What is OPIRG?

Ontario Public Interest Research Group (OPIRG) Peterborough

manry and kayley on the bridge

Established in 1976, OPIRG Peterborough is a campus-based, community-oriented, non-profit organization committed to research, education and action on social justice and environmental issues. Each year, OPIRG staff and volunteers organize speakers, films, conferences, publications and campaigns on a wide variety of topics that fit within our mandate. We also offer skills development workshops and research-for-credit opportunities.

A volunteer board of directors works with one full-time staff person and several part time student staff people to administer the office and resource library, develop programming, allocate resources, and network with other campus and community organizations. The OPIRG board uses a consensus decision-making process and meets fortnightly during the school year. Board members are elected annually and usually serve a two-year term.

OPIRG Peterborough is an autonomous member of Ontario PIRG, a provincial network of eleven PIRGs. In August of 2005, OPIRG Peterborough became incorporated under the province of Ontario.

For more than three decades, the Peterborough Chapter of the Ontario Public Interest Research Group (OPIRG) has been pursuing social justice and environmental activism on the Trent campus and the Peterborough community. During this long history, OPIRG has worked on a wide range of issues and has seen its alumni go on to contribute to other social justice and environmental movements after they leave Trent. Today, OPIRG continues to be a dynamic organization where many Trent students learn the skills and knowledge they need to be active citizens.


OPIRG-Peterborough is a campus-based, community oriented non-profit organization that receives its core funding from a refundable nine dollar levy that is paid by all full-time Trent undergraduate students. It was founded in 1976 by a campus-wide referendum. That year, it was called PeterPIRG and it was founded by a five dollar levy. In 1986, the levy was brought up from $5 to $7 and again in 1991 from $7 to $9.

The PIRG movement originated with the consumer activist Ralph Nader during the early seventies, as he encouraged students on university campuses in the United States an


d Canada to create campus-based organizations that could facilitate the teaching and use of activist skills by students. In 1973, the first Ontario PIRG was established and today there are 11 PIRGs  at universities across Ontario and several across the country.