As of Friday morning, Brevard College became the first academic institution in the Southeast to commit to divesting from fossil fuels by 2018. The announcement comes one week after Global Divestment Day.
“Part of our mission is to teach students to connect knowledge to action,” said Brevard College President David Joyce. “The process and outcome of this issue demonstrates our commitment to encouraging personal growth and inspiring social action.”
In its motion presented to the Board of Trustees, the Brevard College Investment Committee called the move to divest a “symbolic step to increase public awareness of climate change.” The board voted in favor of the motion at its annual spring meeting held at the college on Friday morning.
Less than four percent of Brevard College’s $25 million endowment is invested in fossil fuels. The issue of whether or not the college would divest began in the fall of 2013 when Dr. James Reynolds, a Geology professor, brought up the idea to faculty and students. A year later, the college’s environmental club – BC Greens – gained the attention of administrators by garnering student signatures on a petition, holding a sit-in in the school library and rallying on the lawn of the college administration building.
“The students at Brevard feel called to this movement because our school is one that promotes environmental stewardship and social action; both of which divestment exemplifies,” said rally organizer and student Emily Crowley.
Colleges and universities throughout the country have made official commitments to divest from fossil fuels, though educational institutions in the Southeast have been relatively quiet on the issue.
As of Friday, Brevard College became the first academic institution, first private college and first religious-affiliated college in the Southeast to make an official commitment to commit to withdrawing its funds from fossil-fuel investments.
Brevard College is committed to an experiential liberal arts education that encourages personal growth and inspires artistic, intellectual, and social action.
- “Green Light in the Southern Appalachians: How We Became the First Institution Below the Mason Dixon Line to Divest from Fossil Fuels” – Dr. Robert Cabin, Brevard College