The Associated Students Board of Directors voted unanimously in support of divestment on Western’s campus in a meeting on Wednesday, March 12.
With AS approval, the proposal will be presented to President Bruce Shepard, and then to Western’s Foundation, which will be the party deciding the ultimate verdict for the divestment movement.
The divestment motion requests Western stop current investment in fossil fuel companies and freeze future investments in favor of renewable energy.
To allow enough time to investigate possible avenues for reinvestment and completely divest from fossil fuel companies, the divestment campaign proposed a five-year plan.
The foundation receives money from alumni, parents and friends of the university, according to the foundation’s website.
About $1.5 million is invested in the top 200 companies with the largest known fossil fuel reserves, said Jenny Godwin, the Sustainable Office Certification Program assistant. The divestment motion would stop those investments and focus on reallocating resources toward renewable energy, Godwin said.
New investments in fossilfree companies and renewable energy projects such as wind turbines and solar panels are possibilities, Godwin said. Godwin has been a key member in helping the divestment motion move forward.
“It’s a lengthy process, and I have seen it take longer than I want it to, but it will be worth it,” Godwin said. “Divestment is a conversation starter for larger movements and discussions on climate change. This is a good jumping-off point.”
ASVP for Student Life Robby Eckroth is on the divestment committee and helped create the report that went to the AS Board of Directors to help them make the final decision.
“We realize this is a big student concern, and we want to support that,” Eckroth said.