CONNPIRG at Trinity College Frequently Asked Questions

What is CONNPIRG?

CONNPIRG is a statewide student-run and student-funded advocacy group working to protect the environment, make college more affordable, and to help students get registered to vote. We work locally on college campuses, and have professional staff, like organizers, advocates, and lobbyists in Hartford and DC, who work with us to make sure we make tangible changes. We bring issues that happen in the real world to college students so they don’t have to wait until graduation to make a difference.

Why is CONNPIRG beneficial for Trinity students?

We want Trinity students to have the opportunity to be engaged citizens and make a real, tangible difference on issues that matter to us and society. We think that having our voices heard in the broader political process by voting in elections, signing petitions for causes we care about, and gaining tangible leadership skills helps to fulfill this mission, and the mission of Trinity College as well. 

Beyond making a difference on issues that affect all of us – whether that’s locally, statewide, or nationally – CONNPIRG offers students on campus hands-on training in a variety of skill sets that include public speaking, formal writing, planning events, and working collaboratively with other students and members of the government, to name a few. Our campaigns educate and engage students in current events and civics and make it possible for students here to start making a difference right now, instead of waiting until graduation.

How is CONNPIRG funded and directed?

We are funded by students through a $5 per-student, per-semester fee that comes out of the student activities fee. We pool those resources with other chapters across the state and hire professional staff like organizers, lobbyists, and advocates, who work alongside us to advocate on our behalf, run strategic grassroots campaigns, and win reforms that help improve the quality of life for everyone. 

Students make the decisions on what campaigns we run locally and which issues we prioritize statewide. The core group of CONNPIRG students on each campus elect student leaders to represent their campus at the statewide level on our Board of Directors. CONNPIRG is open to any and all students who want to participate. The student body at large has the opportunity to reaffirm their support of funding our own advocacy group every few years. 

What have we accomplished?

  • Increasing the youth vote and civic engagement: We are the largest and most diverse generation alive, and we need to vote to have our voices heard. In the last 5 years, CONNPIRG has helped to register over 5,000 Connecticut students to vote. We help to increase youth voting by engaging people face to face, over the phone, and through creative social media outreach tactics. In the 2020 elections, we made over 10,000 youth voter contacts across the state, contributing to historic youth voter turnout. We hosted various virtual events, including an “Role of the Youth vote in the 2020 Election” Webinar and speakers like Connecticut Secretary of State Denise Merill. We also partnered with the TrinVotes Vote Coalition including groups such as the CHER Office, the office of the President, Hillel, Ignite, and Residential Life. 
  • Making textbooks more affordable: One of our priority campaigns right now is working to make textbooks more affordable. We’ve been working locally, statewide, and at the national level to reduce textbook costs for decades – and we’ve made a lot of progress by helping professors switch to free, open-source materials that cost very little for students. Recently, we convinced our federal leaders in congress to allocate $7 million to open education resource programs, saving students $170 million in textbooks costs. Here at Trinity, we worked to establish a grant program to establish funding to help teachers transition their courses to use free online textbooks. In addition, we’re launching a survey to see how the high costs of textbooks affects Trinity students. 
  • Working with local Hartford Community: CONNPIRG has been working to alleviate hunger and homelessness for decades. Here at Trinity, we’ve been working to change a loitering ordinance that criminalizes life sustainability behavior for homeless individuals. COVID has made poverty rates in the city even worse so we have been fundraising to support local organizations like the CT Coalition to End Homeleness who are able to work safely on the ground during the pandemic. 
  • Tackling Plastic Pollution: Nothing we use for 5 minutes should threaten our environment for generations. That’s why we worked to pass a ban on single use plastic bags in 2018 that will take effect in June of this year. This semester we are working to ban polystyrene take out cups and containers in the state and have sent 500 emails to representatives across the state advocating for the bill to pass.

See more victories here: https://connpirgstudents.org/recent-victories/

Testimonials:

Jack Stone, Class of 2022

SGA Vice President, Candidate for SGA President

Trinity’s chapter of CONNPIRG has provided an exceptional opportunity for Trinity students of all experiences and backgrounds to become involved in change-making on a range of levels. From advocating on campus for open educational resources to lobbying for bold legislation at the CT legislature, CONNPIRG has been a force for progressive action. I support CONNPIRG’s continuation at Trinity, and urge students to vote for its reaffirmation. A strong partnership between SGA and CONNPIRG will be essential to making on and off-campus progress for all students.

Maddy White, Class of 2022

Candidate for for SGA Vice President, Former SGA VP of Communications

“As the former Vice-Chair of the Trinity Chapter of CONNPIRG and the campaign coordinator for the New Voters Project I have seen first hand to power that student action can have on our campus. CONNPIRG allows students to fight for the things they believe in and make significant change on issues our students care about. I have learned so much from being part of this group from organizing campus wide events and running campaign meetings as well as making so many wonderful friends. CONNPIRG is a huge part of pushing Trinity College to be the best institution it can be and I fully support its reaffirmation.

Jederick Estrella, Class of 2022

SGA Senator, Candidate for for SGA President

CONNPIRG is an organization that has historically fought for sustainability in a variety of ways from the environment to inequalities in the classroom. They are an example to the core beliefs of our institution, and the power of structured organized student advocacy!

Leah Herbin, Class of 2022

SGA Senator, Candidate for SGA Vice President

“CONNPIRG is an organization that I believe will continue to make Trinity a place where they are able to amplify and grow the fight for sustainability not only on our campus, but nationwide through their chapters. In our current state, they fight for what’s right and deserve to keep the momentum going as they have been for so long!”

Camille Valentincic, Class of 2022

SGA VP of Finance, Candidate for re-election

“CONNPIRG is a vital organization here on campus that mobilizes important initiatives by drawing on Trinity students, as well as the greater organization as a whole. Their wide variety of objectives, from increasing voter turnout rates to sustainability on campus, has resulted in meaningful changes that work toward solving some of the nation’s most pressing issues. I enthusiastically support CONNPIRG’s reaffirmation.”

Myles Little, Class of 2021

SGA Senator

“CONNPIRG is a really admirable group at Trinity because of the ways that it empowers students from all disciplines to be changemakers not only on our campus, but in our surrounding and home communities. I appreciate the ways that they provide a wide range of opportunities for students to be involved, and how they collaborate with other groups on campus to push for tangible change. From voter registration to sustainability to resource accessibility, there’s a project for everyone!”

Jason Farrell, Class of 2023

Class of 2023 President, Candidate for re-election
CONNPIRG Hunger & Homelessness Campaign Coordinator

“CONNPIRG creates an environment where students are able to explore grassroots activism and the policy-making process. It is an organization that teaches students how to make change and often gives us tangible results. From banning plastic bags and polystyrene to fighting homelessness and making textbooks more affordable, CONNPIRG shows students that they have the power to make the world a better place. I 110% support CONNPIRG’s reaffirmation!

Get involved:

Want to join our efforts? We’d love to have you! 

First, follow us online:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TrinityCONNPIRG

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/trinityconnpirg

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TrinityCONNPIRG

If you want to volunteer or learn more about our internship program, learn more here.

Questions?

If you still have more questions, please contact us here:

Chapter Chair – Caroline Munn, [email protected], (516) 851-6261

Campus Organizer – Lars Dahl, [email protected], (518)-414-1419

Statewide Organizing Director – Julia McLaughin, [email protected] (781)-696-4310

General contact address – [email protected]