Dear all -
What a day. I’m certain it will be remembered by all of us for many many years to come. But rather than dwell on today’s events, I’d like to take this opportunity to write something positive, something I’m excited about, and something I think we all care about: The Environmental Program at the University of Vermont.
I certainly haven’t met most of you yet, but I am the new Director of the Environmental Program. I started just two weeks ago, but in these two short weeks, I have been inspired by the activism and commitment of our students, the dedication and scholarship of our faculty and staff, the enthusiasm of the affiliates of the Environmental Program across campus, and the vision expressed by the administration at UVM. Many of you have been incredibly kind and warm-hearted as we have begun to settle in at UVM, and the community here in Environmental Studies and across campus is just spectacular. Thank you for everything you’ve done so far to make me (and my family) feel so welcome.
Just to tell you a bit about myself, I am an ecologist interested in the causes and consequences of changes in biodiversity. Most of my research lately has been in mountain ranges around the world, including the Rockies, the Andes, the Alps, the Appalachians, and elsewhere. My teaching has focused mostly on courses in ecology, global change, sustainability, and socio-ecology in the tropics. You can find most of my publications on my google scholar page here. And if you’re on twitter, feel free to follow me at @Nate_J_Sanders.
My wife (Aimée Classen) and I moved here just 3 weeks ago from Copenhagen, where we were both on the faculty at the University of Copenhagen. We have two boys, ages 12 and 9, who are excited to be in Vermont because they love mountain biking and skiing. Prior to Copenhagen, we lived in Knoxville, Tennessee for 10 years, and spent a lot of time in Great Smoky Mountains National Park and on the Cumberland Plateau.
You’ll probably see us around campus (here’s what I look like, more or less), around town, or on some mountain or Nordic trail around Vermont. If you do, please do say hi and introduce yourself. Or you can find me in Bittersweet House on campus. Please feel free to stop by or shoot me an email (email@example.com) if you’d like to chat about anything related to Environmental Studies or the Environment. I am serious about that; please do introduce yourself or come by. If you’re an alum, get in touch! I travel frequently, and it would be great to meet up somewhere. One of my primary goals is to strengthen connections across campus (and the country, for that matter) and to meet the many passionate students, staff, alumni, and faculty who are committed to studying and preserving the environment.
Finally, having said that I don’t want to dwell on today’s events, I do want to celebrate one thing from today: The UVM Stands rally that happened this morning thanks to a host of ENVS students and Amy Seidl. It was an event that affirmed what unites us, and it definitely filled me with pride in our students and hope for our collective futures.