NYPIRG: The Unsung Superheroes of CSI
By: Beren Sabuncu
(Note: Article was written in May 2017)
You probably see the clipboard kids a lot, they’re the ones going around asking for your name and number. They’re the ones you try to (unsuccessfully) avoid or, the ones you especially want to talk to, depending your personality. They work for New York Public Interest Research Group (NYPIRG), and they need you to help them save the world.
Is anyone imagining capes and action movie music playing? Stop the music, I have to add something. My main goal was not saving the world when I first joined NYPIRG.
Sure, the world was always pretty high on my “Things To Save” list however, one of the main reasons why I joined NYPIRG was because it looked impressive on my curriculum vitae. I’ve read of several politicians and CEOs starting off their careers with groups like NYPIRG. I’m very ambitious and career-oriented, and I thought NYPIRG would be a great addition to my ever-growing list of professional pursuits.
While it was very impressive as far as pursuits go, NYPIRG proved to be so much more than that. At NYPIRG, you work for the people and with the people. By default, the people you work with tend to be personable, they care, at least a little, about what happens to the world. Yet, luckily for me, the people I worked with proved to be so much more than just the self appointed aficionados of the world.
The way I started interning for NYPIRG was very serendipitous. I was in 1C with a friend, and I saw a table right by the doors. They had posters that said “lower tuition” on them and obviously we were drawn to them, because college is actually pretty expensive (as if this is classified top secret information). That’s where we met my future supervisor Chidi Duke.
He spoke very fast, so as to properly inform us about the campaign. After he told us about the campaign and after he informed us about NYPIRG, he asked what campaigns I would be interested in. After I told him I would be interested in the Environmental Campaign, he offered me an internship. I later went to the NYPIRG office to talk to him. After making sure I was a proper fit, he hired me.
I didn’t know what to expect and I was definitely not expecting to feel as welcomed as I did. I implore all of you to check NYPIRG out. You will be working with amazing people, on projects that actually make a difference.
Also, they offer 4 credits for interning!
NYPIRG as an organization is also very impressive. They halted the tuition hike that had been going on for five years. My chapter got a city bus on campus. We also went to the State Senate to talk to senators about supporting the Dream Act and many more.
If it feels like I’m narrating over a slow-mo clip of NYPIRG, then I’m doing my job right.
When I say these are good people, I mean it. I have met brilliant people in CSI, several of them here at NYPIRG. Until I started working for NYPIRG, I never believed in substantial change.
On a deeper level, I didn’t believe in the power of the people. In my head, those people who changed lives and governments were always some other, special, different type of people. I wouldn’t have classified myself as an activist.
Working as an intern for my chapter makes me feel like I’m part of something bigger than myself, all the while making me feel as though I’m working with good and old and new friends. That in itself is so unique.
Ask the clipboard kids what they want to change. Ask us about upcoming events, because we have many. Please ask us about what you can do to make life better for New Yorkers and New York College students.
Visit NYPIRG in 1C, 218. You are always welcome here.