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ASI to divest from fossil fuels

In an effort to make Cal State Long Beach more environmentally friendly, the Associated Students Inc. Senate is encouraging the campus community to look into greener energy alternatives.

To do this, the ASI Senate passed a resolution to support CSULB’s divestment from fossil fuels at a meeting on March 5.

The resolution makes CSULB the second Cal State University to divest from fossil fuels, as San Francisco State University became the first public university on the West Coast to divest in 2013, according to the resolution’s text.

ASI Executive Director Richard Haller said ASI plans to cut current ties with fossil fuel companies as well as refrain from creating new ones.

“Our next step is to get out of any current investment deals we have with fossil fuels within the next five years, though it won’t take us that long,” Haller said. “We’ll probably be fully divested by the end of April.”

ASI will instruct its investment managers to pull funds in the form of stocks, bonds or endowments out of any fossil fuel-related industries.

The resolution also calls for other university organizations, including 49er Shops, the 49er Foundation and the CSULB Research Foundation, to follow suit.

Consequently, ASI will look into alternative investments in biofuel and other environmentally friendly options, Haller said.

Haller said the ASI Senate’s passage of the resolution is rooted in a larger environmental movement among colleges and universities nationwide.

“It’s all tied to the notion of sustainability, which is apparently very important to college students and this generation,” he said.

One environmentally conscious student is Allyson Roach, senator for the College of Health and Human Services, who first brought up the idea of supporting fossil fuel divestment in August during ASI’s Leadership Retreat, Haller said.

“Moving away from fossil fuels as a campus and looking into greener options was an idea Senator Roach introduced and was determined to implement this year,” he said.

College of Liberal Arts Senator James Dinwiddie, one of the resolution’s 11 sponsors, said he supported the resolution because he has a background in environmental issues.

“I was eager to sponsor the resolution and work with the other senators,” he said. “While at CSULB, I have taken numerous classes in the geography department that have led me to believe that this is a just cause.”

The resolution provides facts about the dangers of carbon dioxide emissions, the high costs of coal extraction in the United States and coal’s negative consequences upon health.

Dinwiddie said the resolution is important because it continues to show the CSU system and the campus community that CSULB is committed to making itself a greener place.

Freshman international business major Annamaria Del Mundo said she hopes this change will inspire additional changes to CSULB’s sustainability policy.

“I think it’s a good move, and I hope it sparks more environmentally friendly decisions,” she said. “For example, ASI and the rest of the school could look into having more solar panels and really informing students about how much energy they use.”

Students seemed to agree with the move as well.

“I think it’s a good idea,” graduate kinesiology student Ebonee Batiste said. “It will make the school look good too since everyone is going green.”

Sophomore computer science major Emil Evangelista agreed.

“I think it’s good for the environment,” Evangelista said. “It’s progress, I guess.”

For some students, though, money is the largest concern.

“If it doesn’t increase our student fees, I don’t see any disadvantage,” senior human development major Kristin Candaza said.

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