What would it take?
Shelby Chestnut ’05
As the youngest Alumni Board member by at least a decade, I can attest to today’s Antioch being very similar to the college I attended. Some notable differences are much nicer physical facilities and students wear much skinnier jeans than when I attended. But for the most part, we have a group of students who, much like my generation, want to and are winning victories for humanity.
This year, 2015, marks a decade since I graduated my beloved Antioch College. Like many of you, Antioch still occupies a very special place in my heart and life’s work. There isn’t a day that my Antioch education and organizing doesn’t inform my work as the director of community organizing and public advocacy at the New York City Anti-Violence Project, working on a local, state and national level to advance the rights of LGBTQ survivors of violence, and ensure a world in which they live free of violence.
I think what informs me the most is the way that Antioch has never taken the easy road, ever. I attended Antioch during some of the most difficult financial times in the College’s history. And I’ve been engaged as an alumna during the heartbreaking closure and beautiful re-opening. There is something a little crazy and amazing about a college with a history of financial difficulty re-opening its doors during one of this country’s most catastrophic economic declines, but we did it and are doing it well.
I could write a book on those who were damaged and deeply affected by the closure. It’s true a lot of people got hurt in those years, especially students, staff and faculty who were at the College when it was closed. I could also write a book on the leadership, organizing and dedication thousands of people gave to the long re-opening campaign. Antioch College would not be alive if not for former faculty, staff, students, alumni and donors. It stays alive now because of a broader Antioch College community engaged like never before, some of whom are old friends and many of whom are new faces.
We know that paid staff and volunteers on the Board of Trustees and Alumni Board are doing all they can to raise the funds and bring in the resources required to keep the College thriving and firmly on the path to full accreditation, but in order for our alma mater to be a vibrant institution breaking new ground and leading the way—once again—in liberal arts education, we all need to do our part.
What can you give to the future generations of Antiochians? In addition to your financial support, have you given your time during Volunteer Work Project or by supporting a student on co-op? Ever thought about sharing your expertise as a mentor or guest lecturer? Attending Reunion, connecting with students and faculty, or reconnecting with friends keeps the College strong.
What would it take for you to come back and give your support to this generation’s Antioch College?
Shelby Chestnut ’05
Alumni Board member