It is not often that students outside of SGA attend the biannual Town Hall meetings, let alone make bold statements during the Q and A. Executives at the Town Hall meeting on Nov. 12 therefore could not hide their surprise when a group of 16 students stood up and demanded that the Board of Trustees align the College’s investments with its values.
Emily Moore, a member of the new club ReInvest CofC, spoke at the Town Hall meeting on behalf of her peers. “At the Town Hall meeting I asked the president if the College of Charleston would work with our group to define what the school’s values are and align our investments with them,” she wrote. “I was hoping for a better response because they seemed to dance around it and said that they would consider it. Hopefully if we continue to put pressure on them they will work with us and our school can reinvest.”
Moore, who is also the club president of Green CofC, has a vision – a vision she and others from Green CofC believe should influence how the College invests money. This vision has manifested in ReInvest CofC, a subset of Green CofC.
“Reinvesting tells these companies that we want a more sustainable future. If we, along with other colleges and universities, do not support them because they are socially and environmentally irresponsible, change is possible,” Moore said.
The idea of ReInvest CofC began about a year ago when a few Green CofC members attended a 350.org rally in Atlanta called Do the Math Tour. The campaign called for all institutions to end their investment in fossil fuels.
“The momentum at the rally was really inspiring and stuck with us,” Abigail Tennenbaum, a lead member of Green CofC said. “Green CofC, however, takes a more holistic view toward sustainability, regarding the environment as essential but only part of the puzzle of a healthy Earth. So, we shift the original ‘divestment from fossil fuels’ idea into what we now call ReInvest CofC.”
The vision for ReInvest is a simple one:
“By providing students, alumni, and community members with information and education, we hope to empower the members of the College of Charleston to put the necessary pressure on the school’s Board of Trustees to reinvest the endowment in a way that supports a sustainable future. Our vision, at this stage in the process, is to include as many people in this as possible as it is a collective, communal and collaborative effort,” Tennenbaum wrote.
Next semester ReInvest will be more active on campus by posting various ways to get involved and holding club meetings. As of right now, it is just getting started.
There are only about 12 members of ReInvest CofC at the moment, but it is growing. Its Facebook page has 94 members already and it has an e-mail chain of 177 Green CofC members to bolster support.
The core members of ReInvest CofC have started a new movement on campus to change and raise awareness of how the College invests its money. They have already made waves by confronting the president and the administration about the issue of burning fossil fuels. As their presence grows, change could occur here on campus.
“It is also a goal of ours to educate and inform the student body about what and why reinvestment is necessary. There are definitely misconceptions out there and by becoming more of a presence on campus I think they can be eradicated,” Moore stated.
Watch out Board of Trustees, you have not seen the last of ReInvest CofC.