When spectators storm the field at a sporting event, it’s usually a silly plea for attention. But this weekend the sporting world saw something entirely different when over 200 students and alumni disrupted the annual football game between Harvard and Yale to demand both schools to divest from investments in fossil fuels.
Occupying the field in front of a crowd of almost 45,000 people, the protesters chanted “Hey Hey! Ho Ho! Fossil fuels have got to go!” After stalling the match for almost an hour, most of the protesters left the field voluntarily–but not before making their message very clear.
Students began campaigning in 2012 for both schools to stop investing in oil and gas and coal companies that contribute to the climate crisis. Both schools have massive endowments invested across the economy, including in fossil fuels. Harvard’s is worth $39bn, Yale’s $29bn. Activists believe that if the universities divest, hundreds of institutions will follow them.
Still, despite repeated protests over the years, both universities have refused, arguing that they would be in a better position to encourage corporate climate action if they remain shareholders. Perhaps this protest, which was broadcasted on TV, will convince the schools to reconsider.