by Faye Christoforo
Four years ago a group of only slightly jaded Earlham students began to think about what it would look like for Earlham to divest its direct holdings from fossil fuel extraction companies. Sitting in a circle on the floor of Gurney house, hunched over laptops, wondering if anyone would ever care if some kids at a Quaker school in Indiana where hatching a campaign. At the time, the idea was largely unheard of, and seemed to be relegated to small, private schools where maybe you could make some sort of religious argument for it. Swarthmore, in many ways, was our model, and in turn, their model was the South African divestment movement of the 1980’s.
This was before fossil fuel divestment became a household name. Before searching those words on Google yielded 728,000 results. Before Bill McKibben, Naomi Klein, Van Jones, or Al Gore ever thought to endorse it as a tactic. Before the sit-ins and the op-eds and the Rolling Stone articles. Before the victories.
This was just the beginning. All of those who were there have since graduated and the movement has exploded. Back at Earlham every year brings new student leaders who build upon the REInvestment campaign. As the campaign grows and we get closer and closer to our goal we want to continue to show Earlham that, while we may leave campus, we still care.
While we can’t stay on campus to attend SRIAC meetings, draft proposals and rally student support, we can support the awesome students on campus doing just that. To do this we have created Earlham Alumn for REInvestment, or EAR (hence the title of this post!). We are a group of alumn (open to new members!) who meet via conference call at least every other week to strategize with an on-campus liaison. We take direction from the students, offering our advice, skills, passion and time.
Our mission is to mobilize alums to strategically advance the goals of the on-campus campaign.
Our first victory was to get 18 alums to submit class notes to the most recent Earlhamite magazine showing their support for REInvestment, many of whom chose to withhold donations to Earlham until campaign goals are met. With actions like these and our combined effort we believe that REInvestment is possible.
Our inner light will never burn on coal!
To stay in the loop and get updates about Earlham Alums for REInvestment, please connect with us on Facebook! You can find our group at https://www.facebook.com/groups/EarlhamAlumsForREInvestment.