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 (585)

  • University of Redlands: 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 University of Redlands 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 University of Redlands 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.
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    Created by Scout Dahms-May Picture
  • Calvin 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 Calvin 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 Calvin 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. As Stewards of God’s creation it’s paramount that we lead the way in taking action against this irreconcilable damage that is threatening our planet. Calvin has in the past invested in funds of funds and been separated by two layers of management from the stocks we buy. Our current budget shortfall has brought into focus our investment procedures and it is important for us to take this opportunity to hold ourselves responsible to God’s green earth. We should make sure that we are not just looking to fill this budget deficit in the most efficient way financially but in a way that holds us to our responsibility as stewards of God’s world.
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    Created by Ian Noyes Picture
  • Allegheny College: Go Fossil Free!
    As public pressure to confront climate change builds, we call on Allegheny College to immediately freeze any new investment in fossil-fuel companies, and to divest by the year 2020 from direct ownership and from any commingled funds that include fossil-fuel public equities and corporate bonds. This should occur at the same time as our goal of becoming climate neutral by 2020 and will serve to reinforce and solidify the goals that the college has already made towards leadership in sustainability. We are proud of our institution's dedication to solar, wind, geothermal heating, and efficiency retrofits as well as a dedicated interest in systems of sustainable agriculture, but feel strongly that as long as we continue to support the fossil fuel industry in such a direct manner these actions lose their weight and the college will lose credibility as a progressive and forward-thinking institution that actively demonstrates the ethics and values that it teaches. We believe such action on behalf of Allegheny 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 the inherent injustices that come with an industry that has been scientifically proven to create issues of health, societal injustice, and loss of biodiversity on a global scale.
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    Created by Divest Allegheny
  • Divest JMU
    The Divest JMU campaign is asking the JMU Foundation to make a commitment that they will divest from fossil fuels in order to take action on climate change. This entails the removal of investments from companies that profit from nonrenewable energy resources. JMU faculty teach us about the extremely detrimental effects of fossil fuels, yet the the University continues to fund their extraction. As a university striving to be the national model for engagement, we are morally obligated to detach ourselves from an industry that contributes to and profits from damaging our quality of life and threatening the stability of our future. It is incumbent upon all of us to use our financial power to discourage these companies from continuing with this irresponsible pursuit of profit. Our reputation as a socially responsible and engaged institution hangs on this choice.
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    Created by Jong Lee Picture
  • SUNY Cortland: 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. After learning about the extreme impacts from climate change and, more importantly, the way it will affect future generations, a group of us banded together to form a club on campus. Our soul purpose was to work towards real change to create a better future. We need change NOW, because vulnerable communities are already facing the consequences of our continued use of fossil fuels. This problem is easily the most important of our time, and we need to stand together to put a stop to the destruction of the planet for corporate benefit. This is your fight too, to protect the planet and climate for future generations to come.
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    Created by Stephanie Sobolewski
  • Northern Arizona University: Go Fossil Free!
    As youth, we have a common stake in this fight. As young people, we will inherit the consequences of a poorly managed environment and economy, and we believe our institution has a moral and economic responsibility to take bold climate action. Serving the interests of the 1% is not in the mission of our universities, yet they are increasingly coming under corporate control and refusing to act in the interest of students. Climate change is a real and serious threat to current and future generations and its impacts are currently being felt by those who have contributed the least to this change and yet are often the most affected by it. Through deep personal relationships, we can challenge and support each other to grow personally and as leaders. Positive social change comes from people standing together, speaking up and taking action. We need to revision our relationship to labor and land in order to radically transform our economy, political system and culture. We cannot settle for “false” solutions that solve symptoms of the crisis because we need real solutions that address the roots of the crisis. Transitioning away from fossil fuels means transitioning towards justice.
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    Created by Kevin Ordean
  • Make Whitworth University Fossil Free!
    One of the great challenges of our generation is climate change. Human fossil fuel consumption is the principal cause of this accelerating change. This warming has been linked to an increase in natural disasters that cost billions and take a profound toll on human life. If we do not do something now to curb this pollution, we risk the livelihood of future generations. Further, when we do not act as good stewards of God’s earth, we risk our spiritual health. Whitworth must make a tangible and proactive contribution to caring for God’s earth and for humanity’s future. Divestment, that is, removing investments in stocks, bonds, and mutual funds with fossil fuel extracting and producing companies, provides an opportunity to do just that. It is a strong political statement that has worked before. In the 1980s, many colleges and universities divested from South African companies; this political posturing helped end apartheid. It's time for Whitworth University to realize how incompatible these investments are with a safe climate future and with fulfilling our Christian obligations, and to take meaningful action to go Fossil Free.
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    Created by Niko Aberle Picture
  • Colby 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 Colby 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 Colby 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.
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    Created by Casey Ballin
  • Divest VCU for Climate Justice
    Because our economy is not going to shift its dependency away from the fossil fuel industry without a push. Because Fossil fuel divestment would be a globally impactful, symbolic action for our university to take against the destruction that fossil fuels are causing right now and will continue to. Because VCU students deserve the opportunity to graduate with a future not defined by climate chaos.
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    Created by Arlo Baker
  • Pacific Lutheran University: Go Fossil Free!
    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 (oil, coal, and natural gas) 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. This issue is especially pertinent for our region in light of the looming proposal to export nearly 250 million tons of coal every year from the shores of the Pacific Northwest to China. If approved, this project will be the largest national contributor to global warming; we cannot idly stand by and condone such injustice. Our region has taken a stand against the dirty coal industry with the city of Seattle being one of the first to divest city funds from fossil fuel companies. As public pressure to confront climate change builds, we call on Pacific Lutheran University to commit to this movement by immediately freezing 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. As a campus that has made a commitment to become carbon neutral by 2020, greening our portfolio is a significant movement required to achieve our goals. We believe such action on behalf of Pacific Lutheran 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. For the good of our students, community, nation, and the preservation of the quality of life for this and future generations worldwide, I hope you will advocate joining a growing movement of universities around the country that are committed to preventing a more extreme climate by moving endowment beyond fossil fuels.
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    Created by Daniel Rekemeyer