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.

College big x
Find your local campaign

Your Location

Campaigns (379)

  • 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
  • Butte 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 Butte 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 Butte 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.
    89 of 100 Signatures
    Created by Melody Leppard
  • Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute: 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 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute 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 Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute 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.
    88 of 100 Signatures
    Created by Claire Superak
  • Harvard University: Go Fossil Free!
    As Harvard continues to establish itself as a leader in campus sustainability, it must be ready to engage in sustainable practices at all levels-especially with regards to its investment activities. The effects of climate change are becoming increasingly clear. In this last year alone our country experienced record-breaking heat, droughts, and hurricanes, which impacted thousands of people and cost our country billions of dollars. Hurricane Sandy alone is estimated to have 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 Harvard 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 Harvard 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. Check out our website: www.divestharvard.com
    87 of 100 Signatures
    Created by Oliver Kerr
  • Let's renew the Politecnico di Milano - stop fossil fuels!
    We want that our university, the most important eningeering university in Italy, to focus (during our education) most on renewable energy, not only on fossil fuels energy. Now the biggest part of the education program is based on "traditional" sources of energy, such as gas and coal. We need to teach to the future of our Country the importance of the renewable energy! As signed in Paris in 2015, we MUST change our vision of energy for the future. We ask to the Politecnico di Milano to increase the time and the quality of the renewabe energy teaching. We are the future, and we demand to teach the future in our university. 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 $50 billion 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.
    85 of 100 Signatures
    Created by Michele Argenta
  • Babson 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 Babson 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 Babson 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.
    84 of 100 Signatures
    Created by Xiaokang Chen
  • Willamette University: Go Fossil Free!
    "Not unto ourselves alone are we born." Our motto speaks of large responsibility for combating climate change and acting for the greater good . 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 worldwide. Many who have never had a carbon footprint & contributed to global warming are experiencing the worst effects. 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 and atmospheric pressure to confront climate change builds, we call on you and the board of trustees 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 this action will not only be a sound decision for our institution's financial portfolio, but also for the chance for all future graduating classes to have a foreseeable, stable future.
    82 of 100 Signatures
    Created by Larissa DeHaas Picture
  • Middlebury College: Go Fossil Free!
    Divest Middlebury believes Middlebury College has the potential to be a leader in social responsibility and sustainability. Middlebury College’s mission statement identifies environmental stewardship and global engagement as critical priorities of the institution; we must align our investments with these values. In the context of global environmental degradation and exploitation of vulnerable communities by the fossil fuel industry, it is not enough to focus solely on sustainability on our campus in Vermont. The divestment movement has the potential to confront the power of the fossil fuel industry and bring about the kind of action necessary to end our reliance on fossil fuels. Fossil fuel divestment is financially achievable; academic institutions, cities, religious communities, and pension funds have already made the commitment to divest. Companies that engage in fossil fuel extraction have inherent risks, both financially and operationally, that threaten their performance now and in the long term. With opportunities to invest in high-performing, innovative, socially responsible, and environmentally conscious companies, the choice is clear. We must harness our position as a privileged private academic institution to confront the gravest planetary emergency of our time.
    82 of 100 Signatures
    Created by Taylor Cook
  • American 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 American 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 American 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.
    82 of 100 Signatures
    Created by Alison Shapiro