Nonstop Liberal Arts Institute Now in Session

Sep 16th, 2008

First Week of Classes Receives National Attention

Nonstop classes are now in session in Yellow Springs. After months of hard work and preparation on the part of Nonstop’s supporters, staff and faculty, our students gathered together in locations throughout the community to begin the semester.

Local, regional and national press took notice, with reporting on Nonstop’s start of classes in many US news outlets and the International Herald Tribune through an AP story. The Columbus Dispatch headlined the story, and it featured prominently in the Xenia Daily Gazette. Holly Zachariah of the Columbus Dispatch called Nonstop “a place where the Antioch spirit still thrives. A place where a church sanctuary doubles as a dance studio and a local farm becomes a laboratory for sustainable agriculture. A place where professors convene class in cluttered basements and rented halls while a nearby campus wastes away.”

With almost 40 classes and workshops being taught this semester, faculty are clearly energized and committed despite the challenges they have faced this past year. Many are teaching their favorite classes, and some, like Steve Schwerner, have come back from retirement to participate in the project. Victor Garcia has also returned, and will be teaching Spanish to students within the immersive environment of the Spanish-speaking community of Springfield.

Nonstop has given faculty the opportunity to look through a new lens when designing their courses: community driven, locally relevant education. Professor Jean Gregorek is teaching Visions of Suburbia this term, a class that examines the suburban landscape and phenomenon. Gregorek says, “I’ve tried to shape this course with the interests and needs of the Yellow Springs community in mind, as we go through a new visioning process to plan the future of land use in the village.” By asking questions such as: “Is an environmentally-friendly suburb a contradiction in terms?” and “What is the future of suburbia as land resources and fossil fuels become increasingly limited?”, the class pushes students to think critically about the social arrangement that shapes so many of our lives.

Nonstop has 22 full-time students and more than 50 part-time students for this semester, and ramped-up recruitment efforts for next semester are in full swing. “I just felt like I could help to be one of the students to take a leap of faith in this endeavor,” said Nic Viox, first-year student from Westchester. Faculty are conducting their classes with the same academic rigor and seriousness they demanded at Antioch College. Students must keep detailed educational portfolios so they can request credit from other institutions, hopefully a reopened Antioch College among them. Student Ned Burnell from California said, “I wasn’t sure about it until I got here, but this is more than just the continuation of Antioch.”

Nonstop will allow an open and independent Antioch College to hit the ground running with an experienced and committed faculty and staff and a growing student body. With classes now in session, it is clearer than ever that the faculty, staff, students and supporters of Nonstop can make this endeavor a chapter in the history of Antioch College that we will be proud of. We look forward with great hope to that day!