In a unanimous vote, the University of Maine System (UMS) Board of Trustees decided to divest all direct holdings from coal companies on Monday. The historic vote comes after a two-year effort by Divest UMaine—a student, staff, faculty and alumni coalition—to urge the Board to recognize the dangers of supporting corporations that are contributing to global climate change.

Over the past few years, the push for divestment has swept the nation—including the Bowdoin campus. To date, 15 American colleges and universities have committed to fossil fuel divestment. Although UMS did not opt to divest from all fossil fuel holdings, Monday’s decision is significant in that it represents the first time an entire state university system has taken any steps toward complete divestment.

Independent of the UMS decision, the University of Maine at Presque Isle went one step further and announced its intent to divest from all fossil fuels.

The UMS consists of seven schools with campuses in Orono, Southern Maine (including the School of Law), Farmington, Augusta, Presque Isle, Machias and Fort Kent.

As of December 2012, the UMS had $7.5 million of its $121 million endowment invested in some of the top 200 fossil fuel companies, according to the Divest UMaine website. Monday’s decision to divest from coal companies will affect almost 30 percent of the university’s total exposure to coal in their shared financial portfolio, according to Reuters.