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ESF Hosts Symposium on Divestment and ‘Just Transition’

Daylong event focuses on social responsibility, financial feasibility in divestment from fossil fuels

ESF will host a daylong symposium Friday, Nov. 18, to discuss divestment from fossil fuels in a manner that is both socially responsible and financially feasible.

The student-led and student-focused symposium, titled, "Divestment 2016: Setting a Path for a 'Just Transition,'" will:

' Inform the public about fossil fuel divestment (and re-investment) in higher education, in the broader context of a just transition to a clean energy economy.

' Inform institutional and university decision makers of the feasibility and effectiveness of fossil fuel divestment.

' Explore alternative investment strategies to foster local, regional and state-wide innovation and economic activity.

' Provide a gathering opportunity and platform for emerging leaders from across New York state and the country.

Sessions will begin in the Gateway Center at 8:30 with registration and a welcome. Opening remarks are set for 9 a.m.

The first panel discussion, 9:30 a.m. to 10:30 a.m., is "What is divestment?" It will address the history of divestment and its effectiveness, and put divestment in the greater context of environmental justice issues. Participating will be Evan Weber of U.S. Climate Plan, Zakaria Kronemer of the Responsible Endowments Coalition and Neil Patterson of the ESF Center for Native Peoples and the Environment

The second panel, 10:45 to 11:45 p.m., is "Mechanics of divestment" and will address divestment from direct investments, mutual funds and index funds. Participants will be Sada Geuss of Trillium Investments and Katelyn Kriessel of Cadaret, Grant & Co., Inc., and Solarize CNY.

In the afternoon, 1 to 2 p.m., the topic will be "Mechanics of re-investment," covering both traditional market reinvestment and non-traditional reinvestment strategies. Participants will be Brittny Baxter of New York Renews, Susan Spencer of the New York Energy Democracy Alliance and Mark Orlowski of the Sustainable Endowment Institute

The final session, 2:15 - 3:15 p.m. will feature student organizers from several university divestment campaigns, including those at Vassar College, Syracuse University and ESF; and the SUNY Student Association

Closing remarks will be 3:15 to 3:30 p.m.

This symposium is free for all students and ESF faculty and staff.