Vote YES for WASHPIRG

Vote Logistics:

WHAT: Vote on My.Evergreen.edu to reaffirm your support for funding our WASHPIRG Chapter here at Evergreen.

WHEN: The vote is happening on Monday, March 29th through April 9th.

HOW: Go to My.Evergreen.edu, go to your To Do List, and click Vote! 

What is WashPIRG?
WashPIRG is a statewide, student-directed organization that works to solve problems facing our society. We’ve been working at Evergreen since the 1980s to protect the environment and public health, promote civic engagement, provide hunger relief, and more. WashPIRG combines the power of student organizing with the expertise of professional staff who together conduct research, education, and grassroots organizing to make real results for the public.

What does WashPIRG do?
We run issues campaigns on issues that are in the public interest.  This can take a variety of forms, but usually involves advocates working directly with decision makers in the Capitol or Washington DC, along with students and organizers working in communities to build and demonstrate public support for our solutions.  Through that, we get results. Recently, WashPIRG at Evergreen has organized fundraisers and service hours for the Thurston County Food Bank, built support to ban unnecessary single-use plastics in Washington to protect marine life, and helped turn out the vote for the 2020 Election.

What has WashPIRG accomplished?
WashPIRG has accomplished a lot over the years, most recently we: 

  • Helping to pass the 100% Clean Electricity Bill in Washington, which addresses climate change by committing the state to transition to 100% clean electricity by 2045
  • Building support to address plastic pollution by banning single-use plastic bags
  • Addressing food insecurity on campus and in the community by running fundraisers and food drives and providing service hours for campus and local food banks. 
  • Helping in efforts to convince McDonald’s Subway and KFC to stop serving chicken raised on our life-saving medicines

How is WashPIRG funded?
WashPIRG is student-funded and student-directed. Students at Evergreen vote to fund WashPIRG through an $8 per student per quarter waivable fee. Students pool their resources together statewide with other WashPIRG chapters to hire staff, such as advocates and grassroots organizers, to work with them on issues that they care about. Students decide how best to spend their resources on the issues that they care about, such as fighting hunger, tackling plastic pollution, and working for cleaner energy. Running on student power guarantees that WashPIRG continues to represent the voice and the interests of the people.

Why go to the ballot?
Students at Evergreen vote to fund WashPIRG every two years as a way to reaffirm student support for the work that we do. The mandate from the student community that says that Evergreen students support WashPIRG and the work we do, and as a community have decided to give us the resources to carry on this work on their behalf.

How does WashPIRG use the funding?
The majority of WashPIRG’s funding goes towards hiring professional staff to work with our chapter to run and win effective campaigns. Some of the funding goes towards operating costs, like campaign materials, travel costs to attend statewide and national trainings, or rent for our office space. 

Why does WashPIRG hire staff?
The problems that WashPIRG undertakes are large, statewide, even national in scope. Our goals are not simply for students to “make their voice heard” on these issues, but to win concrete reforms that improve people’s lives.  In order to make real, substantial change, we need organization and resources.  Staff are an important part of having an effective statewide organization. They bring expertise to student’s ideas and continuity to long term student campaigns and help to train the students to make sure we win! 

How do students in each chapter decide what issues to work on?
Students decide on the campaigns that they want to work on both locally and at the statewide level. Students can bring campaign ideas to the statewide board, where students from different chapters get together, to work on across the state. The problems that we face aren’t just local – everyone is fighting poverty, environmental destruction, and for affordable education across the state and the country.

Why does WashPIRG work statewide?
The problems that Washington faces do not only occur on campus. In order to clean up our waterways, protect our national forests or lower textbook prices our staff need to go to the decision makers all across the state and in Washington D.C. With statewide grassroots support as well as our staff tackling problems across the state, we are able to take on the special interests that create these problems and actually win for students and the public interest.

Is the $8 fee mandatory? Do I have to pay it? 
At Evergreen, WashPIRG has what’s called an opt-out funding system. This means that students can “opt out” if they don’t want to support WashPIRG and get their $8 fee refunded by going to the student activities office and filling out a fee waiver. 

Why should I vote YES for WashPIRG?
WashPIRG Evergreen is one of the oldest PIRG chapters in the country and those listed above are just a small fraction of our most recent accomplishments. All our energy, time and funds go into efforts and projects that advocate for the public interest. That means we exist to make this state, city and campus a better place for YOU! 

Our long tradition of lobbying and campaigning always aims to return democratic power to the people. In this time, when powerful private interests and big money have a lot of sway in government, our mission to serve the public is even more important. Currently, we’re working on campaigns to tackle climate change by getting Washington to commit to clean transportation, protect our oceans by banning unnecessary single-use plastics like takeout containers, and helping people in the community through food drives and service. And that’s just this year!

In short, when you support WashPIRG, you strengthen political efforts that advocate for YOU, the student, the consumer, the citizen. WashPIRG cares about your voice and your needs. Help us continue our work by voting “yes” to continue our funding.