If you are passionate about the environment and social justice, students are encouraged to take a stand for what you believe in with the California Public Interest Research Group. The California Public Interest Research Group (CALPIRG) in Sonoma State offers student internship and volunteer opportunities, with both in-person and virtual options.
CALPIRG Students is a statewide student-led and funded organization with a mission to develop a new generation of activists ready to promote social change and progress in America. As noted on the CALPIRG website, for nearly 50 years the program has helped students organize, mobilize and energize themselves so they can continue to be at the forefront of positive change.
CALPIRG combines the idealism of students with the expertise of professional staff who work alongside students to do grassroots research, education, and organization for the public. The organization originated within UC colleges, but is beginning to branch out into California state schools including San Diego State, Cal Poly Slo, Cal State LA, Occidental, and now Sonoma State.
Collectively across the country, campus clubs have registered hundreds of thousands of students to vote, saved students $40 million by creating open-source textbook programs, and more than 12 universities have signed a pledge to eliminate single-use plastics on campus.
Intern student Teo Minkoff said, “We do this work because students are
often at the forefront of movements to build a better future for our country… CALPIRG students make it possible for students like me to be part of a coordinated effort, working with other students on our campus, across the state and throughout the country. It’s the kind of action that can bring about real change on issues that really matter.
The program focuses on issues such as saving bees, banning single-use plastics, voter registration and affordable education. With more interns and volunteers, the program wants to expand further into more campaigns and welcomes different campaign ideas and explores areas of interest.
This semester, Sonoma State’s CALPIRG program is helping save the bees by making the campus more pollinator-friendly to become a certified “bee-friendly campus,” plus other nationwide campaigns that students can choose from. to participate. The program is run by an all student board who decides which campaigns to prioritize and focus on, and any student can bring campaign ideas to the state board.
Internship criteria include 10-15 hours of work per week attending weekly activism classes, campaigning, recruiting volunteers, attracting media attention, and planning events within the organization. Program interns and volunteers will work closely with a professional staff member who will train and educate students to execute strategic and effective campaign techniques.
The internship program also offers course credit to meet all graduation and degree requirements. Although the program is funded by students, members are not required to pay pledge fees if they are not financially capable. Membership fees are voluntary.
Applications for internships and volunteering opportunities are now open via the CALPIRG website https://actionnetwork.org/forms/get-involved-calpirg-students-interest-form. Students from all majors and backgrounds are welcome to apply.
Students interested in learning more about CALPIRG can attend an information meeting on February 10 at 1 p.m. Register for the meeting by contacting Sydney Kale, the Sonoma State CALPIRG coordinator, at [email protected].