Our movement is growing. Can you join us?

Cross-posted from a letter sent out by Will Lawrence and Hannah Jones, Swarthmore activists of Swarthmore Mountain Justice.

We’re on the front page of the New York Times business section today, after 2 years of hard work. This is our story about how we started out fighting mountaintop removal, and ended up catalyzing the biggest student movement in years, fighting for fossil fuel divestment.

In June of 2011, a group of us from Swarthmore Mountain Justice marched 50 miles from Marmet, West Virginia to Blair Mountain with 300 other activists, in support of West Virginian folks committed to ending mountaintop removal (MTR) coal mining and the destruction of their communities.

Most of us originally learned about mountaintop removal by traveling to West Virginia and witnessing its devastation first-hand. We saw beautiful landscapes transformed into moonscapes and wastelands where even grass can barely grow. We saw streams and tap water running red with pollutants from mountaintop removal.

Myself, Hannah, and other students from Swarthmore in front of an MTR site in West Virgina.





We saw mile after mile of coal trains taking their profits with them out of the region. Most importantly, we saw courageous activists resisting the destruction of their homes and communities. 

These trips prompted us to consider what we, students living in Swarthmore, PA, could do from so far away. We quickly turned to our endowment as a source of political and financial power. We realized that the most effective way for us to support the struggle against MTR was to call on Swarthmore College to publicly divest from these companies.

Ever since we started our campaign two years ago, the Responsible Endowments Coalition has made our campaign possible. We are writing to ask you to support them.

Yes, I can donate $10 to support this campaign.

They have done trainings, provided us with research, connected us with investment professionals, published our editorials, and have helped support fossil fuel divestment on a national level. Even while we were the only college running a fossil fuel divestment campaign, they made it clear that we were not alone.

Thanks in large part to REC’s support, the movement has since grown immensely.

We have been able to put the time and energy necessary to truly partner with organizations that are on the frontlines of fossil fuel extraction. Andrew Munn, an anti-mountaintop removal organizer in West Virginia,  said “we’ve been thrilled to work with students at Swarthmore to communicate the struggles of those in the coalfields around the country.”

The support we have received from the Responsible Endowments Coalition has made it possible for us to lead this campaign and make it onto the front page of the New York Times.

Your support will help REC continue to work with student campaigns from the ground-up, fostering this sustainable and powerful student movement.

REC needs your support. Can you join us with a gift of $10 today?  Every donation up to $5,000 will be matched 1:1.


Will Lawrence & Hannah Jones
Swarthmore Mountain Justice


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