Update From Chris Hill to Alumni Chapters

Aug 17th, 2008

Why Support Nonstop Now

Greetings to you all from the Nonstop faculty and staff, working through the summer on preparations for Nonstop Liberal Arts Institute in Yellow Springs, with classes starting September 4.

We’ve recently rented a modest and friendly house at 113 E. Davis St. near the Yellow Springs Public Library that is now the Nonstop headquarters. Our landlord Eric Clark, whose father worked for the Big Olive for many years, answered our posted request for spaces, and we are pleased to have found such a welcoming home. Come visit us when you’re in Yellow Springs. Just this week we have been joined by staff that includes very knowledgeable Main Building administrative personnel along with inspiring folks from student services, and clever, dedicated alums working with IT and student recruitment. We will continue to update you on our curriculum, events, and organizational progress.

Beyond the news brief, I want to take this opportunity to examine more broadly what we, the Executive Collective and former Antioch College faculty, hope to accomplish through the Nonstop Liberal Arts Institute this coming year, and how Nonstop can actively contribute to the timely and vital return of Antioch College. After a traumatic year for all of us here in Yellow Springs–those of us formerly employed by the College as well as Yellow Springs villagers–we remain committed to the revitalization of the College and understand that such a goal will require ongoing and creative efforts on multiple fronts. Over this past year faculty, students, staff, alums, and villagers have collaborated on many projects–informational, litigation, direct action, pedagogical, negotiations, fundraising, networking–and we see the next year requiring renewed efforts as we work not only to secure the College’s independence and accreditation (probably through sanctuary with another college) but also to keep the educational project that is inspired by Antioch College alive, tangible, and accessible.

Nonstop seeks to build on these relationships and projects of the last year by creatively focusing coursework where possible on local issues while articulating global implications and contexts. At a time when the village of Yellow Springs is specifically taking on economic development planning, issues of sustainability, culture and community, and social entrepreneurship will be explored in Nonstop classes through lenses offered by social sciences, sciences, and humanities. Nonstop Presents!, a rich schedule of visiting academics, artists and mediamakers, will invigorate the coursework, encourage the participation of visiting alums, and invite broad participation by people in YS and the Miami Valley. We expect Nonstop students, both the traditional 18-22 year old cohort and others of all ages attending part- or full-time, along with faculty and audiences for Nonstop Presents!, to be challenged by this experiment in situated learning.

Nonstop is supported through the generosity of the College Revival Fund and alumni at all levels of giving, and we are grateful to be able to parlay this support into educational opportunities and visibility for evolving conditions surrounding the struggle to renew the College. Clearly the faculty and community members see Nonstop as maintaining the pedagogical foundation of an Antioch education. We are also optimistic that Nonstop will provide the sustained visibility upon which future students will find their way to a revitalized Antioch College. Whether potential 18-22 year old students take classes at Nonstop or encounter it throughout this coming year through the regional press, contact with alumni chapter events, or through the healthy buzz that we expect to be able to circulate in progressive education circles, a provocative and active Nonstop Liberal Arts Institute will facilitate the attraction of new students for an accredited independent Antioch College in the near future. While we can’t predict tuition pricing in the future, the rule of thumb offered by a respected financial planner at the College was that in the past approximately 50 students equaled $1 million of earned revenue. To the extent that Nonstop will draw potential future students to its classes, events and website, we understand Nonstop to be a concrete investment in the future independent Antioch College. Nonstop in the coming year will not only be an important educational experiment, relocating the former Antioch College community in the village, but also a visible and provocative educational resource in the region, keeping a living, evolving Antioch-inspired community alive and engaged with both current AND future students. Our website is in the process of being launched (nonstopinstitute.org), and soon Nonstop’s web presence will be rich and informative, with program schedules, community news, and video documentation of NonstopPresents! events.

Nonstop Liberal Arts Institute is alive, our faculty, staff and community are creating an absorbing educational experience for a diverse student body, and people in the Miami Valley and beyond will be reading and hearing about Nonstop throughout the next year. Your support for Nonstop will help to sustain this project over the next year–nurturing a living, breathing educational experiment that resists the unjustified closure and abandonment of Antioch College, and amplifying the spirit and tenacity of Antioch College alumni, former College faculty, staff, students and YS villagers.

In solidarity,

Chris Hill Nonstop Executive Collective