Dartmouth alum David Goodrich and MIT alum Rajesh Kasturirangan published an opinion piece in the Boston Globe today. These alumni are part of a collective of alumni who are pushing their schools to do the right thing and divest from fossil fuels. Dartmouth and MIT are two of the seventeen schools participating in the Multi-School Fossil Free Divestment Fund, which collects donations earmarked for universities that will only be released if the school divests from fossil fuels.
Universities thrive on two quantities: money and prestige. Alumni control the keys to both treasures. Social networks formed in college are cherished human connections. People seek out alumni associations and reunions throughout their lives. It’s not all about emotion though: alumni donated almost 10 billion dollars to their alma maters in 2014, a 9.4% increase over the year before. It goes without saying that every institution of higher learning wants to cultivate its graduates. That’s why we think alumni who care about the impending climate catastrophe should put their wallets to good use. They should employ their annual donations as a carrot — and if the colleges choose not to divest, as a stick — to persuade their alma maters to divest from fossil fuels. The recently established Multi-School Fossil-Free Divestment Fund (divestfund.org) has made it easier for them to do so.