Do you remember when Donald Rumsfeld infamously invoked “unknown unknowns,” the things we “do not know we don’t know,” to link the Iraqi government with weapons of mass destruction? Well, that always made about as much sense to me as a pile of kittens until it was quoted by Dr. John Ehrenfeld, commencement speaker at the Marlboro College Graduate and Professional Studies graduation last weekend. It was the sixteenth commencement for the graduate program and an auspicious venue for Dr. Ehrenfeld, renowned industrial ecologist, retired MIT professor, and beloved professor of sustainability at Marlboro for five years.
According to Dr. E, author of the new book Flourish: A Frank Conversation about Sustainability, our man Rumsfeld’s unknown unknowns are the difference between “complicated” systems and “complex” systems. He argued that conflating these two kinds of systems is one of the challenges facing global sustainability, and that the Marlboro graduates assembled that day were uniquely equipped to know the difference. I would argue that Dr. E’s probably right, because many of them had taken his Exploring Sustainability courses at Marlboro.
Not only was this commencement notable because it was the 16th and because John Ehrenfeld is awesome and because it is the first year for graduates from the Master of Arts in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages program. It was also the commencement of two students who had also received their bachelor’s degree from Marlboro. We call these students participants in the dual degree program, also known by me as “can’t get enough of a good thing.” Sarah Scheff ’11 (pictured right) received her Master of Science in Management: Mission Driven Organizations and Jonathan Wood ’12 received his Master of Arts in Teaching: Social Justice. Now that’s what I call a “knowing knowing.”
What could possibly make you feel more warm and fuzzy than a warm and fuzzy hoodie sweatshirt with “Marlboro College” emblazoned right on it? If you ever stopped playing foosball in the campus center long enough to wander into the Marlboro College Bookstore, you know that there is much more than books in there. Bodacious Becky Bartlett ’79 keeps the bookstore stocked with art supplies and cards and stamps and Snickers bars and Post-its and breath mints and paper clips and temporary tattoos and pretty much everything a student in the wilds of Vermont would need on a whim. She also has a couple books, of course, but the real highlight, and this is why I mention it, is the stylish selection of clothing and accessories available.
I mean, what better way to keep Marlboro close to your heart than to have it physically printed on or near that vitally sentimental organ? These trendy garments look smart with plaid flannel shirts, ripped jeans, and either Sorel boots or bare feet, but are versatile enough to wear with your finest linen suit. You could even mix and match them so you could have Marlboro College emblazoned on nearly every part of your body, so there is no mistaking your abiding loyalty.
Thanks to the modern miracle of online shopping, these quasi-fashionable items are even available to alumni and other friends too far away to swing by for a game of foosball. Seriously, you could be wearing a voguishly classic wool ski hat (right) to your next executive staff meeting, or a Vermont-woods-chic T-shirt to your favorite urban block-party. You could really turn some heads at your next Yankees game with your Marlboro College officially ironic baseball jersey. Water bottles, travel mugs, decals, postcards, bumper stickers, you could have all this and more (did I mention water bottles?) faster than you can say “add to cart” (my middle name). Just don’t ask Becky to send you a Snickers bar, because I tried that already. You can visit the Marlboro Bookstore online or visit the modern miracle of facebook for the latest bookstore news.