announced that it will protect the coasts of the continental United States from new drilling through 2017.

Past Accomplishments

(2012) Helped close to 5,000 student register to vote or update their voter registration status

(2012) Worked with Congressman Courtneyto pass a bill through congress keeping student loan interest rates from doubling

(2012) Helped pass two laws that will make it easier to register to vote - same day voter registration and online voter registraton

(2011) Collected over 3,000 student petitions calling on UConn to go Zero Waste

(2010) Helped pass a new law called the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act to lower health care costs for families including young adults by allowing them to stay on their parents’ coverage until age 26.

(2010) Helped to pass the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act, which among other things, adds $36 billion into the Pell grant program. ConnPIRG Student Chapters and Student PIRG lobbying and organizing over the past several years was critical to the passage of this historic law.

(2010) Students in Connecticut joined together with thousands of students on campuses across the country through our annual Hunger Cleanup each April to raise money and volunteer in a day of service in their communities. This year, in addition to service events and food drives, ConnPIRG students raised over $20,000 to help local shelters and service agencies keep operating as well as donated funds to relief projects in Haiti. 

(2009) Helped pass strong legislation called, the Credit Card Accountability, Responsibility and Disclosure (CARD) Act that will end some of the worst abuses of the credit card industry, including some which are often targeted at college students.

(2009) Student PIRG and ConnPIRG student activists mobilized their peers and helped persuade Congress to include an additional $2.5 billion down-payment for high-speed rail in their appropriations bill, more than doubling President Obama’s original recommendation.

(2009) Help to launch the Resolve Conference, where 250 students from across the country were joined by activists, advocates and organizers for a weekend of education and training to create anti-poverty campaigns in their communities. 

(2008) Helped with passing the Higher Education Opportunity Act. The  law contains several important policy changes, including an increase in the maximum authorized level of the Pell Grant to $9,000.

(2008) ConnPIRG students helped get an Affordable Textbooks provision included in the federal Higher Education Opportunity Act. The provision helps lower the cost of textbooks for millions of students by requiring publishers to disclose textbook pricing and revision information to faculty and requiring publishers to offer textbooks and supplemental materials "unbundled."

(2008) Joined PIRG students across the country to help register 118,000 young voters and contact 440,000 voters to turn them out to the polls through the nationwide New Voters Project campaign

(2007) Joined the nationwide Student PIRGs' What’s Your Plan? Campaign which talked to the presidential candidates over 100 times on the campaign trail, to ask them about their plans for global warming and higher education.

(2007) Helped pass the College Cost Reduction and Access Act, the largest increase in federal student aid in 20 years. The law also made dramatic cuts in interest rates for student loans.

(2006) ConnPIRG helps win new law requiring that publishers disclose textbook prices to faculty

(2006) Student PIRGs' New Voters Project helps register 75,000 young voters and makes 94,000 get-out-the-vote contacts to get youth across the country out to the polls

(2005) Joined PIRG students across the country to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars in response to Hurricane Katrina and send hundreds of volunteers to the Gulf Coast to help with rebuilding efforts

(2004) ConnPIRG helps win new law to require cleaner cars be sold in Connecticut

(2004) The Student PIRGs' New Voters Project helps register 524,000 young voters across the country and works to turn them out to the polls

(2002) Statewide coalition including ConnPIRG wins cleanup of state's dirtiest power plants

(2002) U.S. PIRG helps win critical Senate vote blocking drilling in Arctic National Wildlife Refuge

(2002) U.S. PIRG efforts are instrumental in defeat of dirty energy bill

(2000) President Clinton announces PIRG-sponsored plan to protect 60 million acres of national forests

(1998) Helped pass law requiring colleges to distribute voter registration forms to students

(1995) Helped deliver 1.2 million petition signatures to Congress, helping stop rollback of environmental laws

(1990) ConnPIRG helps win law creating funding to clean up Long Island Sound

(1982) Passed the country's first new car "Lemon Law" whcih has saved Connecticut Consumers more than $60 Million since

(1979) ConnPIRG helps win Connecticut Bottle Bill