February 17, 2023 | NEWS | By Leigh Walden, News Editor
On Thursday, the Colorado College Divestment Coalition made history as the first group to successfully advocate for the formation of a subcommittee to explore the route for CC’s divestment from carbon industries. Their success, made possible through collaboration with the Board of Trustees Investment Subcommittee, marks what the group hopes is the first of many wins to transform CC’s investment habits.
This success comes after the CC Divestment Coalition presented their proposal to Robert Moore at last week’s Institutional Financial Planning meeting. The major ask within the proposal was to create a group of students, Board of Trustee members, and other campus community members to find avenues for the school to divest all funds from carbon industries.
This practice of removing investments – usually tied to a school’s endowments – away from carbon producing industries, has become more popular at universities across the United States. The group believes that it is imperative for Colorado College to follow suit in order to faithfully stand alongside their sustainability promises.
Creating the subcommittee is one of the tasks set out by CC’s investment firm, Partners Capital, for clients interested in changing their investing practices. From the creation of the subcommittee, members will work alongside representatives from the board as well as with individuals from Partners Capital.
In the meeting on Thursday, the CC Divest Group spoke with members of the Investment Committee from the board to formalize their proposal and scope out different aspects of what divestment might look like. At the conclusion of the meeting, members of the student group realized that the subcommittee will have their work cut out for them as they parsed through the complications of moving away from fossil fuels while still attending to the fiduciary responsibilities to the school.
“I think if we look at some of, they’re not necessarily our peer institutions, but other higher ed institutions who are highly indexed in the oil and gas energy sectors going into this past year, their endowments grew while ours atrophied significantly, and that really does have a material impact on our ability to deliver on our anti-racism ambitions, equity, and access to this school.” said board member Chester White during the meeting.
However, when it comes to aspects of following through on CC’s anti-racist the school also must grapple with how it’s contributing to the environmental crisis that is in turn most heavily impacting people of color and low income communities.
When pushed on how the Board is approaching these intersectionalities, White said, “Transformation needed to make this an authentic anti-racist institution, which is a long-term journey, and those conversations tend to happen in parallel. I think the challenge and the provocation is to bring those two things together.”
Students from the CC Divest Coalition hope to contribute to part of that conversation.
“I think we really need to reach out to the CC Community and be more intentional about that and we’ll figure out who we need to bring in to have a conversation where all voices are heard,” said Kai Fogelquist ‘26.
In pursuit of their goal, the CC Divestment Coalition is planning on working with other student groups on campus to ensure that the new subcommittee can be as effective as possible. Immediately following their meeting with the board, the students made a trek across campus to meet with members of the CC Investment Club to understand more about what this process could look like.
Other groups they’re hoping to have represented on the subcommittee include minority student clubs, the CC student farm and EnAct. The formation of this subcommittee is set to happen by April 1, with the subcommittee’s first meeting with Partners Capital to take place in early June.
However, for today, the student group wants to celebrate their success.
When asked about their initial reactions to how the meeting went, Cecelia Russel ‘23 said she was, “so hyped and so happy.”
“This is the most progress that’s ever been made as far as divestment…10 years ago the divestment committee did two years worth of research, wrote a 20,000 word paper and presented it, and they got a 200 word email back from the board and nothing happened,” said Ethan Stewart ‘25, a member of CC Divest. “So the fact that we actually have a subcommittee being formed – that is very exciting.”
Moving forward, CC Divest has their work cut out for them in creating a representative unified subcommittee. Fogelquist wants the student body to know that the group is “making moves” and that this win is just the start of aligning CC’s values to its sustainability practices.
“Collaboration is more important now than it has ever been,” said Fogelquist. “We need to unite efforts to solve for all of our common goals, which is living on a planet that is stable for all.”
In pursuit of that greener future, CC Divest looks forward to advocating alongside all members of the CC community.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of this article was mistakenly titled “Colorado College to Divest from Fossil Fuels”. No decision has yet been made on the matter.
Contact information for the Coalition would be helpful – it doesn’t register in Google searches.