The Antioch Campus and the Yellow Springs Community both have had almost simultaneous recent celebratory moments. (On the very same day; a most busy village!)
The College just had Commencement 2021 and the Village had a huge Pride Day with a parade with all sorts of floats and a sea of people lining Xenia Avenue for blocks. One imagines that many regionals came to Yellow Springs because it is a somewhat quirky, but open-minded (for the most part) and safe space. If you were to walk through downtown YSOH you might see a veritable sea of rainbow (some including trans colors) flags. And just to be a wee bit extra diverse, the new huge downtown Mills Park Hotel also has been displaying red, white and blue bunting on its verandas that overlook Xenia venue, a great place for people watching (well it was the 4th of July!). And countless Black Live Matters signs are in windows and lawns all over the village. A great village for 18-22 year olds to enjoy when not in class. It takes a village…
In a way, downtown YS is like an extended rec room for the College. Perhaps because of decades of town-gown connection, YS has an embedded DNA that is very collectively Antiochian. And, yes, many grads live here!
However, now—unlike decades ago—YS is perhaps more colorful in many ways as it has become a much-desired bedroom community for the folks who work around the I-675 corridor—a freeway loop completed around 1985.
In addition to Ye Olde Trail Tavern, there are now many places to get good food, good coffee, and good drink (even microbreweries). Definitely a great thing for foodies, but harder for renters and home prices. Perhaps if you come to next year’s in-person Reunion (tentatively slated for July) you might find your way to one of these tasty places if you are an explorer. The Emporium—which sells great coffees, snacks, and spirits—has a store window with all local and college events. You would think you were in Berkeley or Cambridge. There are tables inside and one table is like the Village’s “Algonquin Table” with many holding high court on Saturday mornings.
Campus is not totally quiet as perhaps two and a half dozen students are working over summer break in white and blue collar jobs to help staff get everything tied up into a nice bow before the next entering class arrives in late August. It reminds me somewhat of the student work crew that happened in the early ’80s, but now includes good food as the campus chefs prepare farm-to-table cuisine for them. Back then it was mostly Ha Ha Pizza and dinner on your own.
Faculty and staff will come out of COVID exile on August 2 and we will see what kind of new “normal” develops. Although our normal was never everyone else’s conception of normal.
There is also a summer block course called “Ecological Gardenscapes”. It will be taught by Amanda Knaul ’00, a talented master gardener who has recently worked with Homefull in Dayton to get the marginalized and the homeless into healthy eating and more. The professor has previously been an adjunct in Anthropology and even taught a course “The Anthropology of Tourism.” Perhaps that fieldwork included downtown visits on the weekends when YS gets invaded by tourists and many of the locals stay home after the noon hour. Here is this summer’s course:
This course introduces the methods of design and installation of ecological “gardenscapes” using the Antioch College campus as a living laboratory. We will explore the principles of ecological gardening, that is, how to achieve beautiful, more sustainable gardens well-suited for the local eco-niche. Students will develop practical skills including how to complete a site evaluation, preparation of a plant list, a simple drawing (optional hand drawn graphics), and a plan for installation. Special attention will be given toward incorporating native plants and enhancing local wildlife habitat while ensuring a pleasing aesthetic. Students will keep journals, learn 12 “plants of the week,” and design their own hypothetical garden bed for Antioch College. During the course, participants will actually install a small garden for the college and learn what it takes to maintain such a space.
However, there are some locals who do hang out after noon on Saturdays, and they are the steadfast Quakers and Shakers who continue the peace work that included many stalwart locals like Bill Houston and Hazel Tulecke. You can see and hear them on the corner of Xenia Avenue and Limestone Street! So a walk through the village for an off campus snack can include passing by demonstrations for peace, pride, or Black Lives Matter… and art and intellect abound. You just walk into it! And it seeps into you!
This week the first two presidential candidates—out of a potential pool of fifty—came for interviews. I was only able to catch one via a Google-hangout but feel that we might be in great hands if the one I saw likes us.
When pondering the question: What does one-plus-one equal? She said, “Two. Perhaps”. And she expounded on that. That made me think of YSOH. Or Co-op and the classroom. One-plus-one in this case has an indefinite sum.
Some of this, and the sum of that.
Perhaps you might think about saving the date for next year’s in-person Reunion once it gets totally nailed down. Or, perhaps you will do like many… find yourself passing through on a summer sojourn. One of the joys of having 2,400 Antiochian Facebook friends is seeing people’s pics when they post them. I saw one album on FB today—it totally nailed everything I see when I venture downtown. They also included a separate Glen Hike album… how Green a place called Yellow Springs can be!
It wouldn’t be a “Grazing” if this Buffalo didn’t take you all around. Here is something that might make you laugh or wonder. A number of years ago we had a visiting faculty in poetry. One of the class exercises was to find a section in the library you liked and look at the titles (although they say you can’t judge a book by its cover, or spine). The idea was to make a poem of sorts, a haiku from the spines or a sentence with the titles all connected! The one that follows is from the PR’s and PS’s in the basement, British and American literature.
Whether it is this year’s virtual Antioch-tober Reunion, the redeveloping in-person Volunteer Work Project, the next entering class, a new president, or next year’s in-person Reunion… maybe we all should say, “What happens next” (I leave whatever the punctuation mark is at the end to you). And, as always, stay in touch via firstname.lastname@example.org, and Chapter events (virtual, and in-person ones as they re-materialize as we head toward some new “normal”… one that will be our own).
“A Buffalo Grazing” is a regular feature by alum Steven Duffy ’77, known to many as the Buffalo or simply Duffy.