Beginning at 6:00 AM on March 29th, members of Divest Harvard and alumni blockaded the doors of University Hall in opposition to the university’s willingness to invest in the coal industry and to demand a meeting to discuss divestment from nonrenewable energy in general.
Many equipped with books and laptops to study, students sat in twos and threes in front of the doors of the administrative building to prevent university officials from entering.
There was a very noticeable presence of campus security in the area surrounding University Hall during the blockade.
Student participants remained chipper despite the cold and long hours.
A number of Harvard alumni showed up to support the blockade.
Later in the day, at 4:30 PM, leaders of Divest Harvard ended the blockade to hold a rally on the front steps of University Hall.
Though not many in number, the crowd gathered for the rally was upbeat and engaged.
Student and organizer, Isa Flores-Jones ’19, served as an emcee for the rally.
This emphatic sign used a creative play on the word “fracking.”
Damon Clark ’17 gave an impassioned speech and tied climate justice to broader themes of respect for the earth.
A number of signs depicted iterations of the Shell Oil Co. logo.
Student Olutoyin Demuren ’18 addressed the rally, connecting climate to other social justice issues.
This man was just one of a group of alumni who showed up to join the blockade and rally.
Echoing similar activities which the group carried out a few years prior, student leaders used the day’s events to signal the beginning of a new period of engagement. Speakers at the rally expressed a sense urgency, especially in light of President Trump’s recent attack on environmental protections.