Divest Concordia receives a green light from students to push university away from fossil fuels
Student group Divest Concordia had a positive outcome to their referendum questions to push Concordia to divest its holdings from fossil fuel industries. Both questions received support from the majority of voters. The campaign officially started on Nov. 1, and ended Nov. 14. Students voted between Nov 15 and 17.
The first referendum question focused on the university’s investments currently tied to fossil fuel industries. They asked undergraduate students whether or not they agreed with Divest Concordia’s demand for the university to remove all its investments from these industries, and to reinvest this money in a socially and environmentally responsible manner.
The second referendum question focused on the divest campaign itself. It asked undergraduates if they believe the Concordia Student Union should actively support the divest campaign until the university commits to full divestment from fossil fuels and related industries.
Eighty per cent of voters supported the first question and 70 per cent of voters supported the Divest campaign, said Aloyse Muller, CSU’s external affairs and mobilization coordinator. Only Concordia undergraduate students were able to vote on the matter since this was a CSU referendum, Muller said.
Over the last weeks, Divest Concordia held various meetings to organize the campaign. Tabea Vischer, chair of the referendum committee told The Concordian they created a “social media stunt” where the group posted photos on social media where people from the Concordia community depicted why Concordia should support divest.
“It’s important that we keep the momentum that was built up during the campaign going,” said Vischer. Their next event will be a visioning workshop, where next semester’s projects, such as general student outreach and possibilities for collaborations will be discussed.
The Concordia University Foundation (CUF) currently has $10 million in funding to spend in the “energy sector.” On the “Vote YES to Fossil Fuel Divestment” Facebook page set up to promote the referendum, Divest Concordia wrote “the university’s active investment in the fossil fuel industry represents a commitment to a failing system that misrepresents our community’s real intentions and values.”
“Anyone who wants to get involved with Divest is welcome to join our general meetings to get an idea of what we do and how they can get involved,” Vischer said. Information about the meetings can be found on the Divest Facebook page.