Today is Global Divestment Day. In 40 countries across the globe, tens of thousands of people rallied in hundreds of events calling on institutions to stop investing in fossil fuel companies. From South Africa to Mexico, Bangladesh to Benin, people showed a commitment to taking on the fossil fuel industry. At Northeastern, members of DivestNU capitalized on the event’s proximity to Valentine’s Day to urge the University to “Break Up with Fossil Fuels”.
Following the lead of campaigns at schools such as Harvard, BU, and Stanford, student campaigners at Northeastern have made Faculty engagement a priority for the semester. To this end, students distributed Valentine’s cards to professors with messages such as “roses are red, violets are blue, the ice caps are melting, and we need you.” The campaign encourages faculty to sign the open letter calling for divestment. In doing so they will join with students and alumni who have already signed their own letters to the administration. These letters can be found at divestnu.org.
DivestNU tabled in the Curry Student Center all day, distributing candy in the spirit of Valentine’s Day. They also handed out informational flyers and orange felt squares. The orange square is the symbol of the national divestment student network and offers an easy way for students on campuses across the country to show their support for their school’s divestment movement.
Students also took the day to thank key members of the administration for their cooperation thus far. Since the referendum last spring – in which the student body voted overwhelmingly to support divestment – members of DivestNU have been meeting regularly with administrators to address Northeastern’s commitment to sustainability and the feasibility of divestment.
One of the notable outcomes of this discussion so far has been the establishment of the Social Impact Advisory Council (SIAC) – a permanent committee comprised of students, faculty, and administrators. Going forward, the SIAC will be responsible for addressing social concerns regarding the University’s investments. The council’s first meeting will take place this month, and fossil fuel divestment will be their first priority. Students look forward to continuing the discussion as a way to achieve our mutual goals in the coming months.
Global Divestment Day is a moment to look back and gain inspiration from the rapid and inspiring growth of the global Fossil Fuel Divestment movement, as well as to look forward at what is to come. As the pivotal UN climate talks in Paris approach, and as more institutions undertake divestment, time is fading for Northeastern to demonstrate its leadership on this issue. Upcoming actions planned by DivestNU will make this abundantly clear. We will continue to strengthen our coalition, broaden our community of supporters, and build student power on campus.
This post was originally written as a press release to the Huntington News