Frequently Asked Questions

What does NCPIRG stand for: The North Carolina Public Interest Research Group.

What is NCPIRG? NCPIRG is a statewide, student-directed non-profit organization that works to solve problems facing our society, specifically by defending the public interest against powerful special interests. Our environment and public health are threatened, students are being ripped off, poverty is on the rise, and our decision makers aren’t listening to ordinary citizens. NCPIRG combines the idealism of students with the expertise of professional staff who work alongside students to do research, education, and grassroots organizing for the public.

How is NCPIRG funded? NCPIRG is funded through grants that are given by local and national foundations that care about youth civic engagement and leadership development, as well as foundations that care about the issues we focus on. This funding allows us to hire staff, such as advocates and grassroots organizers, to work with students on issues that they care about.

How does NCPIRG spend the funding it receives? We spend the largest portion of our income on hiring professional staff – organizers, advocates and researchers – some work on campus and others work in Raleigh and DC full-time to fight for the issues that students care about and will benefit the public interest. We also spend a smaller portion on basic things it takes to run an organization – printing, materials, etc. 

Why does NCPIRG hire staff off campus?   NCPIRG takes on problems that impact students and our community that extend beyond the borders of campus – like clean air, college affordability, health care. These are issues that impact students as students but also as citizens. You can’t solve these problems just on campus – you have to go off campus.  Large special interests that we are taking on to solve these problems are off campus – the textbooks industry, oil, and coal lobby. If students have any chance of being able to take on these powerful interests, we need a voice where decisions are made – in Raleigh and DC.  This is where our staff comes in. While students can’t be in Raleigh and DC every day working on our campaigns, our staff can.

How does NCPIRG choose its issues?  NCPIRG is run by an all student board of directors who decide which campaigns to work on and which issues to prioritize.  Any student can bring campaign ideas to the statewide board.  The student board makes its decisions based on which campaigns fit within NCPIRG’s mission, which is to fight for the public interest and to provide the greatest good for the greatest number of people over the longest period of time.  

Who runs NCPIRG? We are directed by a student board of directors, made up of students from campuses across the state. We hire a professional staff of experts to help us manage the organization on a day to day basis.

What is taught in the internship class? Through our course credit internship program, students will get the chance to attend a weekly activist class and on the ground trainings. You’ll learn meaningful skills related to grassroots organizing, planning, and leadership development.