On the off chance that you don’t know who Robert Little ’15 is, here’s a hint: he’s the guy with the orange bike and orange bow tie. The bike he picked up from Craigslist; the bow ties he started wearing when he was a Congressional intern as a bright-colored protest against the conforming cravatted uniform he saw everywhere in DC. He kept wearing them at Pitzer in celebration of the opposite ethos.
“If you can drum to your own beat, it’s a lot more rewarding,” he says. “Pitzer is one of the few oases that lets you explore what that means for you.”
Robert’s beat has taken him to Ghana to work on clean water access, to Costa Rica to study rainforest ecology, and soon it will take him to South Korea on a Fulbright as an English teaching assistant. On campus, he wears many hats as well as many ties (well, maybe not quite as many—he subscribes to “the Netflix of bow ties” so he can swap out his neckwear weekly). He’s been an admission fellow, an RA, a Green Bike Program manager, an intermural sports coordinator and career services mentor, to name a few Pitzer-related roles.
Originally from the Bay Area, Robert planned to study business and history at Pitzer. But in his first semester, he took two classes that changed the course of his coursework: one on natural history with Professor Melinda Herrold-Menzies and one on sociology’s world view with Professor Phil Zuckerman changed everything. He graduated on May 16 with a double major in environmental analysis and sociology.
Robert would like to take a break after graduation, but it’s hard to see when he’ll have time for time off. He and Lauren Phipps ’15 are the first Pitzer students to receive a $10,000 Davis Projects for Peace award, which they will use to create a community-owned, women-run solar project in rural Ghana this summer. He also won a Coro Fellowship in Public Affairs to go along with the Fulbright and Davis awards (a feat that professor and Fulbright adviser Nigel Boyle called “a hat trick”).
Ultimately, Robert plans to get graduate degrees in business and environmental management so he can help the world see both the moral imperative as well as the financial incentive in going green (or a nice, drought-friendly tawny).
Robert says he chose Pitzer because it had “more flavor” than other colleges. The flavor was distinctive, like an orange bow tie, but hard to define—and that was part of its appeal.
“I got to season it myself,” he says. “The best educational formula is the one that you create.”