On September 24th, 2013 the Dalhousie Student Union voted UNANAMOUSLY in favor of a motion urging the President and Board of Governors of Dalhousie to divest from publicly-traded fossil fuel companies. The support of our outgoing DSU President Sagar Jha, as well as our outgoing VP Internal Aaron Beale was so crucial to our early success.
In March, the DSU held elections, and this is what some of the new representatives are saying about Divest Dal:
Ramz Aziz (President):
The more that I learn that I learn about Divest Dal and its objectives, the more ardent I become about its cause.
I wholeheartedly support the Divest Dal campaign because I strongly agree with the reasoning behind Dalhousie’s divestment from fossil fuels.
I am troubled that Dalhousie’s considerable investment funds are directed towards the fossil fuel industry which results in the destruction of our environment, our lands and our communities. What sort of world will we leave behind for future generations? Divest Dal opts to take strong steps towards a future where environmental justice takes precedence over profits, where Dalhousie and other universities do not profit off of the fossil fuel industry and are more transparent about which industries they support and allow students to play an active part in major decision making processes. I support Divest Dal’s vision of an administration that divests from coal, petroleum and natural gas resources and instead invests towards a sustainable future.
I will support the Divest Dal campaign primarily through the President’s position on the Board of Governors, so that I may add consistent pressure towards the disclosure of Dalhousie’s investments and divestment of fossil fuels over 4 years. I will also motion to have divestment a recognized issue by DSU council, and to make divestment a high priority for the DSU’s staff, communications and executives in the long-run. I shall also assist in hosting events and avenues to educate students on divestment, and to rally mass student support for this cause. I intend to attend the Divest Dal event on March 11th.
Jennifer Nowoselski (VP Internal):
I have been actively supporting DivestDal since the beginning of this campaign. This campaign is a really practical ask of our University to divest from the fossil fuel industry. Economically it doesn’t make sense for our university to be putting our money into high risk investments. International banks have been divesting from this industry for that exact reason. Morally it doesn’t make sense for us to invest in an industry that is ruining the planet and compromising our lives. Dalhousie prides itself on being a green university through the office and college of sustainability — we need to put our money where our mouth is. I will continue to support this campaign in whatever way possible through the advice of the highly organized, intelligent and lovely DivestDal crew.
Danny Shanahan (VP Student Life):
I think that Divest Dal is an excellent and unique initiative! It was an big win to have the DSU council support this initiative unanimously and since then the group has not lost momentum. By continuing to lobby and work with the university on fossil fuel divestment and other ethical investment strategies this organization is ensuring to promote a message of responsible investments. For a university this model of investment is very unique and it would be absolutely monumental for DAL to adopt a strategy like this. It would send a very strong message to other universities in the country about the responsibilities of an institution for higher education.
As VP Student Life next year I would help Divest Dal by helping them reach students from across campus and help them with educating them about the Divest Dal campaign and responsible investments.
Please note, VP Student Life Candidate Didier Okende and VP Academic and External Candidate Jacqueline Joan Skiptunis did not provide responses in time.
Rebecca Haworth (Board of Governors Representative):
As a candidate in the election for the student representative position on the Board of Governors, I find these questions extremely relevant and thought provoking. After taking time to read the “Too Close for Comfort?” report prepared by NSPIRG, I can say that I do support the overall goal of severing ties from the fossil fuel industry. The negative impacts of fossil fuels on the environment have been well documented and I agree that it is unethical for Dalhousie to be affiliated and closely connected with companies that are creating this environmental harm.
As a student representative on the Board of Governors I would support the work of Divest Dal. I believe that as a student representative it is my responsibility to support sustainable and ethical initiatives on campus. Right now we have strong representatives on the board, so I look forward to working with them and supporting them in their efforts to lobby the ethical investments while also bringing other student priorities to the table.
Environmental responsibility and sustainability are both important to me and I hope to have the chance to work for ethical investments as a student representative on the Board of Governors.
In addition, a representative from the Dal Bike Center, now a levied society, weighted in. We agree, #ewwdinogaz is here to stay!
Dal Bike Centre:
Dal Bike Centre stands behind Divest Dal as it strives to popularize the #ewwdinogaz hashtag. But seriously, as advocates of active environmental and economical travel by bike our values closely align with those of Divest Dal. While we don’t have concrete plans of how to go about supporting Divest Dal in the coming year, our services are always available and epic planning can definitely take place.