Why We Fight

The divestment movement is widespread across the country, and each divest-er has his or her own story.  Learn why we at GU Fossil Free are fighting for divestment at Georgetown.


Current Core Members

Celia Buckman (SFS ’21)

I’m a part of GUFF because I believe in the power of students to make change in the face of the fossil fuel industry. We won’t stand for the degradation of the environment and exploitation of low-income communities, and I don’t want my university to do so either.

Charles Johnson (SFS ’19)

I fight because I want my children to see the same mountains and same oceans that I have. I fight because of the compassion I have for all living things that is my ethos.

– Leonardo DiCaprio

– Charles Johnson

Juliette Leader (SFS ’20)

I’m a member of GU Fossil Free because climate change is THE issue of our generation, and divestment sends an important signal that our university is committed to a sustainable future. GUFF is also a testament to collaboration: as a non-hierarchical group, every member has a voice from the beginning.

Theo Montgomery (SFS ’18)

Meaningful political change requires pressure from all sides. I firmly believe Divestment is a great political statement that prioritizes environmental justice and international stability instead of legitimizing fossil fuel companies.

Yafet Negash (COL ’19)

Climate change is real. Humanity needs to do something. GUFF does its share. I like GUFF.

Samantha Panchèvre (SFS ’19)

I’ve always wanted to be an activist, and organizing with the GUFF campaign has become one of the main ways I’m working on climate change mitigation—the most pressing issue of our time. This group has become like a family to me, and everything we’ve been through has provided me with invaluable learning experiences.

Marina Pitofsky (COL ’19)

I’m so happy to be a member of GU Fossil Free because it’s one of the most inspiring clubs on campus. This is truly a dedicated group of individuals committed to a critical cause, working to make our campus, community, and planet more sustainable for all.

Aaron Silberman (SFS ’18)

I am in GUFF because I support fossil fuel divestment. Institutions such as Georgetown must form their endowments based on ethical lines, and, by divesting, Georgetown sends a powerful message about the need to transition to a more ethical, sustainable future.

Grady Willard (SFS ’18)

I am part of GUFF because I believe students have an important role to play in moving towards a sustainable and just future. I also believe that it is important that the university align its investments with its morals.

GUFF Alumni

Sydney Browning (SFS ’15)

1185057_10202225662229186_608631218_nI grew up in the mountains, with a deep connection to the land.  And to watch that land be blown apart, drilled, and poisoned and to watch communities like mine go be exploited by this industry breaks part of me.  Fighting for divestment builds that part of me back up.  I don’t think that divestment will solve everything, but when we, as a world, are going to challenge the fossil fuel industry, we have to use every tactic, everything we can and divestment is one of the those tactics.

These companies are destroying our environment, exploiting and poisoning communities (contributing to environmental racism and violation of first nation rights), and contributing vast amounts of money to the government so no one will challenge them.  This system that we live in supports this mindless greed and exploitation, all dependent on no one challenging it.  Divestment is one of the ways that we end that cycle, one of the ways that we can stand up and refuse to participate in this destruction and corruption.  Power doesn’t come from the top down; the power to change the world doesn’t come from these companies or even the people in government.  Power and change come from bottom-up, from the people in frontline communities, the people in the tree-sits and blockades, the community organizers, the students organizing around divestment, the people.  And for me, divestment is about realizing that I, and the students around me, have the ability to change things.

Patricia Cipollitti (SFS ’15)

10454074_10203444668550622_5319420632260364805_oPeople often ask me why I dedicate so much of my time to this campaign. To those asking why activism, I answer: because any injustice (and especially those of the magnitude associated with fossil fuels) entails obligations too important for me to conscionably shirk. To those asking why an environmental issue, I answer: because fossil fuel extraction is not just about climate change and ecosystem destruction—it’s about the threatened life prospects of the most vulnerable in our human community. To those asking why divestment, I answer: because it keys into some of the principal forces—material profit and its relentless pursuit—that have driven us into this mess, to harness their power for the transition toward a just and sustainable future. At this juncture, divestment is a necessity to build the flourishing world we deserve.

I fight because you can’t have justice without struggle. But I fight with compassion, with respect for the dignity of my ‘opponents’ in light of how difficult it can be to recognize holes in one’s world view, and try with all one’s might and bile to prevent it from shattering. I do believe in pushing ourselves to that limit, though; the unexamined life may be worth living by virtue of other goods, but it’s certainly not what we should strive for. Divestment serves to challenge our existing social, economic, and political paradigms—upon examination, I fight because it’s the right thing to do.

Daniel Dylewsky (COL ’15)

943177_498617550191649_948301508_nI fight for divestment because it is the most effectual means I have available to me as an individual to oppose the social and political structures responsible for climate change. Unchecked extraction and consumption of fossil fuels threatens to severely disrupt the welfare of billions of people, and I can think of no worthier cause than to try to mitigate such an eventuality. The multitudes whose homes and livelihoods are at stake cannot afford to wait on a gradual, market-dictated shift away from fossil energy, and we owe it to our species and our planet not to waste any more time supporting a system that legitimizes and confers a great deal of power on the very corporations responsible for the danger we face.

Caroline James (COL ’16)

why I fightI fight to honor the divestment campaigns before us. I fight because they recognized something wrong and decided that college students had the power to shift public opinion for the greater good. I fight because if those students were still students today, they would understand that the problems then were tobacco and apartheid, and today, the problem is fossil fuels. I fight because divestment has been a powerful statement in the past, and it can and will be one again. I fight because as students, we carry a legacy of student activists before us, and I fight to honor my unique position as a young activist in this country. I fight because divestment is arguably the most effective statement students and a university can make to take action against climate change.
I fight because I have seen too much natural beauty in this world to see it casually destroyed by a handful of companies. I fight because those companies should not have the power to drastically change the world we live in to the point that we simply do not live in the world our parents grew up in anymore. I fight because it is time to shift the power to people and companies who understand the value of this small, fragile planet. I fight because it’s the only planet we have.

 Chloe Lazarus (COL ’16)

DSC_7933I fight for a fossil free Georgetown so that we can one day have a fossil free world. I fight to make history. I fight so that history can be told. I fight for what I believe is right. I fight so that our society is not selfish enough to destroy our future. I fight because I love the mysteries of nature. I fight because of the threat we have inflicted on our world. I fight for a cleaner, safer, and sustainable future.

Mandy Lee (SFS ’16)

I am a member of GUFF because I believe Georgetown should be a leader in helping our country and our world transition away from fossil fuels. GUFF has taught me how important students are, how to build student power, and why we need to demand an ethical and democratic endowment.

Christina Libre (COL ’17)

I fight because concern for the environment and the climate is fundamentally an issue of social justice. The most marginalized among us are the first victims of environmental injustice – be they the predominantly black communities in our backyard of Prince George’s county who have been suffering from and organizing against the construction of coal-fired power plants or the residents of small island nations already grappling with rising sea levels. I recognize that I am in many ways in a position of privilege and power to work in solidarity with these communities. As I near my final semester at Georgetown, I hope the university recognizes the role it can play in deconstructing environmental oppression and truly espousing the Jesuit values it is founded upon.

Ryan Miller (COL ’17)

I fight for GU Fossil Free because asking the university to divest from fossil fuels is a tangible change I can affect as a Georgetown undergrad. Georgetown could signal to other universities that a greener future is possible.

Nina Sherburne


One word:  Preschoolers.  As an early childhood educator at Hoya Kids Learning Center, the preschool serving affiliates of Georgetown University’s main campus, I am responsible for preparing my 2 and 3-year-olds for a bright future.  But with the looming impacts of global climate change, I’m worried that their world will soon be wrought with catastrophic weather events, food, and water shortages, rising seas, decreased plant and animal diversity, and social instability.  I refuse to stand by while our consumption of fossil fuels destroys the prospects for my little ones to live in full pursuit of life, liberty, and happiness.  That is why I want my employer, Georgetown University, to DIVEST from the industry fueling climate destruction and INVEST in our future generations.

Annie Wang (COL ’16)

2014-02-08 13.56.59When I was a kid I rode my bike down the hills in my neighborhood. I would walk to school with my backpack on and sunblock and breath in fresh air in my urban neighborhood. Later, as I grew older I marveled at the beauty of rolling Virginia Mountains that highlight the skyline. I felt my heart warm on a chilly spring night as someone pointed out the constellations to me for the first time and, not for the last time, I appreciated my smallness in our vast universe of beauty. I have wondered at the gentle passage of time each time I drove through the mountains of Arkansas during the fall as the leaves changed from green to orange, fell off and finally to came full circle to green again. I envy the smooth flow of nature and work to model my life after its fluency and I fight for our environment because of the urgency of climate change. Though I am not an envious person, I will jealously guard our Earth and fight to preserve the beauty that has and continues to touch us all.

I fight because money, influence, or power can never fill my heart with as much love as our momentous mountains or each breath of spring air. The Earth, though finite in its resources and size, has the power to leave one endlessly in wonder. On the other hand, while money and power are endless they perpetuate greed and have left our earth ravaged and gasping for life. I fight ultimately because I believe in the beauty of humanity to overcome previous errors by standing up and fighting to protect our Earth and in my fight I am able to find that human beauty in myself and the world.


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