Steve Chase Moves On, Abi Abrash Walton Joins In

Below is an announcement about Abi Abrash Walton being hired to replace Steve Chase, the founding director of Antioch University New England’s environmental studies masters program in Advocacy for Social Justice and Sustainability for the last thirteen years. Steve has recently accepted the job of Director of Education at Pendle Hill, a Quaker-run adult education center near Philadelphia that focuses on Quakerism, interfaith concerns, contemplative spirituality, and faith-based activism for peace, social justice, and sustainability. He is thrilled that Abi will be taking over directing the AUNE advocacy concentration and believes the concentration is in the best hands possible. To learn more about Abi’s background and qualifications, please read the position announcement below from the acting Chair of the Department of Environmental Studies.

Dear Environmental Studies & Antioch University New England Community

On behalf of the Environmental Studies faculty and staff it gives me great pleasure to welcome Abi Abrash Walton to our team. Effective immediately, Abi will serve as the Director of the Advocacy for Social Justice & Sustainability concentration.

We are excited to have Abi serving our students as an academic and concentration advisor, instructor, coach, networker, and team player.  She brings a powerful background as an advocate and change leader to these roles. (Please see below for an impressive summary of Abi’s extraordinary contributions to our department and our campus as well as her U.S.-based and international work.)

Under Abi’s leadership, Environmental Studies’ students will have an opportunity to get involved, as graduate assistants, with Antioch’s 2016 East Coast Climate Preparedness conference in Baltimore, as well as partnership initiatives with the City of Keene. Abi is also excited about strengthening the advocacy and leadership skills of all Environmental Studies students, understanding that effective advocacy and leadership skills are core to environmental solutions. 

Abi welcomes conversations with students interested in applying for Antioch’s U.S. Congressional Progressive Caucus Fellow to serve with the Caucus in DC every summer. The fellowship is a powerful career launch pad for fellows. The Environmental Studies faculty and staff are grateful to our VPAA, Melinda Treadwell and President, Steve Jones for their generous support in preserving and revitalizing the critical role that advocacy plays not only across all of our department’s concentrations, but across all AUNE’s programs.

Please join us in welcoming Abi in her new role as Teaching Faculty in the Environmental Studies Department.

Jimmy Karlan
Acting Chair
Department of Environmental Studies

P.S. Please read about Abi’s extraordinary accomplishments:

Abi Abrash Walton

AbrashwaltonAbigailAbi joined the Antioch learning community in 2003, serving as faculty in the Department of Environmental Studies, where she founded and directed the department’s award-winning Advocacy Clinic, which has served as the model for the Department’s Collaborative Service Initiative capstone course.

In her role as AUNE’s Assistant to the President for Sustainability and Social Justice, Abi has chaired a series of multi-stakeholder processes that have led to the development and ongoing implementation of AUNE’s Diversity & Inclusion Task Force Report, 2010-20 Climate Action Plan, and 2006 Social Justice Audit.  Under her leadership, AUNE has achieved significant progress in the arenas of environmental and social performance, including reduction of its electricity usage by a cumulative 68% over seven fiscal years.  As founding director of Antioch’s Center for Academic Innovation, Abi has worked with innovators to leverage CAI investments of $50,000 into more than $350,000 of new revenue, while advancing our mission, providing new opportunities for our students, and building external strategic partnerships.

Abi served on the Program Committee for the Association for the Advancement of Sustainability in Higher Education’s 2012 and 2011 Conferences and represented AUNE on the NH Statewide Inclusive Excellence Advisory Board. She has worked with others at AUNE and elsewhere to launch the Conservation Psychology Institute and Translating Research to Inform Policy initiative, and to form AUNE’s new Center for Climate Preparedness and Community Resilience. She created and manages AUNE’s U.S. Congressional Progressive Caucus Fellowship Program, now in its 9th year. 

Abi’s publications include “Conservation through Different Lenses: Reflection, Responsibility and the Politics of Participation in Conservation Advocacy” in the journal Environmental Management, “The Victims of Indonesia’s Pursuit of Progress,” an invited New York Times opinion piece, “The Amungme, Kamoro and Freeport: How Indigenous Papuans Have Resisted the World’s Largest Gold and Copper Mine” in Lechner and Boli’s The Globalization Reader, and “Let Freedom Ring: Recharging and Consolidating ‘Inside the Beltway’ Activism” in Feminist Approaches to Social Movements, Community, and Power.  Based on her research and analysis, she has served as a commentator for The Washington Post, The Boston Globe, The New York Times, National Public Radio, “Democracy Now!” and “The News Hour with Jim Lehrer,” among other media outlets.

Abi has been a panelist for the Environmental Grantmakers Association, Grantmakers Without Borders, Harvard University Trade Union Program, the Carr Center for Human Rights Policy, the Asia Society, and the Fund for Peace Business & Human Rights Roundtable, and has given talks at Harvard Law School, Trinity College, Goddard College and The American University.

Previously, Abi served as program director for the Robert F. Kennedy Memorial Center for Human Rights and New Hampshire Citizens Alliance, and as a Visiting Fellow at Harvard Law School’s Human Rights Program.  She has testified before both houses of the U.S. Congress, and the Massachusetts and New Hampshire legislatures, organized and served as spokesperson for a major coalition campaign, and led an international team in conducting the first independent human rights assessment of the world’s largest gold and copper mining operation. She has served as an election observer in Indonesia, Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania, and served on the White House-initiated Apparel Industry Partnership, which led to the creation of the Fair Labor Association.

Abi chairs the City of Keene’s Planning Board and served on the Steering Committee for the City’s Master Plan. She also was appointed by NH’s Senate President to serve on the NH State Commission Studying the Feasibility of Public Funding of Elections.

Abi is ABD in Antioch University’s Leadership and Change PhD program. Her dissertation research focuses on facilitating pro-environmental behavior. She holds a M.Sc. in Political Theory from the London School of Economics and Political Science, a B.A. in International Relations from the University of Pennsylvania, and a Permaculture Design Certificate from the Occidental Arts & Ecology Center.

Learn more about Abi’s leadership, research and advocacy:


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