Activists from Sunshine Bloomington, held signs to lobby Indiana University to Divest in fossil fuel investments as members of the IU community waited to enter the auditorium for incoming president Pamela Whitten’s inauguration last Thursday.
The group recently sent out a press release saying the IU Foundation, which manages IU’s investments, canceled an October 28th meeting with the group.
The press release said, “In an email sent to Sunrise Bloomington, Matt Kavgian, the Director of Strategic Communications and Projects for the IU Foundation, noted that the Foundation is not inclined to attend a public meeting with members of the organization, opting instead for a small meeting with select Sunrise representatives.”
Indiana University recently released the following statement on green initiatives:
Here is the text of the Sunrise press release:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
IU Foundation Stalls Meeting to Divest from Fossil Fuels
A meeting between representatives of the IU Foundation and the grassroots environmental organization Sunrise Bloomington scheduled for Thursday, October 28 was canceled. The IU Foundation notified members of Sunrise Bloomington on Tuesday, October 26 that they will be unable to commit to the scheduled meeting after having confirmed to meet at an agreed-upon
In an email sent to Sunrise Bloomington, Matt Kavgian, the Director of Strategic Communications and Projects for the IU Foundation, noted that the Foundation is not inclined to attend a public meeting with members of the organization, opting instead for a small meeting with select Sunrise representatives. A follow-up email noted that a future meeting will not
accommodate Zoom participation in addition to an in-person meeting. In order to ensure transparency and public access, Sunrise Bloomington wishes to hold a future meeting with the Foundation that is open to all of their members, which entails all IU undergraduate and graduate students, faculty, and staff as well as Bloomington community members and high school
The two parties are working to schedule an alternative meeting time.
Sunrise Bloomington is a grassroots organization dedicated to securing Indiana University’s and the IU Foundation’s divestment from fossil fuels in order to reinvest in sustainable, green energy sources. In early spring of 2021, Sunrise Bloomington conducted a survey to gauge what the IU
and larger Bloomington community’s priorities are regarding climate change. From the 600 respondents, clean energy garnered the most support. The organization reached out to the IU Foundation for an initial meeting to initiate a dialogue and begin the
process of fossil fuel divestment.
IU employees, students, and Bloomington community members alike have expressed their concerns regarding the Foundation’s investments in fossil fuel portfolios that are contributing to
the climate crisis. Erin Carman-Sweeney, IU Bloomington’s Campus Farm Manager, conveyed his disappointment with the Foundation’s opacity in dealing with the ongoing climate crisis: “In my job, I am asked to talk about sustainability at IU. Knowing that IU won’t take the basic steps of divesting makes it clear to me that there is no commitment to sustainability.” Students at Bloomington South High School have also shared their concerns and desire for change: “We are tired of hearing that nothing can be done. As prospective IU students, we demand that IU live up
to its promises of sustainability.”
Sunrise Bloomington’s petition, which calls on IU to disclose their investments in the fossil fuel industry to the public, divest from those assets, and reinvest in initiatives that benefit the health and wellbeing of the IU and larger Bloomington community, has amassed over 1,300 signatures since its launch in mid-September. Sunrise Bloomington is joining a national movement of divestment campaigns, including Harvard University, who recently pledged to divest its $41.9 billion endowment in fossil fuels. Since Harvard’s commitment, various universities including Mount Holyoke, Vassar, Loyola, Reed College, Dartmouth, University of Minnesota, Boston University, and California State University have all pledged to divest. Sunrise Bloomington believes that IU can join the growing list of universities across the country who are finding it in their best interest as well as their community’s best interests, to commit to investing in sustainable portfolios.
For further questions and correspondence, please contact Sunrise Bloomington press correspondent Alyson Alde ( [email protected]).