- Most college students may be taking classes virtually this semester, but that may not slow down their virtual protests for their institutions’ endowments to divest from fossil fuels.
This article is part of the daily Karma newsletter. To get the whole newsletter delivered to your email free every morning, subscribe here.
Will student-led movements for ESG in endowments continue in the upcoming virtual semester?
The Before Times portion of the 2019-2020 academic year ended on a high note for student climate activists: in February 2020, on the heels of a major day of activism across more than 50 campuses around the globe, Georgetown became the latest U.S. university to vote to fully divest its endowment from fossil fuels. The University of Vermont, Wesleyan University, and the University of California system all followed suit soon after.
This fall, student protests will be confined to the Internet as most campuses remain closed due to the pandemic. Thanks to the aftershocks of the COVID-19 economy, the estimated $500 billion value of college and university endowments in the U.S. has also dipped, making those fund managers less inclined to make changes even with the outperformance of ESG stocks.
The digital natives in the incoming class of 2024 (and the classes of 2021-2023!) show no signs of slowing down. In the middle of July, students at Princeton University still organized digitally to push the school to prioritize environmental and racial justice in its investments.
In Other News: Fire Tornadoes, Insect Farming
Who had “fire tornado” on their 2020 bingo card? In addition to social distancing, retail is also reconfiguring for more reusable packaging. Impact investors can be created by a meeting with the right social entrepreneur. Another electric vehicle startup is planning to IPO. Racism can kill plants. Insect farming just might be the next big thing.