Zachary Renshaw

Junior, Zachary Renshaw speaks at an event promoting change for cleaner resources at Doane University. Renshaw led the movement to make Doane the first school in Nebraska to commit to divesting in fossil fuels.

    Doane University has committed to no longer investing in fossil fuels, according to a press release on Monday May 21st.

    “On May 3, 2019, Doane University’s Board of Trustees passed a resolution to stop and end all future investments in fossil fuel companies,” the press release stated.

    Senior, Zachary Renshaw attended the Climate Reality Leadership Corps training in Atlanta, Georgia last March along with 1900 other individuals devoted to climate activism. This training was led by former US Vice President Al Gore, who is the founder of The Climate Reality Project, which works towards a global solution to the climate crisis with goals of making urgent action to build support for clean energy solutions.

    Renshaw came back from this training with motivation for change. He is now chair for the new campus group, Climate Reality Campus Corps: Doane University, formerly known as Human and Planetary Health Society.

    “(Renshaw has collected) over 500 petition signatures in support, published an opinion editorial, as well as helped write and monitor the delivery of letters of encouragement to the Board,” according to the press release.

    Doane currently holds 1.6 percent of their endowment in two direct oil and gas investments. One will mature quickly and then end. The other will continue to mature for ten more years, which Doane is contractually obligated to hold. Doane has committed to edit its Investment Policy to ensure that there will be no new direct investments in the fossil fuel industry, though.

    “As the first school in Nebraska to divest from fossil fuels, we are excited to continue to work with the school to commit Doane to 100 percent renewable electricity by 2030,” Renshaw said.

    The university has committed to divest from fossil fuels, but has not committed to renewable resources yet. That is the next goal of the CRCC group. According to Renshaw, the group will work to have the board approve the money to write the plan this coming fall, and hope to have the plan written by next spring.

    To write this plan, the group has been working on finding grants and raising money. They currently have a bid from a company called Verdis to help determine what would be required for this transition.

    Amanda McKinney, the faculty advisor for Climate Reality Campus Corps: Doane University states that, “the plan itself will cost $47,000 and will include students as active partners in doing some of the work.”

    The group is working to raise half the money for the plan, then will reach out to the board to see if they will grant them the other half.

    Renshaw adds that the plan to 100 percent commit Doane to renewable resources will be unique to Doane with many options available to them.

    McKinney includes that, “The actual implementation will be much costlier, however in the long run, it is a wise investment for Doane.”