Here are just a few of WISPIRG’s accomplishments:


Past Accomplishments

(2011) Built a more energy efficient community by educating 5000 Madison-area elementary school and college students about energy efficiency and conducting 100 home energy surveys to help homeowners save energy and money.

(2011) Helped reduce the burden of student loan debt by capping students' monthly loan payments and stopping aggressive cuts to Pell grants, the federal financial aid program that serves more than 9 million students.

(2011) Combatted the high cost of textbooks by working with PIRG students across the country to hold 23 educational events and gather surveys from more than 3,600 students.  We also educated more than 700 faculty members about low cost options and make it easier for students to shop around.

(2011) Helped students avoid rip-offs and unsafe products and get the information to make educated choices by releasing the Young Persons Guide to Health Care and a Guide to Controlling Your Information on Facebook.

(2010) Increased youth voter turnout by helping 31,820 students register to vote and having 170,000 conversations with students in the days leading up to Election Day to remind them to turn out to the polls.

(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. WISPIRG Student Chapters and Student PIRG lobbying and organizing over the past several years was critical to the passage of this historic law.

(2010) WISPIRG joined ASM's Haiti Relief Day of Action which raised over $7,000 for relief efforts. And through our annual Hunger Cleanup 50 students from the University of Wisconsin joined students across the country for a day of service in our communities. We raised another $11,000 for the Community Action Coalition, Oxfam’s Haiti Relief and national efforts to combat poverty.

(2010) After two years of pushing, WISPIRG students in Madison working on our Fair Trade campaign helped to pass a resolution that designates Madison as a fair trade city. The first student group in the country to do this, their work has brought the plight of foreign laborers to the forefront of young people in Madison, and is shaping up to help push strong local policy aimed at better buying practices on the part of local government.

(2010) 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.

(2009) WISPIRG students at UW Madison, Milwaukee and Stevens Point organized grassroots support statewide to call on the Wisconsin Public Service Commission vote down a proposal to build a coal-fired power plant in Cassville, WI. The  Commission voted unanimously to reject the plan and noted the significant outcry from citizens and students across the state.

(2009) WISPIRG's Big Red Go Green campaign helped convince the UW-Madison administration to pledge to reduce energy consumption by 20% by 2010. In addition, WISPIRG helped to organize the second-annual Midwest Student Clean Energy Conference, which had 150 attendees from more than 20 schools, representing 12 states and three countries.

(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 WisPIRG 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) WisPIRG 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) WISPIRG’s New Voters Project completed its fall 2008 voter registration drive, with over 8,000 students completing voter registration forms at campuses throughout the state.  New Voters Project students were conducting massive registration efforts at six campuses, including UW Madison, UW Milwaukee, UW Stevens Point, and UW Green Bay.

(2008) Across the country, Student PIRGs' New Voters Project helps register 118,000 young voters and contacts 440,000 voters to turn them out to the polls

(2008) Surveyed over 2,000 students and released a subsequent report, “The Campus Credit Card Trap,” which garnered nationwide media coverage.

(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) 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) 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) 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

(2001) WISPIRG helps win increased funding for Wisconsin statewide recycling program

(2001) WISPIRG helps stop effort to weaken protections for state forest land

(2001) WISPIRG helps defeat law to exempt rent-to-own industry from Wisconsin Consumer Act

(2000) WISPIRG helps win nation’s strongest law to control polluted runoff

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

(1998) Student PIRGs win law requiring colleges to distribute voter registration forms to students

(1995) WISPIRG starts book swap at UWMadison

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

(1991) WISPIRG helps win ban on low-level radioactive waste dumping in state landfills

(1987) WISPIRG starts campus hunger cleanup that has raised $70,000 over 15 year

(1985) Student PIRGs and USA for Africa launch National Student Campaign Against Hunger and Homelessness

(1984) The PIRGs' newly launched National Student Campaign for Voter Registration helps registers 750,000 student voters in its first year