Alumni Teach-in Brings Swagger Back to Campus

Last Friday evening a small group of community members kicked off a weekend of events geared to inform and share skills to engage students in current efforts surrounding the revival of Antioch College. Starting with “A Brief History of the Revival,” in McGregor 113, visiting alums Rowan Kaiser ’05, Tim Noble’02, and Beth Gutilius ’00 shared their experiences since the closing announcement in June. Yellow Springs resident and alumna Judy Wohlert-Maldonado, and Media Arts faculty member Chris Hill completed the panel providing a broad overview of the national and local organizing efforts that were sparked by the infamous Alumni reunion three months ago.

“That weekend was by far the most incredible Antioch experience I’ve ever had,” recounted Tim Noble who at Reunion had worked with around 15 former and current Community Managers to draft a preliminary strategy. “People got themselves into the place they could be most effective. They broke out into separate sessions and actually came back to present back to the community.”

“This whole effort is the product of an Antioch education. The fact that there weren’t students on campus during reunion showed us how far things had slid in the last few years.”

Wohlert-Maldonado, is part of a group of concerned Yellow Springs residents and reiterated Noble’s sentiments. “It’s exciting to see students back. Now we can all work together – students were the missing piece.”

Chris Hill said of this summer’s reunion weekend, “It proved the Antioch Education works. It was an incredible shot in the arm for those of us on the ground.”

After a brief question and answer session, which included some discussion on the possibility of a student lawsuit, the assembled community members screened Kristin Irvin‘s 1992 senior project film The Spirit of ’73 , followed by a short video of selected student graduation speeches from the last decade. Irvin’s documentary explores the 1973 student strike often blamed for the college’s financial hardships.
Saturday’s skill-share workshops focused on what current students can do to get involved in the efforts to prevent Antioch College from closing next summer. In addition to getting a full overview of relevant websites for organizing, students learned the basics of streaming audio, ways to fit diversity into consensus in Dan Schumacher’s workshop, “The Politics of Regard.” For those who did attend this weekend’s events, it was an incredibly enriching experience. Rowan Kaiser recently moved to Yellow springs because of the revival and will make the forming of alumni connections to campus his full-time job. “I think it was energizing for both students and alumni and I’d like to get alums here as many weekends as possible.”