Arete builds this education around three central pillars: rigorous engagement with the liberal arts, physical labor undertaken in service of the land and community, and student self-governance over each other and the organization as a whole.
Arete conducts its programs in a human context and on a human scale: in small, close-knit communities and rural, isolated settings; through meaningful relationships between students, faculty, and staff; and through demanding intellectual and physical work on which the community depends.
Arete regards its students as beneficiaries, rather than consumers, of their educations: tuition and administrative expenses are kept to a minimum, and no student is turned away for inability to pay.
Our purpose is to expand upon the educational models pioneered by L.L. Nunn in the early 1900s. Nunn’s organizations were designed to prepare servant leaders, and he structured his programs around three pillars: academics, labor, and self-governance. For the past two summers, the Arete Project has given college-aged women the unique opportunity to intensively engage in these areas during an 8-week summer program, which was held on an organic farm in Sebastopol, CA in 2014, and then, in 2015, on the campus of the Arthur Morgan School near Burnsville, NC. We are excited to announce that Arete will continue to call the Arthur Morgan School home for summer 2016.
What is arete?
The term arete designates the highest human potential, the “best that we can be.” The concept of arete dates back to ancient Greece, and is found throughout the writings of Homer, Plato, Aristotle, and their intellectual descendants. It is often translated as “virtue” or “excellence,” but encompasses much more—in various times and in various places, the term has been associated with bravery, cooperation, justice, loyalty, intelligence, compassion, diligence – while ultimately transcending them all. The Arete Project takes an expansive view of human excellence, balancing together the uniqueness of each student’s potential and the flourishing of the community in which they live.
The Arete Project provides an educational program for college-aged women that emphasizes democratic participation and leadership, sustainability, personal and communal responsibility, and intellectual excellence. It combines a top-tier liberal arts academic programming with a practical education in stewardship and citizenship, supported by the three pillars of academics, labor, and self-governance. All participants will be held to the ground rules: (a) isolation on campus, encouraging introspective and intensive engagement with the community and (b) a strict policy forbidding the use of drugs, tobacco, and alcohol. Apart from these foundational regulations – along with required engagement with the three pillars – the task of self-governance will see all participants active together in creating and maintaining their own polity.