Vote Yes to Divest!

We have exciting news. On February 6th, on the GUSA election ballot, undergraduates will get the change to vote in support of a referendum to divest Georgetown’s endowment fund from fossil fuels. 

This is the chance to prove that Georgetown students want divestment, and we want it now. This is the time where we can take action and show the Board of Directors that they can no longer jeopardize our futures just to make a profit. It time to divest from fossil fuels and stand for climate justice.

For context: GUFF submitted a proposal for full divestment on January 17th, 2019 to the Committee on Investments and Social Responsibility (CISR). CISR’s task is to consider proposals and make recommendations to the Board of Directors about the endowment and socially responsible investing. Despite working with us in the past to achieve divestment from tar sands and coal, CISR has failed to come to a decision a full year after the submission of our proposal. So, GUFF is seeking support from the Georgetown community to pressure CISR and the Board of Directors directly to fully divest from fossil fuels. That’s why we’re holding a referendum vote. 

One week before the vote, on Thursday, January 30th at 6pm, we’ll be holding a Teach-In on Divestment and Endowment Justice in ICC 105. This will be a perfect opportunity to learn everything you need to know about divestment, the history of the movement and what divestment means for climate justice and for Georgetown. We’ll also give everyone a chance to get involved with the campaign in the week before the vote. RSVP here: bit.ly/guff-teach-in.

We have 15 days until the referendum vote and there has never been a better time to get involved in the divestment movement. Join our weekly meeting to get involved in social media, faculty and student outreach, tabling, flyering and more. We meet weekly on Wednesdays at 9pm in ICC 219b. Come out to the teach-in on January 30th and bring all your friends. Follow us on social media (@gufossilfree). Spread the word about the referendum vote, and why divestment is important to you. We need as much voter turnout as possible to show CISR, and the Board that they can’t ignore us any longer. Together, we can make this happen. 

Please reach out to us at gufossilfree@gmail.com with any questions, and vote YES to divest on February 6th! 

 

 

 

 

Fall 2019 Wrap-Up

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GUFF-ers joined with other students on campus to attend the September 2019 Global Climate Strike

We kicked off the Fall by joining the September 20th Global Climate Strike. GUFF was excited to be with the millions around the world who recognize the immediate need to end our dependence on fossil fuels and work to combat the effects, now and to come, of the climate crisis. GUFF followed up the strike with an art build as well as efforts to gain more signatures for the fossil-free petition.

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GUFF members musing over the new banner design

GUFF also set the goal to force the university to vote on full divestment from fossil fuels at the final Board of Trustees meeting this year. That means this year could be the year that Georgetown University goes fossil-free. The remainder of the Fall semester was spent on planning actions to help get the support our campaign needs to make the vote go in our favor. That means that a lot of plans are in the works for this semester!

As always we appreciate your support and involvement. Our next big event is our divestment teach-in on January 30th in ICC 105 at 6:00 pm. We hope you can make it; otherwise, keep an eye out for us in your inbox or tabling on campus!

 

Based on CISR feedback, GU Fossil Free defines 5-year divestment strategy in new memo

We were grateful for the opportunity to productively engage with the Committee on Investments and Social Responsibility on March 20, 2019, regarding our most recent proposal. The meeting included a fruitful discussion that encouraged us to think creatively about the execution of our proposal’s second objective of divestment within a five-year timeline. After reflecting on the committee members’ feedback, we submitted the following memo to the committee chair, Jim Feinerman, on Thursday, March 28.

GUFF Memo Page 1

The pdf file of this 5-page memo can be viewed and downloaded here: bit.ly/guffmemo328 

This memo describes our four-step strategy for Georgetown to divest from fossil fuels by 2024. This memo hinges upon the creation of “Clean Energy Standards,” which we base on a credible scorecard system by the Union of Concerned Scientists, as well as a working group to look at the fossil fuel companies in our investment portfolio and assign scores. The plan encourages Georgetown to divest from companies who do not meet our standards. With this plan, Georgetown could engage with a select group of companies that are committed to climate honesty and incorporating more renewable energy into their businesses, while also divesting from companies that do not align with our values.

The memo also proposes engaging with Georgetown’s peer higher education institutions to form a coalition built on the notion of engagement over this five-year timeline.

Any input from the community on this proposed strategy or the content of our January proposal can be directed to gufossilfree@gmail.com. All members of the Georgetown community are invited to learn more about this campaign and join our efforts by attending GU Fossil Free’s weekly meetings on Wednesdays at 9 pm in ICC 217A.

Breaking: GU Fossil Free Submits Proposal for Georgetown to Fully Divest from Fossil Fuels

On January 17, 2019, GU Fossil Free (GUFF) submitted a proposal to divest from all fossil fuel companies to Georgetown University’s Committee on Investments and Social Responsibility. We believe full divestment will improve the social, environmental, and financial responsibility of Georgetown’s endowment.

Our proposal asks that Georgetown University (1) immediately freeze all new direct investments in fossil fuels companies and (2) completely divest its Endowment Fund from all fossil fuel companies by January 1, 2024. These demands build on Georgetown’s past commitments to divest from coal and tar sands while setting a pragmatic timeline.

We urge students, faculty, and staff to sign our new petition to divest Georgetown’s endowment from all fossil fuels.

We also call on all student-led organizations (recognized and unrecognized) to sign onto our proposal as allies because it’s important to show the University that there is student support for our demands. If you would like to be listed here as an Ally Organization, please email us at gufossilfree at gmail dot com.

GUFF envisions a Georgetown that embraces its role as a leader in the promotion of environmental stewardship and social justice, as well as in responsible investing. In 2017, the University created a Socially Responsible Investing policy outlining its mission to promote the common good through its investments. It can only fully do so by publicly committing to remove its financial support from the fossil fuel industry through full divestment.

Below is a link to our proposal in PDF form. We’ve included the Executive Summary on this page and listed the proposal’s contents below. To read the full proposal, feel free to download (and distribute) this document.

Proposal to Divest from All Fossil Fuel Companies by January 1, 2014

GUFF Proposal Executive Summary

Our proposal is divided into four sections and includes two additional appendices that demonstrate the achievements of the global fossil fuel divestment movement as well as changing sentiments since GUFF’s first proposal from 2014.

Contents

1) Proposal to Divest from All Fossil Fuel Companies by January 1, 2024: 1-11

  • Executive Summary: 1
  • Aims: 2-3
  • Rationale: 3-9
  • Strategy: 10-11

2) Appendix 1 – Fossil Fuel Divestment Movement in 2019: 12-16

  • Table 1 – Positive Actions Toward Full Divestment by COFHE Schools: 14
  • Table 2 – American Schools That Have Committed to Fully Divest: 15-16

3) Appendix 2 – Changing Sentiments Regarding Fossil Fuel Divestment Since 2014: 17-18

4) Notes: 19-22

SUCCESS: Board Votes to Divest from Tar Sands

On June 7th, 2018, the Committee on Finance and Administration of the Board of Directors of Georgetown voted for divestment from tar sands. The announcement stated that the board “supported a recommendation to use reasonable efforts to avoid investments in companies whose principal business is the extraction of bituminous sands (“tar sands”) for use in energy production.”

The recommendation comes after GU Fossil Free (GUFF) submitted a proposal in November 2017 advocating to divest the endowment from companies active in tar sands extraction in Alberta, Canada. The proposal cites social, environmental, and financial arguments against investing in tar sands companies.

This vote comes as a major success for GU Fossil Free and the divestment movement at Georgetown. Tar sands divestment marks the third time in the past few years that Georgetown has listened to its students’ input on the endowment through proposals to CISR, after the divestment from coal in 2015 and private prisons in 2017.

“As a freshman, I was surprised at how slow change can be in Georgetown institutions. This vote is a change for the better, and it’s a symbol that change can happen at Georgetown. At the same time, it’s a symbol that we need to keep fighting. We won’t stop now. This is not the end,” Ezequiel Espiricueta (COL ’21), a core GUFF member said.

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University Committee Recommends Divestment from Tar Sands

On April 30th, Georgetown University’s Committee on Investments and Social Responsibility (CISR) published a memo recommending that the university “avoid investments in companies whose principal business is the extraction of tar sands.”

The recommendation comes after GU Fossil Free (GUFF) submitted a proposal in November 2017 advocating to divest the endowment from companies active in tar sands extraction in Alberta, Canada. The proposal cites social, environmental, and financial arguments against investing in tar sands companies.

“Divestment brings us into much-needed alignment with our guiding Jesuit values, and is a great step forward on the path to full divestment. It is a victory both for marginalized communities and for mitigating climate risk in our endowment,” GUFF member Theo Montgomery (SFS ’18) said in response to the decision.

CISR’s recommendation will now make its way to the Committee on Finance and Administration. If approved, it is expected to be voted on at the Georgetown Board of Directors annual meeting in June.

View all of CISR’s meetings minutes and memos here.

CISR Memo Tar Sands

GU Fossil Free and Allies Deliver Letter to DeGioia Supporting Tar Sands Oil Divestment

January 26th, 2018

GU Fossil Free and a group of 13 allied student organizations recently delivered a letter to President DeGioia, calling for support for GU Fossil Free’s latest proposal. The proposal, which recommends divestment from companies involved in oil extraction from tar sands, aims to align Georgetown’s Jesuit values with its investment policy. Read our letter to DeGioia here. A full list of student group signatories is below:

Read more:

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GU Fossil Free members before the delivery outside of Healy Hall