Students push University of Washington to prohibit fossil fuel companies from recruiting on campus

Despite student protests, the University of Washington told Campus Reform that its career center will continue to offer fossil fuel-related opportunities and information.

Student protestor Lauren Henrie revealed the group's plan to hold protests from 3:30pm-5:00pm everyday.

A student group at the University of Washington (UW) is pushing the university to disassociate from fossil fuel companies.

The Institutional Climate Action (ICA) chapter at UW continues to hold sit-in protests to get the attention of the university. The organization’s overall goal is for Washington universities to divest from fossil fuel companies. 

“We believe that our public institutions of higher education must model the equitable and just transition that’s required to confront the climate crisis and establish a more healthy and sustainable future,” ICA’s website reads

In a November 2022 Instagram post, ICA-UW can be seen demanding that the university’s Career & Internship Center “[ban] the fossil fuel industry from promotional events at our university.”

More recently, the group held a January 20 “Mass Sit-in” to protest “against the career center’s willingness to promote and cooperate with the fossil fuel industry - which has known about climate change for decades, but continues to sell all of our futures for profit.”

[RELATED: Columbia University joins Ivy League opposition to fossil fuels]

Attempting to get UW to cease career center relationships with fossil fuel companies is “a smaller goal in our larger mission to have our university cut all ties with fossil fuels and take urgent climate action,” Laura Henrie, a member of ICA-UW, told Campus Reform

According to Henrie, student protestors will meet every day from 3:30pm-5:00pm this semester.

In a statement to Campus Reform, UW spokesperson Victor Balta revealed that although the university is “deeply committed to environmental sustainability and responsibility,” the career center will continue to function as is.

“While we understand that some individuals or advocacy groups may take issue with certain employers or industries, the UW Career & Internship Center is committed to ensuring that students with diverse career interests have access to a wide range of internship and career opportunities. The Center does this by connecting students with potential employers and students can make decisions for themselves about which employers may or may not be right for them,” Balta told Campus Reform.

[RELATED: Student Senate pressures university to reject funding from energy companies]

The group also has an online petition that has garnered just over 400 signatures as of Jan 23. 

Although compromise regarding the school’s career center seems unlikely, UW did vote to divest from fossil fuels by 2027 last semester.

“The resolution also includes a goal of investing at least 2.5% of the UW’s entire Consolidated Endowment Fund in climate-solutions companies or asset managers and a commitment to achieving net-zero emissions in the University’s endowment fund by Fiscal Year 2050,” the university’s website reads

Campus Reform reached out to each party mentioned and this article will be updated accordingly.

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