University of Vermont

Paul Burns, Executive Director of VPIRG, to Speak at Rubenstein School Graduation

Paul Burns. Photo courtesy of VPIRG website.
Paul Burns. Photo courtesy of VPIRG website.

Paul Burns, Executive Director of the Vermont Public Interest Research Group (VPIRG), will be the speaker for this year's Rubenstein School graduation ceremony. 

Paul has been been working as an organizer, advocate and attorney for Public Interest Research Groups (PIRGS) in New York, Massachusetts, and Vermont since 1986. PIRGS emerged in the early 1970s on college campuses throughout the U.S. off the heals of the book Action for a Change by Ralph Nader and Donald Ross. Founded in 1972 at the University of Vermont, VPIRG is today the largest nonprofit consumer and environmental advocacy organization in Vermont, with over 30,000 members and supporters.

Paul's own work with PIRGS began as an undergraduate at the State University of New York College at Oswego. He went on to earn his law degree from the Syracuse University College of Law and later became the Toxics Program Director for MassPIRG where he was instrumental in the passage of major environmental legislation aimed at rivers protection, brownfields cleanup, beach water testing, and pesticide use reduction and disclosure.

At VPIRG, Paul has lead many successful campaigns on clean energy, environmental protection, health care, consumer protection, and participatory democracy. In this past legislative session, VPIRG played a pivotal role in advocating for the new GMO-labeling bill just signed into law by Governor Shumlin last week, as well as the Toxic-Free Families Act that just squeaked through the Vermont Senate over the weekend.

Paul will address our graduating seniors and graduate students at the Rubenstein School ceremony this Sunday. All the details of the main UVM commencement and the RSENR reception and ceremony can be found at:

http://www.uvm.edu/~cmncmnt/?Page=rsenr.html&SM=submenu1.html