NJPIRG Spring 2024 Newsletter


Save The Bees

Bees are essential to our lives. They pollinate 75% of all the foods we eat, and their pollination helps protect outdoor spaces we love. That’s why we started a campaign to get the Mayor of New Brunswick to declare the city a Bee Friendly City, per the Bee USA Standards. So far, we’ve collected over 1,000 petition signatures across campus in support, and have spoken to city councils of Monroe, Manalapan, Woodbridge, Highland Park, and Jamesburg, whose city council has decided to sign on to become a Bee Friendly City! The policy is still under review, but the vote will be held at the next city council meeting later this month!

Above: NJPIRG students meet with Jamesburg, NJ Mayor Thomas Gibbons about the Save the Bees campaign.

New Voters Project

This generation is the largest and most diverse in our nation’s history. We know that when we show up to the polls and make our voices heard, we can make a difference. That’s why we run the New Voters Project to be able to register and educate hundreds of young voters. This past semester, we supported the work done by the Eagleton Institute of Politics and held a Donuts and Democracy table of our own, getting over 100 registered students to pledge to vote.

Above: NJPIRG holds a “Donuts and Democracy” event to help register students ot vote.  The event hosted by New Voters Project coordinator Sahi Suryanarayanan.

Textbook Affordability

This semester, students focused on getting the Open and Affordable Textbooks program to run effectively on campus and increase awareness around the burden that textbooks place on students. Publishing companies take advantage of students and are pushing for “Inclusive Access,” which is anything but inclusive in reality! It automatically bills students each semester, unless students opt out themselves. Students worked with RUSA to pass a resolution against Automatic Textbook Billing, with the Newark and Camden SGA’s following suit!

Hunger and Homelessness

New Brunswick has a high homeless population, something students witness everyday walking around the town. Wanting to help those in their community, the campaign focused on getting food and clothing donations for those who need it most in our community, and on the national front, working to get support for the Food Date Labeling Act, which would clarify food expiration labels to explicitly state when they are no longer safe to consume, and allow food shelters to distribute more food. Students got over 1,500 clothing and food items to donate to local New Brunswick shelters, and over 300 signatures this semester to pass along to our Congresspeople.

Above: Clothing donations from one of the clothing drives held in Highland Park. Donations were sent to various shelters around New Brunswick.

Federal Lobby Day

This spring, NJPIRG students joined PIRG student leaders from states around the country to travel to the nation’s Captiol to meet with Congresspeople about issues that matter most to them! This year, we met with the offices of Representative Frank Pallone, Andy Kim, Donald Payne, and Bill Pascrell, as well as the office of Senator Cory Booker. Some of the pieces of legislation students advocated for co-sponsoring included the Recovering America’s Wildlife Act, Plastic Pellet Free Waters Act, Right to Repair, Food Date Labeling Act, and Affordable College Textbooks Act.

Youth Earth Week

During Youth Earth Week, students focused on raising environmental awareness on campus. We all live on this planet and it’s important we protect it! We started off the week with a student-led walk out for the climate with Code RED, filling the atmosphere with environmental justice! With the help from the Collaborative on campus, students also made “Plant Pods,” which are throwable seed bombs made with compost soil and native NJ plant seeds to distribute.

Funding Referendum

We are funded by students who, every three years, support our work by voting to continue NJPIRG’s waivable $13.01 per semester fee. Every referendum we prioritize educating the entire Rutgers community about the work we do, and the importance of having their very own student-run and student-funded non-profit on campus. During our last referenum in the fall of 2022, more than 9,000 students statewide voted, and we’re excited to report that more than 80% of students voted yes to continue supporting NJPIRG.

Although the high threshold and online vote made this referendum more challenging than previous years, we are extremely proud of what we were able to accomplish. The University Ethics and Compliance approved our request to update the policy of Special Student Organization Funding, which will make the voting process on our funding more efficient and fair to students. The high yes rate is a clear indicator that students want to fund our work. We’re looking forward to working with campus leaders to reform the university policies to make the process more accessible.

A Thank You

All of this work is made possible by our team of student volunteers and leaders who dedicate so much of their time to making a difference. It also wouldn’t be possible without our friends and allies in the Rutgers Community. From the professors who let us do class announcements, to the administrations who helped send out campus wide emails, to the staff who helped us reserve rooms, and of course the students who came to our tables and engaged with us, we are so appreciative of everyone’s support.

Maggie Lu
Board Chair
NJPIRG Students