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In October 2013, students from various institutions came together to campaign against our university’s investments. We wanted to have a democratic say in the way our university acts and functions, and we wanted to question the politics made by fossil fuel companies all over the world.

We started our campaign with a petition. We wrote opinion pieces, and were soon interviewed by two local newspapers. In one of the resulting pieces, the financial accountant of our university was interviewed. His comment was that there must be a strong and broad support for the campaign. The sustainability director was also interviewed. Here’s what he said:

“There is a difference between if ten or a thousand people thinks this is an important question.”

After this statement, that number started to appear as a goal. A thousand. When we have a thousand signatures, the university might actually consider this a wide-spread and relevant students’ opinion. So here’s what we did:

Gothenburg University has around 40 000 students, and the campuses are spread all over town. We wanted to reach out with the Fossil Free message to the whole of the university. During one week, we decided that we would try to be present on as many campuses as possible. We also created a Facebook event called “1000 signatures against the fossil fuel industry”. The event spread quickly among the university’s students, and when out on campuses, we really felt that a majority of the students we spoke to agreed with the ethical arguments of the campaign and also eager to make a change. Our campaigning week out on the campuses left us with a lot of optimism!

Now, two weeks after we launched this effort, we’ve reached 1000 signatures. Reaching our goal – a thousand signatures – feels incredible. The question is: What next? Well, when they ask, we deliver. When we ask, will they deliver?

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Today we participated as panelists in a seminar arranged by the Sustainability Unit of the University. The seminar was about sustainable investing and the Fossil Free campaign. During the seminar we presented our demands – we imagine that this seminar will give us lots of momentum. When asked, everyone in the audience agreed that the university should divest – students and employees equally.

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Spring 2014 might actually be the spring when Gothenburg University goes Fossil Free.

Written by
Moa Karlsson, Gothenburg University

The post We delivered their ask for 1000 signatures appeared first on Fossil Free.

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