Harrison Rhodes has an option: right or left. He faces the Poultney River, eyeing the opposite bank. Without regret, Harrison turns left and begins to walk. This is not a class assignment; rather this is class for Harrison. Across the bank something moves. The trail that has consumed Harrison for nearly an hour has ended. This is not a moment of anxiety, but rather a moment for discovery. This is neither a squirrel nor an otter; it’s a mink. “I’ve never seen a mink before,” he exclaims.
It is Harrison’s third year as a sustainable agriculture and natural science major here at Green Mountain College, and three years since receiving a GMC brochure in the mail. Time, however in this instance, has done little in changing the manner of living for Harrison. Growing up in Pennsylvania with a minor, yet significant affiliation with the Amish culture, the ideas of agricultural sustainability and a prominent respect for the environment have become clear in the eyes of Harrison.
A smile follows Harrison as he finishes explaining how he maintains the perfect balance between work, school and free time. “I try to utilize my weekends, but during the week I’m pretty… ‘busy’ would be an understatement.”
Since becoming a student at GMC, Harrison has worked routinely on the campus farm during both the school year as well as the summertime. In addition, Harrison has been an active member of the Socially Responsible Investment Advisory Committee (SRIAC) and has received the Academic Honor Award his first semester celebrating a 4.0 GPA.
With his involvement as a student senate appointee on SRIAC, Harrison has worked side by side with other students and administrators to create a ten-percent endowment dedicated to an “environmentally oriented investing portfolio,” excluding big oil and nuclear companies. The group met twice a semester, providing recommendations for socially responsible investments.
“I guess one of the best experiences at GMC is working with Kenneth Mulder and listening to him sing songs from the 80’s, the 70’s, or songs you never heard of in a really excited fashion, and molding them to things about weeding and cultivating. This man is absolutely great in the best way.”
Working with various elements of sustainable agriculture has always been an integrated aspect within Harrison’s life. With a clear life perspective, and the future he sees within it, Harrison can walk the same path that he once took not so long ago. Turning left without looking back and a definitive respect for the present and the environment that surrounds him. With this in mind, Harrison can venture this path confidently and uncover the discoveries that lay ahead. Just like the mink.
By Zak Stark ‘15