Oberlin Votes to Invest in Local Community

Oberlin, OH–Today, Oberlin College took an important step towards connecting money and morality by investing in the local community. The Board of Trustees just approved the Oberlin College and Community Investment Plan, a resolution to invest part of the Student Activity Fund every year in certificates of deposit (CDs) with the Ohio Educational Credit Union (OHECU). According to Ron Watts, Oberlin’s Vice President for Finance, a few hundred thousand dollars a year will go into this fund reserved for large capital purchases by student organizations, such as a new radio tower for WOBC or new computers for the Review.

Since OHECU is a local credit union, money invested in these CDs will be lent out to local businesses and individuals at better rates than at most for-profit banks. As non-profit, democratically controlled financial institutions, credit unions exist to serve their customer-members, and they offer an alternative to the big banks whose unscrupulous lending practices created the 2008 financial crisis. Credit unions invest their money the local community, as opposed to the big banks that invest in Wall Street companies who continue to make outrageous profits at the expense of homeowners, small businesses, and the environment.

The Student Finance Committee and the Responsible Investing Organization (RIO), a student group that advocates for Oberlin College to bank and invest more responsibly, proposed this resolution to Ron Watts. In addition to lobbying for local investment of College money, this fall RIO launched its “Breakup With Your Bank” campaign, an ongoing initiative to educate Oberlin students about financial institutions and encourage them to switch from big banks to local credit unions like OHECU and Lormet Community Credit Union. RIO is part of a broader national movement towards responsible investment of college and university endowments, particularly focused on divestment from fossil fuels.

As a policy accomplishment of the Student Finance Committee and RIO’s first major victory, this resolution is a step towards building dialogue with Oberlin’s Board of Trustees and Administration about the responsible investment of Oberlin’s endowment, which, as of 2011, was $690,000,000.

Update [12/15/2012]: Oberlin College has released an official statement.


For more information contact:

Responsible Investing Organization

David Tisel ‘13            Dtisel@oberlin.edu                   651.431.0306

David Roswell ‘13      Droswell@oberlin.edu               410.952.2258

Student Finance Committee

James Foust    ‘13       Jfoust@oberlin.edu                  608.212.9296

Keep in touch

Sign up to receive our updates and get access to all features of this website. Sign in with:

Latest from the blog

Jul 10, 2017
"Historic new research from CDP, voted no. 1 climate change research provider by institutional investors, in collaboration with the Climate Accountability Institute, today reveals that 71% of all global GHG emissions since 1988 can be traced to just 100 fossil fuel producers. This group is the source of 635 billion tonnes...
Mar 23, 2017
Congratulations to the activists at York University! "The York University Advisory Committee on Responsible Investment (YUACRI) has voted to recommend the University's divestment from arms manufacturers and fossil fuels. YUACRI was established in 2012 to integrate environmental, social and corporate governance (ESG) considerations into investment management processes and ownership practices...
Mar 15, 2017
"Columbia University, New York, will divest certain coal industry investments in support of addressing climate change, Lee Bollinger, the university president, said in a message posted on the university’s website. University trustees have agreed to divest from companies deriving more than 35% of their revenue from thermal coal production, he...