Fossil Free CC, a student group that formed earlier this year, has finally garnered the support of the Colorado College Student Government Association in the form of a resolution to endorse divestment from fossil fuels. This resolution is a step closer to their goal of getting their voices heard by the administration. They hope to build on this momentum in the upcoming school year.
Fossil Free CC was initiated by Charlie Szur ’21 and Zach Benevento-Zahner ’21 in January of 2018 as a way of starting a conversation with the school regarding its investments in fossil fuels. It has since grown to become a large-scale student movement with fourteen members and consistent volunteers who are devoted to the cause, as well as a significant number of other people engaging with their campaign.
The recent CCSGA resolution notes that the association “urges the Colorado College administration and Board of Trustees to move forward with divestment from the fossil fuel industry,” so long as the resolution does not negatively impact the college’s endowment and ability to offer financial aid.
Szur stressed the importance of this resolution; “CCSGA is an important liaison between the student body and the administration—by passing this resolution, they are relaying opinions to the College’s leadership that would normally go unheard,” he said. Benevento-Zahner echoed that statement. “The passage of the resolution is also critical because it is a formal endorsement from our student body, since the CCSGA is comprised of elected representatives of our student body,” he explained.
What was initially seen by some as a “fringe” movement founded on miseducation has come to the fore, in part due to the backing from the college’s student government. The group is proud of their success in gaining credibility within the student body in the four months since it was formed. As they have learned more about the specifics of CC’s endowment, the financial impacts of divestment, and board members, and administration’s views on divestment, they have tweaked some of their initial requests and changed their messaging strategies.
In terms of bringing this to the Board of Trustees, Benevento-Zahner explained, “we plan to continue conducting individual meetings with board members to foster a clear and open conversation with them surrounding the issue of fossil fuel divestment.” The group hopes to present their case for divestment to the Board of Trustees during their November board meeting.
Over the summer, Fossil Free CC members will look to garner support from the incoming class of 2022, in addition to current classes, through social media platforms in order to grow their petition signature count. Finally, they hope to host more formal events related to the campaign next year and encourage more dialogue on the issue.