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The Mass Media

The Mass Media

The Mass Media

MassPIRG Marks 30 Years of Action

The Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group (MassPIRG) recently celebrated thirty years of public service at Boston’s Omni Parker House with over 400 elected officials and activists assembled to mark the occasion.

MassPIRG is the Massachusetts state branch of the national PIRG system, an activist group that organizes college students into local chapters and then utilizes a combination of idealism and practicality that has resulted in a long list of victories for the state’s consumers and environment.

A bipartisan crowd gathered to honor MassPIRG for its 30 years of action in the public interest. Among those sponsoring or attending the event were U.S. Rep. Ed Markey, Attorney General Tom Reilly, and the Romney administration’s Chief of Commonwealth Development Doug Foy.

“MassPIRG never fit the mold of either major political party,” said Mindy Lubber, a former MassPIRG program director who went on to become the EPA’s Region 1 Administrator. “They’ve taken stands based on the facts, not politics. But once they do take a stand, they are professional and persistent enough to win results.”

Since its founding, MassPIRG has been a lead player in Massachusetts campaigns for everything from the Bottle Bill for recycling, to the new car Lemon Law, to auto insurance reform.

In 1972, students at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst founded the first chapter of MassPIRG, supported by then-university president Dr. Robert Wood, as a way to work within the system. MassPIRG employed a professional staff of researchers and issue experts to propose incremental reforms, like giving home owners a tax incentive for using solar power or requiring unit and item price tags on products sold in supermarkets.

Dozens of MassPIRG alumni have continued their careers in public service, from the budget director of the city of Newton to the director of groups like Toxics Action Center and the Massachusetts Association of Community Development Corporations.

“MassPIRG continues to be a model for all of us who simply work every day to solve the concrete problems which face us in our everyday lives,” said Doug Phelps, Chairman of the National Association of State PIRGs and Director of MassPIRG from 1979 to 1990.

“As citizens of Massachusetts, as reformers, and as leaders of the non-profit community, we owe MassPIRG a debt of gratitude,” said Nancy Carapezza, co-president of the League of Women Voters. “We’re looking forward to the next 30 years of action in the public interest.”

To find out more about MassPIRG visit their website at www.masspirg.org or stop by their on-campus office at W-4-156.