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The Daily Wildcat

 

Divest UA expands across Arizona

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Meghan Fernandez
Meghan Fernandez / The Daily Wildcat

Divest UA has recently gained more support and has begun to expand its campaign by reaching out to organizations outside of the university, while increasing student awareness on campus.

Patrick Brewer, an environmental studies junior and the Divest UA media coordinator, said the campaign’s goal is to get the UA to divest its fundings from fossil fuel industries in businesses with the largest industry share.

“Ideally, within a five-year period, we would like to have them divest all of their money from the top 200 firms,” Brewer said.

Since the campaign took off this year, Divest UA has gained more student support around the UA. Now, that support is expanding across Arizona.

Divest UA has 40 faculty members and about 1,500 student petitions that have been signed, Brewer said, and the campaign is gathering more recognition around campus and outside the UA.

“We are just about to start reaching out to businesses and organizations outside of the university … [and] broaden our scope on campus with clubs,” Brewer said. “At this point, we are trying to gather as much student support as we possibly can.”

Divest UA is holding a faculty coalition by gathering professors and faculty to support the cause, sign petitions and attend events coming up to spread awareness of divestment.

Brewer said that Arizona State University has set up a meeting in Phoenix in mid-January to discuss divestment that will include its president and some financial advisors, along with about 30 financial analysts, managers, professors and deans from across the country.

Brewer also stated that no one from the UA has signed onto this gathering just yet.

“It’s basically just a strategy conference,” Brewer said. “It’s going to be financial advisors and presidents talking over the specifics of their schools and just sort of sound boarding off of one another to try and see if this is something they are interested in.”

One of Divest UA’s main goals going into next semester is to sit down with President Ann Weaver Hart, Brewer said, and convince her and financial advisors to attend this meeting and allow the UA to make a difference with the campaign.

Kiernan Moran, a sophomore studying philosophy, politics, economics and law, oversees the campaign direction and said they rely on the University of Arizona Foundation to provide services and help them make smart, sustainable investment choices for the future.

“We strongly encourage them to attend the meeting, because it is very important for the future of our generation,” Moran said.

Cynthia Hernandez, an environmental science junior and coalitions coordinator for Divest UA, said this conference will educate people on what divestment is financially and what it could mean in the long-term for each university.

Divest UA is currently attempting to partner with Northern Arizona University and other universities that are passionate about these issues as well.

Hernandez said they are trying to get people to see the moral sides of the issues, and the conference will serve to educate about the financial aspects of divestment.

“If we divest, we will be the biggest university to actually do so,” Hernandez said. “So, we have the chance to be the pioneers of an entire movement.”

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Follow Alyssa Schlitzer on Twitter.

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