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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

    Student group spreads love for public transit

    Kaitlin Parker, chapter chair of Arizona Student Public Interest Research Group, talks to a group of intern and volunteer students about helping out with petitions to get Congress to request more funding for public transportation. The group believes that by having better transit systems, oil dependence and air pollution would be reduced.
    Kaitlin Parker, chapter chair of Arizona Student Public Interest Research Group, talks to a group of intern and volunteer students about helping out with petitions to get Congress to request more funding for public transportation. The group believes that by having better transit systems, oil dependence and air pollution would be reduced.

    Armed with petition clipboards and pink and red doily hearts on Popsicle sticks with phrases like, “”I heart the bus,”” about 20 students participated in a rally on University Boulevard to promote public transportation awareness.

    The Arizona Public Interest Research Group met at 12:30 p.m. yesterday in front of Gentle Ben’s Brewing Company, 865 E University Blvd, with the goal of getting 300 signatures in support of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Plan, to send to Congressman Raul Grijalva, PIRG President Kaitlin Parker, a family studies and human development sophomore, said.

    “”We want to show him that he has student support and community support in passing the (legislation) we need,”” Parker said.

    Trish Benton, PIRG coordinator, said transportation solutions should be a priority in Arizona because it is the second fastest growing state in the country.

    “”By 2012 we want to see a majority of funding put towards public transpiration,”” Benton said.

    Before the students spread out on their quests for signatures, Tim Sultan of the City of Tucson Public Transportation Department and Jane McMullen, head of the Marshall Foundation, both spoke briefly about transit and sustainability.

    Sultan said with the current state of the economy, public transportation has become more necessary and said he has seen a recent rise in its use throughout the city of Tucson.

    “”We are here to send a message to our legislature,”” he told the students.

    McMullen spoke about how the foundation is working towards sustainability by providing walking paths and making room for public transportation.

    “”I feel like the Marshall Foundation is walking the walk in supporting sustainability,”” McMullen said.

    Parker also spoke to the crowd saying, “”There are over 36,000 students at (the University of) Arizona, many of whom only have a bicycle. Students depend on public transit to get them around.””

    Mariel Pfishner, a pre-communications sophomore, said failure was not an option when it came to getting the required amount of signatures.

    “”We’re going to walk around as long as it takes to get 300 signatures,”” Pfishner said.

    Despite Pfishner’s determination the students only ended up getting a little over 100 signatures, patrolling the streets for about an hour, Parker said.

    The group will bring this petition and others to Grijalva when he is back in Tucson on his recess in the next couple weeks, she said.

    The Arizona chapter of PIRG started last year, Benton said.

    PIRG is an international organization that is present on many university campuses, she said. Each semester the members vote on what issues they feel are important to their community and want they should promote.

    “”Our focus this semester is global warming and hunger and the homeless,”” Pfishner said. “”We try to get funding for the basic problems facing our community. We work on it until we feel we have accomplished out goals.””

    Pfishner said the club has previously set up and manned a global warming awareness table on the UA Mall.

    “”Our main goal is to get strong global warming solutions passed within the first 100 days of Obama’s presidency,”” Benton said.

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