In February 2018, Lewis & Clark College’s Board of Trustees voted to divest from fossil fuels (The Source). Lewis & Clark students, guided by the environmental club, Students Engaged in Eco Defense (SEED), had been pressuring the college to divest since 2012, but ultimately the success was a result of multiple factors lining up simultaneously. The support of key figures like Interim President David Ellis, Chief Investment Officer Carl Vance and Sustainability Manager Amy Dvorak were crucial, but this article will focus on the student-driven side of the divestment process on campus.
There were two main waves of activism. The first wave began in 2012 and culminated in 2015 with a 432-signature petition that was delivered to the college administration and sustainability council. In response to Lewis & Clark being named the “greenest college in the country,” by the Princeton Review in 2015, students also protested outside the Manor House to call attention to the unwarranted award, given that the college was still invested in fossil fuels (Sustainable Life).