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Oberlin College Votes to Invest Student Activity Fee Surplus in Local Community

Dec 14, 2012

OBERLIN, OH— Oberlin College has taken another important step in investing in the local community. The Board of Trustees approved the Oberlin College and Community Investment Plan, a resolution to invest a residual portion of the Student Activity Fund in certificates of deposit (CDs) with the Ohio Educational Credit Union (OHECU). According to Ron Watts, Oberlin’s Vice President for Finance, each semi-annual allocation will go into this fund reserved for large physical capital purchases by student organizations.

The Student Finance Committee (SFC) and the Responsible Investing Organization (RIO), a student group that advocates for Oberlin College to bank and invest more responsibly, proposed this resolution.

“We believe we have a responsibility to consider the social impact of our investment decisions beyond the financial bottom line,” says first-year Arthur Davis, a member of RIO. “We seek to leverage our institution’s financial weight to strengthen our local community. With this resolution, Oberlin College took a step toward being more socially intentional with our investment portfolio.”

Since OHECU is a local credit union, money invested in these CDs will be lent out to local businesses and individuals in the Lorain County area, often at better rates than at most for-profit banks. As non-profit financial institutions, credit unions exist to serve their customer-members and invest in the local community, offering an alternative to large national banks.

In addition to lobbying for local investment of college money, this fall RIO launched its “Breakup With Your Bank” campaign, an ongoing initiative to educate Oberlin students about financial institutions and encourage them to switch from national banks to local or regional institutions. RIO is part of a broader national movement lobbying for responsible investment of college and university endowments, particularly focused on divestment from fossil fuels.

“This resolution is an opportunity to deepen the connections between Oberlin College and the surrounding community,” says senior James Foust, the student treasurer for the SFC. “We are working with credit unions to create educational opportunities for students through internships, and we hope to build upon this success through greater community investment in the future.”

For more information, contact:

Responsible Investing Organization

David Tisel ’13, dtisel@oberlin.edu, 651.431.0306

David Roswell ’13, droswell@oberlin.edu, 410.952.2258

Student Finance Committee

James Foust ’13, jfoust@oberlin.edu, 608.212.9296


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