Tulane should consider alternative options to divesting

Kevin Young, Staff Reporter

The following is an opinion article and does not necessarily reflect the views of The Tulane Hullabaloo.

Recently, Tulane University President Scott Cowen and his administration announced that the university will not divest from fossil fuels, despite an undergraduate referendum supporting divestment. Whether or not divestment represents the most viable option for long-term environmental sustainability is now irrelevant; the movement to divest from fossil fuels at Tulane is — for all intents and purposes — dead. Except it isn’t over. Divest Tulane stubbornly continues to push for divestment, despite the fact that there is still a plethora of options that Tulane can take to help the environment.

One of my favorite free-market approaches that Tulane could adopt is investing in companies that value green technology. According to Yahoo! Finance, many solar energy companies have only been able to stay afloat by the aid of government subsidies and other welfare programs. There are companies that Tulane could invest in, however, and still make

a profit. In fact, Tulane can even make these practices the mindset of its students through micro-level options, such as putting solar-powered calculators in classrooms, expanding business and economic courses relating to the environment, and offering more vegetarian and vegan options in Bruff Commons or the Lavin-Bernick Center’s food court.

It can easily be argued that all environmental progress should start at the individual level. Without the cooperation of students, faculty and staff, many environmentally-friendly measures are capable of being met with resistance. Currently, Tulane has some faults when it comes to practicing the environmental mindset on an individual-level. For instance, trash cans often overflow with trash, while recycling cans remain comparatively empty. When I walk by Irby and Phelps Halls, I feel like I am on Bourbon Street, given all the trash around. In the bathrooms, usually, the only option for drying my hands is paper towels, rather than air drying.

Tulane has certainly done some things well with the environment. Tulane’s Office of Sustainability and its various environmental clubs are some of the main advocates for the university’s pro-environment stances. They have worked to increase recycling around campus and raise awareness on the individual level. Their involvement in the environment makes logical sense, given Tulane’s status in New Orleans, a city mostly below sea-level. Nonetheless, there are still options other than divestment that Tulane should consider to help better the environment.

Kevin Young is a sophomore in the Newcomb-Tulane College. He can be reached at [email protected]