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 (112)

  • Cortland
    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.
    500 of 600 Signatures
    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.
    491 of 500 Signatures
    Created by Kevin Ordean
  • 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.
    468 of 500 Signatures
    Created by Casey Ballin
  • Spokane
    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.
    464 of 500 Signatures
    Created by Niko Aberle
  • Falmouth
    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.
    452 of 500 Signatures
    Created by Arlo Baker
  • New York
    Call Fordham University to Divest from Fossil Fuels Urgently
    According to the United Nations, fossil fuels -- coal, oil, and gas -- are the most significant contributors to global climate change, accounting for over 75 percent of global greenhouse gas emissions. Greenhouse gas emissions trap the sun's heat, leading to global warming and climate change. Warmer temperatures are changing weather patterns and disrupting ecological systems. Additionally, the climate crisis disproportionately affects poor and marginalized communities. The lowest-income countries produce one-tenth of emissions but are the most impacted by climate change. These people are vulnerable to health risks, hunger, water scarcity, education, and work-related hazards. In the United States, an EPA analysis demonstrated that the most severe harms from climate change disproportionately affect vulnerable communities who are least able to prepare for and recover from heat waves, poor air quality, flooding, and other impacts. The fossil fuel industry contributes to public health harms that kill hundreds of thousands of people in the U.S. each year, dispositionally endearing Black, Brown, Indigenous, and poor communities. Extraction, processing, transport, and combustion of fossil fuels generate toxic air and water pollution. Exposure to fossil fuel pollution is linked to negative health impacts for people living near these pollution sources, especially particulate matter and ground-level ozone, which are correlated with respiratory and cardiovascular risks and premature mortality. Fossil fuels depend on and contribute to systemic racism in the United States. Racist practices, including redlining and housing discrimination, longstanding social and racial inequalities, colonization, indigenous genocide and removal, and elected official beholder to corporate power, create a system where the most dangerous impacts of pollution fall most intensely on the most disadvantaged, particularly Black, Brown, Indigenous, and poor communities. Climate change is the most pressing issue of our generation. Without immediate action, we risk pushing our planet into a position of irreversible damage. Within the past few years, we have witnessed significant increases in sea levels, global temperatures, and extreme weather. From Hurricane Sandy alone, New York City suffered 19 billion dollars in damages, displacing 70,000 residents and causing the death of 44 people. Unless we make changes now, storms of this intensity will increase in frequency and severity. Our Jesuit university is responsible for divesting without delay to show its support against the increasing ailments caused by the climate crisis.
    427 of 500 Signatures
    Created by Students for Environmental Action and Justice Fordham
  • 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.
    417 of 500 Signatures
    Created by Daniel Rekemeyer
  • New Brunswick
    Rutgers 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. Just this past fall, Hurricane Sandy alone caused the state of New Jersey $36.9 billion in damages according to Governor Christie. Experts, including some of our very own faculty here at Rutgers, agree that global warming caused by 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 Rutgers 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 Rutgers University will not only be a sound decision for our institution's financial portfolio, but also for the well-being of its current and future graduating classes, who deserve the opportunity to graduate with a future not defined by climate chaos. Fundamentally, Rutgers University's mission as a public institution entails a broad commitment to the people of the state of New Jersey. As the devastating effects of Hurricane Sandy make clear, that mission is inconsistent with continuing to profit off an industry whose business model is driving the destabilization of our planet.
    412 of 500 Signatures
    Created by Shane Patel
  • Divest from Fossil Fuels and Invest in our Futures!
    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.
    394 of 400 Signatures
    Created by Brigid Mark
  • Lancaster
    Franklin and Marshall 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 $50 billon 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 Franklin & Marshall 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 Franklin & Marshall 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.
    386 of 400 Signatures
    Created by Spencer Johnson