83% of Undergraduates Vote Yes to Divest

83 percent of participating undergraduates voted to support fossil fuel divestment. Over 50 percent of students voted.

After over 400 hours of canvassing, campaigning, and communicating, the undergraduate referendum on divesting from fossil fuels passed.  The results demonstrate student support for divestment from the dirtiest fossil fuel companies who fail to improve their practices in a manner consistent with Yale’s ethical investing guidelines.

The referendum passed thanks to the hard work of canvassers, volunteers, and allies.  Fossil Free Yale is immensely thankful to everyone who contributed to the campaign, and looks forward to continuing these conversations in the weeks and months ahead.

Following the referendum, Fossil Free Yale will continue to work with the Advisory Committee on Investor Responsibility to create an ethically and financially responsible proposal for divestment. They will also reach out to the full Yale community of alumni, graduate students, faculty, and staff as they continue to pursue their goal of a cleaner endowment.


Our Report: Take a Look

Last January, Fossil Free Yale first presented to the Yale University Advisory Committee on Investor Responsibility (ACIR) at their annual open meeting. Since then, FFY has been in continuous contact with the administration, and has been working together to formulate a path to responsible energy investing consistent with Yale’s ethical guidelines.

In the past few weeks, the Yale Advisory Committee on Investor Responsibility has begun considering the following proposal, first submitted last Spring, that asks companies to report relevant ESG metrics.  The committee has asked select members of the Yale faculty to review the metrics described in this proposal. Other metrics are also under consideration.

It is our hope that this report may be useful to other students and investors thinking about how to address the social harm caused by climate change. This excerpt is from our longer report, which explains the logic that led us to the following proposal.

This proposal regarding fossil fuel investments is written within the framework of The Ethical Investor, the guidebook for Yale’s responsible investment policies. The Ethical Investor requires that all options to redress the “social injury” be exhausted before divestment.  The logic behind the Ethical Investor and how it applies to energy firms is detailed in the full version of the Fossil Free Yale report.

Here the proposal from Fossil Free Yale.

FFY Proposal

Here is the comprehensive Fossil Free Yale “Report on Responsible Energy Investing:”  Please read through this report before contacting the authors with questions.

A Report on Responsible Energy Investing

For questions, please contact FossilFreeYale@gmail.com, or the authors of the full report (first.last@yale.edu).

The Ethical Investor can be found here: http://acir.yale.edu/pdf/EthicalInvestor.pdf

Fossil Free Yale: One Year On

FOSSIL FREE YALE celebrates the conclusion of a highly successful first year. While much progress is yet to come, much has already been made. Here is a brief recapitulation of some of the accomplishments of Fossil Free Yale in its first year:


  • Fossil Free Yale is working toward a vote of approval on divestment from the Yale ACIR, from which point the ultimate decision would lie with the CCIR (Corporate Committee on Investor Responsibility).

  • We have authored a comprehensive report on fossil fuel divestment that numbers over 80 pages and contains new research related to the various pathways to divestment.


  • We have established and are continuing to build a strong network, utilizing the synergy of allied undergraduates, graduate students, faculty, alumni and as many different levels of the Yale community as possible.

  • We obtained petition signatures from over 1000 members of the Yale community: undergraduate students, graduate students, alumni, faculty and staff.

  • We are on are way toward having our student government, the Yale College Council, conduct a referendum on undergraduate support of this issue.


  • We created and maintained an extensive online presence

    • our website, fossilfreeyale.org

    • a facebook page (almost 500 likes) that keeps our supporters up-to-date

    • a twitter account that kept us connected to our fellow campaigns

  • We have received extensive and widely favorable coverage in the media, both within Yale and externally

    • fossilfreeyale.org/press-media/

Onward and upward!

The Kickoff Meeting

FOSSIL FREE YALE is kicking off the campaign to get Yale to divest from the fossil fuels exacerbating the climate crisis. Climate change is the biggest crisis of our time, and, therefore, our kickoff will be the biggest event of your weekend. Join us Saturday, February 2nd, in 211 Linsley-Chittenden (LC) at 4pm, for a beginning that will go down in Yale history. Speakers will include diverse student organizers from across Yale. Also, we will be hearing from some celebrities via video:

  • Bill McKibben, renowned activist, founder of the climate coalition 350.org, and a leader of the national FOSSIL FREE campaign that has inspired hundreds of US colleges to action
  • Kumi Naidoo, International Executive Director of Greenpeace
  • Naomi Klein, Canadian author and activist
  • Josh Fox, American film director, best known for “Gasland”
  • Desmond Tutu, retired bishop, anti-Apartheid campaigner, and winner of the Nobel Peace Prize.

Link to facebook event.