Students at Kalamazoo College have been working through the Socially Responsible Investment Advisory Committee (SRIAC) to relook at divestment. Shannon Haupt K’16 decided to center her Senior Individualized Project around this concern in order to make the information more accessible to K students.
“Divestment is the act of removing investment from something,” Haupt explained. In her SIP as well as within the SRIAC, discussions have been about “how to better align our investment with the goals of the college.”
The college has a fund called an endowment, which it indirectly manages and is invested in different areas, including fossil fuels.
Kieran Williams K’16, a member of SRIAC, commented that they are attempting to restructure endowment but because of certain principles, any divestment possibilities have so far been blocked. Both this committee and Haupt’s SIP are working to petition divestment from the fossil fuel companies that K invests in.
Williams described how K has been working to increase energy efficiency and work towards sustainability, “to have our money invested in fossil fuels is a clear contradiction.”
“[My] SIP [will be] accessible so as to gain a better understanding of our endowment and how it impacts the greater community… [I’m hoping it’ll help] overcome the lack of accessibility in the way this information is distributed and presented,” Haupt continued. “It’s important to think about where we invest our money.”
Haupt’s SIP contains two main components, “[the first involves] reviewing the history of divestment on campus and the larger fossil fuel campaign and [the second is about] the overall investment policies, [like] how we invest in a certain thing.”
“The next step before any of the [divestment] ideas can be carried out is a reassessment of the guiding principles for [SRIAC],” Haupt said. “One of the guiding principles prevents any petition from affecting more than five percent of our funds.”
Haupt and SRIAC are working towards the same goals.
“[My] SIP is helping reinforce what SRIAC is trying to do,” Haupt explained.
“[Shannon Haupt’s] SIP helps the fossil fuel campaign and allows [SRIAC] to put forward a proposal for the investment committee to look at,” Williams said. “Divestment takes a while [because] it involves restructuring where the funds will go [but hopefully] by the end of this year or before 2018 [we will have achieved divestment].”