MASSPIRG to garner support on ballot question

(Caroline O’Connor/ Daily Collegian)

The 2017 Student Government Association elections opened early Monday morning. On this year’s ballot, students are given a choice to reaffirm an optional fee with their tuition.

University of Massachusetts students are charged an $11 fee to fund the UMass chapter of the Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group (MASSPIRG), a student advocacy group. Students have the option to waive the fee if they choose.

Every two years, the student body can vote to either continue the fee or halt it.

“We want students to democratically assess themselves with this fee and have a say of whether or not they want MASSPIRG here on campus,” said Julia Seremba, a junior BDIC major and chapter chair of UMass MASSPIRG.

The funding is used to hire full-time advocates and organizers to help students with their campaign initiatives. In the past, MASSPIRG successfully campaigned for fast-food chains McDonald’s, Subway and Wendy’s to pledge to halt their use of antibiotic meat.

“MASSPIRG represents student advocacy and student power and student activism, especially in a school like UMass Amherst where there is so much student activism on such an array of issues,” Seremba said.

MASSPIRG members set up table Monday to educate students of the organization and collect pledges to vote on the ballot question. Members are expected to continue campaigning until the end of the election on Wednesday night.

Danny Cordova can be reached at dcordova@umass.edu and followed on Twitter @DannyJCordova.

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