KPIRG Reintroduces Itself to KPU Community with Open House

The group is still looking for engaged, interested students to join its board
Joseph Keller, Staff Writer

The Kwantlen Public Interest Research Group held an open house at their off-campus office on July 6. Pictured (clockwise from top-left): KPIRG directors Kim McMartin, Russell Liu, Simon Massey, Zafreen Jaffer, and Lincey Amora. (Joseph Keller)

The Kwantlen Public Interest Research Group wants members of the KPU community to know more about what they do on campus. To that end, they invited students to an open house at their new off-campus office on July 6 to enjoy snacks and games while learning more about the organization.

KPIRG is a student led and funded resource centre dedicated to social justice at KPU. The society is responsible for planning a variety of social and environmental justice-oriented events that occur throughout the year, including guest speakers and panels, conferences, documentary screenings, and more.

KPIRG hopes that, by hosting meet-and-greets like this, they can increase student awareness of what they do at KPU. Despite considerable campaigning to be granted office space on campus, KPIRG has had to rent accommodations off campus. Its board members fear that their remote location limits their visibility within the KPU community, despite being a short distance from the Surrey campus.

“We wanted to let people know that even though we’re off campus we’re still doing our best to strive to have a presence on campus,” says KPIRG Director of Campus Life Lincey Amora. “We’re still here even if we’re off campus!”

KPIRG’s most recently elected board member, Simon Massey, who was brought on at the end of June, will use his experience in governance from his time as a Kwantlen Student Association councillor in his new role. He says that KPIRG’s previous endeavours to bring events and speakers to campus, such as former Black Panthers Chairwoman Elaine Brown, inspired him to get involved with the organization. Now, he wants to organize more events with panels involving spoken word artists and activists.

“I just wanted to help out an organization that’s done a lot of really cool stuff on campus,” says Massey.

KPIRG Board Organizer Kim McMartin describes Massey as “heavily active in the school [and] especially passionate about Black Lives Matter,” with “a wonderful social justice background and understanding.”

KPIRG is still seeking two additional board members, one Director at Large, and a Director of Finance. All board member positions are unpaid, although McMartin promises potential applicants that the experience will provide useful resume material and valuable learning opportunities. She also says that the Director at Large positions offer the most flexibility of any role on the board.

Directors at Large are charged with pitching and overseeing new initiatives that fall under KPIRG’s mandate. The Director of Finance is in charge of managing money and making financial decisions for the organization. McMartin stresses that this is a very important role for the operation of KPIRG, and encourages students to apply for the job.

“Everybody wants the ‘at large’ positions but you don’t need a background in finance to be a director of finance, and it does help you to become better with your own finances,” she says. “[Working with KPIRG] is stressful but it’s highly rewarding.”