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An open letter to the Swarthmore College students sitting in for divestment

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Thank you for taking a stand to encourage Swarthmore to divest from fossil fuel companies. In encouraging Swarthmore to divest, you are also helping Swarthmore financially. While it can be argued either way that selling fossil fuel stock could raise or lower the colleges’ portfolio (I believe it would improve it), the longer Swarthmore waits to divest, the more disillusioned many students and alumni will become. This, sadly, leads to weaker relationships with alumni, and lower gift giving, which is what happened during the South Africa divestment campaign in the 80s.

The board members want to do the right thing for the climate and for Swarthmore. As they come to understand that this one and the same thing, they will divest.

Divesting in the near future will show Swarthmore as a leader in the climate change movement, which will inspire students and alumni, build pride in the college, and yield larger gifts now and into the future.

Climate change is the challenge of our time. It is not going away, and it is only a matter of time before the next Hurricane Sandy hits the Northeast. Young people understand that their future is being robbed from them. As the weather becomes worse and worse, the protests will become stronger and stronger. Swarthmore, which prides itself on being community minded, forward thinking, and ethical, will remain under pressure from the youngest generations (and some older ones too) until it moves to divest from fossil fuel companies, and create a ecologically sustainable business model.

Thanks again for your hard work and dedication for our planet Earth, and all the creatures we share it with. Future generations of Swarthmorons will be proud of you.

Dana Lyons ’82

 

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