MacDivest launches bi-weekly educational events
MacDivest aims to better inform and increase engagement with students on climate crisis advocacy through Fossil Free Fridays
Fossil Free Fridays aims to engage with students, raise awareness about the climate crisis and educate students on McMaster University’s investments in fossil fuel companies.
MacDivest was initiated three years ago as a McMaster OPIRG project. Their goal is to advocate for the university to pull out of their investments in fossil fuel companies and to increase awareness about the climate crisis.
“For three years as a group we've been pushing for the university to take its money out of fossil fuel investments, and to reinvest in green energy,” said Mila Py, a member of MacDivest.
Presently, McMaster holds 2.7 per cent of its investment portfolio in fossil fuel companies. Additionally, McMaster is building four natural gas-powered electric generators near campus on Cootes Drive, which was protested by MacDivest last spring with a hunger strike.
Fossil Free Fridays were first discussed by the group this past summer. Py stated that the intent is for them to be friendly and welcoming to attract students with a focus on raising awareness.
"With a high student turnover [and] so many new people on campus every year, the message that Mac is investing in fossil fuels doesn't stay in the minds of students,” explained Sydney Szijarto, another member of MacDivest.
Through these events MacDivest hopes to ensure that new students are made aware of McMaster’s reluctance to shift its fossil fuel investments into industries whose actions are not major contributors to rising global temperatures.
For their first Fossil Free Friday, a picnic was held on campus in front of the Burke Science Building and cookies were given out to students who stopped and engaged with MacDivest members. Informative flyers and stickers were also given out to students.
For future events, Py explained that many ideas are being considered, including having a climate-related chalk-art event, a coffee house, a potluck and sharing art and poetry relevant to climate activism.
Future updates on these events as well as others by MacDivest will be posted to their Instagram, @mcmasterdivest.