September 22, 2003
Director of Media Relations

AMHERST, Mass.- Luke Swarthout '04 has been elected vice-chair and treasurer of the United States Public Interest Research Group (USPIRG), the national lobbying arm of the state PIRGs. Swarthout, a history major at Amherst, is the son of Lorne Swarthout and Joan Richter of New York City.

A member of the Amherst College chapter of the Massachusetts Public Interest Research Group (MASSPIRG) since his freshman year, Swarthout was elected to chair the National Student Forum of USPIRG in April. His local, statewide, national and international lobbying efforts include attendance at the 2001 and 2002 Annual General Meeting of British Petroleum in London, where he urged the oil company not to drill in the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. He currently is working on project aimed at reducing greenhouse gas emissions in Massachusetts. "I'm honored by my election as Vice-Chair of USPIRG," Swarthout says, "but my focus remains squarely on organizing students at Amherst College and across the state of Massachusetts around public interest issues such as poverty and the environment."

MASSPIRG was founded in 1972 by students at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, and has a 30-year history of environmental advocacy. Over the past three years Amherst College MASSPIRG students have registered hundreds of Amherst students to vote, raised thousands of dollars for local hunger and homelessness efforts and pulled hundreds of bags of garbage from local rivers, lakes and streams.