Rutgers University has voted to begin divesting from fossil fuels, following a campaign by the student-organized Endowment Justice Collective that grew out of the Global Climate Strike in 2019. The organizing efforts led to a referendum vote in 2020 in which 90% of students supported divestment. About 5% of Rutgers’s $1.6 billion endowment is invested in fossil fuels, and under the terms of the agreement, it will now cease new fossil fuel investment and divest from passive index funds with fossil fuel investments. It said it also plans to invest in renewable energy and energy efficiency and that the school’s investment office will annually report on divestment progress. Author, environmentalist and 350.org co-founder Bill McKibben says the Rutgers divestment decision is “a big deal,” especially as it happened at one of the oldest universities in the United States. “It’s one more sign of just how much the zeitgeist has shifted,” he says.
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