A responsible Mac endowment

By Jak Wickham

On Tuesday, April 3, Dan Apfel, executive director of the Responsible Endowments Coalition, will be coming to speak to students at Macalester about possibilities of responsible investing through the college’s endowment. Apfel, who before his time at the REC worked with credit unions serving low-income communities around the country, will be joined by Macalester’s Student Endowment Responsibility Committee (SERC) in presenting and engaging students on the idea of social responsibility, economic activism, and ways in which our money can be used to promote Macalester’s values. The Responsible Endowments Coalition, founded in 2004 by student activists from various colleges around the country, “works to build and unify the college and university-based investment movement, both by educating and empowering a diverse network of individuals to act on their campuses, and by fostering a national network for collective action,” according to the mission statement on the organization’s website. Their goal is to bring about social and environmental change by making responsible investment a “common practice amongst colleges and universities,” as well as to train student activists to be able to make this possible. There are multiple strategies to put into place effective responsible investing strategies, many of which Dan will discuss. One example of these is proxy voting. Any investor with a minimum amount of money (usually around $2,000) invested in a company can write a resolution on how the company is run, to be voted on by the other investors in the company. In 2001, Swarthmore College wrote a resolution for Lockheed, an aerospace company in which they were invested, to add a clause protecting its queer employees from discrimination. After the vote by the company’s shareholders, the corporation ended up adding sexual orientation to its non-discrimination clause, as well as giving domestic partnership benefits. It is also worth noting that the CFO of Swarthmore at the time was Paul Aslanian, a former Macalester economics professor. The group sponsoring Dan, the SERC, was formed in 2010 and serves as a liaison between the student body and the Investment Office regarding issues involving Macalester’s endowment, soliciting feedback from the Macalester campus on how the school’s money should be invested. The event will be at 4:30 in the Harmon Room in the Library on Tuesday, April 3rd. After the talk there will be an interactive discussion on defining social responsibility. For more information, e-mail [email protected] refresh –>