A periodic column
by Steve Duffy ‘77
September 23, 2011 – On campus and in the Olive Kettering Library, we certainly are getting all our ducts in a row (ha!). It is the library’s turn for some serious renovation. Workers are cleaning of its ventilation system and have installed some new and well-appointed carpeting that nicely coordinates with Antioch’s school colors of crimson and charcoal.
The almost sixty-year-old circulation desk has also disappeared, and we are waiting for some new furniture. The lobby area now seems de-cluttered, light, and airy. Upon seeing the new open space, Bob Fogarty, editor of The Antioch Review, said it almost felt as large as a soccer field, and that if anyone could get the ball to go perfectly between the stacks they could have the “goal.”
After we removed the old circulation desk, we found a student ID from 1972-73 and an Antioch College playing card, a two of clubs, with a 1950s-style architect’s drawing of the student union on the flip side. One wonders where the other 51 or so Antioch playing cards might be or what game was being played at the circulation desk. Was it solitaire B.C. (before computers)? I wonder how long that card had been stuck way down in that crevice. The student in the ID is a long-haired 18 year old who, I imagine, is now a mellowed 57 or 58. Ah, furniture moving and each stage of renovation seems to provide fun archeological finds from seasons past.
In what felt like a trial run of things to come, we had our first Community Meeting of the term. And, this time, there was a student present, an early arrival who came to town with her mother to work on the Work Project. We gathered in Herndon Gallery for this meeting, but I imagine the arrival of students will take us back to McGregor 113, the room where, over the decades, oh so many Community Meetings were held.
This Community Meeting started with recognition for the facilities staff and volunteers. Faithful volunteers present in the meeting were Tom LaMers’68 and Evelyn LaMers ’69, Megan Trolander, and Roger Husbands ’64, a team that hasdone so much to beautify McGregor Hall, Pennell House, and Birch Hall. Roger has also rewired many of the lighting fixtures in the library.
This Community Meeting contained anticipation, hope, joy, and jitters. President Mark Roosevelt and Louise Smith ’77, dean of community life, spoke about hopes for creating a community where one would find love, kindness, mutual respect, high standards, and compassion. Louise, a former theater professor, described the moment as something like the night before a show opens. I felt like launching into “Another Opening, Another Show” from Kiss Me, Kate!
Professors Lew Trelawny-Cassity and David Kammler gave us a preview of the first Global Seminar, GS 110 Water, which members of the community are invited to attend, and Louise and Jennifer Berman ’83 provided us with a run-down of Orientation activities. The village of Yellow Springs and its businesses were extending various forms of hospitality. There will be rounds of potlucks and various merchants are putting out the welcome mat to new students in the form of various coupons for everything from ice-cream cones to movie tickets.
During Orientation, students will discuss a common read text, Blessed Unrest by Peter Hawken. The book is about sustainability and was the recommendation of John Knox ’68, executive director of the Earth Island Institute. (By the way, my freshman read was Art of Loving by Eric Fromm—well, that was the summer of love.)
There was an abundance of laughter, so there are signs that we are already putting some joy into these early building blocks of community.
Lots of excitement and evolution here, and later in the season lots of almanacs will be perused as well, in Geneva Gano’s Literature & Science course. Keep any and all of your almanacs handy—no telling what you might learn, and have some fun while you do it.
So, curtains up! Light the lights! We’ve got nothing to hit but Antiochian heights!
Steve Duffy ‘77 is a library circulation specialist and special assistant to alumni relations at Antioch College.