Fossil Fools--a divestment action at Vassar College
On December 4th, four Dick Cheneys invaded Vassar College’s dining hub and began inculcating students in the ways of the fossil fuel industry.
Ok, so, not really. The Dick Cheneys were really students in masks, and they were passing out “dirty dollars”—fake money showing how Vassar’s endowment supports companies that are causing climate change and wrecking the planet we all call home.
The action, organized by the Vassar College Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign (an offshoot of the Vassar Greens, the College’s environmental group), is the first of many planned to raise student awareness of the types of corporate practices that Vassar is supporting through its endowment—practices like mountaintop removal, deepwater drilling, and hydraulic fracturing.
When the event—dubbed Fossil Fools—began, a Dick Cheney ran throughout the dining center, waving dirty dollars at innocent passers-by and prowling for the nearest source of oil to extract. The emcee took Cheney’s dirty money, crumpled it up, and told the former Vice President to go back to where he belonged.
Fossil Fools engaged students with a series of speakers that tackled the issue of divestment head-on. Jillian Guenther, co-president of the Vassar Greens, called out the hypocrisy of colleges’ missions to prepare students for the future while investing in companies that seek to destroy that same future. K.C. Alvey, an organizer with 350.org, spoke on the growing college divestment movement that is sweeping the nation; and Ethan Buckner, an Occupy Wall Street organizer and student at Vassar, discussed the links between Hurricane Sandy and climate change.
Student organizers also unveiled a sculpture of an oil slick, complete with oil pouring over college textbooks.
At the end of the event, the Dick Cheneys and the event’s other organizers marched out of the building chanting, “Divest now!”
Fossil Fools was a rousing call to action for Vassar, and other colleges and universities across the world, to divorce itself from coal, oil, and natural gas once and for all.
Though only in its first semester, the Fossil Fuel Divestment Campaign has built momentum across Vassar’s campus. We’ve gotten hundreds of petitions signed, and several student groups have signed on to our proposal. Members of the campaign have met with college administrators, including President Catharine Bond Hill. We’ve also met with the Campus Investor Responsibility Committee (CIRC) to discuss our proposal. Each meeting allows us the opportunity to build a better divestment proposal and to respond to feedback and concerns.
Moving forward, the Campaign will be working with the Vassar student government to pass a resolution in support of divestment. We’ve reached out to the Board of Trustees, and hope to hit the ground running during our second semester with a teach-in and an increased effort to get petitions signed.
We’re excited to be part of a national movement for fossil fuel divestment.
So join in and tell Vassar: we don’t want our money in the pockets of Halliburton, BP, Exxon, and Massey. It’s time to divest now.
Follow the campaign on facebook at www.facebook.com/divestVC.