Cutler’s Passions for Outdoor Pursuits and Sustainability Shape Career at Andover

Mark Cutler, Instructor in Spanish, is always ready to take a leap of trust into students’ outstretched arms in Outdoor Pursuits, but he took a very different kind of dive when he plunged into piles of trash on Non Sibi Day this year. For Non Sibi Day, Cutler led the students of Fuess House, where he serves as a house counselor, to participate in a campus-wide waste audit. The students, fully dressed in white Hazmat suits, followed Cutler and dove into the garbage dumpsters throughout campus, sorting through trash and evaluating campus recycling. This Non Sibi Day project was one of many sustainability projects that Cutler has initiated since joining the Andover community in 2003. Another sustainability project that Cutler established at Andover was turning Fuess House as a pilot “green” themed dorm last year. “Sustainability is where I started my niche beyond my formal duties at Andover, and I feel like I am able to make a bigger difference on campus when it comes to sustainability,” said Cutler. Cutler is the current Head of the Sustainable Project Committee, which overlooks trash and recycling policies throughout campus. “We are looking for ways to integrate sustainability into residential life and school curriculum, and it is exciting for me to take part in the school’s efforts to go green and become more environmentally aware as a community,” said Cutler. The committee hopes to improve recycling policies in dorms, provide input to infrastructural changes on campus and build awareness through courses on sustainability. In addition, the committee will also pilot school sustainability self-assessments throughout the year to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses of Andover’s policies on trash and recycling. Brandon Mancilla ’12, a student in Fuess House, said, “Mr. Cutler has been a great role model for all of us in Fuess not only as a house counselor but also as sustainability leader. We have learned so much about the importance of recycling and being sustainable, and I really appreciate his efforts to raise our awareness.” “Compared to other schools, we are doing a good job keeping up our green policies, and I look forward to doing more for the community,” said Cutler. Aside from his sustainability projects and his formal duty as an Instructor in Spanish, Cutler also enjoys working with students in the Outdoor Pursuits program, a program he has led for seven years. Cutler said, “I have always been a big fan of outdoor activities like hiking and camping, and serving as the director of the Outdoor Pursuits program has been one of the most memorable experiences I’ve had at Andover.” In the Outdoor Pursuits program, formerly called Search-and-Rescue, students participate in numerous outdoor activities including hiking, camping, canoeing, and rock climbing. The program is offered all three terms to students as an athletic option. “I think the Outdoor Pursuits program is great because its activities like the ropes courses are designed to build confidence and to allow students to push their limits and find their inner strength. The program also promotes a relaxing and enjoyable environment for students,” said Cutler. “It’s not like classroom teaching where there is a barrier between teachers and students due to grades. At Outdoor Pursuits, all of these barriers from pressure or grade are broken down, and I really want students to enjoy this fun, stress-free environment,” said Cutler. “Another great thing about Outdoor Pursuits is the people. I usually end up working with the students involved in Outdoor Pursuits in many other ways outside of the program, and it is very gratifying to get to know them in multidimensional ways. I hope to see more students taking part in the program” he said. In addition to his work as an Instructor in Spanish and his involvement in sustainability projects and Outdoor Pursuits, Cutler also served on the board of the Community Service Advisory Board and the Advisory Committee to the Head of School at Andover. “Andover is such a great place to develop oneself, and I would love to be one of those teachers who make a career and retire here. I have really enjoyed my time here at Andover, and I look forward to raising my family in this close-knit community,” said Cutler.