Minnesota – Today, hundreds of Minnesota college and university students are staging demonstrations on their campuses to raise awareness of the Line 3 pipeline, and to call on their institutions to divest from fossil fuel industry projects. Students from the University of Minnesota Morris, UMD, UMN Twin Cities, Carleton College, St Olaf College, The College of St Benedict’s, Gustavus Adolphus College, and Macalester College have been collaborating to plan this day of action for months.
Emily Wittkop, a junior at the University of Minnesota Morris said, “I’m fighting Line 3 for several reasons – the danger to our environment, the violation of Minnesota’s treaties, the impact of oil on the world’s political climate. I’m also pushing the University of Minnesota to begin fossil fuel divestment so that the financial investments of UMN matches their stated mission and the will of the student population that pay so much for their education here.”
For this statewide day of action, student activists at 8 Minnesota schools are staging art installations, hosting protests, and talking with their peers about how their schools are funding construction of the Line 3 pipeline. (More information about each school’s activities available upon request.)
At Macalester College in St Paul, 350 students have blockaded the city street, Grand Avenue, that runs through the campus. Dozens of Macalester students, alumni, faculty, and staff have been involved in the Line 3 resistance movement over the years, and several have even been arrested protesting on the frontlines in recent months.
Helen Meigs, a Macalester senior, said “We are out here today because it is unethical for Macalester to claim that they are preparing us for the future when their investments are part of the system robbing us of that very future. Macalester’s investments in Enbridge support a pipeline that will have devastating consequences for global climate change, a pipeline that when it spills, will poison the drinking water of millions along the Mississippi, a pipeline that violates the treaty rights of the Anishinaabe people. We are here today in solidarity with the indigenous water protectors up north and to call on Macalester to stand with us and divest to stop Line 3.”
Students from the 8 participating schools have been collaborating to prepare for today’s activities for months. Connecting over zoom meetings and workshops, they’ve developed a community and had space to discuss their shared values and visions for a better world. It was those relationships that pushed two Macalester College seniors to reinvigorate their divestment campaign with a proposal to the Macalester Board of Trustees specifically calling on them to divest from Enbridge Energy in protest of the Line 3 pipeline. Most of the participating groups have made ongoing or past fossil fuel divestment asks of their schools’ administrations.
The coalition of Minnesota schools also collaborated with students from around the US and Canada to plan the Student Divestment Virtual Rally to #Defund Line 3 for today at 3 pm.