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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

MASSPIRG Launches 21st Year at UMB

Those of you who are familiar with UMass Boston’s chapter of MASSPIRG know that it is an organization that has been very active in its 20 years here on campus.

This past year, the UMass Boston chapter of MASSPIRG participated in river cleanups of the Neponset River (which we good-naturedly claim to have adopted) resulting in the removal of over two tons of trash from the waterway. There was the 17th Annual Hunger Cleanup, in which UMB students joined other local chapters in helping homeless shelters and hunger programs, and a Student Voter Registration Drive last fall resulting in the registration of over 10,000 new student voters.

Each of these successes is impressive, yes, but combined they are just a few drops in the bucket of campaigns MASSPIRG can claim as having undertaken. This fall, the UMB chapter of MASSPIRG has an equally broad array of campaigns scheduled.

First on the list is a drive already underway- the Winter Coat Drive. This is a campaign to gather as many winter coats as possible from those willing to donate used coats. The chapter here on campus will then deliver all these much-needed winter coats to the Long Island Homeless Shelter in Quincy before the cold of winter sets in and threatens those unfortunate people who do not have heavy coats. MASSPIRG has put large boxes at several spots across campus where generous students can drop off their winter coats or other heavy clothes to donate to Long Island.

For the next two months, high on MASSPIRG’s list of priorities will be working hard for the Public Lands Protection Act. This is a statewide bill coming up soon, which would protect open spaces and public lands across Massachusetts.

Currently, public lands and open spaces are being ravaged by development. In order to prevent the continued rapine of our natural beauties statewide, MASSPIRG is going to be aggressively campaigning to raise public awareness and support for this bill. The Public Lands Protection Act would bar any further unnecessary development of public spaces and open lands in Massachusetts, protecting and preserving the awesome wonders of this gorgeous state.

MASSPIRG will continue to have river cleanups in the Neponset River during the semester, as well as the next semester. The Neponset holds a special place in the hearts of all MASSPIRG student volunteers and interns, and keeping it clean is very important to them. Also on the list of campaigns this semester are various efforts to aid the hungry and homeless in our community, particularly in the face of the oncoming winter weather, when it is all too easy to ignore the shivering and starving souls huddling over grates and trying to survive in overcrowded homeless shelters.

Finally, there is a potential effort being planned to make it possible for the school cafeterias to offer organic food options.

The first major MASSPIRG meeting and event for this semester is a General Interest Meeting (affectionately named the ‘GIM’ ), being held on Wednesday, Sept. 19 and Thursday, Sept. 20, in the Wheatley Student Lounge. The lounge is located on the fourth floor of Wheatley, and there will be refreshments provided for all who show up. All are welcome!

If you’re at all interested in MASSPIRG, any of the campaigns, or just have a desire to leave the Boston community a little bit cleaner, happier, and better than it was when you found it, feel free to stop by at either of the GIM’s. Sure, as any individual can save the world, a group of individuals can save it even faster! And even if you find that you haven’t saved the world at the end of this semester or year, you’ll know that you saved a small but vital part of it.