Better Future Project (BFP) provides experienced guidance and training to student groups pushing universities to divest their endowments from fossil fuel stocks. BFP has been supporting the campus divestment movement since August 2012. As this movement launched, 350.org hired field staff in every region except New England, where 350.org instead provided BFP directly with funding to hire our own Campus Divestment Organizer from 2012-2015. BFP has been proud to use that funding to help the New England divestment campaigns make tremendous strides, and after 350.org changed their field model, we have been proud to continue supporting student leaders through other funding sources starting in the fall of 2015.
Our efforts have focused on universities in Massachusetts, New Hampshire, and Rhode Island, where we have seen multiple first-in-the-nation steps forward, such as the first successful student referendum on divestment and the first arrest of the campus divestment movement, both at Harvard University. BFP played a key role in connecting and supporting the six core schools that came together to launch the Multi-School Fossil Free Divestment Fund, a fund to which alumni can make tax-deductible, interest-earning donations that will go to their alma maters when the schools divest. Early in 2015, after sustained pressure from students guided by BFP’s Campus Divestment Organizer, Lesley University announced plans to divest from direct holdings in fossil fuel companies.
“I came into this knowing absolutely nothing about how to build a movement on campus, let alone win divestment. Better Future Project has helped me grow as a leader in all aspects of the divestment campaign, including gathering student and faculty support, negotiating with our president, and planning actions and events. I can safely say Lesley never would have divested if not for Better Future Project’s campaign strategy support and mentorship.”
-Emilia McGrath, junior at Lesley University
In May 2016, the University of Massachusetts announced it was divesting from all types of fossil fuels, the first major public university system in the nation to do so. BFP played a critical role supporting that campaign, providing coaching and training of student leaders from the start of the campaign until its successful conclusion, and also helped to convene U Mass student leaders from across the different U Mass campuses for the first time to facilitate coordinated cross-campus strategy.
In September of 2016, Boston University announced that they would no longer invest in coal or Tar Sands. With this campaign, as well BFP has supported students from the very inception of the campaign, and is continuing to support them as they push for full divestment of all fossil fuels.
As of early 2018, BFP is are currently supporting climate campaigns at Boston College, Boston University, Clark University, College of the Holy Cross, Mount Holyoke College, Northeastern University, Smith College, and Tufts University.