The Fossil Free TCD campaign tonight held their final open meeting of the academic year in the wake of their meeting with the University Board. The campaign has been pushing for Trinity to fully divest from fossil fuels and has been in discussions with College over the issue.
The meeting opened with a report on the campaign’s presentation to the University Board last week. The response from the board was said to be positive with College “very receptive” to divestment from fossil fuels. There has been as of yet, however, no firm commitment on the campaign’s proposal.
Among the ideas that emerged from the discussions with the Provost and the Board was the importance of implementing divestment as part of a “wider sustainability plan” encompassing a number of environmental initiatives focused on reducing the carbon footprint of College. This was, according to members of the campaign, recommended to them during the discussions as the most viable approach for campaigning towards divestment.
The main focus of the meeting was on discussing potential ideas for a sustainability plan and how to gather input from staff and students when putting together a proposal for the board.
Also emphasised was the possibility of there being no forthcoming commitment to divestment from College and the need to continue campaigning on the issue, although it was stressed that this should be on the basis of “non-confrontational” tactics.
The meeting discussed a number of ideas for maintaining the campaign over the summer and into next year including an intervention in the ongoing Seanad elections, promoting the campaign during Freshers’ Week next year and potentially pushing for a referendum to renew the SU’s mandate on fossil fuel divestment.
Tonight also marked the first open meeting held by the campaign since the controversy over the group’s ejection from the Blackstone LaunchPad, located in the Berkeley library, on March 23. Members of the Fossil Free campaign were reportedly told by LaunchPad director John Whelan that it was a “space for capitalism” and could not be associated with student activism.
In a statement to Trinity News in response to the controversy, Mr Whelan had said: “The LaunchPad space in Trinity is reserved during office hours for entrepreneurial students and events. All students engaging in entrepreneurial activities are welcome to use our LaunchPad space. We define the term entrepreneurship broadly to encompass social enterprises and not-for-profit ventures. However, all such ventures must aim to eventually generate capital through their activities in order to survive and progress their idea.”
This evening’s meeting did not address the incident and when asked by Trinity News, a representative of the group said they would not be making any official response on the matter and would instead be focusing on their own campaign.