Arjun Shah ’25: As one of the panelists in the divestment forum stated, as an academic institution that explicitly states its hopes to move toward being antiracist, Andover indirectly investing around 4 percent in fossil fuel companies contradicts this goal. Climate change, as a result of large corporations, disproportionately affects low income communities of color. Additionally, as an institution with power, Andover has a responsibility to set a precedent for other institutions. Profit and capital are not always this schools’ main interests. Finally, money poured into fossil fuel companies can be redirected towards clean energy. This is a primary step in our efforts to combat the climate crisis. These are only a few reasons why I support divestment.
Michael Ma ’24: Divestment is the moral choice for Andover to represent its values and demonstrate care for the future of the planet that we will inherit. Beyond that, it is also the financially logical choice to make. As a volatile and risky investment, oil and gas producers have lost 400 billion dollars in value since 2016. Green energy is the future, and fossil fuel companies will never be part of the solution, receiving billions in tax breaks while fueling the destruction of our ecosystem. It’s time for Andover to show that we do not support the destruction of our environment.
George Stoody ’24: While fossil fuels are a real threat to the environment, and action towards renewables are necessary, divestment from fossil fuels is not the way to do it. The widespread divestment away from fossil fuels would create legislature against these companies, which would cause a reactionary upwards shift in the pricing of everyday energy needs, (like electricity and gas). Demographically speaking, the working class pays the highest percentage of their paycheck on energy, and a raise in prices would hurt them the most. We need to advocate for widespread, cheap, and reliable renewables which will give our working class an alternative before we make the shift away from fossil fuels.
Brian Masse ’23: A commitment to divest from fossil fuels is an effective, yet inexpensive way for Andover to fulfill its core values, as well as uphold its social responsibility as a leading academic institution. While an important purpose of Andover’s board of trustees is to grow and control our endowment, their main fiduciary duty is to uphold the institution’s values and purpose. The current lack of climate-based action directly subverts our core pillars of marrying knowledge with social goodness and using our influence as a privately operated entity to help the larger community around us. Further, because fossil-fuel divestment does not cause smaller yearly returns, or subject an institution to more volatile, less secure markets, the commitment to divest upon renewal of our current contracts with private investment firms costs Andover very little. Beyond this, in its divestment, Andover goes towards satisfying its moral responsibility as a large and leading institution. Considering that many of the decisions Andover makes influence other secondary schools across the globe, we have a responsibility to make choices that will tend this large private market in a productive direction. Although our singular act of divestment does not shift any major oil or fossil-fuel based markets, the message that such a decision sends to other schools, has profound and wide-spread impact.
Andres Aleman ’23: Divestment is the wrong direction for Andover. Firstly, oil and gas have been the best performing sector in the stock market over the last year, and oil will continue to be the world’s highest traded commodity for years, making good on Andover’s investment. Secondly, it is important to note that we come from a high point of privilege at Andover to say that the use of and investment in fossil fuel is immoral. The applications of oil and gas go way deeper than what you put in your car. Oil and gas are used for quite literally everything, almost anything you can think of is derived from oil and gas. From saving lives through plastics and petrochemicals in the medical sector to putting food on your table through fertilizers and pesticides. It is also important to note that over 10 million Americans are directly employed in this industry, and divesting would hurt the millions more working-class Americans indirectly affected. Lastly, carbon emissions have been reduced by 2 billion metric tons since their highest point in 2006, showing companies are changing and finding cleaner ways to refine their energy. Andover should not be divesting to make a political statement when we continue to use and benefit from oil and gas to power our school and make our lives better.
Amelia Vinton ’23: I am a part of Divest Andover because I believe that divestment is an effective way of taking collective climate action. While other actions and raising awareness about the climate crisis is important, divestment is a permanent commitment to taking money out of industries that hurt our ecosystems in the United States and globally. I take a stance on divestment because it means moving the school one step towards being carbon neutral. I believe in divestment because it is hard to see Andover advocate for change and climate solutions when we as a school are still actively invested in companies that go against our school values.
Luc Boesch-Powers ’22: Divestment of fossil fuel companies matters to me because it represents a simple, costless and impactful way for Andover to fight climate change on a global scale. As such, working with my peers to make this dream come to fruition has been one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve had at Andover. I believe divesting Andover’s endowment is necessary for three main reasons. First, fossil fuel companies are simply bad investments. Even after their recent run, energy stocks have still underperformed the S&P 500 by a whopping 45% over the past 20 years. In addition, divestment efforts also make it more difficult ––even incrementally–– for fossil fuel companies to extract hydrocarbons from the ground. Selling the securities of fossil fuel companies raises their cost of capital, making it more expensive or even impossible for them to mine or drill. Finally, seeking to profit from climate change through fossil fuel investments goes against our school’s long-standing values. We pride ourselves on making tough decisions on behalf of others, and serving as global citizens –– shouldn’t we put our money where our mouth is?
Alexa Vinton ’22: Divestment is more than just taking money from the fossil fuel industry. It is a statement. By divesting from fossil fuels, one is making the statement that they do not support the fossil fuel industry which is a huge contributor to the climate crisis. Andover needs to see beyond its institution and enact change that will have a ripple effect on other institutions. When Andover divests, it will be putting their money where their values are and it will be setting precedent for like institutions. Divestment is an effective way for making change that effects the greater community.
Frank Zhou ’22: In the past months, the Committee on Challenging Histories and Antiracism Task Force have just begun to interrogate the traumas perpetuated—whether in word or in deed—by the Academy’s history of and continued engagement with inequity. Andover has tens of millions of dollars in endowment holdings tethered to the fossil fuel industry. We’re only further exacerbating the inequities we have committed as an institution to interrogate.
Our money isn’t where our mouth is, and Divest Andover seeks to collaborate with the Board of Trustees to right that wrong. To commit in writing to the equitable and environmentally friendly investments that will help us meet rising tides with a tide of our own: a rising tide of student-led activism fossil fuel divestment commitments across educational institutions. Only then can we move a step closer to Knowledge and Goodness. Challenging histories ought to move beyond the archives and history books and to the pocketbooks. Join us.
Ms. Guerrette: I support Divest Andover and the PA Sustainability Coalition’s work to educate the student body about climate justice and engage with Academy administration and the Board of Trustees on divestment from fossil fuels. Learning about climate change can lead to despair and apathy when not followed by meaningful action – I am impressed that these students learned about climate change, built a coalition, and are acting within their sphere of influence to effect change. I also appreciate that Academy Administration and Trustees have listened to Divest Andover and opened up discourse on the issue of divestment.
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