Fossil Fuel Divestment: Colleges & Universities

Colleges and universities are leading the way. Students have always been key to movements of conscience, and this fight is no different.

Institutions of higher education are charged with preparing their students for lifetimes of work and service. But if those institutions are invested in fossil fuel companies, then students’ educations are being subsidized by investments that guarantee they won't have much of a planet on which to make use of their degrees.

Colleges and universities rush to launch greening initiatives, sustainability offices, and environmental curricula, but it makes no sense to green the campus and not the portfolio. Fossil fuel divestment is a reasonable next step -- and it’s the right thing to do.

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Campaigns (379)

  • University of California - Santa Cruz: Go Fossil Free!
    Climate change is accelerating. We are witnessing the increasing impacts of a warming planet more and more consistently; in this last year alone our country experienced record-breaking heat, droughts, and hurricanes, including the disastrous Hurricane Sandy, which impacted hundreds of thousands of people and cost our country hundreds of billions of dollars. Hurricane Sandy alone caused $50 Billion in damages. More than 90% of scientists agree that global warming, caused by humans burning fossil fuels, will continue to accelerate and intensify these tragic climate disasters. The scientific consensus is clear and overwhelming; we cannot safely burn even half of global fossil-fuel reserves without dangerously warming the planet for several thousand years. As public pressure to confront climate change builds, we call on UCSC to immediately freeze any new investment in fossil-fuel companies, and to divest within five years from direct ownership and from any commingled funds that include fossil-fuel public equities and corporate bonds. We believe such action on behalf of UCSC will not only be a sound decision for our institution’s financial portfolio, but also for the wellbeing of its current and future graduating classes, who deserve the opportunity to graduate with a future not defined by climate chaos.
    94 of 100 Signatures
    Created by Jennifer Parrish
  • University of California - Santa Barbara: Go Fossil Free!
    Climate change is accelerating. We are witnessing the increasing impacts of a warming planet more and more consistently; in this last year alone our country experienced record-breaking heat, droughts, and hurricanes, which impacted hundreds of thousands of people and cost our country hundreds of billions of dollars. Hurricane Sandy alone caused $50bn in damages. Experts agree that global warming caused by humans burning fossil fuels will continue to accelerate and intensify these tragic climate disasters. The scientific consensus is clear and overwhelming; we cannot safely burn even half of global fossil-fuel reserves without dangerously warming the planet for several thousand years. As public pressure to confront climate change builds, we call on UCSB to immediately freeze any new investment in fossil-fuel companies, and to divest within five years from direct ownership and from any commingled funds that include fossil-fuel public equities and corporate bonds. We believe such action on behalf of UCSB will not only be a sound decision for our institution's financial portfolio, but also for the wellbeing of its current and future graduating classes, who deserve the opportunity to graduate with a future not defined by climate chaos.
    93 of 100 Signatures
    Created by Emily Williams
  • UCLA: Go Fossil Free!
    Climate change is accelerating. We are witnessing the increasing impacts of a warming planet more and more consistently; in this last year alone our country experienced record-breaking heat, droughts, and hurricanes, which impacted hundreds of thousands of people and cost our country hundreds of billions of dollars. Hurricane Sandy alone caused $50bn in damages. Experts agree that global warming caused by humans burning fossil fuels will continue to accelerate and intensify these tragic climate disasters. The scientific consensus is clear and overwhelming; we cannot safely burn even half of global fossil-fuel reserves without dangerously warming the planet for several thousand years. As public pressure to confront climate change builds, we call on the University of California Los Angeles to immediately freeze any new investment in fossil-fuel companies, and to divest within five years from direct ownership and from any commingled funds that include fossil-fuel public equities and corporate bonds. We believe such action on behalf of UCLA will not only be a sound decision for our institution's financial portfolio, but also for the wellbeing of its current and future graduating classes, who deserve the opportunity to graduate with a future not defined by climate chaos.
    92 of 100 Signatures
    Created by Heidi Harmon Picture
  • Occidental College: Go Fossil Free!
    Climate change is accelerating. We are witnessing the increasing impacts of a warming planet more and more consistently; in this last year alone our country experienced record-breaking heat, droughts, and hurricanes, which impacted hundreds of thousands of people and cost our country hundreds of billions of dollars. Hurricane Sandy alone caused $50bn in damages. Experts agree that global warming caused by humans burning fossil fuels will continue to accelerate and intensify these tragic climate disasters. The scientific consensus is clear and overwhelming; we cannot safely burn even half of global fossil-fuel reserves without dangerously warming the planet for several thousand years. As public pressure to confront climate change builds, we call on Occidental College to immediately freeze any new investment in fossil-fuel companies, and to divest within five years from direct ownership and from any commingled funds that include fossil-fuel public equities and corporate bonds. We believe such action on behalf of Occidental College will not only be a sound decision for our institution’s financial portfolio, but also for the wellbeing of its current and future graduating classes, who deserve the opportunity to graduate with a future not defined by climate chaos.
    91 of 100 Signatures
    Created by Jim Powers
  • Colgate University: Go Fossil Free!
    Climate change is accelerating. We are witnessing the increasing impacts of a warming planet more and more consistently; in this last year alone our country experienced record-breaking heat, droughts, and hurricanes, which impacted hundreds of thousands of people and cost our country hundreds of billions of dollars. Hurricane Sandy alone caused $50bn in damages. Experts agree that global warming caused by humans burning fossil fuels will continue to accelerate and intensify these tragic climate disasters. The scientific consensus is clear and overwhelming; we cannot safely burn even half of global fossil-fuel reserves without dangerously warming the planet for several thousand years. As public pressure to confront climate change builds, we call on Colgate University to immediately freeze any new investment in fossil-fuel companies, and to divest within five years from direct ownership and from any commingled funds that include fossil-fuel public equities and corporate bonds. We believe such action on behalf of Colgate University will not only be a sound decision for our institution's financial portfolio, but also for the wellbeing of its current and future graduating classes, who deserve the opportunity to graduate with a future not defined by climate chaos. Colgate has a proud tradition of rigorous intellectual and social justice principles guiding the College mission and values. As a member of the Colgate community, I urge you to be a leader in this most pressing issue of our time.
    91 of 100 Signatures
  • University of Puget Sound: Go Fossil Free!
    Climate change is accelerating. We are witnessing the increasing impacts of a warming planet more and more consistently; in this last year alone our country experienced record-breaking heat, droughts, and hurricanes, which impacted hundreds of thousands of people and cost our country hundreds of billions of dollars. Hurricane Sandy alone caused $50bn in damages. Experts agree that global warming caused by humans burning fossil fuels will continue to accelerate and intensify these tragic climate disasters. The scientific consensus is clear and overwhelming; we cannot safely burn even half of global fossil-fuel reserves without dangerously warming the planet for several thousand years. As public pressure to confront climate change builds, we call on the University of Puget Sound to immediately freeze any new investment in fossil-fuel companies, and to divest within five years from direct ownership and from any commingled funds that include fossil-fuel public equities and corporate bonds. We believe such action on behalf of the University of Puget Sound will not only be a sound decision for our institution's financial portfolio, but also for the wellbeing of its current and future graduating classes, who deserve the opportunity to graduate with a future not defined by climate chaos.
    91 of 100 Signatures
  • Northeastern University: Go Fossil Free!
    Climate change is accelerating. We are witnessing the increasing impacts of a warming planet more and more consistently; in this last year alone our country experienced record-breaking heat, droughts, and hurricanes, which impacted hundreds of thousands of people and cost our country hundreds of billions of dollars. Hurricane Sandy alone caused $50bn in damages. Experts agree that global warming caused by humans burning fossil fuels will continue to accelerate and intensify these tragic climate disasters. The scientific consensus is clear and overwhelming; we cannot safely burn even half of global fossil-fuel reserves without dangerously warming the planet for several thousand years. As public pressure to confront climate change builds, we call on Northeastern University to immediately freeze any new investment in fossil-fuel companies, and to divest within five years from direct ownership and from any commingled funds that include fossil-fuel public equities and corporate bonds. We believe such action on behalf of Northeastern University will not only be a sound decision for our institution's financial portfolio, but also for the wellbeing of its current and future graduating classes, who deserve the opportunity to graduate with a future not defined by climate chaos.
    91 of 100 Signatures
    Created by Mike Bates
  • Bowdoin College: Go Fossil Free!
    Climate change is accelerating. We are witnessing the increasing impacts of a warming planet more and more consistently; in this last year alone our country experienced record-breaking heat, droughts, and hurricanes, which impacted hundreds of thousands of people and cost our country hundreds of billions of dollars. Hurricane Sandy alone caused $50bn in damages. Experts agree that global warming caused by humans burning fossil fuels will continue to accelerate and intensify these tragic climate disasters. The scientific consensus is clear and overwhelming; we cannot safely burn even half of global fossil-fuel reserves without dangerously warming the planet for several thousand years. As public pressure to confront climate change builds, we call on Bowdoin to immediately freeze any new investment in fossil-fuel companies, and to divest within five years from direct ownership and from any commingled funds that include fossil-fuel public equities and corporate bonds. We believe such action on behalf of Bowdoin will not only be a sound decision for our institution's financial portfolio, but also for the wellbeing of its current and future graduating classes, who deserve the opportunity to graduate with a future not defined by climate chaos.
    91 of 100 Signatures
    Created by Miles Goodrich
  • University of Kansas: Go Fossil Free!
    The threat of climate change is growing and the need for action is becoming more and more urgent with every passing day. Unless significant action is taken to change the course we are on our legacy to future generations, and to ourselves in the coming years and decades, will be one filled with increasing climatic chaos and the social, environmental and financial losses and damage associated with it. In light of this we call on KU Endowment to freeze any new investment in fossil-fuel companies, and divest within five years from direct ownership and from any commingled funds that include fossil-fuel public equities and corporate bonds and in doing so prevent its continued participation in, profiting off, and implicit support of the fossil fuel industry which is jeopardizing our collective future. We believe such action on behalf of the KU Endowment will not only be a clear indication of KU’s commitment to tackling climate change but also a sound decision for our institution’s financial portfolio, for already institutions, such as the University of Oxford, Aviva Investors, HSBC Bank and others, are beginning to take action to move away from what they believe to be increasingly stranded high carbon assets which could lose up to 60% of their value. With KU having over $1.3 billion in investments, on average we could have close on $100 million of such potentially stranded high carbon assets invested in fossil fuel intensive industries such as mining, oil services, and utilities that burn fossil fuels according to generalized estimates calculated by 350.org. Given the size of KU's endowment and our geopolitical position, a divestment from KU would be a significant achievement, especially when viewed together with the achievements of the growing global divestment movement. Such a strategy was used with great success to help end Apartheid and hopefully through similarly heeding the calls of our moral compass we can use it to help slow runaway climate change. Experts agree that global warming caused by humans burning fossil fuels will continue to accelerate and intensify tragic climate disasters and jeopardize our future well-being. The scientific consensus is clear and overwhelming; we cannot safely burn even half of global fossil-fuel reserves without dangerously warming the planet for several thousand years. We are witnessing the increasing impacts of a warming planet more and more consistently; in this last year alone the US experienced record-breaking heat, droughts, and hurricanes, which impacted hundreds of thousands of people and cost our country hundreds of billions of dollars. Hurricane Sandy alone caused $50 billion in damages. As an institution accountable for its policies and results and dedicated to ensuring provision for the future, we call on KU Endowment to invest in a safe one for us. Continued investment in fossil fuels, we believe, is inimical to such a provision, and so we call on KU to join the growing number of institutions who are divesting from fossil fuel companies so as to better achieve its own stated goals of ensuring a better future for our university, and for all of humanity.
    90 of 100 Signatures
    Created by Alex Lenferna
  • EC Divest
    Eckerd College’s mission statement highlights the importance of “sustaining the natural environment” while also empowering students to “strengthen their sense of personal and social responsibility for ethical reasoning and action, constructive community engagement, and thoughtful leadership through meaningful participation in campus life and the wider community”. In these times one of the most significant ways we can do this is by divesting our school’s portfolio from the fossil fuel industry. The mission of the EC Divest group is for Eckerd College to become a frontrunner in the nationwide movement to divest from the fossil fuel industry. This movement calls for schools to immediately freeze new investments in fossil fuel companies and divest current endowment funds from any commingled funds that include fossil-fuel public equities and corporate bonds over a five-year period. We have the opportunity to become the first college in the Southeast to fully commit to this cause, with another 300 student-led campaigns across the country that have already begun to pressure their schools. Divestment campaigns have made a big impact before, including in the fight against apartheid in South Africa in the 1980s. In this widespread, campus-led movement, schools across America boycotted companies doing business in South Africa. The college divestment campaign played a crucial role as an agent of social change that eventually helped to dismantle South Africa’s apartheid system by increasing public awareness of the government’s injustices. Likewise, as the fossil fuel divestment movement spreads, it will loosen the grip this industry has on our government and financial markets. Like the successful student-led movements before us, our college could be a leader in a significant nationwide movement that eventually impacts the national narrative on social issues. Colleges similar in size to Eckerd have been successful, including Hampshire College in Massachusetts and Unity College in Maine. Furthermore, a report by the investment-management firm Aperio Group indicates that when fossil fuel companies were excluded from investment, the risk to the investment portfolio is only increased by 0.0101% . When considering not only the future of our school but also of our planet, this is statistically negligible. Eckerd College is not a school made up of followers of the status quo. Through our liberal arts education, we have learned to challenge such perceptions and look forward with goals that ultimately better our social climate. Currently, our great institution’s endowment serves to help support companies that inadvertently profit from the release of CO2 and its contribution to global warming; these are serious issues that directly threaten life as we know it. For the good of our campus and our nation, and to preserve the quality of life for this and future generations worldwide, we call upon Eckerd to join a growing movement of institutions around the country that are committed to addressing the anthropogenic issues of the global environment by moving our endowment beyond fossil fuels, focusing instead on investments that are more in line with Eckerd’s mission of “sustaining the natural environment.”
    89 of 100 Signatures
    Created by Josh Lewis