After urging the administration in November 2021 to divest from fossil fuel companies, Divest Andover continues to hold conversations surrounding divestment, inviting students from across campus to voice their opinions.
Divest Andover, a branch of the Phillips Academy Sustainability Coalition (PASC), hosted a divestment forum on April 14. The forum was mediated by the Philomathean Society and featured panelists representing the Andover Conservative Club, PA Democrats, Young Democratic Socialists of America, Philosophy Club, Andover Economic Society, and the Philanthropy and Investment Club.
TJ Moody ’24, a panelist representing Young Democratic Socialists of America and a member of PASC, highlighted the forum as an opportunity to inform and engage the student body in conversation about divestment.
“Our goal was to involve students in conversations and give them opportunities to be more opinionated and have a stance on the topic of divestment, and I think the round table format of the forum really encouraged that. The goal is to expand the issue that we care about as the PASC and the larger student body. We want climate issues, even if people aren’t actively working on them, to be on the conscience of students as a whole, and events such as the divestment forum work towards that,” said Moody.
Another idea covered in the forum is the alignment between Andover’s values and its actions in regards to sustainability and climate change. Emily Turnbull ’24, a panelist representing PA Democrats, commented on how divestment from fossil fuels would support some of Andover’s most fundamental financial ideals and values.
“Because we focus a lot on non sibi and youth from every quarter, we have to live our values when it comes to where we put our money in. I think that Andover does a lot, like running the Green Cup Challenge during Earth month, but as time goes on it’s important that we stay active on addressing climate change, and divestment can be one of those actions. One of the really interesting points that was brought up by another panelist, Steve Migliero [’24], was how divestment is also for the students so that they feel like they are going to a school that supports their values, and they can be proud of the work that their school is doing,” said Turnbull.
The clubs that were featured in the forum represented a wide range of political, economic, and philosophical beliefs. However, Gracie Aziabor ’26, a member of the planning team for the forum, highlighted how many panelists came to the consensus that divestment was a necessary step for moving towards a more sustainable future at Andover.
“Overall, I think divestment is something that our school should strive for. I think that divestment is a part of a climate change movement and that it’s super important as a large and prestigious academic institution that we are a part of, and also it shows that the school really does care… It was really interesting to see how a lot of the panelists who represented a lot of different clubs with different viewpoints all agreed that although divestment is a super large step, it’s still a step that needs to be taken,” said Aziabor.
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