What does a walk in the woods have to do with being a business student?
The nineteen students enrolled in the newly launched MBA in Organizational and Environmental Sustainability (Green MBA) program at Antioch University New England (ANE) found that to hike with Tom Wessels, professor in the Department of Environmental Studies at ANE and a teacher in the Green MBA program, is to feel layer upon layer of history breathe.
Professor Wessels’s hikes are legendary. On these walks he “reads” the landscape on literal, metaphoric, psychological, historical, and political levels. His 1997 book, Reading the Forested Landscape, beautifully explores the natural history of New England in ways that reveal connections between the land and eons of history. In his recently published book, The Myth of Progress, Wessels demonstrates how our current path of continual economic expansion and indiscriminate use of resources runs counter to the laws of sustainability in nature.
It is quiet, and humid, as we move deeper into Pisgah State Park. Here the land has never been farmed, the stonewalls built to keep sheep contained disappear, and there are no cellar holes and other signs of past of human inhabitants. This ecosystem has survived for thousands of years; cycles of codependence continually moving and balancing. It is a place to be revered, listened to, and respected. There is, I sense, a deep and abiding awareness, and gratitude, among all on the hike that we are a part of something much larger than our individual existences.
At Antioch University New England there is a central tenet, “Because the world needs you now.” This is, perhaps, at the center of each student’s decision to embark on graduate studies at this school. It is both motivator and goal.
ANE’s Green MBA program intertwines numerous disciplines and philosophies and, in the process, attempts to forge a new way to think about the world, the future, and how one might be of service.
“Getting my Green MBA is not the goal; discovering how to make a difference in the world is,” declares student Preston Alexander.