Divest WWU: Fossil Free Degrees

Western Washington University Foundation

Image of WWU Bellingham Campus that says "Divest WWU Fossil Fuel Degrees"
Fossil Fuel Degrees

We stand at a pivotal moment in the fight against climate change, and the power to make a profound impact rests in our collective hands. Western Washington University has long been committed to sustainability, equity, and justice, with a mission deeply rooted in the values that make our institution exceptional. As conscientious members of this community, we cannot overlook the urgency of addressing the climate crisis and the role our university's investments play in this global challenge.

We invite you to join us in signing this petition in favor of fossil fuel divestment by the WWU Foundation, aligned with the "2023 ASWWU Resolution in favor of continued Fossil Fuel Divestment" passed by the Associated Students of Western Washington University.

Why Divest from Fossil Fuels?
The facts are undeniable. Unless we take immediate, rapid, and large-scale actions to reduce greenhouse gas emissions, our planet's future hangs in the balance. The consequences of inaction are alarming: rising temperatures, coastal inundations, intensified droughts, and increased poverty that will affect communities worldwide.  

The United Nations Chief, António Guterres, has unequivocally stated that fossil fuels are "incompatible with human survival." We know that climate change, driven in significant part by the burning of fossil fuels, has already caused the decline of biodiversity, a critical factor in the production of new knowledge.
Climate change is not an abstract problem. Many of us are already feeling the effects of climate change in our own communities. It's not some distant issue; it's right here, right now.

This petition outlines a series of requests to the WWU Foundation to divest from fossil fuels, increase transparency, and integrate Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) screening into its investment decisions. We call for the appointment of student and faculty representatives in investment decision-making processes, and we urge the Foundation to explore alternative investment options.

Join Us in the Movement for a Sustainable Future
This is our opportunity to make a difference. By signing this petition, you demonstrate your commitment to a sustainable and eco-conscious future and call for the Western Washington University Foundation to align with Western Washington University's values and the voices of students, alumni, faculty, and staff (who have been advocating for this change for over a decade).

WWU Foundation: It's time to divest from fossil fuels and embrace a sustainable, greener future.

Read “2023 ASWWU Resolution in favor of continued Fossil Fuel Divestment” unanimously passed by the ASWWU Executive Board and Student Senate.  

To: Western Washington University Foundation
From: [Your Name]

For over a decade, students and faculty at Western Washington University have tirelessly advocated for institutional fossil fuel divestment. In 2014, the Associated Students requested that the WWU Foundation freeze all further investments in fossil fuels and divest from the top 200 fossil fuel companies. Unfortunately, our request was rejected. In 2018, the Associated Students and the Faculty Senate submitted a resolution to the Foundation, once again calling for divestment. This time, the foundation worked with student representatives to screen new investment firms and established a partnership with Russel Investments. This partnership allowed us to begin investing in ESG (Environmental, Social, and Governance) funds. As of 2022, approximately 55% of our portfolio is invested in ESG assets.

This achievement is commendable, and all those involved should take pride in taking this step in the right direction. However, five years have passed, and we have made little progress in further divestment. Several of our regional and peer institutions have either pledged to or have fully divested from fossil fuels. Western Washington University, a school that prides itself as a leader in sustainability, is falling behind. With climate change presenting ongoing threats to our university and its community, it is more crucial than ever to reduce our carbon footprint. By continuing to profit from funds containing fossil fuel assets, we are inadvertently contributing to the climate crisis, contradicting our university's values.

As concerned students, we urgently call upon the Western Washington University Foundation to expedite our divestment from fossil fuels and establish a clear plan for a fossil fuel-free portfolio within the next five years. Additionally, we request increased transparency regarding our investment portfolio's performance, ensuring accountability and alignment with our university’s sustainability values. Together, students and the Foundation have taken significant strides toward a greener investment practice for Western Washington University. We urge the foundation to continue this divestment journey promptly and involve students actively in the process.

We also invite the broader university community, including alumni, faculty, and staff, to join us in this cause. By uniting our voices, we can make a lasting impact and uphold the values that Western Washington University holds dear.