Student Cites Art History Class as a Favorite in “Vanderbilt Hustler” Interview

Robert Schutt, a former student of HART professor Betsey Robinson, is currently a junior, but he’s planning to graduate a year early. He’s the editor of Vanderbilt Orbis, an environmentally-focused student publication. That’s not all, though—he is also a candidate for public office. Even though he is at the minimum age required to run, Schutt is pouring his time and energy into a bid for the 95th District seat (Shelby County) in the Tennessee House of Representatives. He discussed his ambitious attempt to run with Claire Barnett, a writer for The Vanderbilt Hustler, who sat down with him to get to know the person behind the candidate.

“I definitely want to work in environmental law, or consulting, something where I can have an impact on what I’m passionate about—agriculture and the environment,” he said. “My favorite class at Vanderbilt was either History of Western Architecture—art history classes are the best!—or Theories of Culture in Human Nature. I’ve used that knowledge for every other class that I’ve taken.”

In a “Letter from the Editor: November 2016,” Schutt wrote in the Vanderbilt Orbis: “As our university continues to grow, it is imperative that we continue to develop our commitment to sustainability and to recognize the formative impact we can have in the development of our city and our region. We have already pioneered sustainable initiatives as a Southern university, but we cannot stop here. We must always strive to be on the cutting edge of sustainability, and serve as a catalyst for change in the South.”

Likewise his Vanderbilt art history professor is committed to sustainability. Since 1997 Betsey Robinson, Chancellor Faculty Fellow and associate professor of history of art, has conducted research at the Corinth Excavations of the American School of Classical Studies at Athens, focusing on water supply, architecture, and works of art in context. “Humanists and scientists, we are united by research interests in how water bodies and hydrological processes are affected by human activity and, in turn, how changing conditions impact society,” said Robinson. “We explore the power and possibilities of interdisciplinary collaboration across time, around the world, and in diverse fields, from archaeology and art history to sociology and engineering.”

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