News >> Alumuni gather to create the Schumacher Network

Alumuni gather to create the Schumacher Network

Murmuration of birds
Tuesday, 19 December, 2017

FRIENDS from far and wide came together recently to help plan the next stage of the Schumacher Network – the new platform to connect change-makers from across the globe.

From the US (via skype) to Europe and from London to Devon, staff and alumni gathered at the Elmhirst Centre at Dartington Hall to share their experiences and ideas.

Satish Kumar said he felt this was a new chapter in the evolution of Schumacher College which has now been running for over 25 years. “This Network means we have a channel for people to share their experiences and for people to change the world,” he said.  “The seeds that we scattered are now growing into new organisations.”

The aim of the Schumacher Network is to serve as a hub for alumni, friends and like-minded people to connect and collaborate while also promoting ecological and sustainable projects and education on a worldwide stage.

There are currently 45,000 Schumacher College alumni around the world but, if the Network is a success, Satish said there was nothing to stop those thousands from becoming millions and beyond.

Rafaela Sheiffer, an MSc Holistic Science student from 2016 -2017, said she felt the Network could be a way of softening the transition from student to alumni, by retaining the connection.

“I feel very lucky that it’s being launched at the time I finished my masters, so that it might catalyse the process of understanding my current needs, taking action and asking for help,” she said.

“The more I know alumni of the College, the more I understand that it doesn't matter which shape that Schumi's projects take, because they are interconnected.”

Mar Michelle Hausler, an alumnus of MA Economics for Transition, agreed it was a good way of keeping in touch with people who have similar aims and ambitions.  She has helped organised a number of meetings of the Murmurations in Europe, gatherings of former alumni.  She urged fellow former students to follow suit in their countries stressing the most important thing was to make the connection.

“People learn a whole new way of living here and the values that everyone has when they come out of Schumacher, are the things that tie them together.

“We see the need to bring this Worldwide Community together through the Network. It can facilitate this tying together and create this web of support,” she added.

Julie Richardson, who heads up Schumacher Network Worldwide, said the project was still evolving but the possibilities were limitless: “I feel this is people trying to make stuff happen around the world.  This is the future of the college – how to create activities inspired by Schumacher College but rooted in place.”

Addressing attendees at the workshop Satish reflected on how, when he first put forward the idea of a college offering nature-based education around ecology, spirituality and economics, a former Dartington trustee told him the college was doomed to fail.

“I said to him. ‘I think it’s better to start something and to fail than not to do anything,’” he recalled.

That first course was small but popular with 40 people.  Very soon word spread and teachers and students from India, China, Chile and Brazil all began to descend on the small corner of rural Devon.

“Here, it’s a heart connection,” he added.  “People feel a heart connection with our ideas and values. I would like to see Schumacher College become the World’s first Green University.”