Missing Alumni

Contact Info

Events Calendar

SPAN Newsletters

Photo Gallery

Job Opportunities

Services Directory

In Memory of Susan Birmingham

In Memory of David Wood

U.S. PIRG (Federation of State PIRGs)

Environment America [Federation of state environment groups]

In Memory of Susan Birmingham

1956 - 2007

We have created a book of memories of Susan. If you would like to view the memory book, either electronically or as a hard copy, please e-mail Kirsten at alumni@publicinterestnetwork.org.

Click each image for a larger photo.


PIRG alumna Susan Birmingham passed away in New York City on Sunday, April 1st, 2007 following a sudden illness.

Susan started on PIRG staff as the Lowell State (now U Mass Lowell) campus organizer, later served as the MASSPIRG Campus Organizing Director, Boston Canvass Director, Fund National Canvass Director, CALPIRG Executive Director, USPIRG Solid Waste Advocate, and PIRG Recruitment Director.
Susan's family requests that any donations be sent to the Susan Birmingham Fund, c/o MASSPIRG Education Fund; 44 Winter St, 4th floor; Boston, MA 02108.  We are coordinating with the family to determine what the funds will go towards.  Word has it Susan was a fan of
www.impeachbush.org, so some friends are making donations in Susan's memory to that organization as well.

From the Aspen 2007 Dinner Program:
Susan Birmingham, Organizer and Activist

Susan Birmingham was one of 10 or so activists who gave birth to the modern PIRG movement. Starting in the late 1970s with an overdrawn bank account, Susan, Ken Ward, Kirk Weinert and a few others grew the size and influence of MASSPIRG, launched the national Campaign for Safe Energy, organized our first door-to-door canvass, and created The Fund and U.S. PIRG.

Through this period of rapid growth and
organizational development, Susan filled a variety of positions, including National Canvass Director, CALPIRG Executive Director, U.S. PIRG Environmental Advocate and National Staff Recruitment Director. After leaving PIRG in 1997, she consulted with a variety of candidates and causes, including Ralph Nader, Jerry Brown, Oceana, ACORN and the Campaign to End AIDS.

We remember her most, however, for her ability to inspire young activists. If you

asked her why she worked so long and so hard for so little material gain, with
a shrug and a smile, she’d reply, “What else are you gonna do?” Her cavalier
response, however, belied an intensity of purpose that drove Susan to challenge, rouse, prod or otherwise find a way to excite in others the passion she felt about organizing to change the world. In hundreds of cases, she succeeded.

We honored Susan with a PIRG Lifetime Achievement Recognition Award at a

national PIRG 30th anniversary event in December 2002. She died on April 1, 2007 after a sudden illness, in New York City, where she lived for the last 10 years. Her brothers ask that contributions be made in her name to MASSPIRG.