About OPIRG Windsor

About OPIRG Windsor

OPIRG Stands for Ontario Public Interest Research Group. The term “Public Interest Group” has been loosely defined to mean a group which tries to influence public policy. The addition of “Research” means that OPIRG values education and discussion about issues which relate to public policy.


Our Basis of Unity is:

Be it resolved that the Ontario Public Interest Research Group at the University of Windsor commits to:

  • creating a space free of sexism, racism, classism, heterocentrism, ableism and ageism;

  • working in a non-hierarchical, co-operative and non-authoritarian way emphasizing consensual decision-making process and alternative organization structure;

  • respecting diversity and fostering an inclusive environment;

  • helping people learn the necessary skills to effect change and nurturing a milieu where learning is encouraged;

  • bridging the gap that has developed between the academic world and the general community;

  • providing the resources and support to individuals and groups to work on social change;

  • and linking the efforts of those groups with others pursuing similar goals on campus and in the community;

  • challenging the existing social, political and economic order and offering alternatives;

  • working on a broad range of issues, as identified by members, emphasizing research of issues concurrently, and working on issues in a unique way;

  • encouraging citizens to participate in all their civic responsibilities.


What is Social Justice?

Social justice is an ideology which advocates equal opportunities and rights for all members of society. There are several groups which have been traditionally marginalized; social justice seeks to empower members of those groups so they are on par with those who currently hold power. Some examples of topics under the social justice umbrella are:

  • Women’s rights

  • LGBTQIA community concerns

  • Labour struggles of the working class

  • Immigrants’ rights

  • Prejudice, racism and stereotyping of minorities

Environmental justice refers to the involvement of all people, regardless of sex, creed, ethnicity, etc. in issues relating to environmental law, policy and regulations. It means everyone has an equal voice in the responsibility for caring for the planet. Some subtopics of environmental justice may include:

  • Genetically modified foods

  • Climate change

  • Pollution clean up

  • Recycling programs

  • Alternatives to fossil fuels


We Provide the Following Services:

OPIRG provides resources and support for action groups on campus. These are the types of resources we provide:

  • Meeting facilities for groups

  • Use of office supplies including printing

  • Networking through e-mail listservs

  • Contacts with other campus groups

  • Booking tables and rooms on campus

  • Information

  • Access to library resources (books, movies, periodicals)

  • Reference material about relevant issues

  • Support from knowledgeable staff with activism experience

  • Volunteers (if interested)

 


OPIRG Windsor Operations:

OPIRG advocates equality in all operations. However there is a Board of Directors in charge of making administrative decisions and a full time staff person who is indispensible to daily operations.

The Board of Directors is a group of up to nine people. It can have up to two community members and the rest are university students. The board meets regularly throughout the year to discuss how funds are allocated, approval of action groups, events planning, and decisions about memberships and co-sponsorships of other community groups. Additionally there is an executive board which includes a President, Treasurer and Secretary. The executive is a legal entity which is primarily in charge of signing official documents.

The Board of Directors is appointed annually at the OPIRG Annual General Meeting. Any student or community member can be on the Board of Directors. The time commitment is approximately five hours per week. There are various portfolios held by board members to ensure that all aspects of OPIRG are being addressed regularly. Each portfolio has a different set of tasks and responsibilities.

Our full time staff person is a co-ordinator responsible for ensuring that OPIRG continues operating smoothly. They are in charge of tasks related to the main office. A few of these tasks include:

  • Answering e-mails and phone calls

  • Updating and managing the financial accounts

  • Greeting and orienting drop-in visitors

  • Purchasing office supplies

  • Directing inquiries to the appropriate members

  • Ensuring that the efforts of action groups are not being duplicated

  • Contacting university personnel when needed (ie: booking tables)

The most important part of OPIRG is our volunteers and student members. Our main goal is to act as a support mechanism for self-directed activism, so we are always looking for motivated, dedicated individuals and groups to work on issues of social & environmental justice under OPIRG’s umbrella.

OPIRG-Windsor’s mandate is to promote education, research and action on environmental and social justice issues to create a better world.