News : Scoop on Sustainability: For divestment, the time is now

Mar 22, 2013

From The New Hampshire

By Alex Binder

On Monday, March 4, many UNH community members gathered to discuss, in a democratic fashion, the vital issue of divestment from fossil fuels. It is an issue that has spurred some conflicting views throughout campus.

For months, my SEAC co-members and I have been trying hard to get the administration to listen to us, and not just through one ear and out the other. We wanted to be intensely listened to, and acknowledged and respected. We wanted the fact that we are students at this university, who pay money to go here, and who love going here because it is a leader in environmental sustainability, to be enough for the administration to want to listen. From this event, put on by NH Listens and the Discovery Program, we now know their ears may finally be tuned to hear what we have to say.

I sat anxiously at my assigned table looking over my prepared notes, skimming over the packet we were provided, and going over in my head how important and exciting this opportunity was.

Each round table discussed the complicated and sensitive issues surrounding divestment.

My table talked about the cut in funding coming from the state and the transitioning economy from fossil fuels to safer and healthier alternatives like wind and solar. A faculty member in my group voiced his strong concern about funding his children’s college education, and his concern that if we do divest, there may not be enough financial aid. A professional investor in my group conceded that there is no cost to divesting, that anyone can find studies that either show positive outcomes or negative outcomes and that it’s all about timing. Julie Laudon, a SEAC member who was in my group, said “the time is now.”

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