We just got this great news in our inbox here at 350.org: the Harvard Radcliffe Club of Vermont, the alumni organization for the state, has officially backed fossil fuel divestment. They’re the first Harvard alumni club to support the cause, although we’re hoping that many more will follow.

If you’re a alumnus of a college or university, you can play a powerful role in helping your alma mater go fossil free. Now is a great time to get in touch with some fellow classmates, discuss fossil fuel divestment, and send a letter or two to your institution asking them to join the cause. After all, they’re probably asking you for your money — you have every right to ask them what they’re doing with theirs!

Here’s a press release from the club in Vermont:


The Harvard Radcliffe Club of Vermont (HRVT) has a special holiday wish for Harvard University: divest now from fossil fuel companies. The Vermont group is the first Harvard alumni club to call for divestment.

Seventy-six percent of members who participated in a survey by the Harvard Radcliffe Club of Vermont backed divestment. The Vermont alumni are endorsing the campaign led by Divest Harvard (divestharvard.com), a coalition of students, faculty, staff and alumni. Members of the Harvard Radcliffe Club of Vermont are calling upon Harvard to “immediately freeze any new investments in fossil fuel companies; immediately divest direct holdings (currently $79.5 million) from the top 200 publicly traded fossil fuel companies; divest indirect holdings in the top 200 fossil fuel companies within five years and reinvest in socially responsible funds.”

“Harvard scientists have been leaders in warning about the threat of climate change. It’s time for Harvard to listen to its own experts and to redirect its investments toward companies that promote a sustainable environment and away from companies that are hastening climate change and sea level rise—which is an existential threat to Harvard, since much of its campus lies near sea level,” said Al Boright, Harvard Class of 1968, who is president of the Harvard Radcliffe Club of Vermont. The club, which currently has 276 members, includes Vermont residents who have been students at Harvard, Radcliffe (Harvard’s former sister school), and Harvard graduate schools.

The survey by the Harvard Radcliffe Club of Vermont follows a series of information sessions that the group has held on the issues of climate change, sea level rise at Harvard, and divestment. Meetings have included discussions with Harvard alumni Bill McKibben, a Vermont resident and co-founder of 350.org, and Jonathan Lash, Vermont’s former Secretary of Natural Resources who is now president of Hampshire College, which endorses divestment.

Divest Harvard is one of over 400 campaigns at universities across the nation to call for divestment from fossil fuel companies. Over 200 Harvard faculty members have also called upon the university to divest.

“As Harvard alumni, we urge our alma mater to take a leadership role in addressing the greatest crisis of our time,” says HRVT board member Don Hooper, Harvard Class of 1968, and Vermont’s former Secretary of State. “Just as Harvard partially divested from apartheid South Africa a generation ago, Vermont alumni have made it clear that divesting from fossil fuel companies is today’s urgent moral and financial imperative.”

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