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StuGov discusses BU’s divestment from fossil fuels, election updates in weekly meeting

Boston University Student Government discusses Divest BU endorsement proposal
Boston University Student Government agreed to endorse Divest BU Monday. HANNAH YOSHINAGA/ DAILY FREE PRESS STAFF

Boston University Student Government committed to endorsing Divest BU in a Zoom meeting Monday night.

Divest BU is an “environmental activist coalition” focused on pushing BU to sell its holdings in fossil fuels, in accordance with previous commitments the University has made.

Divest BU spokesperson and College of Arts and Sciences sophomore Cora Funke said the University’s commitment to environmental causes was superficial.

“BU has greenwashed itself,” she said, “pretending to be a pioneer of sustainability, when in reality our school is entrenched in problematic systems.”

Divest BU’s arguments in the resolution involve an examination of how climate change has “severely hurt” students.

“In 2017, Texan students lost their homes in Hurricane Harvey, in 2018, students from California watched wildfires decimate their communities,” the resolution reads.

Funke also noted the economics involved in the production of fossil fuels that are unsustainable in the long term, citing the Keystone XL Pipeline, Atlantic Coast Pipeline and Dakota Access Pipeline.

“These three prominent pipelines were recently shut down in part due to ballooning costs,” Funke said. “Fossil fuel companies are actively losing billions of dollars each year and they’re only projected to lose more.”

Divest BU has planned to bring up its demands in one of two climate change forums hosted by the Advisory Committee on Socially Responsible Investing — composed of BU trustees, professors and students — March 4.

In 2016, the ACSRI pressured President Robert Brown to avoid future fossil fuel investment. However, the group has received “no concrete financial affirmation of the University’s pledged avoidance in those fossil fuel industries,” the resolution states.

The endorsement of Divest BU includes supporting its demands of divesting all remaining fossil fuel investments, reinvesting funds into sustainable energy and establishing a social impact fund to lend to communities negatively impacted by climate change.

StuGov would support Divest BU by sharing its petition for divestment, information about its meeting with the ACSRI and graphics on social media.

The resolution passed with 33 votes in the affirmative out of 41 senators present.

Co-Chair of the Student Election Commission and CAS junior Daniel Daponte noted some brief updates about the forthcoming elections.

The deadline for intent forms of those running for at-large Senate has been extended until March 12 because the SEC did not receive the turnout in registration it desired.

“We’re encouraging everyone who’s interested to register,” Daponte said, “just so we can have as many students’ voices represented in next year’s Senate as possible.”

The SEC has also received clearance for in-person meet and greet events on the BU Beach for election candidates this week Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. each day. Students will have to pre-register to attend the events, which will abide by COVID-19 safety regulations.

“The point of the event is for the students to meet the candidates,” Daponte said, “and talk about policies and their vision for Student Government.”

The Zoom call, like last week’s StuGov meeting, ended over an hour early.

Abbigale Shi, editorial page editor of The Daily Free Press, is a Student Government Environmental Affairs cabinet staffer. She was not involved in the editing of this article.


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