Fossil Free Northwestern is a group of students, faculty, staff, alumni and community members who all care about the future of our planet, and want to do something about it. 


Since 2012, we've been lobbying our administration and Board of Trustees to take out our investments in the coal industry and move toward divestment from all fossil fuels. We believe that divestment from fossil fuels is essential to addressing climate change, protecting people's health, securing our economic future, and establishing Northwestern as a socially responsible leader.


To find out more about the reasons why we believe in our cause, click on the "Why Divest?" tab. If you'd like to know more about the history of our movement, scroll down!


Photos by Lan Nguyen


November 2012
January 2013
April 2013

/  The Associated Student Government senate, the elected representative body of over 8,000 NU undergraduates, endorses the petition and passes a resolution calling for the university to divest from its coal holdings and move toward divestment from all fossil fuels. The resolution passes with an overwhelming majority.

/  Fossil Free Northwestern is formed, originally as DivestNU. We begin circulating a petition calling for immediate divestment from coal companies, future divestment from all fossil fuels, and an increase in investments in renewable energy and sustainability. The petition to date has nearly 2,000 signatures from students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community members.


June 2014

/  The Northwestern Faculty Senate endorses the ASG student senate resolution.

July 2014

/  In the wake of Stanford University's divestment from coal, NU president Morton Schapiro speaks out at a Faculty Assembly meeting in support of similar action at Northwestern. "We have to do the right thing here," Schapiro says.

November 2014

/  President Schapiro voices his support for coal divestment once again at a meeting of the Board of Trustees' Investment Subcommittee.

November 2014

/  DivestNU meets with Mr. T. Bondurant French, the head of the Board of Trustees Investment Subcommittee, for the first time.

November 2014

/  The Investment Subcommittee of the Board votes "no" to coal divestment, without hearing any presentation or proposal from DivestNU. DivestNU is not informed of the vote until March 2015.

February 2015

/  Students march on a full Board of Trustees meeting, calling for action on climate change and transparency. 

April 2015

/  DivestNU holds a day of action for the first ever Global Divestment Day, including a letter writing campaign, a march, and a mock trial of coal. Since then, we have gathered nearly 250 letters from NU students, faculty, staff and community members calling on the Board of Trustees to reopen the conversation on divestment.

April 2015

/  DivestNU changes its name to Fossil Free Northwestern.

November 2015

/  A student referendum passes overwhelmingly, with over 74 percent of about 3,000 votes in favor of Northwestern divesting from coal.

November 2015

/  Nearly 80 students gather at a Board of Trustees meeting to pressure our investment committee to meet with students and divest from fossil fuels. 

January  2019

/  Northwestern signs the United Nations Principles on Responsible Investing, becoming the third university in the United States to do so, following Harvard. Trustees cite Fossil Free Northwestern as instrumental in inspiring them to take this step.

June  2019

/ A divestment proposal written by Audrey DeBruine, Carolina Laguna, Shane Patel and Leo Gallagher is sent to Northwestern's Advisory Committee on Investment Responsibility.

September 2019

/  Northwestern's Advisory Committee on Investment Responsibility votes to send Fossil Free's proposal to the Board of Trustees.

/  Fossil Free Northwestern reconvenes with a new executive board!

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