“No more gas, no more oil. Leave that carbon in the soil.”
“Do we want a future on a clean planet?”
“I say fossil, you say free. Fossil–”
These chants and more filled the EMU amphitheater on Tuesday afternoon.
It’s Earth Week around the world, and at the University of Oregon students are protesting the UO Foundation’s investment in fossil fuels. Groups like the Climate Justice League and Divest UO held cardboard signs, a drum and at least one selfie stick at the rally.
Nicole Hendrix, a junior environmental studies major, is a member of the Climate Justice League–one of the groups organizing the rally.
“Divest is sometimes a confusing term but the simplest way put it is that it’s the opposite of investing,” Hendrix said. “So you want to take your money out of where you’re investing. So specifically for UO Divest we want the UO Foundation to divest from their money from fossil fuel industries.”
Hendrix thinks that the foundation divesting from fossil fuels would send a good message.
“I think it would show not only that the university wants to lead the way in renewable energy…” Hendrix said. “But also that we’re trying to protect our environment and help those that are socially feeling the harm of fossil fuel investment, so what oil companies are doing to the world.”
The UO Foundation is a nonprofit corporation that exists to administer private gifts to the University of Oregon and is a separate entity from the university.
Earlier in the year, the University of Oregon Senate passed a non-binding resolution asking the foundation to divest from fossil fuels as well.
Hendrix said the environmental groups on campus have already had a few meetings with Jay Namyet, the foundation’s chief investment officer, about divesting. Hendrix described the latest meeting as not going well.
Besides talking to the UO Foundation, the groups have brought resolutions to the University Senate, started a petition and held several rallies like Tuesday’s.
“It’s cool just to see all these students come together on a school day to show their support for divesting.”
One student at the rally was Emily Huang, a freshman studying pre-business and Spanish. It was Huang’s first environmental rally, which she heard about through friends in OSPIRG. Huang thought it was really cool how many people off the street joined the rally.
Tuesday’s rally isn’t the end of the issue at UO.
Hendrix said that the group has more plans at UO and that the issue isn’t going anywhere.
“It’s growing. It’s growing world wide.”