New HQ for Nonstop Institute

Feb 2nd, 2009

By Aaron Keith Harris, Xenia Gazette — read the original article here.

YELLOW SPRINGS — The Nonstop Liberal Arts Institute, formed as a reaction to the closing of Antioch College last June, began its second semester of classes this week, but with a new headquarters.

Nestled into the Millworks complex at 305 N. Walnut St., the new administrative space is still being put together under the direction of Michael Casselli, a theater designer, sculptor, builder and Antioch College alumnus.

Casselli said part of the challenge is to make the former manufacturing space “a warm, welcoming space for students, faculty and staff.”

Another challenge is to construct the space in an environmentally sustainable way, which is why Casselli and crew have used solar tubes for lighting, recycled lumber and other building materials and used heat from the computer server to keep part of the building warm.

The space, which will also feature movable walls, is scheduled to be finished in time for an open house Feb. 6. Most of the institutes courses will continue to meet in churches, businesses and homes throughout the village.

With about 25 full- and part-time students and another 50 or so who are slated to take one course, the institute is trying to reach out to Yellow Springs and beyond.

“We have really set out to integrate learning with the community in a more direct way than we could at Antioch College,” said Chris Hill, a member of the institute’s executive collective and former Antioch College faculty member.

Hill is not alone, as most of the institute’s faculty and staff formerly worked at the college. Most of the institute’s budget comes from Antioch alumni in the form of cash or donated equipment and services.

Hill added that, even though the institute is not yet accredited, students could likely transfer their credits to another university or a resurrected Antioch College.

Kathryn Hitchcock, of Yellow Springs, came to the under-construction headquarters Thursday afternoon to register for a class called “Gentle Movement for Seasoned Bodies.”

“I wanted to increase my flexibility and I thought it would be fun to do it through dance rather than an exercise course,” Hitchcock said.

Of those responsible for the Nonstop Institute, Hitchcock said, “These are the gutsiest people I have seen in a long time. The alumni are spending their money wisely.”