Students from the Royal Melbourne Institute of Technology (RMIT) marched through the university on September 22 to deliver a 1000-signature petition to the Vice Chancellor calling on the administration to divest from the fossil fuel industry.
Student group Fossil Free RMIT is calling on the university to rule out any further investment in fossil fuel stocks, make a public declaration of commitment to fully divest in a specified time as well as periodic reporting of its divestment progress.
It has been lobbying the university to take greater leadership on climate change since the start of this year, spurred on by the global divestment movement.
Fossil Free RMIT campaigner and engineering student Jarrod Parker said: “As a progressive and technical university that teaches the perils of climate change and takes steps to minimise the potential consequences, being the first Australian university to divest from fossil fuels is an opportunity for RMIT to cement itself as a sustainability leader.”
The Fossil Free RMIT campaign is part of a wider campus divestment movement that involves 15 universities across Australia, two of which have made partial divestment commitments.
No Australian tertiary institution has yet committed to full divestment. The divestment movement is a global movement, with divestment commitments coming from more than 400 educational, philanthropic and religious institutions worldwide.