In 2013, a small group of students started Fossil Free UW (FFUW), with the goal to get UW to divest (opposite of investment) student endowment funds.
The university has since created an Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) Committee that includes a Responsible Investment Working Group, with the task of broadly consulting the university public.
The Province of Ontario has made it a requirement for institutions to have an ESG statement, where they explain their official stance towards environmental, social, and governance aspects of investment.
FFUW believes that it is important for the Working Committee to hear from students that they are against fossil fuel investment.
As a result FFUW have been working to try and inform students on their mission as well as to get them involved.
They have created an online petition for students to sign, made in-class announcements, encouraged students to write postcards or send emails to the Working Committee, and hosted awareness raising events.
One of these awareness events occurred Oct. 24, when FFUW hosted ‘Food and Facts: Divestment Info Session’ to bring in experts on the benefits of divestment from fossil fuels. The event included speakers Craig Janes, Angela Carter, and Olaf Weber.
Third year International Development student and co-chair of FFUW Elisabeth Bruins was pleased with the enthusiasm displayed at the event from the attendees.
During the question period, Bruins said that they had a passionate discussion about the next steps to take in continuing their advocacy for divestment.