The Ohio University Sierra Student Coalition will use the power of song and spoken word to spread awareness of the power of divestment Saturday.
Divest Fest, a variety show featuring musicians, comedians and spoken-word performers, will take place at Galbreath Chapel, 43 University Terrace. The show will also feature a “spotlight fight” — at the end of the night, audience members can drop donations into the jar of their favorite performer. The winner who collects the most donations will receive half the earnings.
The Sierra Student Coalition hopes to draw in a diverse audience to educate others on the group’s campaign to convince university administration to divest from fossil fuels. Divestment refers to pulling out all investments in the fossil fuel industry and reinvesting that money in renewable energy resources such as solar and wind power.
If You Go:
What: •Divest Fest
When: •5:30 p.m., •Saturday
Where: •Galbreath Chapel, •43 University Terrace
The Sierra Student Coalition has worked hard in recent semesters to take its divestment campaign to the administrative level. The members successfully advocated for the saying the senate supports divestment, according to a previous Post report. Currently, the coalition is collaborating on a presentation regarding divestment that will be presented to university officials.
Grace Fuchs, vice president of the Sierra Student Coalition, said the goal of Divest Fest is to provide a more comfortable atmosphere that will foster helpful conversations with OU students and Athens residents who may not be familiar with divestment.
“We think it’ll bring in a lot of different people, rather than only people who already consider themselves environmentalists,” Fuchs, a junior studying environmental studies, said. “It gives us a platform to talk about divestment with a broader audience, kind of in a more relaxed way I think.”
The show itself will feature performances by both OU students and Athens residents. Fuchs said she hopes the event will provide an opportunity for students and non-students to interact through the performances and a shared interest in environmentalism.
“We have so much local talent here, both on campus and in the community,” she said. “It’s a really neat group of people that I think we’re bringing together, and I think it’s important that students engage with the community around us.”
Addy Kruse, treasurer of the Sierra Student Coalition, helped organize the logistics of the acts that will be performing. She joined the Sierra Student Coalition when she came to OU because of her long-time passion for environmentalism.
Kruse said she feels passionately about divestment because it can make a more significant difference for the world, unlike many small personal habits like just avoiding plastic bags.
“Not one person or even a group of many people can make an impact like divestment can. Divestment handles millions of dollars,” she said. “So if Ohio University and other institutions all around, from high schools to entire countries, want to make a green impact, divestment is one of the best things you can do because people listen to money.”
Kruse said she thinks Divest Fest will be a success because of the attractiveness of the musical performances. Canvassing only works so much as a way to spread awareness, and people are more likely to engage if the message is interspersed with fun performances.
“I think it’s good because music brings people in,” she said. “We pack open mics in this town, and we’ve got a really good music scene. That kind of energy is what I want to see.”
Jack O’Brien, a senior studying finance and international business, said on a basic level, he thinks divestment seems like a worthy cause as one that would benefit the environment. He thinks Divest Fest will be a good way for the Sierra Student Coalition to engage students on the topic.
“If students are entertained, that will attract them,” he said. “It’s good for them to be educated on why it could be a good idea, in case people aren’t informed or are against it for some reason.”