“I began canvassing after I graduated from college in 2002. I was politically motivated and engaged in my community in both high school and college, but had never worked on a campaign that made an impact on the scale I wanted. When I graduated, I knew I wanted to work as an activist but had no idea how. Canvassing changed all of that. For the first time, I could see concrete results from my actions both on a daily basis and over the course of a campaign. As a developing activist, I especially appreciated the challenge of canvassing: every day I was forced to push myself to perform, and to develop and hone my communication skills. Canvassing opened up the doors for a career in organizing. Six months after I started, I was hired as a campus organizer with the student PIRGs, where I worked for two years, returning over three summers to direct canvass offices.” Abe Scarr
Abe is the director of Illinois PIRG. In this role he is responsible for program and organizational development, research, and legislative advocacy for Illinois PIRG. Before becoming director he was the Project Director for the Student Empowerment Training Project, which works with student governments and state student associations across the country, a position he began in August 2005. Over the course of his first year with the SET Project, Abe launched and organized three regional conferences, training hundreds of students in organizing and campaign skills, hired and trained field organizers to run field campaigns for the Minnesota State University Student Association and the California State Student Association, worked closely with students in South Carolina working to institutionalize the South Carolina State Student Association, and raised enough money to hire 5 additional staff to work with the SET Project over the 2006/2007 school year. . In April of 2003, he started working with the Student PIRGs as a campus organizer. Abe worked with students on the North Shore of Massachusetts to help pass tough new legislation to clean up Massachusetts coal burning power plants, including the Salem Harbor power plant. Between 2003 and 2005, he directed canvass offices in Washington DC, Chicago, Milwaukee, and Manhattan.