Video Friday: The Voice of Students & Power of Endowments

On February 15th, the Responsible Endowments Coalition honored Anuradha Mittal, the Executive Director of the Oakland Institute. Anuradha spoke about university investments in land grabs—the act of buying up vast tracts of land in poor countries that often result in environmental destruction and violations of human rights.

The Oakland Institute’s research on land grabs has jump-started responsible investment campaigns at Harvard and Vanderbilt, two schools which were invested in land grab funds. When students became aware of the impact of their schools’ investments on Africa—the displacement of small farmers, environmental devastation, water loss, and impoverishment—they knew they had to do something.

These students wanted to know more—what else was their university invested in? Was it possible to find out?

This video features Anuradha Mittal, Nobel Laureate Joseph Stiglitz, and student activists from around the country. It explores the work of the Responsible Endowments Coalition– a resource for students, academics, faculty members, administrators, alumni, investment professionals, and many others that want to change the social and environmental impacts that our schools’ money is having on our environment and our society.

Video Shot and Produced by: Complete, at

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Fall is almost here. Students will be returning to campuses. Through their endowments, they have a great opportunity to take another look at our institutions and the need for individual responsibility within the context of more democratic decision-making structures. Make democracy the meme, not pepper spray.

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