The University of Hawaii became the latest university to take a stand against investing in fossil fuels like coal and gas, after a unanimous vote on Thursday by the Board of Regents.

It will take another three years for the university to fully divest its $66 million endowment, but the effort will start immediately, according to a press release issued by the university. Currently 5 percent to 7 percent of UH’s endowment portfolio is invested in energy companies.

Michelle Tigchelaar, a graduate student at UH, launched the movement to get the university to divest from fossil fuels in 2013. Others quickly joined suit, with local activists creating a website and collecting more than 1,350 signatures on a petition asking the university to take action on the matter.

“This was the perfect model of climate activism,” marine biologist and faculty task force member Joe Mobley said in a press release Thursday.”Regents, faculty and students alike came together, shared their concerns over the scope and speed of climate change, particularly as it affects the Hawaiian Islands, then did something about it.”

UH fossil fuel divestment vote

Members of the UH Board of Regents and the Fossil Fuel Divestment Task Group on Thursday after the vote to divest.

Courtesy of UH

About the Author