Get involved with SFPIRG to maintain a just community

Get involved with SFPIRG to maintain a just community

By: Jamal Saad
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On Friday, May 28th, I dropped into the SFPIRG (Simon Fraser Public Interest Group) office to chat with volunteer coordinator Emily Aspinwall about how students can help achieve the group’s goals of social and environmental justice.  The group’s activity- as with everywhere else at SFU- is quieter in the summer. However, over 60 volunteer members are still contributing their efforts throughout this semester. Even former students or those on a break from courses for the summer, are still eager to stay in contact with SFPIRG by responding to letters and volunteering.

Major action groups that require volunteers for the summer through SFPIRG are:
• Ancient Forests, a group that advocates the protection of old forests.
• Climate Change, where you could do research and take action on issues of climate change.
• Society Advocating for Marine Animals and Voice for Animals.

In addition, SFPIRG is seeking library volunteers responsible mainly for cataloguing and shelving, people to help out on the donations committee, volunteer bike mechanics as well as responders to information and research requests from inmates with the Letters from the Inside project.

All of the mentioned projects are vital for environmental justice and stability. However, it was the ARX project or Action Research Exchange that was particularly appealing. Program managers Aidee Velasco and Nergiz Abi described ARX as a program that links students with community groups for credit to work on projects focused on social and environmental justice and change. Through ARX, students have the opportunity to apply their academic skills in a practical manner. ARX fosters a cooperative and professional relationship between student and professor. All this is done for course credit. As Nergiz puts it, “it bridges the gap between academia and community”. It provides an opportunity for students to work in fields that interest them while also exploring career options.

So who can apply for the ARX program? Students who meet the following requirements should consider this opportunity:
• Are at least in their third year of undergrad (Upper division student).
• Are good team players who can also work independently.
• Have the professor’s permission.

If you would like to find out more about either SFPIRG or ARX, please visit could also drop by the SFPIRG office (located between West Mall Center and Convocation Mall) Monday to Friday from 10:30 AM to 4:30 PM.

By Jamal Saad

Posted on June 21, 2010