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Students Want NV Universities to Divest from Fossil Fuels

The Nevada System of Higher Education includes University of Nevada, Las Vegas University of Nevada, Reno, Nevada State College, as well as several community colleges. (Wikimedia Commons)
The Nevada System of Higher Education includes University of Nevada, Las Vegas University of Nevada, Reno, Nevada State College, as well as several community colleges. (Wikimedia Commons)
May 17, 2018

LAS VEGAS — College students in Nevada want the state's public universities to sell off financial holdings in companies that produce coal, oil and other fuels that have been shown to contribute to climate change.

Hundreds of colleges in the U.S. and abroad have divested from fossil fuel investments in recent years. University of Nevada, Las Vegas junior, Cielo Gumabon, is working with about 50 other students across other university and community college campuses in the state to organize a petition. She said her peers are committed to fighting climate change.

"We're all here doing this to have a sustainable future, you know,” Gumabon said. “And without our push for it, then we can't make the future we want to see. So, that's why we're working so hard towards that."

Gumabon said students are asking the university system to instead make investments in renewable energy. Stanford University gave up its coal investments in 2014, and the University of Massachusetts and Syracuse University are among the schools that have recently divested from all fossil fuels.

Even though university divestment wouldn't end fossil fuel production overnight, Gumabon said she believes it would send a powerful message to politicians that young Nevadans care about a more sustainable future.

"Instead of waiting for our legislators to make those kinds of decisions, we can set the standard as a school and say that, you know, 'If we made this choice and it can be done here, then it should be able to be done on the local government level,’” Gumabon said.

She said Nevada students are gathering signatures on their petition. They plan to take their proposal to the Board of Regents of the Nevada System of Higher Education in early June.

Katherine Davis-Young, Public News Service - NV