October 18, 2013

Uni students hold Day of Action

Students from 18 universities around the country including Sydney, Perth, Brisbane, Hobart and Canberra took part in a National Day of Action on Tuesday, 15th October calling on their universities to go fossil free.From banner drops and film screenings to meetings with university finance staff and constructing mock oil rigs on campuses, students around the country sent a clear message to their universities that they want them to sell out of their investments in fossil fuels.The day was a great success, and we hope our message and even better, will soon be heeded.  Here is a round-up of comments from our fabulous campaigners on campuses across the country.

ANU action pic
Orange pancakes at ANU?!

This was how we took part in the Fossil Free Universities National Day of Action today. We were one of 18 universities taking part around the country. It’s SO awesome to see this movement grow! After an action-packed few weeks for Fossil Free ANU (check the national media on our page if ya don’t know – eg. http://www.theaustralian.com.au/higher-education/anus-investment-policy-under-fire/story-e6frgcjx-1226733161166) we took the opportunity to have a more chilled day, sharing pancakes and chats about divestment with folk in Union Court.

University of NSW action picUNSW students joined the fun around the country, running around in polar bear and nemo costumes hoisting banners at locations all over campus. Fossil Free UNSW and the UNSW Environment Collective then gathered signatures for our petition to the University Council, before wrapping up the afternoon with a few well-earned drinks at UniBar.

Uni of Queensland action picAt UQ we had a great turn out for our photo action. We took a great group shot with our Fossil Free UQ banner and it was great publicity for our Divestment Forum on Thursday 17th.

Melbourne Uni action picThe Fossil Free MU stall, set up in the central University of Melbourne South Lawn,  was abuzz with a constant stream of students interested in supporting their university’s divestment from fossil fuel assets. The dedicated and decorated Fossil Free MU volunteers engaged fellow students to sign the petition and faculty to sign the open letter supporting such meaningful action. The large banner and enthusiastic energy of the volunteers proved to be a winning combination.

University of Tasmania action picUTAS was in the midst of the Tasmanian University Union elections. We hung the banner opposite the Morris Miller Library, the location of the main polling station. There were many conversations with students about Fossil Free Universities and at 1pm students converged for a photo (fortunately the rain held out until after then!). The newly elected TUU Environmental Officer, Sophia Mallick, has promised to focus heavily on divestment as part of a broader goal of making UTAS a more sustainable institution.

monash action picAt Monash University, we had a lot of fun with an entertaining banner drop. Using the song “feeling Hot Hot Hot” by the Vengaboys, we unveiled a ‘Fossil Free onash University’ banner and certainly got a lot of attention from staff and students! Then it was time for some face-to-face conversations about campus divestment, which was a massive success: collecting over 70 signatures for a letter to send to Monash’s CFO, and receiving some great support for the campaign from fellow students. Big thanks to all the volunteers who helped out from Fossil Free and the AYCC.

usyd action picNational Day of Action was a success at University of Sydney and great first step towards divesting the university. Our aim was to get people talking and energised about Fossil Free. We went in, armed with our surveys, windmills, thermal solar plants and CSG rig, to better understand what people knew about the university’s investments and their views on it.  The initial results, showed that students believe that the university should; divest and focus its investments on other areas & that they were keen to signup and get involved in the campaign.

The Fossil Free UTS team took a roaming banner throughout the university. We dropped the banner from various strategic places across the university and handed out info flyers to students. Our NDA rolled on over to the 16th when we infiltrated the UTS Engineering and IT Careers Fair and covertly handed out information to students on why taking up a career in the fossil fuel industry was a bad move for their future as well as the future of the planet.

The UWA Student Guild ran a Chasing Ice Film Night with 4 other environmental clubs to celebrate the NDA. We had approximately 60 attendees and the 2014 Guild President-Elect came down to discuss divestment and the Guild’s commitments. It was pretty awesome and everyone loved the free organic popcorn and fair trade tea coffee and chocolate. There was a lot of enthusiasm to see divestment progress at UWA.

Murdoch Uni action in Perth was small scale but is just the start of our campaign so we were really there just to plant the seed, so to speak. We had a bright orange banner, a picnic and tasty food, plenty of fliers and lured a few people in for a chat. Tuesdays are usually a quiet day on campus so we’re going back on a Thursday when we have markets, food stalls and all kind of shenanigans and will have a stall then to raise more awareness and hopefully get some more people on board.