Will Colleges Kick Coal out of Their Stockings?
Students across the country are calling for colleges to divest from fossil fuels. But will the schools listen?
Can college students reshape energy politics in the US by reforming their colleges’ endowments? That’s the hope of idealistic students at 189 different campuses across the country who have launched campaigns to encourage their school administrators and trustees to dump all their investments in fossil fuels. The campaign, the students say, gives them a direct check on the power of the oil, coal and gas industries, which they hope will have broader effects nationwide.
“We were feeling, like the rest of the climate movement, pretty frustrated with the political situation in the US,” said Alli Welton, a sophomore at Harvard and the co-coordinator of the school’s divestment campaign. “We felt that fossil fuel corporations just had too much control over Congress, and it was really hard to see how we could overcome that barrier.”
“Divestment was really exciting,” continued Welton, a native of Washington state studying the history of science. “It was striking directly at the fossil fuel companies themselves, instead of going at their proxies in Congress. ”
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