By Eva Erickson
It’s the beginning of round two for the Nonstop Liberal Arts Institute, and the Nonsters are back and ready to fight. They come in all different shapes, sizes, and styles including self-proclaimed: smelly nonster (1st year Rose Pelzl ), hermit nonster (2nd year Stacy Wood-Burgess), awkward, yet joyous nonster (2nd year Ashley McNeely), an artsy-fartsy/party nonster (3rd year Shea Witzberger), and even a stick-to-your-ribs nonster (8th year Jonny No). Team Nonster has lost a few teammates since last semester, but has gained many former Antioch students and returnees from Antioch Education Abroad in Europe and Mali, and even a few fresh faces.
Katie Connolly, one of about three totally new students to Nonstop, came here from Chicago after attending three years at Northeastern, and decided she wanted to be in a smaller college with a stronger sense of community and more personal connection between the faculty and students. She’s also interested in learning how to make documentaries and couldn’t pass up the opportunity to make one with Anne Bohlen in the “Toxic Tours” co-op. She learned about Antioch through her older sister, Kelly Connolly, who graduated in 2003 and is currently involved with the Chicago Alumni chapter. She also wants to learn the history of Antioch College’s transformation to Nonstop.
Other students, like Shea Witzberger, have returned from their study abroad semester, hers in particular was in Mali, West Africa (for more detail see [Dennie Eagleson’s interview]). Before she arrived at Nonstop, she was keeping in touch with some of her Antioch friends, so she had a pretty good idea about what Nonstop would be like, but “I was impressed when I got here by how lively and impassioned people are. And also, I was impressed by the breadth of classes available. I was not expecting there to be so many.”
There were in fact, about 60 classes originally offered, but many were cancelled due to lack of attendance. Of the classes still remaining, some of the popular ones include: Queer Animals (using Queer Theory to explore the limit between humans and animals), Introduction to Post-Structural Thought (Philosophy), New Continental Feminist Theory, and Palestine in Fiction and on the Ground.
Ashley McNeely, a math and post-structuralism major, is looking forward to Queer Animals in particular “because I’ve always been interested in how our culture views animals … and how I can change that.” Although there are no math classes currently available, Ashley’s relationship with Antioch is decidedly monogamous. “We’re married,” she says frankly. The reason for this is that no other institution would accept her as she is like Antioch does; both Antioch College and Nonstop are almost universally accepting and supportive of queer people. When asked if she’ll stay at Nonstop or in Yellow Springs, she replied, “If there’s work to be done, I’m here.” Otherwise, she’ll “probably go somewhere else, have a horrible semester, and then come back.”