Sam Tischler '08
A Sense of Social Responsibility
There are few among us who identify “a sense of social responsibility” as the main motivating factor in our lives. Senior Sam Tischler’s dedication to the environment, however, reflects just this sentiment, while his accomplishments prove the depth of his commitment: He’s a DEEP (Demonstrated Excellence in Environmental Practices) scholar, an Eagle Scout, and the recent winner of the student service-learning award.
This Somerville, NJ native’s relationship with the environment began through personal interest, and each step in his life since has reaffirmed this connection with the natural world. One such step was Sam’s decision to come to Green Mountain College and major in environmental studies with a concentration in sustainable agriculture and food production.
“Most of my degree is focused around food: How it’s moved around and how it gets to my plate,” Sam says. “I’ve always felt very disassociated with this process. That’s why the sustainable agriculture movement intrigues me. I think there is an economically viable way to obtain sustainability.”
As a part of this interest, Sam traveled to Italy as a sophomore for a study abroad program focused on agroecology in the Alps. During this trip, he traveled with his peers throughout the northern region of Italy and learned about agriculture techniques deeply rooted in tradition. The experience gave Sam a better understanding of the history of agriculture, and how the traditions that still exist can help the sustainable agriculture movement today.
“Sustainable agriculture represents a shift in modern cultural paradigms back to a system that is entirely community oriented,” Sam says. “We must reinvigorate agricultural techniques in a way that incorporates production and stewardship into the same mix.”
Sam recently earned a student-service award mainly because of a project he completed for his ethnographic field class. Sam spent a number of hours organizing a series of interviews with people who donated land around Buckner Preserve to the Nature Conservancy. He was chosen to do this particular project because of his previous experience with ecology, experience he will build on this summer when he travels to southeastern China. On this trip, he plans to examine sustainable practices as well as the relationship this culture has with their environment.
Sam is also an active DEEP scholar. He is currently president of the program, and during the four years he has been here has helped secure the service-learning & sustainability coordinator position at GMC. He also helped organize the “Focus the Nation” event (a nationwide effort to educate the public about global warming) held January 31.
After graduating, Sam would like to continue working for the environmental movement. There are many directions he is considering, including a job as an environmental consultant or geologist, though working in research or for a non-profit organization is equally as enticing. Either way, as long as he’s contributing to the field, he is confident he will find satisfaction.
“Environmentalism has to be a part of your values. If I can get money while bettering myself and the greater environment, I’ll feel pretty successful.”