Student News

An Employee Survey on Fossil Fuel Divestment

Thomas Lyons – March 31, 2020

Dear Faculty and Staff,

Hello! We hope that you and your families are able to stay healthy and happy throughout these uncertain and worrisome times; as Deerfield students, we have deep appreciation for your actions, guidance and contributions, both in personal interactions and behind the scenes. I write to you today on behalf of the Sunrise Movement. The Sunrise Movement is a national, youth-led climate action organization, and the Deerfield branch is currently working to implement a student-run thrift store and start the conversation about fossil fuel divestment. Divestment is the process of withdrawing an institution’s investments from a given industry. The quick and anonymous survey linked below will gauge faculty and staff interest for increasing the transparency of Deerfield’s endowment and for divesting from the fossil fuel industry. Colleges nationwide, from the University of California system to Smith College, are beginning to divest their endowments from the fossil fuel industry. Students from the Big 10 school system, Harvard, and Yale have also launched campaigns for divestment. Divestment from the fossil fuel industry represents not only an ethical, but a financially sound decision. Jagdeep Bachher, the University of California’s chief investment officer in an op-ed for the LA Times wrote that “hanging on to fossil fuel assets is a financial risk.” And in his annual letter to the CEOs of the world, Larry Fink, the Chairman of BlackRock, the largest investment firm in the world, wrote, “climate change is investment risk.” We encourage anyone who is taking this survey that is unsure about the logistics, benefits or consequences of divestment, further inform themselves by reading the articles about divestment, in institutions of all sizes and types, linked below (or the LA Times article or BlackRock letter linked above).

In solidarity,

Thomas Lyons ’21 on behalf of the Sunrise Movement Deerfield


The survey for faculty and staff is accessible here.

For those interested in reviewing student’s responses to this survey, please visit here.

For more information on the issues, please visit the following on-line articles: