Meet the Divest DU Core Team

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Kengo Nagaoka

Year: Junior

Major: International Studies

Minors: Leadership Studies & Music

Hometown: Fairbanks, Alaska

Favorite things to do: Writing music, biking, & traveling

Why do you care about climate change?

My home state, Alaska, is being hit hard by the warming climate. In the summer, hundreds of huge wildfires like we’ve never seen before fill the air with ash and smoke and endanger frontline communities. Our usually very cold winters are now spotted with weeks of warm weather. Native villages on the coast are struggling to cope with eroding coastlines caused by warm weather and rising seas. Changes in ocean temperatures threaten yearly salmon runs that are essential to our way of life. Those who live in the cities and have the resources to adjust to a changing climate may not notice these changes much. But those who live off the land to make ends meet do not have that luxury. Climate change affects poor, coastal, people of color communities first. I choose to fight the status quo that allows climate change to happen because I believe it is the greatest injustice of our time.

Why do you care about divestment?

The fossil fuel divestment movement speaks to me because it is becoming increasingly apparent that to effectively fight climate change, more must be done than just changing lightbulbs. Our educational, political, and financial systems that allow fossil fuel companies to have so much power are guilty and they must change for the sake of our future. Divestment raises the question: How will we fundamentally change the way our societies work to combat climate change at its source?


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Callyn Gonzalez

Year: Senior

Major: Geography

Minor: Sustainability

Hometown: Northbrook, Illinois

Favorite things to do: Biking, skiing, cooking & sailing

Why do you care about climate change?

I care about climate change because I care about our future and our beautiful planet. I want to make a positive impact and ensure future generations have the ability to experience nature the way we do.

Why do you care about divestment?

I care about divestment because I don’t support the use of fossil fuels, so I don’t want my money being used to support them. I want my tuition to make the world a better place, not impose harm on people and nature alike.


Lily Gross

Year: Sophomore

Major: Psychology

Hometown: Houston, Texas

Favorite things to do: Spending time outside, being with friends, & smiling

Why do you care about climate change?

I care about climate change because our beautiful earth provides us with all we need to survive and in turn we need to do our best at thanking and taking care of her. So far in our history we have not done a good job of being grateful towards our earth by polluting it. This is why we need to do our best to stop and reverse the processes that are hurting our earth.

Why do you care about divestment?

Divestment is important because right now we support frackers and oil companies who are a large component to climate change and the destruction of the beauty of our earth. I want to know where our money is going, have a say in where it goes, and be truthful when I say the actions of my school represent the people who go there.


Lori Scott

Year: Senior

Majors: Gender and Women’s Studies & Spanish

Minors: Leadership Studies & Sociology

Hometown: Englewood, Colorado

Favorite things to do: Yoga, hiking, traveling, cooking, & good conversations!

Why do you care about climate change?

We are the first generation to grow up knowing about climate change and the last generation that can do something about it. This earth is an incredible place, but it is in danger, and it is time for us to right the wrongs of the past in order to move towards a brighter future. Climate action is part of a much larger fight for justice, for all people, animals, and living things. When we have the capacity to manifest the future we want to see, there is no choice but to act.

Why do you care about divestment?

The University of Denver and other universities across the globe are investing time, money, and resources in its students. Yet, their financial investments do not reflect a genuine interest in a sustainable and healthy future. Our institution must align its actions with its values and be a force for progress.


Claire Hassler

Year: Senior

Major: Film Studies and Production

Hometown: Seattle, Washington

Favorite things to do: Watching documentaries and television, hiking, & art

Why do you care about climate change?

I care about climate change because I believe it is the single biggest issue that will affect our futures. It is a social, political, economic, and scientific problem, and it will require all of our resources to fight.

Why do you care about divestment?

Divestment is important because it is one of many effective strategies available to fight climate change. In order to make a difference we must use every resource at our disposal. Divestment is one of these resources, and it has been proven highly effective in the past.

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Danny Brown

Year: Senior

Major: Media Studies

Minor: Gender & Women’s Studies

Hometown: Albuquerque, New Mexico

Favorite things to do: Meeting friends & being weird

Why do you care about climate change?

I care about climate change because it has already begun to endanger many forms of life and will continue exponentially unless humans stop being greedy.

Why do you care about divestment?

I care about divestment for a similar reason. Divestment is a symbolic stand against human greed. It says that we care more about the climate than about gaining capital.


Carly LeRoy

Year: Sophomore

Major: Environmental Science

Minors: Spanish & Mathematics

Hometown: Aurora, Illinois

Favorite things to do: Skiing, hiking, playing outside, & singing badly

Why do you care about climate change?

We only have one planet to live on, and we cannot continue to treat it as a disposable resource. It terrifies me that the world as we know it will not be the same for future generations, and there’s no better time to turn the story around than now.

Why do you care about divestment?

Divestment is an effective method of fighting for climate justice because in today’s day and age money is politics. The most powerful institutions in the world can make a financial and moral statement about climate change by divesting from the fossil fuel industry.


Tina Payne

Year: Sophomore

Major: Psychology

Minor: Sustainability

Hometown: Mt. Prospect, Illinois

Favorite things to do: Hiking, gardening, horseback riding, & spending time in trees

Why do you care about climate change?

Mother Earth has been neglected and exploited for profit for far too long. Not only has it destroyed ecosystems, but climate change is the root of many social issues as well. Climate change disproportionally affects poorer communities who are also the smallest contributors to the issue. While it is impossible to return the Earth to its state before modern industry, it is possible to reverse some of the most adverse affects and save what is left. Mother Earth has provided humans with everything we know, we owe everything to Her.

Why do you care about divestment?

I care about the University of Denver’s divestment from fossil fuels because this act will set a precedent for other universities and companies that fossil fuels are not the answer. In modern society, money speaks louder than any other commodity. We must use this to our advantage in this situation to fight fossil fuels and to fight climate change.