For those who may not already know, MSU celebrated its 125th birthday last weekend Feb. 16-17. On Friday, Feb. 16, the MSU Alumni Foundation (MSUAF), in partnership with the university, held a banquet to distribute its Awards for Excellence, celebrating MSU’s top seniors and their mentors. During the event Reinvest MSU, a campaign developed by MSU’s Sustainability Now (SNow) club, took the opportunity to spread their message.
Founded and governed by students, Reinvest MSU has been working on three goals to establish more socially responsible investing standards for the endowment managed by MSUAF. MSUAF is a private, nonprofit corporation that manages and invests over $138 million on behalf of MSU.
Reinvest MSU has been working over the past two years holding meetings with administration officials and working on Senate Resolution 2016-R-20 with ASMSU Senate, asking the Alumni Foundation to reveal where it is investing. With that transparency, the University will be able to push for more socially and environmentally responsible investments. The students are working towards getting MSUAF to pledge five percent of the endowment towards Montana companies. The student organization believes that the investment of this money should reflect our values as a university, prioritizing people, planet and profit.
During the banquet, around a quarter of the Excellence Award recipients, and even some faculty, donned pins supporting the reinvestments plans. Paige Driscoll, who received an award for Chemical Engineering, spoke about her enthusiasm for the campaign. She mentioned that many of her fellow recipients wanted to show some visual support while still being respectful.
After the ceremony, President Cruzado led the crowd outside, where student organizers Matthew Bain, Maya Perrier and Thomas McGrath had the reinvestment brigade set up waiting for them. As the group marched by, the demonstrators waved signs, and sang happy birthday to celebrate the universities 125th anniversary. Shortly after, they began following the crowd down towards Spirit, chanting “People, Planet, Profit” and “Students Today, Alumni Tomorrow.”
“One of our main goals for the night was to make an impact, without hurting our chances of sustaining a dialogue. We also wanted to make the demonstration as visible as possible,” Emma Bode, one of the main organizers of the event, said. “That is why we were handing out pins to students recognized as MSU’s best and brightest, that’s why we were standing out in the cold and that’s why we got the Snapchat filter.”
If you’re looking for more information or want to get involved, Sustainability Now (SNow) holds meetings every Monday at 6:15 in Jabs room 307.