CalPIRG doubles fundraising goal

The USC chapter of CalPIRG said it wants to double its annual fundraising goal as it kicked off its pledge drive Monday to encourage long-term donations to support its professional staff.

USC CalPIRG, a student-run organization that focuses on public interest issues and assuring students’ voices are heard in state government, currently advocates for issues such as banning the use of plastic bags in California and abolishing subsidies on corn products. CalPIRG uses its funds to hire lobbyists to represent its stances in Sacramento.

The organization hopes to increase its donations to $75,000 by asking students to donate $10 monthly for as long as they can afford, said David Mittelstein, chair of USC CalPIRG. The group now only accepts credit card donations to facilitate long-term commitments.

“The problem with cash donations is that they are not ongoing so we would have to do these fundraisers every month,” Mittelstein said. “This frees us up to focus on our campaign work.”

Mittelstein said the organization wants to increase its annual fundraising so it can increase its visibility.

“We really need these donations so we can be self-sufficient and compete on par with other special interest groups in getting our petitions heard and implemented in society,” Mittelstein said. “In politics, money is power, so we hire professional advocates like lawyers and lobbyists who give us a voice in the government.”

CalPIRG’s current “Save the Oceans” campaign focuses on banning plastic bags in California. The campaign has received 4,700 signatures at USC this year.

James DuLac, a coordinator of the campaign, said USC’s chapter has room to grow.

“The USC chapter of CalPIRG is relatively young compared to other chapters in California, so we are growing rapidly every year,” DuLac said. “Its great that we are able to hire full time staff who go to Washington, D.C. and Sacramento to get our voices heard on issues.”