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Salem State Fossil Fuel Divestment Scholarships

Two $1,000 scholarship opportunities open to all Salem State students

On May 24, 2018, Salem State University announced full divestment from all fossil fuels (i.e. its prior holdings in the Carbon 200 fossil fuel companies). This decision followed a five-year campaign by university students, faculty and alumni. Salem State University was the only institution from the 30 participating schools in the Multi-School Fossil-Free Divestment Fund (MSFFDF) to fully divest from fossil fuels—and as such was awarded the 30 schools’ escrowed donations, a total of $57,000.

To celebrate Salem State’s leadership in tackling climate change, the university established two endowed annual student scholarships: 1. The Ken Saro-Wiwa Climate Justice Scholarship and 2. The SSU Social Justice Scholarship.

Students interested in applying for these scholarships must possess an interest in climate justice or social justice as demonstrated by past and present activism (on and off-campus), volunteering, professional, and educational experiences. Winners will be chosen on the basis of their commitment to climate and social justice.

Ken Saro-Wiwa Climate Justice Scholarship ($1,000)

The “climate justice” award is named after Nigerian activist Ken Saro-Wiwa. Ken Saro-Wiwa led a peaceful movement for the environmental and human rights of Nigeria’s Ogoni people, whose oil-rich land has been exploited by multinational oil companies. In 1990 Saro-Wiwa dedicated his time to organizing a non-violent movement for social and ecological justice.

Sadly, the Nigerian government executed Saro-Wiwa in 1995. Ken Saro-Wiwa’s life has provided a legacy of great inspiration for human rights and environmental activists around the world. Posthumously, Ken Saro-Wiwa was awarded the Goldman Environmental Prize and the Right Livelihood Award. Salem State University is privileged to dedicate this scholarship in his honor.

Salem State University Social Justice Scholarship ($1,000)

Applicants for the social justice award should demonstrate how they seek to improve the living and working conditions for less advantaged members of their community in concrete and sustainable ways. This may involve work through an NGO or less formally structured activity (e.g. activism). Examples include students tackling racial justice, immigrant rights, incarcerated people’s rights, education, etc.

Application requirements:

  • Eligibility: Scholarships are open to all undergraduate full-time students.
  • Two letters of recommendation sent directly to from the referees
  • A curriculum vitae (1-page)
  • A short, approximately 800-word essay describing your involvement in climate justice/social justice work
  • All documents must be submitted in a single file to, please put “SSU Divestment Scholarship” in the email heading specify if you are applying for the “Ken Saro-Wiwa Climate Justice Scholarship” or the “Social Justice Scholarship”
  • Include the names and contact information of the two referees
  • The deadline to apply is Friday, March 13, 2021
Noel Healy
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