Michigan Student Sustainability Coalition

Unifying the voice of a generation in environmental solidarity

G.R.O.W. Divestment at the MI CATS Action Camp!


Every single orange flag in this photo represents $1 million the University of Michigan has invested in fossil fuels.  Now imagine what it would look like if we added flags representing every million dollars invested in fossil fuels from every college and university endowment in the state of Michigan.  Would there be double the one thousand flags? (U of M has ~$1 billion invested in fossil fuels). Triple?

Now imagine what it would look like for divestment organizers across the state to come together to G.R.O.W.—Gather. Rise. Organize. Win. We’re excited to announce that G.R.O.W. Michigan, part of a national campaign to build the divestment movement and collaborate with students regionally working on divestment, will be taking place at the Michigan Coalition Against Tar Sands Action Camp from July 19-22.

Not only will you get to join in on the badassery of fighting tar sands in Michigan, but you’ll get the opportunity to network with and join forces with other students fighting the same divestment fight as you!

If you are interested in attending, please sign up here and MI CATS will get in touch soon!

And of course if you can’t attend, here’s the donation link for you to use and/or share widely!

If you have any questions regarding the GROW divestment chunk of the weekend, don’t hesitate to contact me (Marion Berger)! You can email me at marion.berger@350.org.

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President Obama on Divestment

A few Michigan students are doing some pretty awesome things this summer, and one of them is Marissa Solomon from the University of Michigan. Marissa is spending her summer in Washington, D.C. working as a Powershift Fellow with the Energy Action Coalition. She’ll be working hard all summer preparing for the nation’s largest youth climate gathering, happening this October 18-21 in Pittsburgh. You should come with us! 

Marissa rallied outside of the President’s climate speech yesterday, and wrote a great blog post discussing his mention of the divestment campaign happening everywhere in the country. At UM, Marissa is engaged with the Divest and Invest campaign, calling on their administration to divest from fossil fuels.

“I was rallying outside of the president’s speech yesterday with at least 100 other students- students that were there to support the president’s response to grassroots environmental activism. The rally was overwhelmingly attended by young people, who came up with chants like ‘Yes we can! Comprehensive climate plan!’ and ‘Fired up, ready to go! Fossil fuels have got to go!’ It was proof that young people have passion, and young people come through. Obama would not have made his speech yesterday if students hadn’t pushed him there.”

Read her whole blog post here on wearepowershift.com about what the President’s speech means for the divestment movement

Thanks, Marissa!

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Divestment in Michigan!

In case you were wondering, MI students are among the thousands nationwide that  want to contribute to a moral shift that must take place in order to end the power that fossil fuel companies have to bend policy and politicians to their will. Many MI students have joined up with 350.org’s national campaign to get our local institutions (like campuses) to stop investing their money in fossil fuel companies. By getting university endowments to take their money out of fossil fuels, students hope that this will send a message that the people no longer find it acceptable to fund, or be funded by, corporations that are destroying our climate and planet with little regard for human rights. So far we have campaigns launched at Michigan State University and the University of Michigan, with campaigns at several other schools in the works.

Students from both schools have been working hard to find information about their university’s endowments and investments, and build a grassroots base of students, professors, alumni, and community members that stand with them to call on the universities to divest from the fossil fuel companies.

Below is a little bit more about the campaigns at each school!

Michigan State University Fossil Free Campaign

This is a paragraph from Connor Meston, one of the student leaders with MSU’s Fossil Free Campaign!

Hello everyone! As you may know, Michigan State University students have made recent headway in their campaign for fossil fuel divestment.  In addition to educating students about this issue and campaign, we’ve discovered that MSU has at least 14 million dollars invested in fossil fuels. So, we decided to schedule a Fossil Free Forum for April 4th. Turns out, it was a great success. With over 30 attendees and a great panel of speakers, it was inspirational for all members of Fossil Free and surely a number of the people who attended. In addition, Fossil Free spread the word about divestment to the media, including WKAR Radio, NBC’s WILX TV, Lansing’s City Pulse, and MSU’s State News. And, in line with local tradition, Fossil Free painted The Rock with information about the day’s event. However, this is only half of the story.

About 3 weeks ago, a few members from Fossil Free decided it wasn’t enough to just have a forum on our campaign. We were going to pull the student government in for support. So, Fossil Free wrote up a divestment resolution that was passed in committee only 6 days after it was conceived. A week later, the resolution unanimously passed ASMSU’s general assembly. With this resolution and press coverage, Fossil Free will finally be bringing divestment to the table of MSU’s Board of Trustees. On April 12th, we will know how much the administration is with or against us. Band together my friends! This may be the beginning, but Earth Day will give us an opportunity to make our voices heard. Stay committed and Go Green!

MSU Resolution

The University of Michigan Divest and Invest Campaign

Students with DivestUM have been working since this past fall to learn more information about the university’s investments, which came to light after submitting a Freedom of Information Act request to the university. Despite the difficulty for students to access the endowment information, they now know that the university has almost 1 billion dollars invested in fossil fuels out of its total 8 billion dollar endowment (one of the largest endowments in the country). This 1 billion dollars from UM accounts for 5% of the total amount of fossil fuel investments from US universities. Despite UM’s large amount of funding for faculty and research dedicated to sustainability and climate change, they still support the fossil fuel industry with this significant chunk of change from their endowment.

However, students with this campaign have worked tirelessly to unite many student orgs behind this cause (at least 30!) and spread the word to the student body, alumni, and community partners. They’ve already held a successful kick-off event that featured panelists like Bill McKibben and Maria Gunnoe, circulated a petition asking the University to divest, and held a large  awareness event on campus.

Although the school year is rapidly coming to a close, they hope to submit a resolution to the Central Student Government sometime very soon, which would solidify the student body’s support of asking the administration to divest. Due to some hard work supporting pro-divestment candidates in student elections, this resolution should pass easily!

Here’s a picture from their recent event outside on UM’s famous diag- each flag represents one million dollars invested in harmful fossil fuels! 

UM Flags

Thanks to all of the students who are putting in so much hard work on these campaigns! If we want to see our country, states, and communities take positive steps towards dramatically reducing greenhouse gas emissions, we need to stop fossil fuel industries from using their seemingly limitless $$$ to influence our politics!

You can help by supporting these campaigns- check out MSU Fossil Free on Facebook, and sign UM Divest and Invest’s petition to the administration! (anyone can sign, if you aren’t a student just click the “concerned community member” link)

Divestment doesn’t start and stop on campus, either, click here to learn more about how you can get other institutions like churches and towns to divest as well! 

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