OSPIRG: It was a great idea

OSPIRG, it’s a great idea.

A student organization for clean water, the protection of forests, stopping hunger and increasing student aid sounds like all sorts of yum, doesn’t it? If you are a person who can give money to an organization and feel that you’ve done your part (and there is nothing wrong with that), that is great. But for the rest of us, what else does OSPIRG do?

What does OSPIRG do for the students on campus or for the campus itself?

Four years ago, OSPIRG was everywhere – booths, fliers, posters – and then it just kind of disappeared. Now that its funds are in jeopardy due to questions raised by the Student Fee Committee (SFC), you can’t look left or right without seeing some advertisement proclaiming that you need to “sign the pledge” or “get involved.”

Funny isn’t it? Now that the money is being withheld, OSPIRG’s presence has returned to the campus in a BIG way with a big push for all the things and noble causes that good little students want to be a part of. Where was OSPIRG before this? Where was OSPIRG, and what was it doing for the students on campus with the students’ money? All $119,820.00 of it? You also gotta love that in their little flier, they state, “We’re simply asking for our current funding, which is about $1.99 per student per term.” What it didn’t state is that one of the reasons it came under review from the SFC was that it was requesting more money, and from that mistake is now just fighting to keep what it has.

Why more money, you ask? How much, you ask? Well, roughly $30,000 more than what it was currently getting.

Here is the catch: It was not for PSU but for a different and separate university, to open up an OSPIRG office at OSU. Now there are many good and worthy student organizations here on campus that serve students either as a resource for everyone or are more singularly focused in serving people with certain ideas or studies. And these organizations, like the Theater Arts Student Organization (TASO) have to get by on less than $9,000. NINE THOUSAND DOLLARS!

How many other student organizations are there, one wonders, that serve the students on campus by providing a sense of community, or venues where students can try to apply what they learn in school, or resources for assistance and help, that have to do so with limited funding or even less?

So organizations like OSPIRG can take more than $100,000 and not only spend it in numerous places other than on the campus and directly for the students, but request money so it can open up shop at a DIFFERENT UNIVERSITY!

What the hell is wrong with this picture? Have we all become such a group of sheep that we are accepting this? Sure, please, take my money and do what you want with it. Go on, better your career at my expense with no real personal returns or benefits for me personally or other students, unless you lump us in with the entire population of the state.

It is not that OSPIRG isn’t fighting the good fight. It is. But wouldn’t it be nice if the fight was taken in a new direction that led to a stronger university community? Wouldn’t it be great to consistently note a strong presence on campus instead of running silent with student money, turning those funds inward instead of outward to make a larger force here on campus for dealing with such critical issues? Don’t save us from ourselves, but educate us and let us make our own decisions. You know, a student organization that uses the money it’s given from the students to serve the community through the students, so that both grow and prosper.

Yes, a zany idea but, who knows, it just might work.