Hello Fossil Free Friends!
This month, we are introducing the Divest Digest, your update on news, trends, and general updates on what’s been happening in the world of North American Divestment.
So far, October has had one great underlying theme, that student divestment movements don’t accept the word “no” from college and university boards and administrations (speaking of “no,” check out this earlier post on why “no” gives us hope). Even “maybe in a little bit?” or “how about a sustainability fund instead?” or “what if we divest from just one fossil fuel?” are responses that many students across the divestment movement are regarding as partial wins, but still pushing against until they get a full divestment victory.
Here are a few summaries of stories and events from across the United States that demonstrate students strength in never accepting “no” as a final answer.
Note: All photos here are taken from the Awesome FaceBook pages of these campus groups. Click on the headings of each of these colleges and universities to go right to their pages and learn more about what these communities are up to.
Back in 2012, Bowdoin began their campus divestment program, and even faced a full-on rejection for college divestment from their President Barry Mills right from the start. But they never gave up. Due to massive petitioning, on campus events, and organization, Bowdoin didn’t give up and grew their on campus movement They now have the of over 1,200 students across five class years, and 70 faculty members (35% of faculty). Last week on October 17, Bowdoin students organized to meet the Board of Trustees as they left their meeting, again pushing for divestment after proving that the students will not back down. In support, 70 members of the Bowdoin faculty wrote an open letter to the board calling for fossil fuel divestment.
This week, Stanford alumnae have written a number of powerful op-ed pieces as part of their #StanfordReunion series, pressuring Stanford to “Divest the Rest.” Their arguments are invaluable resources for other campuses fighting their administrations’ instincts to take the easy way out with partial divestment or divestment alternatives. Don’t miss reading some of these stories: Teaching By Example, Divestment From Fossil Fuels, Fossil Failure: Why Stanford’s Future Depends on Divesting From Dirty Energy, Stanford’s Own Water Depends on Climate Divestment
Last Friday (October 17), the UVM campus divestment program stood with campus unions to build power collectively and address the corporatization of their university. Over 100 people stood alongside faculty and staff to demand fair contracts, the right to form a union, and fossil fuel divestment. The event, called STOP CORPORATE U, included powerful speakers from public employees unions.
The upcoming event, “Times Up, Rise Up!” will gather together 350 Burlington, VT, Rising Tide Vermont, the Vermont Workers’ Center and thousands of Vermonters in Montpelier on October 27th will connect community and campus divestment efforts, showing the true solidarity and force of the movement.
American University is preparing for a major vote on November 21st to divest their University from fossil fuels. They have held a number of meetings and events over the past few weeks and we are excited to follow their story in the coming days as they campaign their Board of Trustees to move beyond a commitment to be a more environmental campus to being a community that transitions it’s investments fully away from fossil fuels. They are a coalition of over 30 student clubs and organizations that has been pressuring the AU Board of Trustees to divest from fossil fuels for nearly two years.
The Cornell University community has been rallying together to push their university to become even more ambitious in their plans for carbon neutralization and divestment. Read on about the event they held on October 17, and how they refused to settle.
Last week on October 16, dozens of orange-clad students, faculty and staff from NYU Divest laid on the the atrium of Bobst Library and spelled out “divest” with their bodies. They called on NYU President John Sexton and the Board of Trustees to decrease the university’s investment from the fossil fuel industry.
On October 21, Ashland, Oregon joined in the nationwide movement to divest from fossil fuels, becoming the second city council in Oregon to pass a divestment resolution. “Divestment, like other things that are happening now, bring the discussions about climate change and global warming to an audience that maybe hasn’t heard it… it elevates the concern,” said Kathy Conway with Southern Oregon Climate Action Now. “Small cities like Ashland can realize that they can have a voice also,” she said.
ON THE HORIZON…
There have been tons new petitions emerging across North America that you should definitely check out, here are a few editor’s picks from the US South:
- Loyola University in Louisiana
- Missouri State University in Missouri
- Warren Wilson College in North Carolina
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Have a great rest of the month and divest on!