Student Leaders: What Would You Do with Your University Endowment?

REC Group pointing towards whiteboard

"The skills I learned at the Summer Organizing Institute have been integral to my organizing and I strongly recommend it for any student that also wants to create change on their campus." - Former REC Student Organizer and Board Member Mary Schellentrager

How would you change the world with one million dollars? What about $10 million, $100 million, or $1 billion? At the Responsible Endowments Coalition, we help people understand the power of their universities' endowments: not just as money for future generations of students, but as an immensely powerful tool to impact the social and environmental challenges of today. REC helps students and other university stakeholders discover the immense potential a school's endowment holds - and then gives them everything they need to make change happen on their campus.

Universities, as major institutional investors, are supporting the financial status quo: maximizing profit over all social or environmental considerations; choosing high-risk, high-reward investments; investing in highly complex financial instruments with little transparency; banking with Wall Street, instead of equally sound local community institutions; and choosing to not engage or influence the corporations in which they're investing.

REC is working with students to shift this status quo. Colleges have had a toe in responsible investment since the apartheid-divestment movement of the 1980’s when colleges sold their investments in companies doing business with apartheid South Africa, and aims to take that responsibility to the entire university portfolio.

We invite college students from around the country for a week-long intensive training in beautiful upstate New York to develop knowledge about responsible investment and share strategies from across the movement! Our summer program is for people new to responsible investing in higher education and people looking to develop a strong campaign plan for next year. We cover topics including organizing, leadership development, responsible investment, anti-oppression, communication strategies and more. The training is free, and no previous experience or knowledge is required.

To learn more and apply, head to http://www.endowmentethics.org/summer-organizing-institute. We look forward to hearing from aspiring student leaders who want to harness the power of their universities investments!

 

Martin Bourqui is National Organizer for The Responsible Endowments Coalition (REC), which works to build and unify the college and university-based responsible investment movement, both by educating and empowering a diverse network of individuals to act on their campuses, and by fostering a national network for collective action.

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