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CALPIRG: Empowering Student Leaders To Create A Sustainable & Equitable Tomorrow.

Students and young people have always been at the forefront of creating cultural shifts and creating meaningful change through social advocacy. For the past 50 years, CALPIRG has been running an impressive operation that empowers students to dream and create a sustainable and equitable future while providing a unified network of campuses and calls to action throughout California. 

CALPIRG Students start with a bold vision for a better future and then run strategic campaigns to take real steps towards that vision. In 2018, leaders with CALPIRG Students came together to develop a long-term vision for the state and set a strategic plan to meet those goals by 2030. Current projects envisioned through that planning process include: 


100% Renewable Energy

In 2018, CALPIRG students collaborated with the University of California by committing the public university system to power all ten campuses with 100% clean electricity by 2025 and have played an active role in encouraging elected officials to commit to similar energy goals for the state of California.


Beyond Plastic

Globally, 275 million metric tons of plastic waste is produced every year. CALPIRG Students are fighting to put an end to plastic waste and pollution.CALPIRG played a critical role in helping pass the country’s first statewide ban on single-use plastic bags here in California & advocating for the University of California to commit to phasing single-use plastics. CALPIRG’s latest campaign is urging state leaders to take action and eliminate all single-use plastic foodware and packaging by 2030.

Zero Hunger, Zero Waste

Studies show that the average college campus throws away 142 pounds of food per student every year. Juxtaposed with this alarming level of waste, many students on UC campuses face food insecurity. CALPIRG Students are calling for public policy solutions and programs that combat food waste & provide food to those who need it most.

Free, Open Textbooks

The high cost of college textbooks has become a burden for many students and contributes to the widening student debt epidemic. Over the last decade, CALPIRG Students have been championing cost-saving textbook options like used books and rental programs and advocating for free, open textbooks as a long-term solution. Open educational resources aim to reshape the marketplace by moving knowledge into the public domain and allowing students of all socioeconomic backgrounds and institutions to access the materials they need to succeed in their educational careers. 


Today, CALPIRG has student representatives and advocates at all ten University of California campuses and at the University of Southern California. CALPIRG is an independent, state-based, citizen-funded organization and member of PIRG (Public Interest Research Groups). Nationally, PIRGs have a network of 400 organizers, policy analysts, scientists, and attorneys that coordinate efforts, pool resources, and share expertise so that students can have the biggest impact in creating an equitable and sustainable future.