Between August 13th and September 10th, QPIRG-McGill will be accepting applications for new and returning working groups. We invite applications from any and all groups who are interested in social and environmental justice issues, and who are committed to an anti-oppressive mandate.

Please read all of the information below before filling out the application form, which is available online here. Exiting working groups MUST reapply in order to be a working group again this year.


What is QPIRG? What are Working Groups? 

QPIRG-McGill is a volunteer-driven, not-for-profit organization based at McGill University, with a mandate to conduct research and action on a variety of social and environmental justice issues. At the heart of our organization are the Working Groups: autonomous collectives of 5-50 volunteers who work on a plethora of issues, ranging from urban gardening, to queer activism, to HIV/AIDS campaigns. Some examples of current and former working groups include: Q-Team, Greening McGill, Student-Worker Solidarity, Research for Social Change, Anti-Racist Action, Indigenous Peoples’ Solidarity Movement, Alcan’t in India, Fire (Women and Trans of Colour Collective), Campus Crops, the Anti-Gentrification Project, Young Jews for Social Justice, and many more.

Our working groups organize autonomously around a variety of issues, with support (both financial and administrative) from QPIRG-McGill. All working groups are allocated a budget (for projects/events they wish to pursue throughout the year) in September and will have access to the following:

  • QPIRG’s office resources (phone, photocopier, fax machine);
  • A radical resource library;
  • Computers with internet access;
  • Meeting space at the QPIRG office at 3647 University, 3rd floor (we regret that this space is not wheelchair accessible).
  • The help of QPIRG staff and board members for such things as project support, training, visioning, outreach, etc.
  • Promotional support from QPIRG, including write ups in QPIRG’s promotional material, and a presence on the QPIRG website

In addition, working groups are encouraged to co-organize events with QPIRG-McGill over the course of the year. All QPIRG working groups are initiated by volunteers, and must be approved by the Board of Directors in September of every year.

Lastly, QPIRG strives to support working groups that are committed to an on and off campus presence. As a campus-based, student-run organization, we strive to reach beyond the gates of McGill to support and take part in broader social justice struggles. We encourage applications for working groups that have a scope that is broader than the student milieu.

How Are Groups Selected?

All working groups—returning and new—must apply at the beginning of each year.

The QPIRG McGill board will only consider applications that meet QPIRG McGill’s mandate (available at and will make selections based on the following priorities, each priority point being understood as equal in importance to another:

  • Groups who work by consensus/non-hierarchically;
  • Groups who organize around issues of social and environmental justice, particularly on issues that are under-represented at QPIRG McGill or McGill University;
  • Groups who are engaged in local grassroots struggles;
  • Groups whose power is based on collective action;
  • Groups who are committed to developing ongoing anti-oppression practices;
  • Groups who are engaged in solidarity organizing that takes leadership and direction from the communities with which they work and/or groups who are organized by people who are directly implicated in the group’s mandate;
  • Groups who would otherwise have difficulty finding financial support and resources;
  • Groups who will actively create campus-community links and engage McGill University students;
  • Groups who will contribute to building QPIRG McGill’s presence both on and off campus;
  • Groups who will encourage and support new membership, especially McGill University students

Additionally, If the number of working group applications exceeds QPIRG McGill’s capacity to support working groups, we prioritize working groups that do not have working group status at another PIRG. For example, if a working group already has status at, and receives funding from, QPIRG Concordia, we are unlikely to choose them as a working group.

Working groups that are already a working group at another PIRG will be asked to specify why they also want to be a working group at QPIRG McGill. An example of an important reason for wanting Working Group status at both QPIRG Concordia and QPIRG McGill would be because the membership base is equally important on both campuses.

Solidarity Group Status 

The Board can decide to accept a Working Group application as a Solidarity Group instead of as a full Working Group (if they feel that the group warrants a relationship with QPIRG, but not a budget). Please indicate in your application if your group does not require a budget from QPIRG, but would like to have Solidarity Group status. 

Application Process 

To be considered during our selection of working groups for the 2013-2014 session, please ensure that you submit your application no later than September 10th, 2013 at 5 pm.  Applications can either be submitted via web form, e-mail or by dropping them off at our office with a staff member. If submitting application via email please write in the subject line “ WORKING GROUP APPLICATION (New or Returning)”. The application web form is available here, and the questions are pasted below- please answer the questions completely (especially the budget) and concisely.

If your group is selected to become a working group, a representative MUST COMMIT to attend at least ONE ORIENTATION meeting in September at which your budget will be finalized and general QPIRG organizational information will be distributed. It is also mandatory that at least one member attend our Annual General Meeting in late March or early April (2013). We request that Returning Working Groups send volunteers and materials to help with tabling at the SSMU organized Activity Night, taking place this year on both September 10th and 11th, 2013.

If you have any questions about applying to become a working group and what the benefits of becoming a working group are, give us a call (514-398-7432), send an email (, or stop by our office (3647 rue University, 3rd floor). Our hours are Monday-Friday, 12pm-6pm.



This application serves two purposes. It is an opportunity for your group to formulate your goals and plan of action for the coming year, and for the Board to get to know you, your group and your issue. To apply to be a working group, please answer each of the following questions. This will give the Board a good idea of what the project is, and how it will be carried out. Most of these questions can be answered in one or two sentences. You can write the answers in numerical order. If you have questions, please don’t hesitate to call Kira (or Kama, for finance-related questions) at (514) 398-7432.

Description of Working Group:

1) Proposed name of working group

2) Is this a new project or a continuation of previous year’s project?

3) Describe the issue on which your working group will focus.

4) How does this issue connect to QPIRG’s social and environmental justice mandate?

5) Do you foresee that this issue will be your primary focus for the year, or will there be other sub-issues or related issues that will also be dealt with? If this is the case, what will be the criteria for taking on particular issues?

6) What were your main goals last year and were they accomplished? (If applicable)

7) What are your goals for the coming year, short and long term?

8) What kinds of activities are you planning to help achieve these goals?

9) Will the projects take place during the academic year only, or will it continue in the summer?

10) An important part of QPIRG’s mandate is linking students with the community. How will this project address this? Do you know of any other community groups working on this issue?

11) Write a short 50-word blurb that will be used in QPIRG promo materials if your group is selected.

Volunteer Involvement

12) How many people do you foresee taking part in this working group? How much interest do you think there will be on the part of McGill students?

13) Can anyone interested in the group join, or are there membership criteria? If so, what are they?

14) Do new volunteers have to have some knowledge of your group’s issues before they join? How will you incorporate new members into the group?

15) What do you see as being some specific tasks for volunteer members of the group?

Project Coordinator(s)

16) Name, address, and e-mail address of coordinator/contact person. 

QPIRG Support

17) What kinds of support, other than financial, will you need from QPIRG? (e.g., using QPIRG space for meetings; using the computers, etc.)

18) The QPIRG staff (especially External Coordinator) are hired in large part to assist, train and support working group volunteers. What specific help will you and your volunteers need?

19) Are you already a working group at another PIRG? If so, please indicate why you also want to be a working group at QPIRG McGill. (PLEASE NOTE: only in special circumstances will working groups be accepted at more than one PIRG).


Please include a budget. The best way to organize this is to breakdown the ‘expenses’ (how much you will spend), and ‘revenues’ (how much you will fundraise) that you estimate your group will have.  Don’t worry about estimating your budget to the penny but try to be as specific as possible about what types of expenses you will have. Below you will find the main categories that your budget should include. If you are planning a big event (conference, lecture series, etc.), please make a sub-category for these to show how much it will cost.

Examples of Expenses

  • Photocopies (posters, pamphlets, etc. Estimate 5¢ per copy).
  • Printing (if you’re planning to publish a booklet or other more permanent material, such as high-quality posters or stickers).
  • Room bookings (you can usually get free rooms at Shatner, but you may need to rent a McGill room once in a while – these cost $56).
  • Speakers (speaker honoraria usually range from $50-250 depending on the speaker, travel costs for speakers etc.).
  • Audio-visual equipment (you may need to rent a TV/VCR or an overhead projector, these are quite cheap, usually $11 for a TV/VCR and $3.50 for overhead).
  • Advertising (you may want to put ads in the Daily or the Tribune for your events, but these are very expensive — a quarter page ad in the Daily is $200, and in the Tribune it’s $125).
  • Supplies (working groups can use the supplies in the QPIRG office, such as paint, markers, paper, tape, etc. but you may need supplies that QPIRG does not usually carry, such as canvas for banners).
  • Books (usually books are covered by our library budget, so only put it in your budget if the books you buy will not be kept in the QPIRG library).

Please note that salaries and stipends for working group members are not allowable expenses.


Please estimate any income your group may receive during the year. Usually this would come from selling something, charging admission, or donations from other groups.

Total requested from QPIRG = Expenses – Revenue

DEADLINE for Working Groups September 10th, 2013, 5pm