Campus Divestment Advisory Committee

Better Future Project has been supporting campus leaders in and beyond the Massachusetts on their fossil fuel divestment campaigns since the movement kicked off in fall 2012. As these campaigns have heated up, students have run into both expected and unexpected challenges. We know there are many professionals out there who do not have the time to form relationships with  campus groups pushing for divestment, but are eager to share what knowledge they can. To meet the need of students to navigate challenges and the desire of professionals to support them, we have assembled the Campus Divestment Advisory Committee, or “CDAC.” This is a team of experienced professionals from different fields who are able to lend their advice, legitimacy, and strategic engagement to student fossil fuel divestment campaigns.

Once each semester, we gather our Climate Organizing Fellows and CDAC members to think through different challenges, such as how to escalate, how to address financial arguments, and how to engage faculty. In addition, CDAC members agree to be contacted for a limited number of student support opportunities throughout the academic year. Finally, we ask that CDAC members help make sure that BFP’s fellowship program remains financially viable by making personal contributions and/or helping attract financial support for the program.

Expectations of Membership:

  • Be willing to receive a limited number of requests per semester (set by each member) from students for support, such as speaking at events, authoring op-eds, or providing advice.
  • Make an effort to attend once per semester in-person meetings in the greater Boston area with BFP Fellows and other CDAC members.
  • Help financially support BFP’s Climate Organizing Fellowship Program through direct giving and/or fundraising from others at a level that is meaningful to you.

Benefits of Membership:

  • An opportunity to connect with and support student leaders waging exciting fossil fuel divestment campaigns from across the region.
  • An opportunity to connect with other dynamic community leaders (including university faculty, faith leaders, socially responsible investment professionals, media professionals, etc) supportive of divestment and student leadership in the climate movement.
  • Recognition for your leadership on BFP’s website and in other written materials.

For questions about the Campus Divestment Advisory Committee, please contact Craig Altemose, the BFP Executive Director, at craig[at]betterfutureproject.org.

Read on to learn about our current CDAC members!

Jim Armstrong

Public Relations Manager

Neighborhood Health Plan of Rhode Island

Area(s) of expertise: Media and Communications

Jim Armstrong is a strategic communications professional with a background and lifelong interest in public policy and social justice. A former AmeriCorps volunteer based in an urban public school system, Jim went on to spend more than 17 years as a broadcast journalist covering breaking news across the country.  His reporting earned several regional and national awards, including an Emmy in 2009. In late 2015, Jim switched gears to work as Public Relations Manager for a successful Rhode Island non-profit health insurance company that has a strong history of advocacy and engagement with the community.

Tony_Cortese_-_Photo_for_CDAC_Bio__cropped.pngTony Cortese

Founder

Intentional Endowments Network

Area(s) of Expertise: Community/Campus Organizing, Finance/Socially Responsible Investing, College Administration

Dr. Cortese is President of the Crane Institute of Sustainability and a Principal of the Intentional Endowments Network. He has been actively engaged in public policy and educational transformation on climate change and other large system sustainability challenges for 40 years. He founded Second Nature, where he served as Second Nature’s president from 1993 to 2012. Some of his other prior engagements include the US EPA, Tufts University, the Environmental Business Council of New England, President Clinton's Council on Sustainable Development's Education Task Force, the American College & University Presidents' Climate Commitment(ACUPCC), the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE), and the Higher Education Association Sustainability Consortium. Dr. Cortese is a frequent presenter to a wide variety of professional audiences. His writing can be found in a wide spectrum of publications. His essays on Education for Sustainability serve as foundational reading for transforming the process, content and practice of higher education.

Georges_Dyer_-_Photo_for_CDAC_Bio__cropped.jpegGeorges Dyer

Principal

Intentional Endowments Network

Area(s) of Expertise: Community/Campus Organizing, Finance/Socially Responsible Investing

Georges Dyer has been engaged in solutions-based, whole-system approaches to sustainability for over 15 years. He serves as Executive Director of the Crane Institute of Sustainability, and leads the Intentional Endowments Network, supporting senior leadership in higher education to advance sustainable investing strategies that enhance endowment performance while aligning investments with mission, values, and sustainability goals.

Reebee_Girash_-_Photo_for_CDAC_Bio__cropped.jpgReebee Girash

Pastor & denominational counselor

The Eliot Church of Newton, UCC & Harvard Divinity School

Area(s) of expertise: Faith/Faith Organizing

Rev. Reebee Girash is a UCC pastor & Harvard Divinity School alum. A former BFP board member, she has participated in a variety of divestment related activities at Harvard, at the State House, and in the United Church of Christ.

Amelia_Koch_-_Photo_for_CDAC_Bio__cropped.jpg

Amelia Koch

Controller

University of Mass Building Authority

Area(s) of Expertise: College administration

Amelia Koch has 30 years of experience in higher education administration. She transitioned from CPA at Coopers and Lybrand to Assistant Controller at Wellesley College and spent 12 years as Controller and the Assistant Vice President for Finance at the Rhode Island School of Design and then 9 years as Vice President for Finance at Berklee College of Music. She currently works as the Controller at the University of Massachusetts Building Authority.

Elizabeth_Levy_-_Photo_for_CDAC_Bio__cropped.jpgElizabeth Levy

Senior Vice President, Portfolio Manager

Trillium Asset Management

Area(s) of expertise: Finance/Socially Responsible Investing

Elizabeth Levy is Senior Vice President, Portfolio Manager, and Research Analyst with Trillium Asset Management, and leads Trillium's Fossil Fuel Free Core strategy. Before joining Trillium in 2012, Elizabeth worked as a Portfolio Manager for Winslow Management Company, a division of Brown Advisory, where she had been since 2004.  She managed two environmentally-focused investment strategies, the Winslow Green Large Cap strategy from 2009-2011 and the Winslow Green Growth strategy during 2011. Elizabeth also provided equity research across Brown Advisory’s strategies, with a focus on water companies and green transportation companies.
Before joining Winslow, Elizabeth was a research associate for Tellus Institute, an environmental research organization. She is a member of the Advisory Board of the UMass Boston Center for Sustainable Enterprise and Regional Competitiveness and recently served on the Steering Committee of the Social Investment Research Analysts Network (SIRAN). Elizabeth was previously Treasurer and Vice President of the Board of Directors of Harvest Cooperative Markets in Boston.
Elizabeth holds a B.S. in Chemistry from the College of William and Mary, and a Master of Environmental Management from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, as well as the Chartered Financial Analyst designation.

Eric_Packer_-_Photo_for_CDAC_Bio__cropped.jpgEric Packer

Financial Advisor

Progressive Asset Management

Area(s) of expertise: Finance/Socially Responsible Investing

For over twenty years, Eric Packer has been providing socially & environmentally responsible investment (“SRI”) services to the greater Boston community. He has been involved with 350.org over the past seven years and have worked and supported 350 Massachusetts and Better Future Project for the last several years. His company Progressive Asset Management has been offering fossil fuel free investment accounts to individuals, nonprofits and companies for the past five years. These accounts are balanced, well diversified, and have achieved overall competitive market performance during this time period.

Bill_Page_-_Photo_for_CDAC_Bio__cropped.jpgBill Page

Senior Vice President, Portfolio Manager

Essex Investment Management, LLC

Area(s) of Expertise: Finance/Socially Responsible Investing

Bill is a Portfolio Manager on the Global Environmental Opportunities Strategy (GEOS). Bill directs environmental investment policy and research for Essex, and is on the Investment and Proxy Voting Committees. Prior to joining Essex in 2009, he spent eleven years at State Street Global Advisors (SSgA), most recently as Lead Portfolio Manager for GEOS and Head of the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) investment team. Bill developed GEOS over a four year period at SSgA, and was a member of the Global Fundamental Strategies group. Prior to SSgA, Bill worked in product management for Wellington Management Company, LLC. Before Wellington, he worked for Fidelity Investments in asset allocation. Bill has lectured extensively on environmental investing at global investment conferences and academic institutions. During business school, Bill worked on socially responsible investment research at KLD Research & Analytics. Bill is a founding board member of the Energy + Environment Foundation, focusing on strengthening energy and environmental education and promoting renewable energy. Bill is also on the Advisory Board of the Journal of Environmental Investment, a peer-reviewed, open-access journal that publishes original research at the intersection of the environment and investing. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Economics from Boston University and an MBA from the F.W. Olin School of Business at Babson College.

Nathan_Phillips_-_Photo_for_CDAC_Bio__cropped.jpgNathan Phillips

Professor

Boston University

Area(s) of expertise: Faculty/Faculty Organizing, Climate Science

Nathan Phillips is an ecologist working on climate-relevant processes in natural and human systems, and a parent and citizen committed to accelerating our transition to a just and sustainable future.

Jim Recht

Physician

Clinical Asst. Prof. Psychiatry, Harvard Medical School

Area(s) of expertise: Community/Campus Organizing, Faculty/Faculty Organizing, Environmental/Climate Justice

A psychiatrist and clinical faculty member at Harvard Medical School and Tufts University School of Medicine, Jim became a climate activist in late 2012 after attending his first 350-MA meeting in Cambridge. In 2013, he helped spearhead  an initiative that culminated in the Cambridge city council's endorsement of fossil fuel divestment. Impressed with the work and spirit of local student leaders, Jim then began collaborating with other concerned Harvard faculty to support the work of Divest Harvard. Their accomplishments include a widely published, frequently quoted public letter to Harvard's president and fellows that now has more than 260 faculty signatures, and a frequently cited FAQ on divestment of college endowments. Most recently, Jim has been working with a coalition of students, faculty and alumni from numerous Boston-area campuses that aims to foster solidarity and mutual support: the All-Campus Divestment Collaborative (“ACDC”).

Juliette Rooney-Varga

Associate Professor, Director

UMass Lowell

Area(s) of expertise: Faculty/Faculty Organizing, Climate Science

Juliette N. Rooney-Varga directs the Climate Change Initiative at UMass Lowell and is an Associate Professor of Environmental Biology.  She has more than 20 years experience as a research scientist, studying microbial ecology and biogeochemistry in diverse environments, including climate change-carbon cycle feedbacks in Arctic peatlands and performance of microbial fuel cells.  Her recent work, funded by NASA and NSF, is focused on climate change education, communication, and decision support. In collaboration with Climate Interactive, Rooney-Varga and coworkers are bringing decision-support simulations into immersive role-playing exercises that enable students, citizens, and decision-makers to come to their own insights about climate and energy systems.

Vanessa_Rule_-_Photo_for_CDAC_Bio__cropped.jpgVanessa Rule

Co-Founder, Director of Learning and Expansion

Mothers Out Front

Area(s) of expertise: Community/Campus Organizing, Environmental/Climate Justice

Vanessa began working to address the climate crisis in the fall of 2006 as the lead organizer for Somerville Climate Action and as a board member of the Massachusetts Climate Action Network. She focused on helping residents, businesses, and municipalities reduce their carbon emissions through conservation, energy efficiency, and the use of renewables but soon realized that the problem wasn't a technical, but a political one.  Witnessing the relative lack of climate action at the state and federal levels, she co-founded Better Future Project, where she established 350 Massachusetts, then co-founded Mothers Out Front. Vanessa seeks to empower people—to give them the tools they need to build a movement powerful enough to re-align our political and economic decisions with the scientific and moral imperative to act on climate. She holds a B.A. from Bryn Mawr College and an M.S. from Antioch University New England. She splits her time between Somerville, Massachusetts and Strafford, Vermont where she lives with her two children.

Leslie_Samuelrich_-_Photo_for_CDAC_Bio__cropped.jpgLeslie Samuelrich

President

Green Century Capital Management

Area(s) of Expertise: Finance/Socially Responsible Investing

Leslie Samuelrich leads Green Century Capital Management, focusing on the firm’s current and emerging investment strategies, business development, and impact investing program. She is a frequent speaker on impact, gender-lens, and environmentally sustainable investing. Prior to joining Green Century, Ms. Samuelrich served as the Chief of Staff at Corporate Accountability International and Executive Director of Green Corps. Leslie earned a BA in economics from Boston College and currently serves on the Board of Directors for US SIF, the membership association for professionals, firms, institutions and organizations engaged in sustainable, responsible, and impact investing, as well as the Advisory Board of the Intentional Endowments Network.

Juliet_Schor_-_Photo_for_CDAC_Bio__cropped.jpegJuliet Schor

Professor

Boston College

Area(s) of expertise: Faculty/Faculty Organizing, Environmental/Climate Justice

Juliet Schor is Professor of Sociology at Boston College. Before joining Boston College, she taught at Harvard University for 17 years in the Department of Economics and the Committee on Degrees in Women’s Studies. A graduate of Wesleyan University, Juliet received her Ph.D. in Economics at the University of Massachusetts. Her most recent book is Plenitude: The New Economics of True Wealth (The Penguin Press, 2010). She is also author of the national best-seller, The Overworked American: The Unexpected Decline of Leisure (Basic Books, 1992) and The Overspent American: Why We Want What We Don’t Need (Basic Books, 1998), among other publications.

Itai_Vardi_-_Photo_for_CDAC_Bio__cropped.jpgItai Vardi

Sociologist & Freelance Journalist

UMass Boston

Area(s) of expertise: Media and Communications, Institutional Divestment, Faculty/Faculty Organizing, Environmental/Climate Justice, Fossil fuel industry & money in politics

Itai Vardi teaches sociology at UMass Boston and is a freelance journalist. He writes about the climate crisis and the fossil fuel industry's undue influence on the political and regulatory system. He was highly active in organizing faculty to support divestment at Boston University between 2014 and 2016. He lives and works in Boston.

Sabine_von_Mering_-_Photo_for_CDAC_Bio__cropped.jpegSabine Von Mering

Professor

Brandeis University

Area(s) of expertise: Community/Campus Organizing, Faculty/Faculty Organizing, Climate Science, Environmental/Climate Justice

Sabine von Mering was born in Germany and grew up on a small car-free island in the North Sea called Langeoog. She came to the United States in 1992. Since 1998 she has been teaching German literature and culture at Brandeis University. As Director of the Center for German and European Studies at Brandeis, she has organized events about climate change for almost two decades. She is an active member of the Metrowest node and serves as volunteer coordinator of the Statewide Steering Team of 350 Massachusetts.

Justin Wright

CEO

Habitus Incorporated / Active Neutrals

Area(s) of expertise: Institutional Divestment, Faith/Faith Organizing, Climate Science, Environmental/Climate Justice, Negotiation, Communication, Conflict Management, Facilitation, Mediation, Meeting Design and Facilitation

Justin Wright is a consultant, facilitator, and executive coach. He has expertise providing transactional assistance, advising clients on behavior change, mediating disputes and providing mediation and negotiation training and executive coaching. Justin has trained and advised individuals at companies such as the Sustainable Endowments Institute, Friends Committee on National Legislation, the Better Future Project, FINCA International, Neighborworks, and more. This corporate training work is complemented by the academic teaching Justin has done at Yale and Northeastern University. At present, Justin is focused on training individuals and organizations pursuing missions of Sustainability, Corporate Social Responsibility and Social Entrepreneurship.

Quinton_Zondervan_-_Photo_for_CDAC_Bio__cropped.jpgQuinton Zondervan

Software Engineer and Cambridge City Councillor

Area(s) of expertise: Media and Communications, Community/Campus Organizing, Institutional Divestment, Finance/Socially Responsible Investing, Faculty/Faculty Organizing, Climate Science, Environmental/Climate Justice

Quinton Zondervan is an environmental activist, a successful biotech entrepreneur, and an award-winning software engineer currently serving as a Cambridge City Councilor. Quinton is the co-founder and past CEO of Excelimmune, a biopharmaceutical company that develops human antibodies against infectious disease targets. Prior to founding Excelimmune, Quinton served as the CTO of software startup Clickmarks, developing innovative web and mobile software applications. Quinton began his career as a software engineer at IBM where he co-invented the SyncML data synchronization standard. In addition to his work at the Cambridge City Council, he serves as president of Green Cambridge, a nonprofit organization that promotes energy conservation, recycling, and other sustainability initiatives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, and on the board of the Climate Action Business Association. Quinton holds a master’s degree in electrical engineering and computer science from MIT and two bachelor’s degrees in the fields of mathematics and computer science from Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida.

David_Zwick_-_Photo_for_CDAC_Bio__cropped.jpgDavid Zwick

Financial Advisor

Progressive Asset Management

Area(s) of Expertise:  Finance/Socially Responsible Investing

David Zwick has been a financial advisor with Progressive Asset Management in Boston since 2012.  He holds an MBA from Babson College, an MS in Education Administration from St. John Fisher College, an MS in Business Education from Nazareth College and a BS in Hospitality Management from the University of New Hampshire. Throughout his career, David has expressed his conviction that business should be a foundation for community, social justice, and environmental stewardship. Prior to joining the Progressive Asset Management team, David was a tenured business teacher and ran a work-based learning program for high school students in Rochester, NY.  His current clients include individuals, families, and organizations that benefit from his experience in tailoring risk-appropriate portfolios that reflect their individual principles and promote social and environmental justice.


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