Princeton senior Henry Barmeier wins Rhodes Scholarship

Henry Barmeier

Henry Barmeier Photo: Denise Applewhite

Princeton senior Henry Barmeier has been awarded a Rhodes Scholarship for graduate study at the University of Oxford.
He is among the 32 American college students who won the prestigious fellowships, which fund two or three years of study in England.

At Oxford, Barmeier plans to continue his study of issues related to sustainable, locally grown organic food, with the goal of devising ways to localize food policymaking and change incentives to encourage conservation of fossil fuel, water and other resources.  

"The U.K. government has articulated a very progressive food policy which looks at food as it affects the environment, the economy and human health," Barmeier said. "I want to study what lessons that policy has to offer the United States."
Barmeier, who is from Saratoga, Calif., is majoring in the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs and pursuing certificates in environmental studies and Spanish. He plans to earn a master's degree in nature, society and environmental policy at Oxford.

At Princeton, Barmeier has served as chairperson of the Greening Dining Committee, which has worked with Dining Services to increase the percentage of food purchased within 200 miles of campus and launched tray-free dining, which reduces utility and food expenses. As a leader of Outdoor Action, which organizes pre-orientation wilderness trips for students, Barmeier spearheaded the addition of organic farming as an outing alternative and led a one-week farm experience for five freshmen in rural New Jersey.

Xenia Morin, a lecturer in the Princeton Environmental Institute and the Princeton Writing Program, taught Barmeier in her freshman writing seminar "The Future of Food."

"He's a tremendously strong student with a deep passion for learning, analysis and inquiry," Morin said. "I predict he will find new ways to create a sustainable and healthy food system for all. The Rhodes will provide him with a new perspective and allow him to add to his investigations about food systems."

Barmeier worked in Rome last summer at the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization on the role of fisheries in the food security strategies of developing countries. He has served as a summer intern at the Washington, D.C.-based Center for Public Integrity, doing research on flaws in the federal advisory committee system. He also has volunteered in Valparaíso, Chile, with the World Wide Opportunities on Organic Farms program and the Hogar de Cristo Men’s Shelter.

At Princeton, Barmeier has served as vice president of Slow Food Princeton, organizing farm visits and lectures and helping to organize an "eat-in" at the spring farmers market to celebrate local, sustainable food. Under the auspices of the Pace Center, he planned and led a one-week service-learning trip to the San Francisco Bay area to study food access in low-income and racially diverse urban areas. He also is a head fellow at the Princeton Writing Center.

A Udall Scholar and member of Phi Beta Kappa, Barmeier won the Shapiro Prize for Academic Excellence in 2007 and 2008. He played roller hockey and ice hockey, and is a long-distance runner, finishing second in his age division in the 2007 New Jersey Marathon.

"Henry is a remarkable young man who possesses an impressive blend of intellect, passion and people skills," said Hugh Price, the John Weinberg/Goldman Sachs Visiting Professor of Public and International Affairs in the Woodrow Wilson School. "The Rhodes Scholarship … will propel him down the path toward a major leadership role in society."

Barmeier was chosen for the Rhodes Scholarship from among 805 applications from 326 colleges and universities nationwide. Winners are selected on the basis of high academic achievement, integrity of character, a spirit of unselfishness, respect for others, potential for leadership and physical vigor.