Frontline

Divest Harvard to ratchet up the pressure with "Heat Week’

The movement to get Harvard University to divest its fossil-fuel holdings continues to gain momentum.

Following a 24-hour sit-in outside of Harvard President Drew Faust's office in February, Divest Harvard, the student-run organization urging the fellows of Harvard Corp. and managers of Harvard Management Co., which runs the Cambridge, Mass.-based university's $36.4 billion endowment to divest from major oil, gas and coal companies, is organizing what's being called “Harvard Heat Week.”

Harvard Heat Week will include sit-ins, rallies, discussion panels and musical events to take place on campus April 13-17.

Organizers of Harvard Heat Week expect as many as 1,000 people — including faculty, students, alumni and Cambridge residents — to attend.

“We've had an idea to do something big for the spring since last April. The idea was to have an entire week of action,” said Jasmine Opie, a co-coordinator of Divest Harvard and student at the university, in a phone interview.

Ms. Opie also said the event has received the support of a number of famous alumni, including actress Natalie Portman, filmmaker Darren Aronofsky and author Cornel West. These alumni and others have signed a letter urging Harvard to divest.

In addition to Harvard Heat Week, Divest Harvard is planning to launch a fossil-fuel-free fund to which alumni can donate as an alternative to the university's endowment.

“Business as usual is not acceptable,” Ms. Opie added. The university is “a very large and powerful organization. We feel that (Harvard) should do everything in their power to halt climate change.”

This article originally appeared in the March 23, 2015 print issue as, "Divest Harvard to ratchet up the pressure with "Heat Week'".