This commentary is by Jessica Casey, of St. Albans, a senior at BFA St. Albans, who is the recipient of the First in Sustainability Scholarship Award from Green Mountain College. The award covers her tuition, room/board and fees for all four years of study. This commentary is her contest essay. Any high school senior applying for admission to Green Mountain College’s class of 2022 is eligible for this scholarship award. Applicants are required to submit an additional essay. Submission will open this fall at www.greenmtn.edu! [Read more…]
Climatologist and Geophysicist Michael E. Mann to Deliver Green Mountain College 2017 Commencement Address
Green Mountain College President Robert (Bob) Allen announced that climatologist and geophysicist Michael E. Mann will deliver the commencement address during the college’s 2017 commencement ceremony which will be held on Saturday, May 13, at 10 a.m. Dr. Mann, renowned for his contributions to the scientific understanding of historic climate change based on the temperature record of the past thousand years, will address members of the Class of 2017 and their families, Green Mountain College Trustees, alumni, faculty and staff.
Currently serving as the director of the Earth System Science Center at Pennsylvania State University, Dr. Mann was one of eight lead authors of the “Observed Climate Variability and Change” chapter of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) Third Scientific Assessment Report published in 2001. A graph based on the MBH99 paper was highlighted in several parts of the report, and was given wide publicity. The IPCC acknowledged that his work, along with that of the many other lead authors and review editors, contributed to the award of the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize, which was won jointly by the IPCC and Al Gore.
Dr. Mann is the author of several books about climate change including his most recent work, The Madhouse Effect, co-authored by Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist Tom Toles of The Washington Post. He is also featured in Leonardo DiCaprio’s film about climate change, Before the Flood, and Bill Nye: Science Guy, a film which premiered at SXSW 2017.
“We are honored to welcome Dr. Michael E. Mann to our campus as our 2017 commencement speaker,” said Green Mountain College President Robert (Bob) Allen. “His work serves as a shining example of the possibilities for our graduating students who will be heading out into the world, seeking to build a socially, economically, and ecologically resilient society.”
Since pioneering a model for sustainable education more than 20 years ago, Green Mountain College has accomplished many firsts in Vermont and across the nation—from its #1 curriculum and climate neutral campus, to developing online master’s degree programs in sustainable food systems, sustainable business, and resilient and sustainable communities. Under the leadership of President Allen and the dedication and talents of the college’s community of faculty, staff and students, the college continues to set the highest standard for sustainability based education.
Green Mountain College, in part with a national initiative by Fair Trade Campaigns to engage college/university students in issues of global poverty, is proud to announce its official designation as a Fair Trade College. Fair Trade is an economic system that ensures consumers the products they buy were grown, harvested, crafted and traded in ways that improve lives and protect the environment. Fair Trade Campaigns officially recognizes schools in the US committed to educating students about the issues of Fair Trade and sourcing Fair Trade products, like coffee, tea and bananas in the cafeteria, offices and at events.
With over 170 Fair Trade Colleges/Universities in the United Kingdom alone, the USA program grew out of work in Europe and the increasing demand for Fair Trade and ethically produced products to be incorporated into institutional purchasing. Fair Trade Campaigns sees the tremendous impact institutional purchasing in the US can have on farmers and artisans worldwide.
“There are few things more exciting than seeing today’s youth come to understand the role that they can play as consumers in making the world a more fair and just place. To see them become not just conscious consumers, but advocates for Fair Trade, should challenge all of us to do the same.” Billy Linstead Goldsmith, National Coordinator, Fair Trade Campaigns.
This would not have been possible without the devoted work of the Sustainability Office. Thank you to all that helped make us a Fair Trade College!
SUNY Plattsburgh at Queensbury and Green Mountain College invite you to attend the Third Annual North Country Climate Reality Conference on April 21st, 2017.
Our keynote speaker Pamela Boyce Simms will talk on “Reloc
alization of Production & Evolutionary Culture Design in an “America First” World.” Pamela Boyce Simms is an evolutionary culture designer who convenes the Mid-Atlantic Transition Hub ─a six-state network of environmental activists. She is a veteran of local, regional, and national resilience-building with the Transition environmental movement, and currently works with international Quaker, Buddhist, and African Diaspora Earthcare networks. Pamela builds social transformation movements from the inside out, and from hyper-local to supranational levels. She holds degrees from Georgetown University’s Edmund Walsh School of Foreign Service, the L’Université de Dakar, in Sénégal, West Africa and is certified as a Leadership Coach and Neurolinguistics Master Practitioner. She is also a Contributing Editor at the Grassroots Economic Organizing (GEO) Editorial Collective. A Buddhist-Quaker, Pamela is a Henry J. Cadbury Fellow at Pendle Hill Quaker Study Center and is also a Buddhist Meditation Instructor.
Join us for other great speakers, music, and action group planning sessions!
Green Mountain College was recognized on October 25th as the nation’s top baccalaureate institution for sustainability by the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education (AASHE). AASHE also awarded Green Mountain College the #1 spot in sustainability-based curriculum.
Recognition by AASHE follows several other recent accolades GMC has received for social, environmental and economic sustainability. In August the College ranked among the nation’s top ten “Cool Schools” by Sierra magazine, the national magazine of the Sierra Club. Also in August, GMC was ranked the third greenest college in the country in The Princeton Review’s 2017 edition of The Best 381 Colleges.
AASHE’s 2016 Sustainable Campus Index recognizes top performing colleges and universities as measured by the Sustainability Tracking, Assessment & Rating System (STARS). STARS is a transparent, self-reporting framework for colleges and universities to measure their sustainability performance developed by AASHE. With nearly 800 participating institutions, it is the leading tool for measuring higher education sustainability performance.
“The institutions and initiatives featured in this year’s Sustainable Campus Index showcase the great work that higher education institutions are doing to lead the global sustainability transformation,” said AASHE’s Executive Director, Meghan Fay Zahniser. “I hope the contents of this report will inspire students, administrators, faculty and staff at colleges and universities to work together to implement innovative solutions to the challenges that we face today.”
“This report confirms that GMC continues to serve as a model for campus sustainability while equipping the next generation of students with the skills they need to lead and succeed in a world that is being transformed by climate change and social justice,” said Green Mountain College Sustainability Director Ryan Ihrke.
Green Mountain College is the most highly awarded college in the nation for sustainability. GMC uses sustainability as the organizing principle for its undergraduate and graduate program curricula and operations. It was the first college in the nation to achieve climate neutrality through campus-wide efficiency, adoption of clean energy, and purchase of local carbon offsets. In 2015, the College divested from the top 200 publicly traded coal, oil, and gas companies responsible for the largest amounts of potential carbon emissions in their reserves.
AASHE’s complete Sustainable Campus Index can be found here.
On August 30, 2016, The Princeton Review recognized Green Mountain College’s exceptional commitment to sustainability ranking GMC the third greenest school in the nation. This distinction is included in the 2017 edition of The Best 381 Colleges, the Princeton Review’s flagship college guide–only about 15% of America’s four-year colleges are profiled in the book.
As one of just 21 colleges and universities nationwide to score 99 (the highest possible total) in the green rating tallies, GMC earns a place on the Princeton Review’s 2016 “Green Honor Roll” for the fourth year in a row. Green Mountain College is the only Vermont school to make the list.
“Since declaring our environmental mission in 1995, Green Mountain has built a curriculum and a campus culture around sustainability,“ said Ryan Ihrke, GMC’s director of sustainability. “This rating reflects our deep commitment to building a more economically, socially and environmentally viable future.”
The annual Princeton Review rankings provide a comprehensive measure of a school’s performance in several areas: the quality of life on campus; how well a school is preparing students for employment in the clean-energy economy; and how well the school prepares students for service and citizenship in a world defined by environmental concerns and opportunities.
“Green Mountain College’s academics are the chief reason we chose it for this book and we strongly recommend it to applicants,” says Robert Franek, Princeton Review’s senior publisher and author of The Best 381 Colleges. “We make our selections primarily based on data we collect through our annual surveys. Additionally, we give considerable weight to observations from school visits, opinions of our staff and our 24-member National College Counselor Advisory Board, and an unparalleled amount of feedback we get from our surveys of students attending these schools.”
Green Mountain College takes environmental, social and economic sustainability as the organizing principal for its undergraduate and graduate program curricula. GMC is the first college in the nation to achieve climate neutrality through campus-wide efficiency, adoption of clean energy, and purchase of local carbon offsets. In 2015, the College divested from 200 publicly traded coal, oil, and gas companies responsible for the largest amounts of potential carbon emissions in their reserves.
Dr. John P. Holdren, President Obama’s top advisor on science and technology issues, outlined for Green Mountain College graduates today how “science and fact” have guided development of the administration’s climate action plan.
“The science of climate change is based first on the fundamental physics and chemistry of the atmosphere and oceans, the physics of ice, and the biochemistry of living things,” he said.
Holdren pointed out that the corpus of climate research is based on millions of measurements made by tens of thousands of scientists over many decades at many different locations around the world. The results, he said, are no longer disputable—the earth’s climate is changing in ways that cannot be explained by purely natural causes.
“The projected harm we expect to deal with will be far smaller if we take early, strong, effective evasive action,” he said. “The distribution of the offensive emissions across the nations of the world means just about everybody must participate in that evasive action.”
(See the complete text of Dr. Holdren’s remarks here.)
Dr. Holdren, assistant to the president for Science and Technology and the Senate-confirmed Director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy, was the guest speaker the College’s 179th commencement exercises. During the ceremony he received an honorary doctor of science degree.
GMC awarded bachelor degree diplomas to 136 graduates at commencement exercises held outside on the Griswold Library lawn. Among the graduates was Thomas Robert White of Hanover, N.H., the first student from the College’s online bachelor degree completion program to walk at commencement. The program provides an opportunity for students with some college credits to complete their degree in business or interdisciplinary studies. White graduated summa cum laude.
Over 70 graduate students received diplomas from one of the College’s four master’s degree programs including the Sustainable MBA and master of science degrees in sustainable food systems, environmental studies, and resilient and sustainable communities. Over 200 degrees were conferred in total, making the class of 2016 the largest in Green Mountain College history. It was the final commencement for President Paul J. Fonteyn who retires this spring after eight years of service.
The two students speakers, Corey Fletcher of Philadelphia, Penn., and Seraphina Mallon-Breiman of Woodstock, N.Y., shared their reminiscences with classmates of their four years at GMC.
“We’ve experienced immense privilege,” Mallon-Breiman told the audience. “We’ve been taught to think critically and promote ourselves with confidence. We’ve been tutored, flattered, coached, encouraged, listened to and congratulated. We are the lucky ones. But we have not become fully successful yet, because, we have a responsibility to use these experiences, to go out and encourage those who were not as lucky. We are graduating into a world that is changing rapidly and here we are: the ones who get to inspire and direct that global movement.”
They ended their address by leading the audience in the Bill Withers song “Lean on Me.”
Fletcher graduated from the College’s Progressive Program, with a major in sustainable business and cultural inclusion in educational institutions. Mallon-Breiman graduated with a degree in sociology and anthropology.
The complete ceremony is available online.
Dr. Rockey Robbins, a Choctaw/Cherokee and a professor of educational psychology at the University of Oklahoma, is this year’s annual Voices of Community Plenary speaker. His work focuses on building a connection between psychology and Native approaches to healing. His talk is titled A Native American Perspective on the Use of Story as Pedagogy: Lifting the Alienating Veil Through ‘Eneecho’ and ‘the Pause’ on Friday, April 8, from 1-2:15 p.m. in the East Room. His research includes work on Native spirituality and psychology, grandparenting, assessment, treatment of students in boarding school settings, group interventions, and developing American Indian treatment models and techniques based on traditional American Indian ideas and practices.
Green Mountain College welcomes Philip Howard, visiting scholar for the College’s M.S. in Sustainable Food Systems (MSFS) winter residency February 17-19. Howard will make a public presentation “Is Food Diversity an Illusion?” on Wednesday, February 17 at 7 p.m. in Ackley Hall. The event is free and open to the public.
“Students in this online program come from all over the country. They complete their studies online and in their own communities,” said Robin Currey, Director of the MSFS program. “The annual residency gives students a chance to have face-to-face time with and their faculty mentors. It’s also a great opportunity for our undergraduate students to learn from the graduate students and about trends in the discipline.”
In conjunction with the residency the College will also be offering its first GMC Sustainable Food Systems Research Symposium, which focuses on research MSFS students have produced in their coursework. A complete schedule of symposium presentations can be found here.
All programs are open to GMC faculty, staff and students, including a second presentation by Howard for the GMC Community at 7 p.m. in the Gorge, Thursday, Feb. 18, entitled “Concentration and Power in the Food System.”
Phil Howard is an associate professor in the Department of Community Sustainability at Michigan State University where he focuses on “mapping” trends that help illustrate the rapid evolution of food systems. His new book Concentration and Power in the Food System: Who Controls What We Eat?, explores how mergers and acquisitions in the industry have placed 40% or more of the market in the hands of four major companies. Howard demonstrates how a handful of companies dominating markets can drive up prices for consumers, reduce innovation and result in negative environmental and human health impacts.
Howard holds a PhD in Rural Sociology from the University of Missouri. His work has been featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Forbes, GOOD, The Ecologist, and Mother Earth News. He is president of the Agriculture, Food and Human Values Society from 2015 to 2016, and is a member of the International Panel of Experts on Sustainable Food Systems.
The MSFS degree program prepares future leaders in the growing movement for sustainable, just, and local foods, through a two-year program that emphasizes an interdisciplinary understanding of sustainable agricultural production and knowledge of economic, ecological and social forces forming food systems.
The products on your supermarket shelves may have traveled thousands of miles to get there, consuming fossil fuels and resulting in food waste along the way. By keeping things local, regional food hubs eliminate steps between a farmer’s field and consumer’s fridge, says Dan Sullivan, a graduate of the MSES program who helped pioneer the MSFS program. Dan is an environmental journalist who writes about the importance of food hubs in this Modern Farming magazine article.