Fossil Free Mills College (FFMC), an environmental campaign, is aiming to become a part of Fossil Free, a community of colleges, universities and institutions nationwide that are committed to removing their business interests and investments from fossil fuels.
FFMC, started earlier this semester by first-years Pearl Thompson and Alysha Schwartz, is asking Mills to freeze new investments in fossil fuels and fully remove itself from direct ownership and commingled funds in the top fossil fuel companies within the next five years.
FFMC meets every one to two weeks to discuss how they are going to present this campaign to the administration. It is also focusing on gaining more members through advertisements.
The members of FFMC believe that in the long run, the group will help strengthen Mills financially, slow climate change and give students the opportunity to graduate with a future not burdened by climate change, which has economic and health consequences.
According to Thompson, FFMC started as a desire to combat climate change.
“As a group, we believe that institutional change is the most effective way to do this,” Thompson said. “As an institution, Mills prides itself on being a leader in sustainability and social justice and we believe that this is one way that the college can continue to follow those values.”
Schwartz believes that by removing their business interests and investments from fossil fuels, Mills can uphold its mission of environmental sustainability and also make a sound financial decision. Schwartz joined FFMC because of her desire to increase her power as a student by fighting for divestment.
“I see divestment as a unique climate movement because it allows me to leverage the power I hold as a student to call upon Mills College to make certain bureaucratic changes,” Schwartz said.
Schwartz said that FFMC is a long-term campaign and that the members will persevere until their demands are met.
Professor of Environmental Science Kristina Faul thinks that the campaign’s name is misleading.
“We don’t want to be ‘fossil free.’ Fossils are great,” Faul said. “Fossil fuels are a different thing than fossils.”
In addition, Faul thinks that if FFMC wants to make a bigger difference, it should make efforts to promote energy conservation rather than asking Mills to remove their business interests and investments from fossil fuel companies.
“If they don’t want fossil fuels in the environment, keep them as fossils,” Faul said. “There are so many more things to worry about.”
FFMC now has a group of four other organizers and are welcoming other students to join the campaign. For more information, students can email firstname.lastname@example.org or like Fossil Free Mills College on Facebook.