It will take a village…

Apr 3rd, 2008

By Diane Chiddister, Yellow Springs News — read the original editorial here.

Throughout its history Yellow Springs has faced its challenges with activist strategies and creative solutions, from developing local script in the Great Depression to raising the money to buy Whitehall Farm. Nonstop Antioch — the new effort of Antioch College faculty, students and alumni to keep the college going even after the university closes it down — fits squarely into this proud legacy.

Let’s be clear: Nonstop Antioch is not anyone’s preferred way to save Antioch College. Operating a college with an actual campus is far easier than operating a college without one, and many college supporters cling to a slim hope that the Antioch University trustees and the Antioch College Continuation Corporation might still strike a deal. But if the university does shut the college down in June, then Nonstop Antioch plans to continue, just without buildings and land.

These faculty and students plan to continue because they believe the heart of Antioch is the experience of engaging with knowledge and with each other, and if they can’t engage in a classroom, then they’ll do so at the Emporium, or a local church, or perhaps in a park. They also believe that Antioch College — with its mix of academic excellence, shared governance and real-life work — offers a learning model not duplicated anywhere else, and that this model must live on.

It’s astonishing that these Antioch College faculty members, after fighting valiantly this past year to keep their beloved college alive, still have the energy to launch something new. Make no mistake: this effort takes work. But these folks are throwing themselves into this challenge, turning their back on the greater security of a new job at a college with an actual campus, in order to keep Antioch College alive. They deserve our gratitude.

And they deserve our support. Nonstop Antioch needs Yellow Springs: it needs families to house students, businesses to offer young people jobs, and interested learners to take classes. It needs contributions of money and time. And villagers will get something big in return: an opportunity to be a part of this challenging endeavor, to strengthen the bonds between college and town, to bring young people into our lives, to stretch ourselves in new ways — and perhaps to make history.

Like its namesake, Nonstop Antioch is scrappy, determined and audacious. It reflects the best of Antioch College, a place that produces people who just won’t give up, who believe they can change the world. Nonstop Antioch gives us the opportunity to keep our college and to keep its faculty — our valued neighbors and friends — here at home.