A Public Interest Research Group, or PIRG, is a non-profit organization that helps advance grassroots action through education, research, campaigns, and other organizing tools.  PIRGs are non-partisan organizations based out of university or college campuses. These groups typically practice consensus decision-making and are student-driven. PIRGs deal with diverse issue areas and operate independently from each other. Members of PIRGs organize to advocate on behalf of the “public interest,” and the group provides resources and education to help provide students with the skills necessary to affect change.

The concept of a PIRG was created by consumer advocate Ralph Nader, and the earliest PIRGs were formed on campuses in the United States in 1970.  Later the idea spread to campuses in Canada.  A list of Canadian Public Interest Research Groups can be found here