SJSF Statement on Governor Patrick’s UMass Commencement Address

As young people in Massachusetts, we were proud and excited to hear Governor Patrick articulate a vision for a “future free of fossil fuels” during his commencement address at the University of Massachusetts. For too long, fossil fuels have sickened communities and threatened our generation with catastrophic climate change. The Governor has already been a strong advocate for climate and clean energy, and on Friday we were thrilled to see him answer the call of history set himself apart as a true leader.
The Governor called to shut down all coal plants in Massachusetts within the next four years and never again burn high-emission energy sources in our state. Coming on the heels of Stanford University’s divestment from coal and just ahead of President Obama’s new Clean Air Act regulations, the Governor’s words strengthened the growing tide of political and economic forces that have begun to move our society beyond coal.

We were excited to see the Governor reaffirm that climate action will result in a stronger, more resilient economy. With high hopes and expectations, we embrace the Governor’s proposal for a new Clean Energy Standard to “ensure that, at every point in time, at every moment, we are getting the cleanest energy possible.” As the Governor named, our society must strive to meet our energy needs first through the low-hanging fruit of energy efficiency and then through zero-carbon renewable energy sources like wind, solar, and hydropower. SJSF looks forward to ensuring that the fossil fuel industry and its allies do not block this urgent and necessary progress as they have in the past.  This work must include strong measures to support a just transition for the communities affected by this shift.

Too few politicians address the true dangers of natural gas, so we were pleased that the Governor explicitly named the need to address the methane leaks and environmental concerns associated with both our own pipelines and plants as well as those at the extraction site. His words placed him on the cutting edge of leadership within the Democratic Party on climate action and responsible energy policy. Governor Patrick has set the bar for what a climate champion should be.

Why Tufts Can’t Take No for an Answer on Divestment

University administrations are pushing back on divestment, but student divestment campaigns are going to keep fighting for meaningful climate action. Now, Tufts has joined the coalition of schools who are telling their administrations: #RejectionDenied.

This piece was originally published as an op-ed in the Tufts Daily on February 25, 2014. You can read the op-ed on the Daily’s website here. It was also posted on the Tufts Divest for our Future blog here.

By Ben Weilerstein and Devyn Powell

What "ambitious goals," Tufts?

“This is the year to take action on climate change. There are no more excuses,” Jim Yong Kim, current President of the World Bank, proclaimed at this year’s World Economic Forum in Davos. “We can divest” from carbon-intensive assets, he continued, saying that investing in the fossil fuel industry betrays investors’ “responsibility to future pension holders who will be affected by decisions made today.”

“This is the year to take action on climate change. There are no more excuses.”

- Jim Yong Kim, President of the World Bank

Less than three weeks later, Tufts University’s Board of Trustees voted not to divest from fossil fuels, citing “significant anticipated negative impact on Tufts’ endowment.”

As part of President Monaco’s Tufts Divestment Working Group, it quickly became clear to us that the group had not convened to have an “open discussion” about the possibility of divestment from fossil fuels, as President Monaco claimed. Instead, it existed to generate financial models supporting the administration’s expectation that it was financially impossible.

In one of our committee meetings, Patricia Campbell, the Executive Vice President of our University, admitted that divestment could indeed be feasible—but it was clear to us that the administration wasn’t willing to consider the changes to Tufts’ investment strategy that it would entail. It was this lack of willingness to give the possibility of fossil fuel divestment that colored the working group process and left us disappointed by our administration’s utter lack of good faith in its approach to the issue. In his Davos address, President Kim said “Corporate leaders should not wait to act until market signals are right and national investment policies are in place”—and yet our administration continues to claim that Tufts should wait for the carbon bubble to burst before taking action.

Meanwhile, many corporate and institutional leaders are already taking leadership. Mayors of cities including SeattleMadison, and our own Somerville are pursuing divestment. Norwegian financial services firm Storebrand, which controls more than $60 billion in assets, hasannounced its intention to pull its investments out of coal and tar sands companies to ensure “long-term stable returns” because they know that those stocks will be “financially worthless” in the future. In January, the CEO of Google joined sixteen other managers of charitable foundations in divesting their assets from the fossil fuel industry. The list goes on.

Our administration and trustees haven’t joined these other institutions not because they are unintelligent or misinformed, but because they are afraid. Perhaps some of our Trustees are afraid to consider that the profits they have gained from their investments in fossil fuel companies have accumulated at the cost of a stable climate and human lives. We have heard both President Monaco and trustee Laurie Gabriel admit that divestment is the moral choice, but they are afraid to challenge one of the largest, most powerful industries in the history of the world. They are afraid to take leadership.

We, like so many of our fellow students, chose Tufts because we believed it was a place that valued ambitious leadership, bold innovation, and active global citizenship. These are the values that Tufts promotes to us throughout its admissions process, in the classroom, and ultimately in the paths we take after graduation. We are expected to lead, make moral choices, and improve our society. But the recent announcement that Tufts will not divest showed that our administration is failing to live up to its own values.

In his letter to the Tufts community, President Monaco wrote: “We are committed to meeting ambitious sustainability goals for Tufts’ operations,” and cited new projects in building energy metering and cogeneration. These are important steps, but compared to the scale and urgency of combating climate change, Tufts’ “sustainability goals” are not in any way “ambitious.”

We have seen this lack of ambition from our institution many times before. It took forty years for Tufts to create an Africana Studies department. It took more than a decade to divest from apartheid South Africa. We don’t have a decade now. We do not have the luxury to be anything short of ambitious. Not when too many communities are already fighting for their lives, for clean air to breathe, clean water to drink, and food to eat. Not when the fossil fuel industry imperils our generation’s ability to live, work, and raise children in a stable and just world.

The student body showed its support for divestment last semester in a referendum. We know that we, the student body, have the moral clarity and ambition that our administration has failed to show. Tufts will not change unless we fight for that change. So we ask that as this campaign moves forward, you stand with us to make Tufts a place that we can be proud of, for the sake of our future.

What Will Governor Patrick’s Climate Legacy Be?

by Ellen Monroe, Devyn Powell, and Austin Williams

Early on January 7th, two dozen Massachusetts residents – including students from 14 colleges and universities from across the state – prepared to meet with Rick Sullivan, the state’s Secretary of Energy and Environmental Affairs. The purpose of the meeting: to formally present the “Governor’s Climate Legacy Platform.” Proposed by local grassroots group Better Future Project and its volunteer-led network 350 Massachusetts, the platform is a series of specific steps that Governor Deval Patrick can take to reduce the impacts of climate change and support the development of clean energy in the state. Implementing the plan would entail “banning the worst fossil fuels, building only the best electricity sources from this point forward, and beginning to price the rest of the state’s emissions” – and, as stated in the proposal we brought to the meeting, “would firmly cement the Governor’s legacy as a climate champion.”

Patrick has already demonstrated his support for clean energy and has set goals to reduce Massachusetts’ carbon emissions – for example, by signing the ambitious Global Warming Solutions Act (GWSA). The 2008 act challenges the state to reach a 25% reduction of greenhouse gas emissions by 2020 and 80% by 2050. The Climate Legacy campaign, which extensively references the commitments laid out in the GWSA, is in many ways a simple extension of steps Patrick has already taken. And using the GWSA as legal context, the governor could also enact each step of the platform without getting mired in the bureaucracy of the state legislature.

Boston had been unseasonably balmy the day before, but the temperature had plummeted overnight, and our walk to the meeting was frigid. Shedding heavy coats and scarves, we filled the chairs at the conference table and lined the back of the room. “It’s very impressive that so many of you have come from so far,” Sullivan commented as he surveyed the group. “This issue is very important to us,” replied Carolyn Barthel, a 350 Massachusetts organizer who had traveled from Worcester.

Dorian Williams, who works with the grassroots organization Better Future Project as the lead organizer on the campaign, outlined the three-part platform. First, “ban the worst” – enact a moratorium on coal, fracking, and tar sands oil, and implement a just transition program to ensure that the shift to a clean energy economy doesn’t force coal plant workers and their communities to suffer. Second, “build only the best” – ensure that all major energy infrastructure investments from this point forward are directed to renewable sources and energy efficiency. And finally, “begin to price the rest” – convene a task force to design a fair carbon pricing system that holds polluters accountable while protecting low-income residents and ensuring that Massachusetts businesses remain competitive.

“To be honest, I think we’re already moving forward with a lot of these,” Sullivan immediately replied. But he expressed concerns about political barriers and measured skepticism about the ability of alternative energy sources to fill the gaps left by fossil fuels. And while he quipped that he “doesn’t set the governor’s schedule,” Sullivan did promise he would do what he could to get us a meeting with Patrick himself – one of our primary goals for the morning.

As the meeting ended, a feeling of relief fell across the group. Some questions remained – while it is necessary for the climate, is it politically feasible to keep natural gas out of a framework for midcentury reduction targets? But we left hopeful that Sullivan’s willingness to listen and engage will coalesce into serious leadership on the part of the governor’s administration.

Largely because of Governor Patrick’s efforts, Massachusetts has become a national leader in environmental policy, but a number of obstacles still stand in in the way of meeting the GWSA’s emissions goals. Some of those obstacles are more concrete than others – like the proposed new natural gas plant in Salem, slated to replace the soon-to-be-retired Salem Harbor coal plant. Instead of developing more fossil fuel infrastructure – an expensive choice for taxpayers and a serious setback for the GWSA – Patrick should prioritize investing in cleaner, more efficient alternatives. As he said to an audience of Democratic party leaders in Missouri last spring, “We owe a generational responsibility to leave things better for those who come behind us” – and if the governor continues to invest in fossil fuels, he is not fulfilling that responsibility.

350 Massachusetts next hopes to meet with the governor himself to discuss how we can help him overcome the barriers that hold him back from implementing the Climate Legacy platform. We hope to make clear that even our deep-blue state’s relatively progressive policies are not yet enough to prevent the fossil fuel industry’s ongoing destruction of the environment and communities, nor to overcome the tremendous threat of climate change.

As Governor Patrick himself said in his Earth Day speech at MIT last spring, “Sitting still and waiting for the future to happen to us is not a formula for leadership or success.” With less than a year left in office, this is Patrick’s chance to cement his legacy as the kind of ambitious, forward-thinking leader he both wants and needs to be.

Harvard Disrupts Bank of America Recruitment Session

November 18, 2013

Dear Bank of America,

BofA action photo Nov 18 2013

We disrupted your recruitment session today because the jobs you offer to us make a mockery of our generation. Our generation will not work for companies that threaten to destroy our future by funding climate chaos.

We simply want jobs that do not poison the water we drink and the air we breathe. We simply want jobs that do not create droughts that wipe out our food supplies or strengthen the hurricanes that threaten our homes. Bank of America will never meet these criteria while it invests in coal, the worst driver of the climate crisis, and mountaintop removal mining, a method of extraction that is particularly dangerous for local communities.

We wish to work for an intelligent and forward-thinking institution, not a company that invests in a doomed industry like coal. 80% of the reserves of fossil fuel companies must remain underground if we are going to remain under the “red line” of 2C warming. Bank of America makes a foolish decision by investing in this carbon bubble.

According to the International Energy Agency, companies are building so much new fossil fuel infrastructure that our generation will be locked into climate disaster by 2017. Bank of America has the power to change this by shifting its coal investments into clean energy financing.

But while Bank of America continues its massive coal investments*, we might as well accept a job digging our own graves.


Gabriel Bayard ‘15

Alli Welton ‘15


Harvard-BoA Disruption Part 1

Harvard BoA Disruption Part 2


*Bank of America is the largest coal funder among all US banks.

Harvard Students Fasting for Climate Justice Deliver Letter to President Faust

November 21, 2013

Dear President Faust,

Today we write to you as hungry students, fasting with hundreds of others around the world in solidarity with the victims of Typhoon Haiyan as the UN climate negotiations in Poland draw to a close.

The global fast was sparked last week by Yeb Saño, Philippines delegate to the UN climate negotiations, whose brother had spent three days without food while working to bury the dead after Typhoon Haiyan.

Climate change turned Typhoon Haiyan into an unnaturally destructive disaster. The unusually warm oceans fueled the storm while high sea levels made the flooding worse.

Thousands are dead, but the fossil fuel industry keeps making things worse. According to the International Energy Agency, we are building so much new fossil fuel infrastructure that we will be “locked in” to irreversible warming by 2017. In other words, the status quo means building more fossil fuels—and that status quo will lead to disaster.

We desperately need immediate governmental action to change the path our society is heading down, but the UN talks in Warsaw are failing. Indeed, the negotiations have been overtaken by the fossil fuel industry.Twelve oil and coal companies are sponsoring the conference while the World Coal Association, with the benediction of the hosting Polish government, is holding its own summit next door to the climate talks.

How can we expect climate action to come from a conference so stained by the fossil fuel industry?

Again, our governments have failed us. We urgently need other institutions to step in to create a situation where political climate action is possible. So today, President Faust, we call on you to do more. Refusing to alter our current, failing course will soon make the problem unsolvable. We call on you to seek out new ways for Harvard University to help solve the climate crisis, including divesting our endowment from fossil fuel companies. We call on you to act on the harsh reality that the climate crisis is truly a crisis and the fossil fuel industry led us into this desperate situation.

As Yeb Sano said, we must stop this madness.  Please, President Faust—act.



Alyssa Chan ‘16

Henney Sullivan ‘15

Alli Welton

Canyon Woodward ‘15


Video of Students Reading the Letter Aloud

Divest Harvard Won’t Give Up Without a Fight

By Joseph Lanzillo, Harvard University

As the necessity of curbing global warming becomes more clear, people across the country are realizing that the fossil fuel industry must be challenged. Individuals are joining the campaign to divest from fossil fuel companies, a movement driven by students who are demanding their schools divest from companies that threaten our future. Even though the movement is young, it is clear the divestment campaign is engaging people in the fight against global warming like never before. It’s no different at Harvard.

In late August, students from Harvard’s chapter of Students for a Just and Stable Future launched Divest Harvard. We are working with and Boston-based Better Future Project as part of a larger movement of over 150 college campuses. We are calling on Harvard to divest its endowment from the top 200 publicly-traded companies and reinvest in socially responsible funds. We have gathered over 1,000 petition signatures from Harvard community members, held events about divestment, and been featured in national media such as Public Radio International, The Nation, and The Boston Globe.

In November, Divest Harvard had a referendum question on our student government election ballot. With 55% of the student body voting, 72% of students supported the divestment campaign. This is significant because divestment received even more support than past divestment campaigns at Harvard. In 1986, the ballot featured a question about divesting from South Africa to end the apartheid, and 65% of students supported complete divestment. In 1990–with 38% of the student body voting—just 52% supported complete divestment. This year’s referendum question shows tremendous support for the campaign that has ignited a passionate movement at Harvard and across the country.

Divest Harvard members have repeatedly tried to start a dialogue with the Harvard administration about divestment. So far, we have been denied a meeting with Harvard President Drew Faust, but our team is hopeful that she will warm up to us and join in on the national divestment conversation. Earlier this year, she was quoted as saying that the University would consider divestment only the “the most extreme of circumstances.” However, Harvard has previously divested from tobacco companies, companies that backed genocide in Darfur, and companies that supported apartheid in South Africa, so is hope that Harvard will consider divesting from fossil fuels. As Jamie Henn, co-founder of, just wrote in a piece for Boston’s NPR, “If it was right to divest from the tobacco industry, then it’s only consistent to divest from the fossil fuel industry as well.”

The movement has been growing at astonishing rates–not just at Harvard, but across the nation. The overwhelming support in the referendum shows just how much Harvard students care about the environment – and that they are committed enough to make a difference. People previously unsure of how to most effectively combat global warming now have a clear goal to fight for; the divestment movement has unified many in its cause. We have watched campaigns arise at other schools, and watched existing campaigns boom. We can only hope for this trend to continue as we call on our university to invest in our future.

Cross-posted at

Brown Divest Coal Campaign Takes Off!

by Emily Kirkland, Brown University

Last night, the Brown Divest Coal Campaign had our first planning retreat of the semester. It’s been a crazy, busy, and exhilirating two months. Our campaign, which didn’t even exist in August, has already accomplished an extraordinary amount. We’ve collected petitions from 1500 people (a quarter of Brown’s student body!) We’ve designed a kick-ass logo and have started screenprinting banners, posters and shirts.  We’ve hosted a teach-in with three Brown professors and an activist from West Virginia — a huge hit! And we’ve all been planning for November 26th, when we’ll be welcoming Bill McKibben to campus as part of the roadshow.

Our administration has been responsive, too. We met with Brown’s president, Christina Paxson, a few weeks ago. We’ve also presented to an official committee charged with overseeing the endowment, and we’re hoping to hear a response from them within the next few weeks.

Every week is a blur of meetings, conversations with adminstrators, petition sessions, dorm storms, calls to reporters, emails, emails and more emails. It’s exciting, but it can also be overwheming. Last night, we sat down for the first time as a group to eat some spaghetti and apple cobbler and reflect on our progress so far.

Over and over, the same message emerged: this campaign has been an incredible opportunity to confront the power of the fossil fuel industry within our own community. I’ve a senior, and I’ve spent much of my time at Brown worrying and thinking about global warming and related issues. But this is the first time I’ve really felt able to do something about it on my own campus.

And as exhausting as it can be, that’s also incredibly exciting.

Cross-posted at We Are Power Shift

The Movement Begins at Hampshire

By Alex Leff, Hampshire College

“Together we’ll mount an unprecedented campaign to cut off the industry’s financial and political support by divesting our schools, churches and government from fossil fuels.” – Bill McKibben on the ”Do The Math” tour

As the seas rise, so do Fossil Fuel industry profits. It’s no coincidence that in a year when the Arctic Ice Cap melted to half it’s 1970 level, ExxonMobil made more money than any other corporation in history. The Fossil Fuel Industry spent $167 million lobbying the federal government to weaken industry regulations and block any climate legislation that would threaten their bottom line. Since May, the Fossil Fuel Industry has received almost $5 billion from the United States government in from tax breaks and subsidies. In order to solve the climate crisis, we need to break the stranglehold fossil fuel corporations have over our democracy and our economy. Here’s where we come in:

American colleges and universities all together have over $400 billion in endowment assets. Schools invest their endowments on all sorts of things, usually without any consideration of what this money funds. If we are to have any hope of seriously confronting the Climate Crisis, we must urge our schools to divest from the fossil fuel industry.

The Hampshire College community, and the rest of the nation, perhaps, has a reason to celebrate. Hampshire College is the first school in the nation to pass a responsible investment policy that includes full divestment from fossil fuels. President Jonathan Lash explains that now beyond divestment, “The college actively seeks to invest in companies whose policies and products align with our social and environmental values.” The fossil fuel companies wrecking our climate clearly don’t make the cut. More information on Hampshire’s Investment policy is available on

Divestment was a key component to victory over South African Apartheid. Hampshire led the way then too, and in 1977 was the first to divest from all corporations supporting Apartheid. Over a hundred more schools, including major institutions like Columbia, Stanford, and the University of California followed suit, along with cities and state pension funds. Nelson Mandela applauded these divestments as significant contributions to the fight. Now, a new divestment movement is starting across the country. This November, environmental activist and author Bill McKibben will lead the “Do The Math” tour across America, spreading the fossil fuel divestment movement.

The Hampshire community has a significant role to play, now beyond its own personal divestment. We must continue our commitment to cutting down on fossil fuels with every aspect of our lives: as a school and as individuals. We have a duty to help student divestment coalitions at other schools whose administrations are less willing to make the responsible decision. Our friends at the Amherst, UMass, Holyoke, and Smith are now working towards divestment and cannot do it alone. However, the fight is not about battling school governments. The real is fight is working as students, as communities, and as a nation, to withdraw our money from the fossil fuel industry.

To join the fight, visit and like “FiveCollegesAgainstFossilFuels” on Facebook.

Making History with Divestment

By Ben Thompson (BU) and Alli Welton (Harvard)

In the 1980s, apartheid was an injustice too terrible to be ignored. Today, global warming is the tremendous injustice that demands our generation to unite and take action. Hampshire College made history last Monday when it was revealed to students that its endowment is currently free of fossil fuels after an earlier responsible investment shift, just as it made history thirty- five years ago as the first of many schools to divest from companies that supported apartheid in South Africa. Now the rest of us must join together on our campuses and across the country to fight for divestment from fossil fuels so we can take down the climate crisis as students before us took down apartheid.

Students are already calling for divestment from coal, oil, and natural gas companies at roughly thirty schools, from Lewis & Clark to Cornell. Unfortunately, the administration at many of these schools have not yet followed Hampshire’s example of bold ethical leadership. At Harvard University, for instance, President Faust declared that she would not use the endowment to fight climate change. At Boston University, President Brown all but refused to even meet with students to discuss the proposal.

We see that fossil fuel divestment will not be an easy battle, but it will be worth the effort. Higher education endowments represent $400 billion across the United States, a substantial sum of money to withhold from oil, gas, and coal companies. Our institutions can send a powerful message to the financial community and the world, signaling to investors that fossil fuels are a dying industry they should divest from quickly because our generation will not stand for a world powered by deadly energy.

Furthermore, divestment campaigns are a labor of love for our communities. Fossil fuel companies are inherently risky investments that higher education institutions would be wise to avoid. As Bill McKibben made clear this summer in his article in Rolling Stone, we can only burn 565 gigatons more carbon before going over the UN-sanctioned 2 degree upper limit for warming, but the share prices of fossil fuel companies reflect the 2795 gigatons stored in their reserves underground. That carbon cannot be burnt– the facade will fall away eventually, society will realize that those gigatons must remain underground, and fossil fuel stocks will tank. Universities lost up to 30% of their endowments when the housing bubble burst in 2008 and stocks crashed, resulting in budget constraints, job slashing, and painful cuts to financial aid. Our schools cannot afford to suffer similar losses a second time when the carbon bubble bursts.

Divestment has the potential to unite us across our campuses and create a national student movement. We are all tired of trying to work within the political system where far too many politicians are the lapdogs of Big Coal and Big Oil rather than the guardians of the public interest. We are all sick of wasting hours negotiating with our administrations to win funding for energy-saving light bulbs only to turn around and see our planet still hurtling over the edge. It is time to directly attack the corporations responsible for the climate crisis. Through divestment, we can start to take away some of the wealth and thus the power of the corporate fossil fuel tyrants. And by uniting students across the country in this fight, we will create a national student movement so powerful that politicians will not be able to ignore us when it comes time to take on Washington.

This will be the chapter in the climate movement’s history when we finally start to win. Join us.

Cross-posted on It’s Getting Hot in Here.

Divestment Campaign Taking Off at Tufts!

By Dan Jubelirer, Tufts University

“If you look at the science that describes what is happening on earth today and aren’t hopeless, you don’t have the correct data. If you meet the people in this unnamed movement and aren’t optimistic, you haven’t got a heart” – Paul Hawken in Blessed Unrest

The science is in on climate change, and things aren’t good. We don’t have much time. By conservative estimates, to avoid a massive climate disaster in our lifetimes, we must drastically reduce our fossil fuel consumption in the next 5-10 years. Unfortunately, many people remain in an emotional state of denial, and are not taking action on this dire issue. What’s more, our government could not be more inept at regulating fossil fuel use. Our politicians are too afraid of taking in the major oil, coal, and gas companies, since the fossil fuel industry is such a power special interest group. That leaves us heading to the edge of the cliff at a break-neck speed, with no one grabbing the wheel and steering us to safety.

But I am not hopeless. I am part of a new movement of young people all across the country, taking on the root of the climate crisis: the fossil fuel companies. I am part of a divestment campaign at Tufts, demanding that our university sell off its stocks and bonds in the fossil fuel industry. The oil, coal, and gas companies want to alter the physics and chemistry of the planet, just to make a profit. Young people today aren’t going to stand for it. We are urging Tufts to reinvest in new emerging green technologies, improving campus infrastructure and making it more energy efficient (which leads to a LOT of savings for the University,) and other socially responsible investments.

Here is the plan: build student power, meet with administrators, and eventually pressure them into divesting. We are gathering petitions and writing Op-Eds, planning panels with experts, movie screenings, protests, email blasts, all of it. We are meeting and coordinating with students from half a dozen other schools in Boston, sharing best practices and encouraging each other. We are forming partnerships with local community groups such as Better Future Project and, getting resources and training on student organizing tactics. Last week we met with Bill McKibben, author of the viral Rolling Stone article this past summer, and got some inspiration and guidance on how to push for divestment.

divest meeting democracy center 2012

Meeting with Climate Activist and founder of Bill McKibben in Cambridge, MA

Mitigating climate change through personal lifestyle changes hasn’t worked, and neither has political action. We are taking the fight to the people pulling the strings, by taking capital out of the extraction, production, and distribution of fossil fuels. I think we are going to be successful. In the past, universities have divested their endowments for human rights issues, such as the South Africa apartheid divestmentcampaigns in the 80’s and 90’s, and tobacco and firearms divestment campaigns in the mid-2000’s. Financial experts have shown that socially responsible investing does not harm returns; there are plenty of profitable investments besides fossil fuels. We are a national movement, with at least 30 other colleges and universities starting divestment campaigns in the past few months. But most of all, we have passion and creativity, intelligence and heart.

Working on divestment so far has been fun. I’ve laughed a lot, been enraged, felt excited, and met many amazing new people. We are just taking off, but, if we stick with it and keep pressuring our school to do the right thing, I think we will be successful.

A brilliant poet and GenUp friend, Drew Dellinger, has a call to action that inspires me to keep going:

It’s 3:23 in the morning and I’m awake
because my great great, grandchildren won’t let me sleep.
My great great grandchildren ask me in dreams
what did you do, while the planet was plundered?
what did you do, when the earth was unraveling?

surely you did something when the seasons started failing?
as the mammals, reptiles, and birds were all dying?

did you fill the streets with protest when democracy was stolen?

what did you do

We need change, and we need it now. As college students, we have so much power and leverage to make this a national issue, and put real pressure on the oil and coal companies to act responsibly, and only sell as much carbon as is safe to burn.

Update: Today 15 of us met with Tufts Vice President Patricia Campbell and Director of the Office of Sustainability Tina Woolston to deliver over 850 petition signatures calling for divestment, and to make our case to the administration. While we didn’t get many concrete answers, are going to keep at it, and next take our case to the board of trustees!

follow us on FB for updates!

Cross-posted on and Generation Waking Up