Here at Ithaca College, a growing coalition of students, parents, professors, faculty, alumni, community members, and even Board of Trustees members, have come together to challenge our institution to be in the top ten colleges in the country to divest from the fossil fuel industry. DivestIC is run by a group of students fearful for what the world will look like as we graduate, who are calling on our school’s Board of Trustees to hold true to the purpose of our institution of higher education: to prepare us for a better future.Ithaca College’s endowment, over $200 million, is invested in every aspect of the economy, including dirty energy companies such as coal, oil, and natural gas. It is managed by a subcommittee of the Board of Trustees, who works to uphold their fiduciary responsibility to gain the highest possible returns on all investments, so that our school can have the money it needs to build a strong, supportive, and effective community. We are working to engage the IC community, and keep pressure on the Board in order to take concrete steps towards making IC’s divestment from fossil fuels a reality.The fossil fuel industry is responsible for the global climate crisis and the destruction of our futures. The UN’s International Panel on Climate Change released it’s most recent report on September 27th, which reports that scientists are 95% sure that global climate change is caused by humans and their burning of fossil fuels. It is our responsibility as a college to recognize and react constructively to this terrifying confirmation. Former Ithaca College provost and Ithaca community member Peter Bardaglio writes that “few institutions are better positioned to provide the leadership required to avoid the collapse of human civilization than higher education. Indeed, it is hard to see where else the necessary leadership will come from if universities and colleges do not step up and take on this responsibility.” Our endowment supposedly ensures that the college exists in perpetuity, yet Ithaca College is invested in the very companies that jeopardize the futures of its students.This campaign is in solidarity with a nation-wide student movement that works to highlight the urgency of the climate crisis, with similar campaigns for fossil fuel divestment active on over three hundred campuses. Six colleges have already committed to divestment, as have countless cities, religious institutions, companies, and individuals including the Park Foundation and the city of Ithaca.
Our current campaign goals are the accomplishments that we are working towards in order to insure that our institution is making strides towards divestment from fossil fuels. They are:
To continue growing our coalition, to include more students, clubs, organizations, alumni, parents, Ithaca community members, faculty, professors, administrators, Board of Trustees members, and folks from other schools.
To have a resolution or recommendation passed by our Student Government Association by the end of the Fall 2013 semester, in order to show that our student leaders stand with us for divestment.
To have one member of IC’s Board of Trustees or administration attend a conference next spring at Hampshire College (one of the six colleges already committed to divestment), in order to network with and learn from other administrators about the possibility of divestment, and the actual process involved.
To have a group of students, faculty, and Board members committed to a sustainable investment committee by the end of the Spring 2014 semester, in order to officially and effectively work towards fossil fuel divestment.
If you have any questions or comments, please message our facebook page, or email clubELAN144@gmail.com.