Divest NMU prepares for Climate Action March

Examines feasibility of divestment with NMU investors during private meeting

Ryley Wilcox

Divest NMU is organizing the second annual March for Climate Action on Thursday, April 20 at 12:30 p.m. at the Wildcat Statue.

The march was organized by Divest NMU in collaboration with a coalition of environmental campus organizations including the Conservation Crew, Young Democratic Socialists of America and the NMU Democrats.

“The goal of this is to show the administration [that] students at NMU are concerned about the health of our planet and want to see more action being done in steps toward net neutrality by our university and campus,” said Kolibri Drobish, Divest NMU member.   

Divest NMU is a student organization advocating for NMU to phase out their investments in the fossil fuel industry and reinvest in ethical and sustainable funds, said Divest NMU member Molly Miller. 

This year, the group hopes to focus their march on climate mitigation on campus and have a bigger turnout from both the student body and the local community.

“The big difference is that we’re focused on climate mitigation in general, we’re hoping to have some signs about NMU committing to net neutrality earlier than 2050 because we don’t believe that 2050 is soon enough,” Miller said.

Last Thursday, April 6, Divest NMU had a private meeting on Zoom with the investment advisors of NMU. The group met with investors to examine the feasibility of divestment at NMU.

“As this was our first meeting with them, we mostly brainstormed what the next steps moving forward are,” Drobish said. “We are now hoping that together with the administration we can create a plan on how NMU can divest from its investments containing fossil fuel companies.”

Divest NMU already has NMU President, Brock Tessman on board, who reached out to Miller via email shortly after beginning his role as president.   

“He emailed me on his second day here. Which was really, really nice, and then he met with us,” Miller said. “He told us that he was supportive of us, so I’m really happy about that.”

But getting the president on board is not all it will take to divest NMU’s investments from the fossil fuel industry. 

 “He doesn’t have the power to divest the university, the Board of Trustees does. We need the other executive directors to recommend our proposal and our campaign to the Board of Trustees,” Miller said.

The plan to divest fossil fuel investments is quite slow at any institution of this size, says Miller.

“At some point, we’re going to have to show NMU that the climate emergency is an emergency and that this isn’t something that we want to eventually do something about,” Miller said. “We don’t have four years to wait and then divest, we need a plan right away.”

In addition to the Climate Action March, the group will be participating in Earth Fest with other environmental student organizations during a tabling event on April 19 in Jamrich as part of NMU’s Anderton’s Earth Week. Earth Fest has been organized by Gamma Theta Upsilon, and will feature Divest NMU and 11 other student organizations.