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Save the UC Townhomes protestor in coalition with Fossil Free Penn demonstrated at the football game against Yale on Oct. 22, 2022 during halftime. Credit: Anna Vazhaeparambil

Amid Fossil Free Penn's occupation of College Green, around 30 students from Harvard and Massachusetts Institute of Technology interrupted an ExxonMobil recruitment event held by MIT’s Earth and Planetary Department. 

The protestors were comprised of undergraduate and postgraduate students, including representatives of Fossil Fuel Divest Harvard, according to The Harvard Crimson. They gave speeches and sang songs in front of the crowd, prompting the recruiters to leave the room.

Student activists interviewed by The Crimson expressed opposition to universities furthering both the staffing and legitimacy of these companies through such recruitment events, especially for companies that significantly impact the environment such as ExxonMobil. 

Harvard committed to complete fossil fuel divestment last September after years of student protests such as the storming of the 2019 Harvard-Yale football game. No new investments will be made in fossil fuels, according to Harvard, and current investments will be allowed to expire. 

Only two members of the Ivy League — Penn and Yale— have not made such commitments. MIT still dedicates a portion of its $24.6 billion endowment toward fossil fuels. 

On Saturday, during Penn's homecoming football game against Yale, a group of over 60 student protestors involved with Fossil Free Penn ran onto Franklin Field, aiming to delay the game and push University administration to meet the group’s demands.

After being escorted off the field by officers an hour into the protest, 19 students were detained in the Penn Police station at Chestnut and 40th streets, according to FFP’s press conference. Later Saturday night, students involved with Fossil Free Penn decided to end the encampment, but plan to continue pushing their demands through other avenues.

Penn pledged to cease commitments to private equity vehicles centered around investment in fossil-fuel production in 2021, which 2022 College graduate and Student Sustainability Association at Penn’s former Co-Chair Vyshnavi Kosigishroff criticized at the time as a misleading, “partial divestment.” At that time, SSAP estimated that around 1% of Penn’s endowment was invested in fossil fuels. 

The University has also recently announced other sustainability-focused investments, such as the Energy and Sustainability Initiative, which set aside $60 million to hire and fund at least 10 new faculty members studying energy, sustainability, or the environment. Environmental scientist Michael Mann recently arrived on campus as the initiative’s first faculty appointment.