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  • How students are engaging textbook companies in a duel against high prices, and winning | MASSPIRG Students
    on average every 3 9 years but a 2008 report from the California state auditor found many college deans department chairs and faculty members admitted revisions to textbooks are often minimal and not always warranted Huffington Post reported These strategies backfired when students responded by buying used books renting books illegally downloading them sharing books with classmates or not buying them altogether The National Association of College Stores NACS says the average college student will spend 655 on textbooks each year reported the Huffington Post while the College Board puts the annual cost of books and supplies at 1 200 This means that despite a single textbook costing close to 300 students have simply stopped buying Sixty five percent of student consumers have opted out of buying a college textbook due to its high price and of those students 94 percent say they suffer academically reported the U S Public Interest Research Group The solution to the standoff between students and textbook publishers According to a textbook executive who spoke to Kestenbaum it s software Digital interactive versions of textbooks are cheaper and easier to update and the kicker they cannot be resold Another option is the growing open educational resources movement according to the American Enterprise Institute A startup called Boundless is a leader in the movement They call it textbook replacement reported Slate A great deal of academic content has been made available on the Internet for free The open educational resources OER movement has produced high quality texts videos charts problem sets etc Some of the authors are college professors who want to share their work at a larger scale others are sponsored by nonprofits promoting education in the developing world About Us Our Leadership Our Mission Accomplishments Chapters Berkshire Community College Fitchburg State University Holyoke Community

    Original URL path: http://masspirgstudents.org/media/sp/how-students-are-engaging-textbook-companies-duel-against-high-prices-and-winning (2016-04-29)
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  • Push on to expand state's bottle bill | MASSPIRG Students
    fresh clean tap water Picone said it doesn t make any sense to use fossil fuels and increase carbon emissions leading to climate change to ship water from hundreds of miles away or further when it s already readily available While a great deal of people assume bottled water is safer than tap water he said tap water is actually more heavily regulated than bottled water and regularly tested It s false to assume tap water is dirty and bottled water is safe Picone said It s actually more likely the opposite When water sits in plastic bottles for months or years certain types of plastic can leach endocrine disrupting chemicals into the water he said a process that is sped up when bottles are exposed to sunlight Certain types of bottles especially plastic recycle code no 1 can leach more if reused Picone said If those who can afford bottled water just drink bottled water then they are less likely to worry about the community water supply he said and less likely to support taxation that ensures that supply stays clean and safe It s kind of like the gated community Picone said You don t worry about crime if you live in a gated community because you re isolated from all of that stuff And in the same way when people are buying bottled water they tend to not worry about the contamination of public water supplies which a lot of poor people have to rely upon Quoting numbers obtained by FSU Environmental Health and Safety Officer Leah Fernandes Picone said FSU students spend 25 000 on bottled water annually on campus and the university spends another 6 000 each year on 5 gallon water dispensers Of the 14 000 bottles of water sold on campus each year many of them might get into the recycle bins but we know a lot of them don t Picone said And for those that do get recycled the plastic can t be recycled indefinitely it can only go through two to three rounds before it degrades too much to be used again he said and further carbon emissions are created from melting the plastic down Picone s solution is to remove the bottles from the waste stream entirely by installing drinking fountains with filter dispensers to cool and clean the water and are much easier to fill reusable water bottles with than current drinking fountains Two of these he said are already in the Recreation Center If FSU were to replace all 75 water fountains on campus it would be a one time cost of 85 000 that would pay for itself in three years he said I feel like if Fitchburg State were to take the initiative to change over to the greener water supply then other progressive schools in the area would do the same said MASSPIRG volunteer Ali Griffin 21 of Worcester Foster also announced that MASSPIRG would be involved in a community wide cleanup to be

    Original URL path: http://masspirgstudents.org/media/sp/push-expand-states-bottle-bill (2016-04-29)
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  • Students speak up for Bottle Bill | MASSPIRG Students
    said she feels the Bottle Bill needs to get with the times Some think it s a tax imposed on the people who buy the products Carridi said I think it s an incentive for people to recycle The update is projected to improve recycling of plastic bottles in the state by as much as 60 percent I thought it was really cool having the state rep and senator here because it shows how important the Bottle Bill is MASSPIRG student coordinator Morgan McCarthy said And we got a lot of students to show theirsupport In addition to the Bottle Bill mascot MassPIRG student coordinator Alyssa Dame the table for the event also had paper signs with slogans such as MCLA loves the Bottle Bill and I m Voting Yes for students to hold up in their photographs The event continued even after the mascot deflated More than 100 students took pictures for the project Many were flagged down by MassPIRG staff exclaiming Hey do you want to help increase recycling or similar invitations Some students were unfamiliar with the Bottle Bill update but expressed enthusiasm once it was explained to them I support anything that will reduce the amount of bottles and litter sophomore Evan Patev said Many students said they recalled signing the written petition in the fall and took pictures to continue their support I think the event went fantastic campus organizer Tess Goyer said We had two influential people and a lot of students show their support for the bottle bill I think a lot of our students are getting more involved The pictures from the photo campaign from MCLA and campuses around the state are online at bottlebill2014 tumblr com About Us Our Leadership Our Mission Accomplishments Chapters Berkshire Community College Fitchburg State University Holyoke

    Original URL path: http://masspirgstudents.org/media/sp/students-speak-bottle-bill (2016-04-29)
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  • U.S. PIRG Joins 91 Organizations In Calling on White House to Open Access to Federally Funded Educational Resources | MASSPIRG Students
    year in programs that include the creation of educational training and instructional materials through grants contracts and other cooperative agreements This investment produces educational resources ranging from innovative curricular resources to workforce training materials to English language learning tools While these materials are created for the public good they are generally not open to the members of the public who paid for them At a time when educational opportunity workforce development and access to knowledge are critical to America s future these valuable publicly funded resources should be openly available to students teachers businesses workers and the public to use in new and innovative ways The availability of publicly funded educational and training materials could address key challenges facing our educational and job training systems Currently student outcomes suffer as school districts struggle to provide up to date textbooks and require students to share books and materials In higher education where textbook costs are borne directly by students the rapid rise in prices too often forces students to skip required materials alter their course of study or even drop out because it is the straw that breaks the camel s back This burden is particularly significant for community college students where textbook costs comprise a larger portion of overall expenses Ensuring that educational materials that taxpayers have already paid for are available for free could directly expand educational opportunities In issuing this statement this coalition hopes to ensure that educational materials arising from programs funded with billions of taxpayer dollars are freely open to the members of the public that invested in them The Administration has both an educational and economic imperative to increase access to learning and workforce development opportunities Further it has the opportunity to spur innovation through opening access to a wealth of resources that can be

    Original URL path: http://masspirgstudents.org/news/sp/us-pirg-joins-91-organizations-calling-white-house-open-access-federally-funded-educational (2016-04-29)
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  • REPORT: Open Textbooks: The Billion-Dollar Solution | MASSPIRG Students
    that are published under an open license meaning that they are available free online they are free to download and print copies are available at 10 40 Based on the data from these programs the report concludes that when a student has their traditional introductory level textbook replaced with an open textbook they save 128 on average per course Using that estimate the report concludes that wider adoption of open textbooks in place of traditional textbooks would result in billions of dollars in savings for students As author of the report Senack concludes If every full time undergraduate had just one of their traditional textbooks replaced with an open textbook each year it could save students nationally almost 1 5 billion in textbook costs There are over 160 open textbooks available on the Open Textbook Library open umn edu that faculty could adopt in their classrooms immediately The report urges campuses and institutions to take action on high textbook prices and provide the training and resources faculty need to switch to open textbooks encourages policy makers to support these efforts encourages faculty to adopt open textbooks when available A copy of the report Open Textbooks The Billion Dollar Solution is available on our website at http studentpirgs org reports sp open textbooks billion dollar solution The Student PIRGs are independent statewide student organizations that work on issues like environmental protection consumer protection and hunger and homelessness For nearly 40 years students working with their campus PIRG chapters have been making a real difference in people s lives and winning concrete changes to build a better world About Us Our Leadership Our Mission Accomplishments Chapters Berkshire Community College Fitchburg State University Holyoke Community College Mass College of Liberal Arts MassBay Community College Middlesex Community College North Shore Community College Salem State

    Original URL path: http://masspirgstudents.org/news/sp/report-open-textbooks-billion-dollar-solution (2016-04-29)
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  • Open Textbooks: The Billion Dollar Solution | MASSPIRG Students
    educational materials through an alternative model This report analyzes the potential of open textbooks and open licensing to become that alternative In brief open textbooks are faculty written peer reviewed textbooks that are published under an open license meaning that they are available free online they are free to download and print copies are available at 10 40 or approximately the cost of printing This report reviews data collected from five different campus based pilot programs that encouraged faculty to replace the traditional textbook for their course with openly licensed educational resources OER and open textbooks Findings Analysis of these pilots determines that a student saves 128 per course when their traditionally published textbook is replaced with an open textbook By extrapolating average student savings and applying it to larger segments of the student population we can predict that open textbooks have the potential to save more than a billion dollars each year Additionally by comparing total investment and money spent during these pilots with the total savings by students as a result of the project we can conclude that investing in open textbooks has an exponential return on investment in student savings Recommendation Institutions and all stakeholders in higher education should take greater ownership over solving the problem of high textbook prices and can do so effectively by providing the training and resources faculty need to convert their classroom to an open textbook Related issues Make Textbooks Affordable About Us Our Leadership Our Mission Accomplishments Chapters Berkshire Community College Fitchburg State University Holyoke Community College Mass College of Liberal Arts MassBay Community College Middlesex Community College North Shore Community College Salem State University UMass Amherst UMass Boston UMass Dartmouth UMass Lowell Westfield State University Get Involved Take Action Volunteer on Campus Campus Internships Start a PIRG Chapter Full Time

    Original URL path: http://masspirgstudents.org/reports/sp/open-textbooks-billion-dollar-solution (2016-04-29)
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  • Op/Ed: The power of young people | MASSPIRG Students
    of people when they work together In my first election I joined thousands of students waiting in line for more than three hours to cast our ballots in 2008 I ve watched young people swallow their fear and deliver testimony before intimidating government panels For six years I ve worked to empower hundreds of young people across the country to raise their voices and I ve learned that they aren t lazy As a nation we wake up every day to stories of fear We re bombarded with beheadings bombings and bigotry We re warned of economic calamity climate disaster and deadly epidemics That alone is enough to make even the most stalwart optimist run for the hills Add the pressure of ever increasing student debt and the universal struggle of growing up and it s no wonder that so many students and young people have chosen to relinquish their stake in the system to throw their hands in the air out of hopelessness From California to North Carolina I ve heard comments such as I wouldn t know where to start or I don t know enough It s not laziness It s not apathy It s just that the world today is so complex so full of fear and the problems we face are so large that we don t even know how to tackle them Practically speaking there s no way we could handle today s issues alone But in the course of my work I ve learned that we can rise above the fear I ve learned that we can overcome the greatest challenges but only by sharing the weight with others In times when I ve stood together shoulder to shoulder with hundreds even thousands of young people to raise our voices and call for action I ve discovered it s impossible not to know hope I realize now that the most important reason to vote is that by doing so I recognize my stake in the system By voting we admit that these problems are not so far off our campuses or outside our living rooms so overarching that they re beyond our control We recognize that we must share the yolk of responsibility if not because of the impact on our lives then because the weight of deciding our future is too great to let our peers shoulder alone So to the students to the young people to all the millennials and anyone else who wants to fix things but doesn t know where to start let this be my call to action Don t stay home on Election Day Don t let errands get in the way Don t let classes or homework become reasons not to speak up Join me at the polls on Nov 4th Let s take these problems on together Ethan Senack is the organizing director for NC PIRG New Voters Project About Us Our Leadership Our Mission Accomplishments Chapters Berkshire Community College Fitchburg State University Holyoke Community

    Original URL path: http://masspirgstudents.org/blogs/sp/oped-power-young-people (2016-04-29)
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  • MASSPIRG remains busy on campus | MASSPIRG Students
    MASSPIRG has also helped in placing 3 billion in funds for student aid The coordinator for the the University of Massachusetts Boston MASSPIRG division is Kathleen Page Page graduated from the University of Connecticut with a degree in Political Science and she is passionate about the MASSPIRG cause According to Page MASSPIRG is a great opportunity because it trains students to learn about advocacy skills Page also stated that MASSPIRG is different from other group because our mission is to stand up to really powerful organizations and we are focused on helping smaller organizations and everyday citizens Chancellor Motley said the MASSPIRG report described UMass Boston and Harvard University as innovators in transportation policy More importantly we re responding to our community members needs transportation to our campus that is more environmentally friendly and that relieves automobile congestion Programs such as MASSPIRG are becoming game changers in not only university settings but also in the surrounding community If students are interested in becoming involved with the project s mission and development they can stop by the UMass Boston chapter s office in the Campus Center 2300 cubicle 7 About Us Our Leadership Our Mission Accomplishments Chapters Berkshire Community College Fitchburg State University Holyoke Community College Mass College of Liberal Arts MassBay Community College Middlesex Community College North Shore Community College Salem State University UMass Amherst UMass Boston UMass Dartmouth UMass Lowell Westfield State University Get Involved Take Action Volunteer on Campus Campus Internships Start a PIRG Chapter Full Time Jobs Campaigns Make Textbooks Affordable 100 Renewable Energy Stop Overuse of Antibiotics Get Big Money out of Politics New Voters Project Hunger and Homelessness Newsroom Latest Updates Blog News Releases PIRG in the News Reports DONATE Internships Work on important issues learn valuable skills get hands on experience and make a

    Original URL path: http://masspirgstudents.org/media/sp/masspirg-remains-busy-campus (2016-04-29)
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