Letter to the Editor

Public interest group works to solve issues involving students, recruit members

As you may know, New York Public Interest Research Group is New York’s largest student-directed advocacy organization and connects college students from 20 different campuses, including Syracuse University and the State University of New York College of Environmental Science and Forestry. NYPIRG works to make positive, legislative change while teaching valuable skills that engage students in exciting campaigns.

This election year, much will be decided here in Syracuse during the November election that will influence policies for years to come. The 25th Congressional District, which includes the city of Syracuse, will be included on the federal portion of the ballot. One of New York’s two U.S. Senate seats will also be decided, as will the presidency.

Equally as important to college students are the seats up for grabs in Albany for State Assembly and Senate. Many issues directly impacting us as students may occur in the state races, including setting tuition rates, installing financial aid programs, funding public transportation, preserving our environment and protecting us as consumers.

That’s why during September and early October the focus will be on voter registration. We anticipate registering thousands of students to vote here in Onondaga County because it is only possible to truly influence politicians if the student voting bloc and the Syracuse community are well represented on Election Day.

Any student looking to get registered should contact the NYPIRG office, in the space just above Faegan’s Cafe & Pub on South Crouse Avenue. The voter registration deadline is Oct. 12.

Other top legislative priorities for the semester include ensuring that Gov. Andrew Cuomo and the Department of Environmental Conservation do not permit unsafe natural gas drilling in New York, limiting mercury pollution from large industries, enacting the New York State Dream Act, fighting against cuts to higher education and pushing for more strict campaign finance laws, including publicly funded campaigns. In addition to these efforts, NYPIRG will continue to offer unique services to the Syracuse community through the Small Claims Court Action Center and the Hunger and Homeless Outreach Program.

Like all grassroots campaigns, these issues need dedicated leaders and volunteers to ensure a brighter future for the Syracuse community and New York state as a whole. To get involved, come to our general interest meeting on Sept. 26 at 6 p.m. in the Hall of Languages 500.

Anticipating a monumental semester,

Nicole St. James

Project Coordinator for SU and SUNY ESF

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