Last week, students and faculty at The University of Montana gathered to discuss how MontPIRG can best serve students. The sponsors of this event announced the discussion to the student body through an op-ed published in the Montana Kaimin on January 25th, 2012:
There is no shortage of problems, or opportunities, to address in our society. We believe that it is extremely important that our campus community, particularly students, engage these issues and possess the skills and tools to have a lasting impact.
Last semester, several of us found ourselves discussing how to promote and create these skills and tools and whether there was an existing student-run institution through which this work could happen. Now our group, with more than 20 students and faculty, wants to continue this discussion with the broader campus community.
We believe that the UM campus community could benefit from the presence of a strong MontPIRG on campus and would like to invite the organization back to campus. The structure and funding of MontPIRG provide students with an appropriate institution and structure to learn and practice civic engagement while having a significant impact on current societal issues. Given the number of challenges facing our state, a campus institution that empowers and trains students for political engagement could be invaluable.
We represent a group of students and faculty who want to invite the rest of the UM community to a conversation about whether students need this public interest organization on our campus. Please join us on Tuesday, January 31, 2012 at 6:00 PM in UC 330 and share your thoughts on this important issue.
MontPIRG has existed on the UM campus for nearly 30 years since its founding in 1982. The capacity and abilities of the group have been dependent on getting the support of the campus community. We feel strongly that UM needs an organization with MontPIRG’s values actively working to make sure students’ voices are being heard in the political arena.
We believe MontPIRG has the potential to be an effective and efficient way of organizing the student community and is a useful resource for all students. The forum on the 31st will give the campus community a chance to offer input on the potential role MontPIRG may have on campus and how, if it should be re-established, MontPIRG might best represent student interests.
We would like to invite anyone that has interest in the future of MontPIRG on campus to attend this forum. There will be an opportunity for attendees to share what they would like to see from an active MontPIRG on campus. We look forward to seeing you there.
Daniel Viehland Graduated Fall 2011
Caitlin Parker Senior
Eva Rocke Masters Candidate
Martina Allen Senior
David Schaad Senior
Tyler McRae Senior
Nick Engelfried Masters Candidate
Dave Shively Geography
Phil Condon Environmental Studies
Gene Burns Health and Human Performance
Jesse Munro Political Science