NEW GLOUCESTER, Maine, February 9, 2022 (Newswire.com) - After becoming the first institution of higher education to divest from fossil fuels, Unity College is celebrating a decade of divestment in 2022. Now, the focus at America's Environmental College is on ensuring more students across the country and around the world are able to access Unity's world-class environmental science education.
What started out as a trickle has sparked a massive worldwide trend as more institutions follow Unity College's path to fossil fuel divestment. Since becoming the standard-bearer in 2012, more than 1,500 institutions have divested $40 trillion dollars in assets.
"It is becoming the norm, as universities like Harvard, Yale, and Middlebury join the fight and divest their massive endowments from fossil fuels. We tip our caps to them, as we know just how hard the fight can be. It was not easy - we did not get to this point without major pushback," said Dr. Khoury.
It's a sentiment echoed by 350.org co-founder and world-renowned environmentalist Bill McKibben, who says America's Environmental College led the way for these larger institutions.
"It puts in stark relief the fact that at Unity, which went first, the administration decided to lead. Its officers knew precisely what its community would want, and they did it proactively, just the way every institution should be tackling the climate crisis," said McKibben.
Unity College has shown proof of concept. For 10 years, the college's divested endowment has outperformed key market indexes, growing from $12 million dollars in 2012 to more than $18 million dollars today.
Now, the focus is on the future and the next decade at Unity College. Just as the institution led the way on divestment, it is now shattering the mold as it provides a clear path to accessibility and affordability.
Since 2019, the college, under the direction of President Melik Khoury, has created multiple Sustainable Educational Business Unit's (SEBUs); each designed to meet every student's individual needs. This improved access has helped America's Environmental College grow its 50-year diverse student population from 8% to over 20% in just the past two years, and that number continues to rise. Unity College has also more than quadrupled the number of students it has over a three-year span. As of the winter of 2022, more than 3,500 students are enrolled.
"Divestment in fossil fuels is no longer a fringe strategy, and in that same light, environmental science education is no longer a niche education. Mainstreaming both will greatly improve the health of our planet. We must now look at the environmental sciences from every educational tier. From upskilling and workforce development to certificates, associate, bachelor's, and master's degrees, every company should have employees with a basic understanding of the environment and sustainability," said President Khoury.
For inquiries, contact Unity College Director of Media Relations, Joseph Hegarty, at 207-310-1211 or JHegarty@Unity.edu.
Source: Unity College