Santa isn’t the only one who gives out coal at Christmas.
On Friday, it wasn’t Old St. Nick who was stopping by Old Main. It was Fossil Free PSU.
About 30 students working with the organization gathered in front of the Penn State administration building to hand out fliers about their mission of divesting the university’s portfolio of investments related to fossil fuels.
According to group spokesman Nathan Larkin, “tens of millions” of dollars in the endowment fund could be reinvested in more “socially responsible” directions.
After delivering their message outside, they headed inside with a little something for the board of trustees.
They brought along gift bags filled with a symbolic present of coal — charcoal, actually.
“As long as coal is in the portfolio, there will be coal in their stockings,” Larkin said.
“The university is mindful of the concerns that have been raised, and currently assessing its exposure to companies with fossil-fuel connections as a first step in considering the issue,” Penn State spokeswoman Lisa Powers said in an email. “At the same time, we are aware of the importance of such natural resources to the economic well-being of the commonwealth. Accordingly, the university will exercise prudence to determine how best to address an admittedly challenging and complex issue.”
Fossil Free PSU has been an official student organization for almost a year. Its activities have included participating in the People’s Climate March in New York City and organizing an “Onward on Climate” forum on campus.