A group of Penn students has begun calling on the University to divest its financial holdings in fossil fuel companies, joining a national movement that has picked up steam over the past several months.
As of press time, about 60 individuals — some of whom are part of a new student group called “Divestment at Penn” — have signed a petition calling for divestment.
Hosted on global climate change website 350.org, the petition asks Penn to “immediately freeze any new investment in fossil fuel companies, and to divest within five years from direct ownership and from any commingled funds including fossil fuel public equities and corporate bonds.”
Created in early November by School of Social Policy & Practice first-year student Brendan Sculley, the petition also claims that divestment would go a long way in creating a sustainable future for the environment.
“It’s really about starting to make some noise on college campuses, starting to let these fossil fuel companies know that what they’re doing is just unacceptable,” Sculley said. “We want people to know what’s going on.”
Although DAP just held its first meeting last week, the group is hopeful that Penn may eventually join the ranks of smaller New England institutions like Hampshire and Unity colleges — both of which recently agreed to rid their endowment portfolios of fossil fuels.
“If Penn were the first Ivy to divest, it would create a domino effect and prompt other schools to follow suit,” College sophomore and DAP member Sara Allan said. “I think divestment is a huge issue and it has the potential to make one of the most significant impacts of anything we do at Penn.”