In the news
WISPIRG starts off its yearly campaigning
Included projects: New Voters Project, Fair Trade, Advancing Public Transit, among others
By Jackie Allen
Tuesday, September 21, 2010 12:07 p.m.
Updated Wednesday, September 22, 2010 1:32:41 a.m.
Wisconsin Student Public Interest Research Group kicked off its fall semester of volunteering and campaigning Tuesday night, advocating increased outreach to the Madison community in order to provide solutions to current issues.
WISPIRG president and UW senior Rashi Manglick said the organization designed the kickoff to both introduce this year’s six campaigns and quickly involve volunteers in projects.
“That’s just the best way to get people involved and have individuals join in on the discussions,” Manglick said. “And then people can get involved right away.”
Manglick and campaign coordinators added they plan to work with the university and state legislators to educate the Madison public and the University of Wisconsin campus. WISPIRG hopes to accomplish this through fundraisers, service opportunities and education Manglick said.
WISPIRG campaigns for this year include the New Voters Project, Hunger and Homelessness, Conservation and Recycling Efforts, Fair Trade, Advancing Public Transit and Big Red Go Green.
Associate Dean of Students Argyle Wade introduced WISPIRG as a continuation of the Wisconsin Idea.
“I think WISPIRG is a great place for you to explore your Wisconsin experience,” Wade said. “And you don’t have to graduate to wait to do that, you can start now.”
UW junior Nick Bruno said WISPIRG accomplished many of its campaigns goals last year, and added he was looking forward to improving those efforts in the upcoming semester.
“This year we’re going to be talking a lot more to politicians, and not just to students,” Bruno said. “Which is important because they’re the ones in charge and making decisions.”
Bruno volunteered last year for WISPIRG’s Transit Campaign, which supports Wisconsin’s development of a high-speed rail system between Milwaukee and Madison.
If a high-speed rail line between the cities becomes a reality, Bruno said the system will benefit campus because it will make going home easier for students who call Milwaukee home.
UW junior and Transit coordinator Alex Morganroth added WISPIRG will organize student rallies, petitions and work with the Wisconsin Department of Transportation to show student excitement about these issues.
“Last semester we went to six or seven different cities and spoke to different representatives and politicians and got people educated on high-speed rail,” Morganroth said. “So we will be talking to Madison people about high-speed rail and try to modernize public transportation.”
Through the Hunger and Homelessness campaign, Manglick said WISPIRG sent the most donations to a poverty center in Chicago, Ill. from the UW campus.
In addition, WISPIRG members completed more than 300 hours of service volunteering for the Madison Boys and Girls Club and Saint Vincent de Paul.
According to Manglick, coordinators registered 40 new student voters and saw an increased interest in WISPIRG’s campaigns Tuesday night. She thought the kickoff went well because of the many new students who attended, she added.
“We’ve been working very hard on this for awhile, so it’s good to see all the people getting involved,” Manglick said. “It’s been very busy and a lot of hard work, but I think it went really well.”
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