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Alyssa Renner ‘14

Whole World of Intrigue

Alyssa Renner ‘14, a sociology/anthropology major, grew up mostly in England, then Spain, and now lives in Windham, Maine. “I always grew up traveling because my family has lived in different places around the world,” she said.

Alyssa actually recruited her brother to tour Green Mountain College, prior to her seeing campus. “My brother goes to University of Vermont; I ended up applying after finding GMC through a college website, and I had him do the tour for me,” she said, “He sent me pictures. He said he really liked it, so I might feel the same.”

Her unfamiliarity with the GMC campus didn’t last long after her enrollment. “As soon as I arrived, and even before I met people, there was this familiar and good aura about the school,” she said, “It’s very community-based, and I’ve never met anyone who I didn’t want to get to know. We’re a pretty small group, but we’re incredibly diverse.”

Sociological and anthropological interest is second nature for Alyssa: “I love studying different cultures and trends in human behavior. I’ll go to an airport or other public places and end up people watching,” she said.

Alyssa would like to incorporate traditional medicine and food into her cultural studies. “The summer between sophomore and junior year I traveled to India. A lot of the cooking there implements fermented foods that help with digestion and metabolism,” she said.

“I’d like to pursue doing research abroad. I’m interested in all aspects of the production and consumption of food,” she said.

Anyone who has been to a Shakti tribal dance performance on campus undoubtedly noticed Alyssa’s ostensibly effortless moves. “I’ve been doing that for three years and I often lead now. It’s my form of meditation; it really helps me detach from issues. It also helps me connect with people I usually wouldn’t,” she said. She is also an RA in Cree hall, and ran cross country this past season.

In the future, she said, “I’d like to do something with food studies and preventative health care. If I don’t travel abroad, I would love to go to graduate school and study food studies and nutrition. Our country has an overwhelmingly huge issue with diet. I’d love to develop some sort of nonprofit that works alongside low-income families to try and make meals that are affordable, yet healthy.”

“You gain an incredible experience being at GMC; we have students from all over the states and all over the world. Even if not everyone is focused on the environmental mission, they definitely are very conscious of what their actions do to society and the environment,” she said.

“To quote (alumnus) Frank Segro: ‘GMC is one of those needle-in-a-haystack kinds of places, and we’re just a big pile of needles,’” she said.

By Tim Halteman ‘15

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