Second-year student Ralph Bray has been announced as the recipient of the Randall Mathis Scholarship from the Arkansas Environmental Federation.
The scholarship is presented in honor of Randall Mathis of Arkadelphia, Ark., the former longtime director of the Arkansas Department of Environmental Quality.
Bray, who is pursuing a concurrent Master of Business Administration through the University of Arkansas Sam M. Walton College of Business, was raised in Arkansas and earned his undergraduate degree from UAF, but has lived in four different countries and traveled to 25 countries in total. His experiences domestic and abroad have helped to shape his views on the environment and concern for the consequences of climate change for his home state.
“While abroad I have seen how pollution and climate change affects the disenfranchised the most,” Bray said. “I have lived in the overwhelming smog of Beijing and have endured climate fires every summer while living in Portland. Additionally, while living in Mexico and Spain I have seen how the water crisis is getting worse. Every year the state of the environment deteriorates more and more. These are cautionary examples of what I do not want to happen, especially in my home state of Arkansas. I want Arkansas to help combat this deterioration in the environment, be an environmental example to states in the south, and earn an additional revenue stream while doing it.”
One of the reasons that Bray, a graduate of Little Rock Central High School, decided to pursue the concurrent MPS-MBA program is to bridge the gap between environmentalism and for-profit business.
“I want to help communities and businesses break out of the linear economy which is for corporations to use raw materials and turn that into a product,” Bray said. “Then consumers buy that product only to dispose of it in a landfill. Raw materials and landfills are finite and this practice is not sustainable. At the Clinton School, I was able to learn how to do scholarly research and develop a program targeted toward environmentalism with the City (of Little Rock).”
Through his MBA program at the Walton College of Business, Bray hopes to learn more about supply chains and help businesses rethink how they package and create products.
Bray was recently tapped to work with the People, Planet, and Profit Consultancy Project (P4), a student-run consulting group with Arkansas Global Changemakers. P4 helps corporations become more environmentally friendly to then become B-Corp certified. Bray’s research is focused on helping more companies become B-Corp certified and conducting best-practices research for P4’s current clients.
“This scholarship will help me not worry about the financial burden of school and allow me to focus on what is important, the state of the environment and connecting that with business.”
The Clinton School Speaker Series not only enhances the education of Clinton School students, but also provides a venue for the public to engage in intellectual discussions on the issues of the day.