Sara Blazevic ’15 served as the programming coordinator for the second Fossil Fuel Divestment Convergence, a conference in which members of the national Divestment Student Network gathered to discuss strategies of divestment.
Blazevic is a member of Mountain Justice, a student organization that fights for climate justice. MJ has worked to encourage the college to divest from fossil fuels.
“We are currently working in concert with over 100 other student organizations and national partners to move our universities’ endowments out of the fossil fuel industry,” says the Mountain Justice website. “We are calling on Swarthmore College to divest from its current holdings in sixteen fossil fuel companies, or the ‘Sordid Sixteen.’”
The convergence served as an opportunity for students from around the country who are committed to encouraging divestment to discuss and strategize about divestment.
“Institutions of learning must challenge systems that endanger the future of younger generations,” says a letter written to students attending the Convergence by leaders of indigenous communities. “We believe that colleges and universities divesting from fossil fuels and reinvesting in clean energy will deliver a powerful political message. And yet, we — as frontline and indigenous leaders — encourage you to dig deeper. We encourage you to understand your campaigns as part of a much longer struggle, one that has been going on for generations, for justice and health, and the environment.”
The first Fossil Fuel Divestment Convergence took place at the college in February 2013. The second Convergence took place on April 4 through April 6 at San Francisco University. Two hundred students from the United States and Canada, attended.
“The goals of the second Fossil Fuel Divestment Convergence were to deepen our analysis and understanding of reinvestment and a trust transition,” Blazevic wrote in an email to the Phoenix. “To strategize as a national movement towards how to win; and to do student-to-student mentorship and training to allow us to build strong relationships that can sustain us for the long haul.”
The conference consisted of workshops, networking and speakers about divestment and sustainability.
As programming coordinator, Blazevic helped organized weekly conference calls to find speakers engaged in climate justice and to determine the structure and content of the events.
“The convergence definitely inspired me to deepen the focus on reinvestment within our campaign — not only because the positive messaging appeals to broader swaths of people — but because I really do think its necessary that we shift institutional resources from places like Swarthmore into communities working to become more economically and ecologically resilient,” wrote Blazevic. “I’m excited to see how the Fund for a Responsible Swarthmore grows and how the power of alumni withholding donations to the College, while donating to a fund that is invested in real solutions to the climate crisis, will increase the pressure on Swat’s Board of Managers to divest from fossil fuels and reinvest in a just and sustainable future.”
Our website is a bit outdated – we’ve expanded our demands to divestment from all of the companies in the Carbon Tracker 200, including the “Sordid Sixteen.” You can see our full ask here: https://fund-endowmentethics.nationbuilder.com/swarthmore.
Other point of information: I was not the only Swattie who worked on the conference! Another Swattie coordinated the mentorship program for the conference, and we had four additional attendees who participated and planned in various capacities.