There is movement around responsible investment at Middlebury College. In direct response to pressure from students calling on the university to divest it's endowment of the 200 largest fossil fuel companies, Middlebury is making significant investments in ESG funds.
In an email this Monday April 7th, President Ron Liebowitz wrote, “[The College] recently increased by a significant factor the amount of its endowment specifically directed towards investments that generate long-term social, environmental, and economic value. This includes investments focused on sustainable businesses such as clean energy, water, climate science, and green building projects. The value of these specifically directed investments is $25 million as of February 28, 2014.” Patrick Norton, the VP of Finance at Middlebury, stated that this number will rise to $50 million within five years.
Greta Neubauer, a member of Divest Middlebury, shared, “This, combined with other news from around the country this week, feels like a different kind of momentum than last year. It is a rolling movement forward, like falling dominoes.” The Middlebury organizers will continue to call for divestment and are excited to see the campus taking tangible steps in that direction.
Additionally, Middlebury is giving $150,000 to the student-run Socially Responsible Investment Club, putting real decision making power into the hands of students!
Virginia Wiltshire-Gordon, a core member of the Socially Responsible Investment Club, was hopeful following this announcement, saying, “I do not believe this would have happened without the Middlebury fossil fuel divestment campaign.”
This announcement is a catalyst for student organizers who will be redoubling their efforts to get Middlebury to commit to full divestment.