It’s been a great year working to empower students to make change on some of the most profound issues affecting our generation – from climate change, to student hunger, to turning out the youth vote! We are funded by students who pledge to add the $10 CALPIRG fee to their tuition. This funding gives us the political power, staff training, and resources to win our campaigns. This term we signed up 5500 new members in our pledge drives. Each term we spend a few weeks reaching out to our peers one-on-one to educate them about our program and invite them to join as members. With our new members, we’re now at over 25,000 dues-paying student members who support our work statewide.

Beyond Plastics

So much pollution comes from things we don’t need and have known for decades we shouldn’t be using like foam and plastic utensils. We need to turn off the tap and stop producing so much plastic. This quarter we made a lot of progress in addressing plastic pollution.

We started the term helping to pass what is being called the strongest piece of plastics legislation in the country, SB54! We had been working on this bill for three years, signing up thousands of members, gathering thousands of petitions, and holding dozens of lobby meetings. This Fall, we held a celebration event in Hermosa Beach with Senator Ben Allen where I spoke and shared how students are so excited to move away from single-use plastics.

We also worked on local campaigns to get city councils to pass several ordinances limiting single-use plastics.

After collecting thousands of petition signatures, dozens of letters from students, and small business sign-ons, we passed 5 local policies to reduce plastic waste! The Los Angeles ordinances will ban polystyrene foam, expand the ban on plastic grocery bags, and set the city up to make a zero-waste plan. Berkeley expanded the bag ban to retail stores. And San Diego banned foam takeout containers! We’re continuing to deliver support to other cities and are on track to win more victories on this issue in 2023.

You can read about our work in The Daily Californian or Fox 5 San Diego.

CALPIRG Students Beach Cleanup on ABC7
UCSD Student testify at city council in support of a foam takeout container ban.

New Voters Project

The first step into civic engagement for a lot of young people is voting. So every election cycle, we work to make voting as easy as possible for students with our New Voters Project.

CALPIRG Election Day Events featured on CBS 13

This year for the 2022 Midterm Election, we did a huge get-out-the-vote push. We held events on campus like our ‘Donut forget to vote’ and “Vote Boats” events where we gave out donuts and told people where and how they could vote. We registered over 3,500 students to vote and made over 17,000 personal get-out-the-vote contacts to help students get to the polls.

A great culmination of all of this hard work was just a couple of weeks ago when our national organization, The Student PIRGs, won the “Centering and Trusting Local Leaders” award from the Students Learn Students Vote Coalition!

100% Clean Energy

Climate change is a top issue for a generation. We know it’s time to move away from fossil fuels and towards a 100% Clean Energy future as fast as possible. We previously got the UCs committed to 100% clean electricity. Their leadership has now allowed the state to go even bigger. To launch the school year, we converged on the Capitol to lobby elected officials in support of key climate bills, and hosted “Beat the Heat” events in cities throughout California. We held a rally and lobby day in Sacramento calling for California to go BIG on climate action and to show young people’s support for the Governor’s climate package, which would require the state to reduce emissions dramatically and become carbon neutral by 2045. Thirteen students from 6 schools attended the events and did two dozen meetings with legislative offices! Just a few weeks later we got invited to celebrate the passage of strong climate policies with Governor Newsom, including SB1020, authored by Senator John Laird, to set faster benchmarks for reaching 100% clean electricity to speed up our transition to a clean energy future.

CALPIRG Students board chair Clara Castronovo speaks at the climate action rally in Sacramento.
Left: Beat the Heat Event at UC Berkeley (one of many statewide); Right: CALPIRG Students Organizing Director Veronika Michels at the climate package signing with Governor Newsom.

Student PIRGs National Political Director, Dan Xie (former UC Davis Chapter Chair), at the signing of the Inflation Reduction Act at the White House. “I want to thank passionate advocates who made this law possible from the outside…including the passionate young people who never gave up” -House Speaker Nancy Pelosi

Hunger and Homelessness

In addition to our work on the environment and the youth vote, we worked on a service campaign to address hunger and homelessness in our community. No one should have to worry about whether they will have food on their plate or a roof over their head. But the reality is that hunger and homelessness are widespread problems that affect far too many people.

CALPIRG’s November 2023 Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week Events

For National Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Week, we held events every single day where we collected over 570 items of food statewide to donate to local food banks and fundraised over $700 for the Los Angeles Regional Food Bank.

Next Quarter

We are excited to continue to advocate for issues young people care about! Next term our lead campaign will focus on conserving our oceans and getting state leaders to commit to fully protecting 30% of our oceans by 2030. We will also work to address students’ basic needs, and stop plastic pollution.

Thank you for your support! We know students have the power to shape the future we will inherit. We have more work to do to tackle climate change, protect public health, revitalize our democracy, feed the hungry, and more.

We know that the momentum we’ve seen on campus this Fall means more than ever we are ready to tackle our shared problems and build for a better future. If you want to get involved this Spring – just fill out this form here and I’ll reach out!


Clara Castronovo
State Board Chair
CALPIRG Students