September 15, 2011

Coal Divestment Strategy Kicks Off in Chapel Hill

Chancellor Holden Thorp with former Sierra Club Beyond Coal campaign director Bruce Nilles in May 2010, announcing UNC's decision to quit coal.

Here at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, students are ready to kick things off right and continue the awesome work we've been doing moving Carolina 100% beyond coal. We've had a flurry of petitioning, class raps, and phonebanks building towards a campaign kick-off meeting next week.

UNC has already committed to stop burning coal at our campus power plant by 2020. But there's more work to do. Along with a handful of other campuses, we're starting a nationwide movement to get university endowments to divest from the coal industry. We've identified the "Filthy 15" - the worst coal mining and coal burning companies in the country. Now, we want UNC to come clean about its $2 billion endowment and its energy holdings and pass a divestment resolution. We want those funds reinvested in the clean energy economy.

An op-ed piece this week by The Daily Tar Heel‘s environmental columnist, Holly Beilin, provided a strong endorsement of the Sierra Student Coalition’s coal divestment campaign strategy. Beilin wrote, “If UNC wants to remain “a national leader in sustainability in American higher education,” as the chancellor said in May of 2010, it’s important to reveal the endowment’s energy holdings and, if necessary, divest in companies that aren’t so green.”

You can read the full piece here.