Gallatin School of Individualized Study
Bachelor of Arts, May 2010
Concentration: Environmental Policy and Human Rights
Kate Fritz's individualized course of study at Gallatin integrated Environmental Policy, Political Theory, and China Studies. She is particularly interested in the complex interplay between social justice, health, environmental movements, and social innovation. Her work centers on the recognition that environmental destruction disproportionately burdens poor people and minority communities in China and the United States.
Kate was inspired from childhood by 1960's icon and Woodstock emcee Wavy Gravy at Camp Winnarainbow in northern California. In addition to teaching circus skills like juggling, trapeze, and stilt walking, Camp Winnarainbow strove to create a safe environment for children and stood as a microcosm of a just society with an emphasis on non-violent conflict resolution. The camp's clown philosophy has been a guiding force in her life. As part of her mission to clown for change, In December 2007, Kate traveled to Peru with Gesundheit! Institute as a clown ambassador to the Amazonian community of Belen near Iquitos. There she clowned for hospitals, hospices, and safe houses and taught circus skills to local children. The devastating environmental conditions in the community she visited strengthened her commitment to environmental justice.
In Spring 2009, Kate studied with the School of International Training (SIT) in Yunnan Province, China. In addition to studying Chinese, she researched China's nascent national park system, and the complex balance of conservation and development in relation to China's burgeoning civil society. The experience helped shape her career goal of building cross-sector relationships between business, government, and academic leaders in both the United States and China to facilitate technology transfer, research, and political dialogue towards climate neutrality.
After graduation, Kate plans to pursue an interdisciplinary research project that charts the connections between mountaintop removal mining in her native West Virginia and Appalachia's folk music tradition. Afterward, she plans to move to Beijing to live her dream of learning to speak fluent Chinese and working in US/China social innovation. Kate is a proud 2009 Morris K. Udall Foundation Scholar.