WASHINGTON D.C. -- On Friday, the national federation of Student Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs) won the Youth Category of the American Civic Collaboration Awards, or Civvys. The Student PIRGs and three other winners were chosen from fifty nominations for leveraging collaboration and building initiatives that improve communities. Representatives from the UC - San Diego Chapter of CALPIRG and the UMass - Amherst Chapter of MASSPIRG were invited to D.C. to accept the award at the National Conference on Citizenship.
"We are so honored to be recognized with this award," said April Nicklaus, junior at Rutgers New Brunswick, and State Board Chair for MASSPIRG Students. "Last year, our New Voters Project brought together student groups and volunteers from the entire political spectrum to help students get to the polls. Even in this era of partisanship, there are a lot of issues we can all agree on as students, and we hope to see more campus groups working together."
The Civvy Awards are the first national awards program designed to highlight organizations and individuals that leverage collaboration as a key strength in building initiatives that improve communities. Driven by a panel of civic engagement experts, including former members of Congress, senior managers from top foundations and political thought leaders, the Civvys aim to highlight best practices in collective action that put community and nation before party, ideology and narrow interests.
The Civvy awards are co-sponsored by the Bridge Alliance and Big Tent Nation - organizations dedicated to bringing people together from across the political spectrum to address and resolve America’s greatest challenges. The Review Committee for the award had this to say about the Student PIRGs:
"The Student Public Interest Research Groups from several college campuses were nominated for their work supporting voter education, voter registration and creating safe spaces for dialogue between students with diverse perspectives. Student PIRGs promote learning and understanding about a host of current issues, while providing a forum for students to become politically active and effective. As one elected official put it, “the work PIRGs do is vitally important in a democracy and serves as such a great role model as a set of engaged citizens so necessary to building effective public policy.”
"For over 40 years, the Student PIRGs have brought students together on campus around issues we can all agree on like clean air and increasing renewable energy use," said Bronte Payne, Clean Energy Advocate with Environment America. "This award is well deserved and I hope it inspires other members of the campus community to organize for social change on their campus and in their community."
Julia Seremba, Senior at UMass - Amherst with MASSPIRG Students and Sophie Haddad, Sophomore at UC San Diego with CALPIRG Students (middle) accepting the Student PIRGs award with other award winners.