The President’s Staff announced in April that Kalamazoo College would not divest from fossil fuels at the present moment and the Investment Committee will look for new fossil-free methods that are in accordance with the College’s long-term investment guidelines. The Kalamazoo College Socially Responsible Investment Advisory Committee (SRIAC) stated complete fossil fuel divestment would cause the material break down of combined funds, which isn’t in line with the fourth principle outlined in the “Guiding Principles for Consideration of Divestment.”
Michael Wollenberg, biology professor at K College, is a member of SRIAC and stated that he joined SRIAC to uphold the mission of Kalamazoo College, serve as a member of the Kalamazoo community as well as an institutional investor.
“In the spring, SRIAC will meet to continue an ongoing discussion the committee’s guiding principles as articulated by the Board of Trustees. SRIAC will also meet to discuss any new divestment petitions that are put forward,” Wollenberg said.
Since SRIAC is a consultative board to the President and the Board’s Investment Committee, the divestment petitions that are presented to the committee will govern the course of action for the future.
Wollenberg understands the importance of SRIAC as an integral part of the global conservation movement in the K community. “I am a young faculty member who aspires to be a part of the K community for a long time…If there is one thing that I’ve begun to appreciate in my short time as a scientist, it is that I often have a lot to learn about nature, other people, and life in general,” Wollenberg said.
Noah Bramlage K‘17, who held an internship at the European Parliament while on study abroad, specifically the Committee on Development, used his experience to formulate an opinion on Divest K College.
According to Bramlage, it is evident that the College supports efforts for composting and recycling, but when putting forth money is necessary, the importance and support for environmental issues becomes less important.
“By actively choosing profits over environmental concerns on campus shows a callous disregard for the campus’ environmental wellbeing which will hurt future students,” Bramlage said. He advocates for Divest K College because the environment, and consequently, K’s campus will be less poisoned.
Bramlage understands that there will not be an immediate return on the investment, but complete divestment from fossil fuels will, in the long-term, benefit campus. “The benefit is that K will be contributing to the end of an industry that is poisoning our planet, environment, and campus.”