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Divesting Bemidji State

By Bethany Erickson

“Divestment” is a term that is floating around campus lately, but what exactly does it mean? In simplest terms, divestment is to move investments from fossil fuel related sources.  The Students for the Environment organization and campus Student Senate here at BSU are both pushing for the BSU Foundation’s investment committee to agree to divest from fossil fuels and instead reinvest in socially responsible funds.

This movement began in 2011 at Hampshire College, and only 5 years later more than $3.4 trillion from over 500 institutions have committed to divesting.  The idea began to shape at Bemidji State just about a year ago, and hopes are high.  Given BSU’s shared fundamental value of environmental stewardship and the risks that Climate Change pose to our community and planet, this movement offers the opportunity for the university to align its investments with its values.

Many schools that have started divesting have pushed to reinvest in more “green” or “environmentally friendly” means.  While this is a goal for the future, in order to make divestment alone more achievable right now, just pulling out of fossil fuel related investments is what the organizations are pushing for.  Jordan Morgan of the Students for the Environment organization states: “We are lucky to have such open communication with the foundation responsible for BSU’s investment.”

The Student for the Environment organization is spending time tabling and petitioning for a bill presented by Student Senate Chair Caitlin McClellan that would push Bemidji State and their investment foundation to divest completely from fossil fuel-related entities within the next five years.  Student Senate will discuss the proposed bill on March 9th, and vote on March 23rd.

For more information on the divestment movement, you can attend the honors lecture given by Bemidji State Professor Paul Kivi on March 23rd or Jordan Morgan’s presentation at the Student Scholarship and Creative Achievement Conference on April 6th.  You can also check out www.gofossilfree.org for more information.