CPIRG looks ahead

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The Calgary Public Interest Research Group is gone from the Students' Union ballot this year, but it is certainly not forgotten at the University of Calgary.

The question of whether undergraduate students would pay a per-semester levy of $2 per full-time student and $1 per part-time student to support CPIRG was initially approved for the U of C SU referendum by the Students' Legislative Council. SLC voted to strike the question two weeks later, but the Graduate Students' Association permitted CPIRG to ask graduate students a similar question.

"We were disappointed following SLC's decision," said CPIRG member Jeff Emmett. "We're going to regroup and work on the GSA and then see where we stand after that."

There are PIRGs on several campuses across the country. Their goals include action and education on various social issues.

The shift in CPIRG's audience has prompted changes in tactics as the group campaigns for their question.

"We've been doing a campaign focusing on grad students and haven't been going overboard on posters," said Emmett. "There is a booth in MacEwan Student Centre to let people know that we haven't gone away."

Emmett was silent about CPIRG strategy to win a place on next year's SU ballot.

"Next year will be a new SLC," he said. "I'm hoping that it will be a clean slate for us."

With or without the cooperation of SLC, CPIRG hopes to garner funding for core operating costs so that other funding for individual projects can be sought.

"Private groups like to fund individual projects so that they can slap their logo on it," said Emmett. "Nobody wants to say that they funded a photocopier."

Whether or not CPIRG collects a levy, they plan to press ahead.

"None of us want to be in a startup phase for five years," said Emmett. "Myself and most people with CPIRG want to keep working on the issues that concern us and I feel that we have a lot to offer the community no matter what."

The GSA election runs from Mar. 18--28.