The primary aim of student-led campaign at 150-plus universities is to make climate change the moral issue of the generation.
By Katherine Bagley
A divestment campaign aimed at fossil fuel companies has swept college campuses across the country since it began just four weeks ago, catching university presidents by surprise.
The effort is the result of a student-led campaign coordinated by 350.org, a climate advocacy organization founded by author and activist Bill McKibben. The goal is to turn global warming action into the moral issue of this generation.
"Bottom line, for a college or university, you do not want your institution to be on the wrong side of this issue," said Stephen Mulkey, president of Unity College in Maine.
Unity became the first college to authorize divestment using 350.org's guidelines last month. "We realized that investing in fossil fuels was an unethical position, especially considering our focus on environmental issues," Mulkey said.
Since then, students at dozens of other universities have sat down with senior administrators and boards of trustees to lobby them to sell holdings in coal, oil and gas companies. Divestment campaigns are now underway at 153 colleges and universities, large and small from coast to coast. The organizers expect to reach 200 after the winter break.
"We've been totally blown away by how fast it's spread," said Jamie Henn, a spokesperson with 350.org.
Climate Scientists Lament a Nation Stuck on the Wrong Debate
America Is Only Nation Where Climate Scientists Face Organized Harassment
Sent by gReader Pro