Transitions of March

A Periodic Column by Steve Duffy ’77

When I think of March 2012 on the Antioch College campus, the first word that comes to mind is “transitions.” March 2012 came roaring in with cold weather, but icy winds were quickly forgotten as the familiar faces of the Alumni Board gathered. They brought with them some wonderful warmth and wisdom, as well as the institutional memory of six decades. I saw Glenda Cox May ’82 for the first time in thirty years—but it felt like those years were just a minute! We laughed constantly, and had a wonderful time at the Alumni Board jaunt to the Farm’s new greenhouse.

The tail end of this March is having a spell of distractingly warm weather—right during finals and the conclusion of the first two academic terms! As the season is making its transition, the students are also starting to make their transitions to their first co-op jobs, which as we all know, are the REAL Antioch Adventure. Many will remain local, yet some have their eyes set on New York, San Francisco, Washington, D.C. and the LA area. Every day their stories and fantasies seem to change! I need a co-op bingo card to keep track!

This sort of transition is unique to Antioch College and something we all share. I can hardly wait to hear new co-op tales when the Class of 2015 returns in a season or so. Actually, though, in this virtual era, I wouldn’t be surprised if co-op tales start sprouting up on Facebook status updates! I imagine some things about co-op will be different, but there will also be some universal constants.

During Alumni Board weekend, I sat in on some hot sessions about both community and co-op. There were presentations by Al Denman; Wally Sikes; and Community Life staffers Jennifer Berman ’83, Randle Charles, and Johanna Kohout ’04; and Susan Eklund-Leen, dean and professor of cooperative education. Jennifer updated everyone on the transitioning of community governance structure. There are still bi-weekly Community Meetings (with small groups break out sessions) and Council of Conveners meetings. Jennifer stressed that everyone in each small group has a role in developing this new community. Also, as March comes to an end, there has been a community-wide election of a Governance Task Group. There is plenty of legacy, of course, and trips to Antiochiana and chats with some “elders” are in order, but this new community will inevitably create something that works in this new era.

Eklund-Leen presented a report about co-op job development. Some even fairly local co-ops sound exciting, and in line with being green and sustainable. There are local organic farm jobs, plus a job with a wastewater runoff project in Springfield. There are also daycare jobs in Kettering and a job with the K-12 Art Gallery in Dayton, and much more.

During Alumni Board weekend, several Board members came by to visit the library, such as Allen Spalt ’66, Tanya Mink ’65, Wayne Snively ’63, Joe Foley ’64, and Kim-Jenna Jurriaans ’08. Everyone was pretty amazed at the library’s transition. A combination of volunteer effort and physical plant staff have worked hard to make the library more inviting. Someone told me last night, “Now that the basement is so well lit, I am amazed at how really huge it is!” However, we’re not done yet! Some comfortable furniture and a Joe Cali music room, replete with a possible surround sound theater, moveable furniture and listening stations for music, are all on the drawing board.

Finally, this last week of the second term saw a visit from Ann Filemyr, former professor and dean, to give a poetry reading, sponsored by the Antioch College Writing Institute. The reading was attended by villagers, former professors, alumni, and all sorts of folks who have loved each other, the College, and the village for years. Hugs and laughter filled the room.

Well, if you miss that true community feeling, perhaps you might visit during the spring, or even plan your Reunion trip now. “Transient-mode home” awaits YOU!

Steve Duffy ’77 is a library circulation specialist and special assistant to alumni relations at Antioch College.