Category Archives: Antioch Events

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:


Regional Transition Gathering @ AUNE A Success

TRG 3-15-14 Lg Grp #1The March 15 New England Transition Gathering had a special focus on exploring the potential of region-wide collaborations promoting community resilience. It was also a remarkable success. Thanks for this outcome go to the 62 folks who came from six states, Sarah Byrnes and the other members of the planning committee, the sponsoring organizations, and the hosting efforts of Transition Keene Advocates and Antioch University New England’s environmental studies program in Advocacy for Social Justice and Sustainability. Special thanks go to Dakota Butterfield, the day’s able facilitator, and Stephen Jones, AUNE’s President, who welcomed everyone to Antioch with opening remarks about the shared values of Antioch University and the international Transition movement.

TRG 3-15-14 Sarah & FoodGiven the Transition movement’s deep commitment to local and regional food systems, extra special super thanks go to Sarah Harpster, TKA board member, Gleaning Coordinator for the Keene Community Kitchen, and a graduate of AUNE’s Advocacy program. Sarah lovingly planned, cooked, and served an amazing and wholesome breakfast and lunch to the gathering participants. At lunch, Sarah thanked the team of Antioch students and TKA board members who helped her, along with several local organizations that helped out, including the Keene Community Kitchen, the Monadnock Food Coop, Stonewall Farm CSA, Orchard Hill Breadworks, and Brewbaker’s Cafe. Sarah also announced that all contributions beyond food costs would be donated to the Keene Community Kitchen, which meets the immediate needs of local community members suffering food insecurity.

TRG 3-15-14 AgendaSo what did the gathering participants do besides eat great food? The morning started with creative introductions, an artful grounding in New England history by Jennifer Atlee and Dan Jones, and a very reflective visioning exercise. For the rest of the morning, participants discussed what turned out to be a strongly supported Gathering Concept Paper on why region-wide Transition collaborations could be a helpful supplement to all of our local community efforts. Over lunch, people also met in self-organized interest groups, which included a discussion of time banks led by Linda Hogan of hOurworld Cooperative and a discussion with Pamela Boyce Simms about of the newly formed regional structure of the Mid-Atlantic Transition movement.

TRG 3-15-14 Steve Sm GrpIn the afternoon, participants broke into small groups to “workshop” nine action ideas proposed by different attenders. These action ideas included creating a “Whole New England Catalog” of regionally produced goods and services, organizing a New England energy transition planning process, and promoting an annual fruit and nut tree planting effort throughout New England.

Transition Research NetworkInspired by the work of the UK-based Transition Research Network, Steve Chase, a co-founder of Transition Keene Advocates and the director of AUNE’s environmental studies masters program in Advocacy for Social Justice and Sustainability, convened a workshop session that actually formed an exploratory committee of academics (from Antioch, Tufts, Keene State, SIT, and Goddard), local resilience organizers, and the executive director of the New England Grassroots Environmental Fund. Their goal is to lay the foundations for the formation of a New England network of college and university faculty and students supporting the Transition movement through community-based research, student internships, and various service learning and civic engagement projects. Some participants in the discussion also wanted to explore the possibility of setting up a similar network for highschool and middle school teachers!

SAR-poster-imageAnother lively afternoon workshop session was convened by Josh Arnold and focused on promoting the Sustain-A-Raisers “Starter Kit” throughout the region. Developed by the NH-based, grassroots organization Global Awareness Local Action (GALA), the “Starter Kit” includes volunteer recruitment strategies, press release templates, a list of needed materials and tools, step-by-step construction guides, talking points and training curriculum, branding support, and an online orientation to help local community organizers engage their constituents in a people-powered sustainable home and yard makeover movement.

Achieving Sustainability Book CoverGiven that some gathering attendants were new to the Transition movement, a short introductory handout written by Steve Chase was included in each participant’s packet. This piece was from the just released two-volume encyclopedia Achieving Sustainability: Visions, Principles, and Practices, edited by Debra Rowe and published by Macmillan. To check the article out, click here: Transition Towns Movement.

The organizational sponsors of this festive regional conversation on region-wide resilience efforts were Transition Portland & the Resilience Hub, Somerville Climate Action, Global Awareness Local Action, Transition Montpelier, Transition Newburyport, Jamaica Plain New Economy Transition, and Transition Keene Advocates.

Antioch University New England’s environmental studies master’s program in Advocacy for Social Justice and Sustainability was thrilled to be an active part of making this energetic gathering happen… and succeed!

Coming In May: A Local Solutions Climate Conference

Local Solutions: Northeast Climate Change Preparedness Conference

Key Partners

Antioch University New England
United States Environmental Protection Agency

Register Now!

$$ Grants Available for Municipal Reps – Apply HERE!

 May 19-21, 2014

The Center of New Hampshire at the Radisson Hotel, Manchester, NH

Antioch University New England and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Regions 1 and 2 are hosting a regional conference for local planners, decision-makers and educators to understand how to create healthy resilient communities that are better prepared to handle severe weather and climate impacts.

Days 1 & 2

The first two days of the conference are about Building Resilient Communities. The program will inform community planners, decision makers and those responsible for implementing change at the local level how best to identify current and future vulnerabilities, followed by adaptive responses to build resilient communities.

Day 3

The third day, the Educators Summit, will inform middle and high school teachers how to design community-based, problem-solving curriculum that will teach students how best to support municipal officials preparing for impacts from a changing climate.

Both days, in targeting these two different audiences, will focus upon how to:

  • Conduct vulnerability assessments
  • Protect natural and societal mechanisms that maintain resilience
  • Frame and create plans that allow a community to adapt
  • Build community support to implement adaptive responses
  • Effectively use the government in responding to climate change
  • Network with schools, community planners and regional leaders working toward solving similar problems

Each portion includes exhibits, workshops, presentations, and keynote speakers. Attendees may register for any combination of eventsStay connected with us to learn about conference updates and updated details on this website.

Learn more:

Keynote Speakers

Gina McCarthy
Gina McCarthy
Administrator, U.S. EPA

Cameron Wake
Dr. Cameron Wake
Climate Scientist,
Author – Northeast
Climate Assessment

Bill McKibben
Dr. Bill McKibben
Author, Educator,

David Sobel
David Sobel
Author, Educator,
Faculty, Education Dept.,
Antioch University

Supported By

NNECAPA The Bay and Paul Foundations NCSE
NE Resource Recovery Operation DEC-NY trout-unlimited
nature-conservancy hypertherm HealthTrust
Rockingham-Planning-Commisssion geosyntec security-sustainability-forum
Institute for Sustainable Communities NH Department of Environmental Services American Association of Adaptation Professionals
NH charitable foundation logo National Wildlife Federation Con-Energy-Env
Great Bay national Estuarine Research City of Keene New Hampshire Climate Solutions New England
 Vermont League of Cities & Towns

LES Local Energy SolutionsIs your community also looking for help with energy?
Learn more about the 6th Annual Local Energy Solutions Conference – April 12th, 2014, Tilton, NH

Regional Transition Movement Meeting @ AUNE

On March 15, Steve Chase, the founding director of Antioch University New England’s environmental studies master’s program in Advocacy for Social Justice and Sustainability, will welcome fellow ‘Transitioneers’ and Resilience-Builders from around New England to the AUNE campus in Keene, NH. The focus? To discuss the resilience of New England as a whole. The discussion will be much richer with you present, and we hope you will consider joining us. Register here.

Regional Gathering JP2The day will allow for a lot of open-ended discussion, so that we can consider open and important questions, such as:

  • Why are we focusing on region-wide resilience?
  • What are the key dimensions of region-wide resilience?
  • Is New England the right region to consider?

A team has drafted a short Concept Paper about region-wide resilience to jump start this conversation. It is offered in the spirit of provoking reflection and as a springboard for further discussion, and we look forward to your reactions. Please read, download and add comments about the Concept Paper here.

We will also spend time “workshopping” potential action ideas that are percolating among this network. These are ideas that would invite involvement from the region as a whole, and/or, would have a regional impact. If you have an idea, we want to hear about it. Please respond to this email and let us know. (Steve Chase will be facilitating a discussion on the possible creation of a New England College and University Transition Movement Support Network.)

Read more, see the agenda, and register here.

Event Details:

Join the Conversation About Region-Wide Resilience
Saturday, March 15, 2014
10am – 4:30pm
Registration at 9:30
Coffee, light breakfast, and lunch provided; Donations will be requested to help defray costs

Antioch University
40 Avon Street
Keene, NH
In-home hospitality is available on a first come, first served basis

Register here!

This regional gathering is being organized by Transition Portland & the Resilience Hub, Somerville Climate Action, Global Awareness Local Action, Transition Montpelier, Transition Newburyport, Jamaica Plain New Economy Transition, and Transition Keene Advocates.

TEDx Viewing Party on “Changing The Way We Eat” @ AUNE

Saturday, March 1, 10:30am – 6:30pm in the Community Room at Antioch University New England in Keene, New Hampshire

Join us for a FREE live webcast of the sold-out TEDxManhattan: Changing the Way We Eat Event held in New York City.  Food and farming leaders from around the nation will share their insights and expertise on sustainable food movement issues, impacts and innovations. View more event details. Lunch and Snacks Provided – Please RSVP.

TEDxManhattan speakers include:

  • Tom Colicchio: Chef/Owner, Craft Restaurants; Head Judge, “Top Chef” – Tom appeared in A Place at the Table, Participant Media’s documentary about food insecurity in America.
  • Nikki Henderson: Executive Director, The People’s Grocery – Nikki runs a non-profit organization working to improve the health and economy of the West Oakland community.
  • Michael Rozyne: Executive Director, Red Tomato – Michael directs a non-profit produce ‘food hub’ based in Plainville, MA.
  • David Binkle: Director of Food Services, Los Angeles Unified School District – David oversees a program that provides over 650,000 meals daily by a team of 4,000 employee.

View a full list of speakers.

Co-Hosted By:
Antioch University New England Advocacy Program
Monadnock Farm & Community Coalition
Monadnock Food Co-op