This semester, we worked to address some of New Jersey’s most pressing issues, from ocean protection to voter participation to hunger. And we recruited talented students and worked with important VIPs along the way. Here are some of my highlights:
This year, we worked with 222 volunteers and 37 coordinators to run events and make a difference. At the end of the year, we elected 11 students to sit on our board of directors and lead the state in making decisions about what campaigns we run and what we prioritize. Here’s a couple pictures from our Spring Board Meeting.
After recruiting students who are excited to make a difference, we launched into our campaign work:
New Voters Project
In the weeks leading up to the 2021 New Jersey elections, we worked with coalition partners on all three Rutgers campuses to help over a thousand students register to vote. We worked with student governments and civic engagement offices and hosted parties at the polls on election day to get students excited about voting and educate them about their polling locations. We also met the secretary of state, Tahesha Way, who later spoke at our Grassroots Organizing Conference!
The Rutgers food pantry surveyed students to find that one in three students face food insecurity, so we’ve worked locally to fundraise and support the food pantries.
At Rutgers Newark, we ran multiple food drives and collected over 100 food items at each. We collaborated with Students Organized Rutgers Against Hunger, the Newark Water Coalition, and more to make a difference.
Protecting the Ocean
Every year, we throw away millions of plastic bags, foam cups and containers, and other plastic items. This trash ends up in our lakes, rivers, and oceans where it harms marine life like sea turtles. So we’ve been working with campus dining halls to transition to more sustainable materials. And at Rutgers Camden, we won our campaign to get single use plastics out of the dining hall! Thank you to the head of dining, Kathryn Duplessis for working with us to make this commitment.
Grassroots Organizing Conference
In March, we hosted our annual Grassroots Organizing Conference where we brought together a dozen organizations from across the state to run activism trainings, present issue briefings, and network. State senators and President Holloway spoke, and 83 students and community members attended.
I am excited to share that the University Senate and President Holloway have approved our concept plan, which means we will run our vote in the fall! NJPIRG Students is funded by students who vote every 3 years to reaffirm their support for our waivable fee, which will be $13.01 per student per term. Remember to vote yes in the fall!
Next year, we plan to continue our work to turn out the youth vote (for the 2022 midterm elections), protect our oceans, and address hunger on campus and in our communities.
All the best,