The Worcester State University divestment team will start investing in the Multi-School Fossil Free Divestment Fund.
It will join 29 other universities across the country to ensure that donations go to investments that uphold the university’s core values rather than to the Worcester State Foundation’s current portfolio, which includes fossil fuel stocks.
“Students and faculty have worked since the spring of 2013 to persuade the
university’s president and foundation board that Worcester State must divest of its fossil fuels portfolio,” said Patricia Benjamin, associate professor in the Department of Earth, Environment and Physics. “The science is overwhelmingly on our side. We
must leave the oil in the ground and invest in wiser energy choices.”
The student-led divestment effort has included talks in classes, meetings
with university leaders, and a die-in at the university’s Board of Trustees meeting in March, said Ashley Seymour, a junior student divestment leader and biology major.
“One of the university’s core values is engaged citizenship,” Seymour said.
“WSU says it is preparing students to be active and informed citizens. It wants us to be involved in community service, the democratic process and environmental
The group’s divestment efforts yielded no results.
It will join the Multi-School Fossil Free Divestment Fund so those who want to support the university can do so
without violating their own moral principles.
Tax-deductible donated funds will be held in escrow in a socially responsible
investment account that does not invest in fossil fuels. These escrowed donations will be released to the Worcester State Foundation if it pledges, before the end of
2017, to divest from fossil fuels.
“The foundation must publicly announce that it has halted new investments
in the fossil fuel industry and present a plan to withdraw all existing investments in this sector within five years,” Benjamin said. “The Divestment Fund will then turn over the escrowed funds to Worcester State’s foundation.”
At the current rates of fossil fuel burning, the earth’s temperature could rise by 4 degrees Celsius by 2050, which is 2 degrees Celsius warmer than an
internationally agreed-upon limit. The World Bank has called this amount of
The WSU student-led divestment site is http://wsudivest.wix.com/fossilfree
For further information about the Multi-State Fossil Fuel Divestment Fund, see