Fri, 11 Dec 2015 13:44:00 CST — by: Zack Loehle
Student-led group sparks discussion about divestment from fossil fuels and receives 300 signatures from faculty, students, and members of the School of Theology on divestment petition.
Stirred by the increasingly urgent predictions of climate scientists and the world-shaking Paris climate talks, universities and private institutions are increasingly shifting to sustainable investment. With the issue of divestment from fossil fuels spreading through national headlines, Sewanee students are beginning to discuss ways to mitigate global climate change, including investment in renewable energy instead of fossil fuels.
To begin this discussion, student-led group Divest Sewanee set up a booth in McClurg Dining Hall in November to advocate for divestment from fossil fuels and what it may mean for Sewanee. The group gave out informational flyers and reusable Nalgene water bottles reading “Drink Tap, Be Eco-Logical Sewanee.” More than 300 students and faculty signed their petition for fossil fuel divestment, and students were able to engage in conversation regarding sustainability and divestment. “It was a success…we were able to inform a good chunk of the student body about our aims as a club,” said John Keithly (C’19), Divest Sewanee member. Jessie Hook (C’17) noted that “It was a really great experience sitting in McClurg seeing just how many people, students and staff alike, were really interested in learning about such a controversial topic.”
This divestment conversation has spread not only through the undergraduate study body, but has also been supported by members of the School of Theology. Arthur Jones, a junior seminarian who has been working with Divest Sewanee, participated in the bottle handout and information session in McClurg. “The students had thoughtful questions about the financial implications of divestment, good stewardship of the planet’s natural resources, and what they can do individually,” he commented.
Divest Sewanee will continue to unite undergraduates, faculty, and members of the School of Theology in the spring with more discussions and outreach (including another bottle blitz). Divest Sewanee looks forward to working with the Sewanee Investment Club to explore divestment options at Sewanee.