The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences

Rockefeller Leadership Fellow: Alisa White '17

Alisa White '17 is a double major in Environmental Studies and Economics modified with Public Policy. Photo by Phil Son. 

Article Type 

This series introduces the 2016-2017 Rockefeller Leadership Fellows. Each fellow reflects on why he or she wanted to be a part of the program and what aspects of leadership most interests them.

Beyond Dartmouth, leadership can determine whether or not you make it out of the wilderness before dark or destroy a common resource. On my ENVS FSP this fall, we faced both of these situations: the latter while working with a community in rural Namibia. We spent three days in a community conservancy helping pick up trash along their riverbed and fielding community input for a waste management plan. We witnessed how limited leadership and lack of institutions for waste management led to degradation of the natural environment. In RLF, I hope to reflect on my leadership experiences to prepare myself to be a leader in the fields of sustainability and natural resource management.

I am most interested in the leadership qualities of negotiation, delegation, vision, empathy, and communication. Leadership in sustainability and resource management is a balance between inspiring people to protect the environment and being pragmatic by identifying the causes of unsustainable practices and negotiating equitable, sustainable solutions. I began formally reflecting on leadership this past winter in the Management and Leadership Development Program. We discussed negotiation, setting realistic group norms, the balance between leadership and managerial traits, and the importance of effective communication. Through RLF, I hope to focus more on how to collect effective feedback, set norms, and establish group vision as a leader.

Currently, I am the music director of an acapella group, the Dodecaphonics. I have spent hours working with my fellow executives and fielding input from the group about what types of songs we should sing and how we should perform them. In addition to this, I was Eco Croo Captain this past year and worked with the Sustainability Office to coordinate and lead a team of students on a week-long freshman orientation program to engage freshman with sustainability. As Sustainability Coordinator on Trips, I will also be training trip leaders in sustainability and spearheading all waste management on Trips.

Sadhana Hall’s most famous quote, “Leadership is about showing up” has inspired me throughout my time at Dartmouth. I will bring my my passion for sustainability, natural resource management and environmental justice to the table. I relish this opportunity to reflect on strengths as well as ways in which I can improve as a leader.

Alisa White grew up outside of Albany, NY and graduated from Bethlehem Central High School in 2013. At Dartmouth, Alisa is a double major in Environmental Studies and Economics modified with Public Policy. She is currently the Sustainability Coordinator for the Dartmouth Outing Club Trips Program, the music director of her co-ed acapella group, the Dartmouth Dodecaphonics, a Dickey Center Human Development Fellow, and works at the Rockefeller Center as a Student Program Assistant for the Peer Mentoring Program. Alisa has studied natural resource management in South Africa, Namibia and Lesotho through the Environmental Studies department, worked on forest management for a non-profit in Napo, Ecuador, and interned for the U.S Department of Energy. After graduation, Alisa plans to work at a think tank in DC, conduct further research in South Africa or Ecuador, and ultimately pursue a career in environmental or property law.

Edited by Rachel Favors '18, Rockefeller Center Student Program Assistant for Communications


The Nelson A. Rockefeller Center for Public Policy and the Social Sciences