The Marlboro Record

Butler grants support study of social issues

Established in 2008, the Arthur D Butler Fund supports Marlboro juniors and seniors whose Plans of Concentration include the study of poverty and social policy in the United States or abroad. The fund was initiated by former trustee Ann Helwege, mother of Simon Moody ’10, to honor her professor of economics and professional mentor at the State University of New York at Buffalo. Arthur Butler served on the faculty for 40 years and was a leading scholar in the field of labor economics, publishing widely on his research conducted in Europe, Africa and Asia.

“Art had studied economics after the Great Depression and believed that policies were needed to soften the impact of market instability on ordinary people,” said Ann, whose intellectual path was stirred by Art’s example. “He gave me something magical as a mentor—encouragement—and these grants are a way of passing along his encouragement on the path to social justice.

“My son Simon has enjoyed kindness, close working relationships, and the respect of faculty and peers at Marlboro,” said Ann. “When it’s at its best, Marlboro offers the same experience that I had in working with Art.”

Defining restorative justice

Last year, junior Kelly Ahrens spent three months in Washington, D.C., working with incarcerated clients at a defense attorney’s office. This summer, with support from a Butler grant, she built on this experience with an internship at the Brattleboro Community Justice Center, working with reentering offenders. “In some cases the participant has no job or no money, and part of my job is to help him transition out of possible poverty and into having a stable income,” said Kelly, whose Plan of Concentration will be a study of U.S. restorative justice programs. “This internship directly relates to social policy issues I will raise in my Plan about how these programs are run.”

Probing local mill history

Spinners at the Fort Dummer Mill, early 1950’s. Courtesy of the Brattleboro Historical Society.In the first half of the 20th century, the textile industry in New England relocated to the South, where labor was cheaper. Senior Paige Lynn Martin is exploring the impact of this “capital mobility” on local communities, using as a case study the former Fort Dummer Mill, which produced fine cloth in Brattleboro until 1955. “I am analyzing how that capital mobility affected specific people, governmental policy changes and union strategy,” said Paige. Her Butler grant allowed Paige to conduct research at the historical society in Adams, Massachusetts, where the companies that owned Fort Dummer Mill were located, as well as the Vermont State Historical Society in Montpelier.

Aron grants go the distance

Grants from the endowment of the Jerome I. Aron Fund helped support two international trips by faculty members and students conducting collaborative research. In March, six students joined biology professor Jaime Tanner and political science professor Lynette Rummel on a trip to Kenya. There they conducted research on African mammals, especially spotted hyenas, and spent time with the Maasai, one of Kenya’s ethnic groups, and learned about the culture of these traditionally nomadic pastoralists (see Summer 2010 Potash Hill, page 7). Also in March, Mike Harrist ’10 traveled with religion professor Amer Latif to Turkey, where they learned about Sufi musical practices. They observed and listened to Zhikir and Sema ceremonies, and interviewed teachers and musicians, enlivening each of their understandings of Sufi traditions (see Summer 2010 Potash Hill, page 11). The Aron endowment was created in 2004 in memory of Marlboro’s dear friend and trustee, Jerry Aron, to promote rich collaborations such as these. 

Endowed Scholarships

Each year scholarships funded by generous donors recognize the unique gifts that students bring to the Marlboro College community. For a list of scholarships awarded for the 2009-2010 academic year, as well as profiles of some of the awardees, go to Scholarships at Marlboro.