OPIRG-Carleton is the centre for student organizing on campus. It supports initiatives to fight discrimination and works closely with vulnerable communities to work towards meaningful change on our campus and in our community.
Through the support of Carleton University's students, OPIRG-Carleton leads social and environmental justice initiatives. It creates spaces for critical dialogue and engagement on campus.
It is your student-run Public Interest Research Group (PIRG). In the 1980s, Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs) were founded on campuses across North America with the goal of pursuing important social justice work to address community issues and work towards real solutions. Today, PIRGs exist on campuses across the continent, contributing to campus culture, campus politics, and campus community.
A hub for student organizing on campus
We provide student space on campus (326 UniCentre) where students can work, organize and gather. It’s full of books, magazines, and resources that you can’t find elsewhere. We provide equipment for student groups to borrow, and support student research through four different $500 annual bursaries.
In 2013-2014, OPIRG-Carleton co-hosted a human rights defender from Guatemala, sponsored a lecture by Métis leader and author Maria Campbell, co-sponsored a panel discussion on African leader Amílcar Cabral and another on Indigenous and Black identity in Canada. OPIRG co-hosted a town hall on cycling safety and a winter safety cycling workshop soon thereafter.
OPIRG-Carleton regularly hosts and co-sponsors events, panel discussions, movie nights, workshops, training sessions, and town halls.
OPIRG’s working groups are collectives -- groups of people who voluntarily agree to work together on a common issue towards a common goal while sharing responsibilities and decisions equally. Together with our volunteers, working groups are the heart of OPIRG Carleton. Every year, OPIRG Carleton welcomes a dozen or more groups who work on a variety of environmental, economic, and social justice issues.
Your PIRG’s working groups do work for our campus and our community. All students are welcome to participate in their work, or start their own group.
OPIRG-Carleton (the Ontario Public Interest Research Group) is a campus-based not-for-profit organization that works to create and sustain student and community-based engagement through research, education, and action on social justice and environmental issues. OPIRG-Carleton uses an anti-oppression framework, consensus-based decision making processes, operates in a non-hierarchical setting, and supports multiple working groups struggling for social change.
Some OPIRG-Carleton History: Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGs) were initiated by American consumer activist Ralph Nader during the early seventies, as he encouraged students on university campuses in the United States and Canada to create campus-based organizations that could facilitate the teaching and use of activist skills by students. Currently, there are PIRGs at university campuses in Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, Alberta and British Columbia. The PIRG in Carleton was formally created by students in 1980 through a campus-wide referendum. OPIRG-Carleton is an autonomous member of Ontario PIRG, a provincial network of 11 PIRGs.
Over the years, OPIRG-Carleton has grown into an established organization that provides students with a dynamic place to apply their knowledge, passions and energy to address issues of public concern, while benefiting from training, support, and real opportunities that build leadership skills and empower students to become active community members.
OPIRG-Carleton Membership: OPIRG-Carleton is a campus and community-oriented incorporated non-profit organization that receives its core funding from a refundable levy that is paid by all undergraduate and graduate students at Carleton University. OPIRG-Carleton is autonomous from Carleton University, the Carleton University Students’ Association, the Graduate Students’ Association, as well as the PIRG network.
After paying their student levy fees, all students are members of OPIRG-Carleton. We realize that not everyone believes in the values of OPIRG-Carleton. Therefore, we allow students the ability to request a levy refund, despite a 2004 referendum vote making all student fees non-refundable.
OPIRG Projects: OPIRG-Carleton has a number of ongoing campus and community-oriented resources and services (Radical Frosh, Free Store, Equipment loans, bursaries, organizing and meeting space, supplies, and support to network and organize), student-led initiatives (eg. Working Groups, radio show; historically: naturalization project, recycling, Garden Spot, anti-racism, etc.), educational initiatives (Colloquium Speaker Series, Tools for Change Workshop Series, Training, Resource Centre) and organizes and supports events on campus and in the community.
Volunteers: Volunteers are involved at all levels of OPIRG-Carleton, from Board Members, Working Group members, practicum/intern/co-op students, researchers, general volunteers and supporters, and more!
Consensus Decision-Making: OPIRG-Carleton aims to be a non-hierarchical, inclusive and democratic organization. As part of this goal, OPIRG uses consensus-based decision making which allows for the full and active participation of all group members. Instead of working by majority rule, consensus is a philosophy that works to include everyone's input into decision making processes and encourages all participants to speak up, as well as take part in active listening.
OPIRG-Carleton is governed democratically by a student-led Board of Directors, elected each year at the Annual General Meeting.
Current Board of Directors : Celeste Alcena, Afnan Khan, Nazneen Khan, Renata Marshall, Hamida Mohaoud, Rana Nazzal, Fa'Ttima Omran
Current Staff Members: Samiha Rayeda, Andrew Crosby & Angela Mooney (on leave)
Everyone is welcome to visit our office and use our resource library! Volunteers are always needed and welcome.