CSU students rally, march against fossil fuel investments


Collegian | Trin Bonner

JJ McKinney

Barnaby Atwood and Rebekah Barry

Colorado State University students and Fort Collins community members marched and rallied against Colorado State University’s endowment having holdings in the fossil fuel industry on April 27.

Divest CSU is a campaign composed of members ranging from current students to alumni and coalition partners. The goal of the campaign is to get CSU to disclose its entire endowment portfolio and divest from funds that have direct and indirect holdings in the fossil fuel industry. As a university that has made strides in terms of sustainability, CSU should reflect these ideas through the money invested in its endowment, according to Divest CSU.


The campaign is part of the organization 350 Northern Colorado, which is the Northern Colorado branch of 350 Colorado, which itself is a part of the larger organization 350.org. 350.org is an international movement working for 100% renewable energy solutions.

Riley Ruff is one of the campaign’s organizers as well as a team coordinator with 350 Northern Colorado.

“As a student in the Warner College (of Natural Resources), I think there’s quite a bit of hypocrisy knowing that I am an environmental science student; however, my environmental science education is being funded by the fossil fuel industry,” Ruff said. “I think there’s a lack of moral and environmental responsibility on behalf of the university in doing that. As a student, it’s really important to me that the university reflects my values and the values of the entire college I’m receiving my degree from.”

Using data from 2021, Divest CSU estimates CSU has invested around $7 million in the fossil fuel industry. This estimate is based on the public holdings released by the Colorado State University Foundation of their endowment and the analysis of holdings investments in the fossil fuel industry through sites like Fossil Free Funds.

While the endowment’s holdings fluctuate from year to year, in 2021, CSU’s endowment had 6.1% in the Artisan Global Opportunities Fund and 17.4% in the State Street S&P 500 Index Fund, two funds that Divest CSU notes as having invested in the fossil fuel industry in the campaign’s holding breakdown.

As of June 2022, the CSU Foundation no longer states in its public report as having holdings in the Artisan Global Opportunities Fund as well as having reduced its holdings in the State Street S&P 500 Index Fund to 8.15%.

Divest CSU believes that there are more holdings that have invested in the fossil fuel industry, as there is still 46.81% of CSU’s endowment not released to the public.

The Divest CSU campaign was started in April 2022 but was relaunched in October of that same year. This was the first rally the campaign has officially organized. Ruff said the point of the rally was to raise awareness and public perception of the campaign’s goals.

Sam Killmeyer, a 2018 graduate of CSU, helped put the campaign together through things like gathering signatures for Divest CSU’s petition and was excited to see people come to the rally.


“I think the speakers did a great job of mentioning what CSU is doing, … but they do skip the question on divestment and investments in the fossil fuel community,” Killmeyer said.

As an English major, Killmeyer was more focused on her studies during her time at CSU. However, after she graduated, she started to become more involved in campaigns.

“I joined 350 Colorado after the climate marches in 2019 I believe,” Killmeyer said. “They provide a great infrastructure for volunteers, and it just seemed right to work in our community to do a divestment campaign.”

CSU is one of the few colleges that has a high rating on the Sustainability and Tracking Assessment & Rating System scale.

Reach Barnaby Atwood and Rebekah Barry at news@collegian.com or on Twitter @csucollegian