“This is such an exciting evening that has really not even been put on by us,” Gallatin Junior Sophie Lasoff told the audience gathered at a benefit concert for NYU Divest on Saturday night. An NYU divest student leader, she seemed blown away by the way the night’s audience and entertainment stretched far beyond the university community.
NYU students were well represented in the audience, but they were far outnumbered by the activists, artists, and neighbors who came out to support one of our school’s most provocative environmental groups.
The NYU Divest coalition wants university President Sexton and the NYU Board of Trustees to immediately freeze any new investment in fossil fuel companies, and divest existing oil and gas company holdings within the next five years. Since the burning of fossil fuel is a major contributor to global warming, NYU Divest believes the university has a moral imperative to withdraw its financial support from the fossil fuel industry. As climate change activist Bill McKibben puts it, “If [a student's] college’s endowment portfolio has fossil-fuel stock, then their educations are being subsidized by investments that guarantee they won’t have much of a planet on which to make use of their degree.” McKibben is the co-founder of 350.org, NYU Divest’s parent organization.