Foothill-De Anza Foundation votes to pull money out of any organization in 350.org top 200 list

John Pablo, TSV Staff Writer

The Foothill-De Anza Foundation concluded with a unanimous vote to pull their money out of any organization who are in 350.org’s top 200 list of big fossil-fuel companies on Wednesday, Oct. 23.

The foundation’s purpose is to raise funds to support Foothill and De Anza college’s educational experience. They raise money by collecting donations and by investing assets.

A student-led campaign urged the foundation to divest from companies that have very large carbon footprints in response to global climate problems.

“As a community college, we believe we should invest in firms that improve our future, not work to destroy it,” according to the organization’s forum on GoFossilFree.org. “Long term gains that help our health and the Earth’s sustainability are more important than short term profits that are toxic and wasteful.”

The foundation will now freeze their investments with those companies and will have to sell some stocks, according to De Anza College’s institute for community and civic engagement director, Cynthia Kaufman. They are the first community college in the country to rally behind the fossil-free movement.

The move by the foundation hasn’t gone unnoticed.

“It has brought some good publicity to the school,” Kaufman said. “The foundation believes it will have no negative financial impacts. The students argued very persuasively that fossil fuels are a bad investment.”

“The campaign has spread to over 300 colleges and universities and a hundred cities and states across the country.” According to gofossilfree.org. Students from Denver to Westphalia, Germany have started petitions to urge their school boards to stop investing in fossil-fuel companies.

Skyline College students have not yet rallied behind a fossil-free community. They have; however, made other environmental impacts throughout the campus. According to Sustainability Coordinator Richard Hsu, a committee meets every month to discuss sustainability projects.

“Students are an intricate part in the whole sustainability movement,” Hsu said. “The hydration station (In Building 6), for example, was a student initiative. They had the idea to apply for grants to fund the project and now they have a hydration station in the district office as well.”

The composting effort throughout campus has also been made possible by students. There are now compost bins next to most, if not all, garbage cans on campus. Hsu said that the students are trying to petition a district-wide composting movement.

The foundation has set a deadline of June 30, 2014 to fully cut ties with fossil-fuel companies. The foundation’s Board President Kathleen Santora said that the decision coincides with the community’s eco-awareness.

Our colleges support environmental stability, so this already is a shared value of our community,” Santora said. “Credit goes to De Anza students for raising our awareness by identifying ways the foundation can act in a more environmentally responsible manner. We appreciate the opportunity to learn from our students.”