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Concept Plan

Since its founding over 35 years ago, the New Jersey Public Interest Research Group Student Chapters’ civic engagement, public interest research, and advocacy program has pursued the mission of promoting an ethic of civic responsibility by actively engaging students in a broad range of social issues. In doing so, NJPIRG Student Chapters has made a significant contribution to fulfilling Rutgers University’s mission of education, research, and public service.

NJPIRG Student Chapters tackles the issues of the day – we tap into the knowledge base of the University to research and advocate for solutions to pressing social problems from global warming to poverty, and work to engage the campus community as a whole in public service.

Advocates of service learning programs emphasize the importance of fostering a sense of civic engagement at institutions of higher education to teach students the  values of democracy and the skills to participate in our democratic society. There are encouraging signs of civic engagement on the rise with student and youth voter participation hitting a record high in the 2008 election and an increase in youth volunteerism nationwide. Yet there is still a real need for on-going efforts to promote civic engagement on college campuses. According to a recent report by the Corporation for National and Community Service, New Jersey ranks 45th in college student volunteer rates, with only 25 percent of college students in New Jersey volunteering in their communities. The Campus Compact Presidential Declaration on Civic Responsibility in Higher Education notes that among students “there is a profound sense of cynicism and lack of trust in the political process,” which reveals that youth are still deeply skeptical that our civic institutions can effectively solve our social problems.

In this environment, NJPIRG continues to engage thousands of students statewide. NJPIRG creates, as called for in the Campus Compact Presidential Declaration on Civic Responsibility in Higher Education, “innumerable opportunities for our students to practice and reap the results of the real, hard work of citizenship.”

Report | Student PIRGs, Demos, United States Student Association | Higher Ed

Subpriming Our Students

New Briefing Paper Says College Students Need Consumer Financial Protection Agency to ‘Watchdog’ Risky Loans.

Report | Transit

The Right Track

America’s highways and airports are increasingly congested. Our nation’s transportation system remains dependent on oil. And our existing transportation infrastructure is inadequate to the demands of the 21st century. The United States should build an efficient and fast passenger rail network, with high-speed rail as a central component, to help address the nation’s transportation challenges in the 21st century.

Report | Transit

Road Work Ahead: Holding Government Accountable for Fixing America's Crumbling Roads and Bridges

To fix our roads and bridges, America first must fix our transportation policies. To counteract the tendencies to neglect repair and maintenance, we must adopt strong “fix-it first” rules that give priority to maintenance of our existing roads and bridges, set national goals for the condition of our transportation system, and hold state governments accountable for achieving results.

Report | Transit

Road Work Ahead

To fix our roads and bridges, America first must fix our transportation policies. To counteract the tendencies to neglect repair and maintenance, we must adopt strong “fix-it first” rules that give priority to maintenance of our existing roads and bridges, set national goals for the condition of our transportation system, and hold state governments accountable for achieving results.

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