OPIRG and Sustainable Trent present: Divestment Week

Photo by Keila MacPherson

OPIRG and Sustainable Trent have collaborated on a number of events from January 26-30 for Divestment Week. The week is to raise awareness for both OPIRG’s divest from Israeli Apartheid and Palestinian solidarity campaign, and Sustainable Trent’s divest from fossil fuels campaign.

Monday there will be a film screening of Students & Goliath: How the Youth Took on the Fossil Fuel Industry in the LEC pit at 5:00pm. The film is based on students in the US who are campaigning to get their schools to divest their endowments from fossil fuels, and who are also doing their part to pressure President Obama to not approve the Keystone XL pipeline. The film explores various strategies and tactics by the students for their campaigns.

Tuesday there will be a workshop hosted by Canadian Mining Awareness in Gzowski 345 from 5-7pm. Canadian Mining Awareness is an OPIRG working group that aims to raise awareness about the irresponsible environmental and social practices of Canadian mining companies doing business in other countries.

Following the workshop on Tuesday there will be a debate in the Gathering Space in Gzowski from 7-9pm. The question of the debate will be “Should Trent’s Board of Governors vote to divest from fossil fuels?” Debating in favor of the question will be two representatives from Sustainable Trent and a representative from Canadian Mining Awareness. Debating against will be a representative from Trent Conservatives, Trent Liberty and Trent Energy and Natural Resources Association. The Trent University Politics Society will be moderating the debate.

Wednesday there is going to be a panel discussion with Nausheen Quayyum who will be discussing findings from interviews with students in the Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) campaign, and which led to the creation of a booklet on the matter. The panel will also feature Professor Anne Meneley, who researches Palestinian agriculture as resistance in the West Bank and how this is an embodied practice of the greater BDS movement.

Thursday from 7-9pm in the Dining Hall in Sadleir House there will be the keynote speaker from Chevron’s Dirty Hand Canada, a group committed to making Chevron own up to, clean up and compensate those affected by the company’s massive oil spill in the Amazon in Ecuador that they have neglected to deal with for decades. The people and environment in Ecuador have suffered immensely because of Chevron. The presentation will give an overview of the situation and then talk about the global campaign to hold Chevron accountable for what they did.

Following the keynote speaker at 9pm there will be a Divestment pub night just upstairs from the talk in the top floor of Sadleir house. There will be live music, art, sign making, drinks and good people. There will also be free food catered by Food Not Bombs.

Friday there will be a rally and march on campus to finish the week off. We will be meeting just outside the LEC main entrance at 2pm. The Board of Governors is also having their meeting at Trent at 2pm on Friday. There is a simple demand of this rally: that the Board has a vote on whether or not to divest from fossil fuels. Sustainable Trent presented their fossil fuel divestment proposal to the Board just under a year ago. We believe that’s more than enough time to look into the issue and any more delaying by the administration we will look at as a ‘No’. The world isn’t getting any colder-2014 was the hottest year in recorded history. We don’t have the luxury of waiting to decide on these things.

All students, faculty, staff, administration, community members and anyone else is encouraged to come out to any or all of these events going on. Hope to see you there! #TrentDivestmentWeek