Students from Carleton, St. Olaf and Northfield High School are leading walkouts today, Friday Oct. 29, as part of the Northfield Climate Strike. This event was organized in response to a call from the Bloomington Antiracist Coalition—a coalition of current and former students of Bloomington Public Schools—for a national student walkout demanding the shutdown of Line 3.
Sunrise Carleton recommends that those who plan on attending the Strike make their way to Bridge Square in downtown Northfield at 4:00 p.m, where speeches will be shared before the group is planning on walking to the local Wells Fargo bank.
There, students will protest Wells Fargo’s financial ties to Enbridge—the multinational pipeline company that owns and manages the Line 3 pipeline. According to the environmental non-profit Stop The Money Pipeline, Wells Fargo is estimated to have underwritten $3.86 billion dollars worth of bonds issued by Enbridge to finance Line 3. The Carleton Endowment Fund has not yet divested from Wells Fargo.
Sunrise Carleton, Carleton’s chapter of the Sunrise Movement, is one of the main planners of the event. The organization also coordinated with groups at other institutions, such as St. Olaf’s Climate Justice Collective and the Northfield High School Environmental Club.
“The event has two purposes,” said Sunrise Carleton’s Press Liaison Myles Fisher ’25. “First, to show support for the other strikes and protests around the country that are calling for an end to Line 3. And secondly, to call on Carleton’s Board of Trustees to divest.”
Fisher noted the timeliness of the strike, which will occur as the Board of Trustees convene this afternoon in the Weitz Center.
“Now is the perfect time to spread the word around the Northfield community and get the board to understand that students of Carleton demand they make their investments accessible [to understand] and morally in line with the College’s values,” Fisher added.
The two official lists of demands—one composed of general demands that apply to national politics and another that is Carleton-specific—can be found on Sunrise Carleton’s Instagram page.
Divest Carleton—a group of alumni, faculty and students advocating for the divestment of Carleton’s endowment from fossil fuels—has also played a central role in consolidating support. For example, the group went door-knocking in dorms last Wednesday to gather signatures for a petition for the cause, which calls on the College to “immediately freeze any new investment in fossil-fuel companies” and “divest within five years from direct ownership and from any commingled funds that include fossil-fuel public equities and corporate bonds.”
Maya Stovall ’23, a representative for Divest Carleton, commented on the urgency of the issues at stake. “Some of us [Carleton students] lived on the construction frontlines and watched firsthand as Enbridge cut down trees, tore apart the earth, drilled under the rivers to put pipes in the ground that are destined to spill and poison the water and wild rice… The catastrophe is now and we have to stop it,” said Stovall.
“Here at school, Carleton has a responsibility to look out for future generations, and that means not investing hundreds of millions in bankrolling destructive industries.”
Both Fisher and Stovall emphasized the importance of protest as a tool for influencing change on local and national levels alike.
“I think it is important for the students of Carleton to recognise that their involvement matters. It’s easy for our generation to get caught up in pessimism and believe that the leadership of the college, state, nation or international affairs do not listen to us when we protest, but I don’t think that is the case,” Fisher said. “The more people who are directly involved, the more they will have to listen to us. That applies to all levels of politics, not just here at Carleton.”
Stovall referenced other student protests in the country. “Right now, there are youth climate hunger strikers outside the White House in Washington D.C. demanding our government take the crisis seriously. These brave comrades are starving themselves to prevent future [starvation], food shortages and the destruction of the world we love.”
After the climate strike, students are also able to continue their support by taking part in further events hosted by Sunrise Carleton and Divest Carleton. Students can also directly get involved with the organizations themselves. Sunrise Carleton’s meetings are typically hosted in Leighton 236 on Tuesdays at 8:00 p.m, whereas Divest Carleton’s meetings are usually located in Leighton 304 on Sundays at 8:00 p.m.