Divested From Fossil Fuels, Goddard Invests in People and Planet

Goddard College’s Biomass Heating Plant (aka “Chippy”) at the Greatwoods campus in Plainfield, VT

Adapted from a post originally published January 14th, 2015

Goddard College achieved the finalization of its divestment. In January 2015, the College moved its endowment funds out of fossil fuel investments and into fossil fuel free accounts at Trillium Asset Management in Boston. Goddard was the third college in Vermont to divest, joining both Sterling and Green Mountain College.

“The divestment from fossil fuel company investments is one action in Goddard College’s long history of taking ‘imaginative and responsible action in the world,’” said Interim President Robert Kenny (2015).

“The College’s recent efforts to reduce its carbon footprint have led to a number of energy saving activities, including a proposal to convert our 20, oil burning heating furnaces to a single, centralized, locally-sourced wood chip plant. This divestment is a logical extension of those efforts, and we are proud to finalize its implementation,” he said.

The Sustainability Committee at Goddard was formed in 2007 when Goddard’s president signed the American College and University Presidents’ Climate Commitment. They conducted a carbon inventory, created a climate action plan, and began working to reduce energy use and carbon emissions with a goal to become carbon neutral in fuels burned on campus and electricity usage by 2020.

In 2018, the Sustainability Commitee announced that Goddard College became carbon neutral, two years ahead of its goal!

On March 19, 2019 Goddard received the 2019 Groundbreaker of the Year Award from Biomass Magazine and BBI International for our commitment to sustainability as evidenced by our wood chip heating system. Goddard president Bernard Bull accepted the award at the International Biomass Conference & Expo in Savannah, Georgia.

Bestselling author and environmental activist Bill McKibben spoke about the emerging fossil fuel resistance and climate change at Goddard College in Plainfield, Vermont, on March 1, 2015.

“We invited Bill McKibben to speak at Goddard to help us celebrate our divestment and to educate our undergraduate students about the current trends in fossil fuel resistance that’s happening around the world,” said BA in Sustainability Program Faculty Advisor Catherine Lowther. “We are honored to have such an accomplished climate change activist inspire our students and support the College’s mission,” she said.

Initially founded in 1863 as the Goddard Seminary in Barre, Vt., Goddard College moved to its current Plainfield campus and was chartered in 1938 by founding President Royce “Tim” Pitkin. In 1963, Goddard became the first U.S. college to offer low-residency adult degree programs, and now offers accredited MA, MFA, BA, and BFA degree programs from the main campus in Plainfield, and sites in Seattle and Port Townsend, Wash. Goddard’s intensive, low-residency model offers the best of on-campus and distance education, with experienced faculty advisors, rigorous campus residencies, and the freedom to study from anywhere. Apply Today!

Editor: this article is adapted, updated, expanded and revised as needed. If you’d like to comment, email news@goddard.edu with subject line: Sustainability

Important Announcement

The Board of Directors for Goddard College have made the difficult decision to close the college at the end of the 2024 Spring term.  


Current Goddard students will have the opportunity to complete their degrees at the same tuition rate through a teach-out with like-minded institution, Prescott College. Updates and scholarship funds will be available in the coming weeks and months. Information will be posted to www.goddard.edu

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