Alumni and friends of Antioch College will be pleased to learn that Sam Edwards, Class of 2018, used the opportunity afforded by his Senior Capstone Research Project this year to revitalize C-Shop at Antioch College! A Political Economy major, Sam has blended an interest in public policy with previous experience in food services and management. He spent his last co-op term conducting research on worker-owned businesses. Reflecting on numerous interviews he carried out over the past year, he made the decision to employ an experiential model of research for his Senior Capstone that enabled him to apply what he had learned to the reestablishment of a beloved Antioch institution.
C-shop has existed in various forms for decades. It’s management structure has been handed down from person to person since the College’s independence in 2010. A number of projects have grown out of the efforts of a variety of committed students and presently include Community Meeting coverage, campus events catering, and a new Late-Night service institute last week. Kevin McGruder, Associate Professor of History and an entrepreneur in his own right, provided invaluable advice and assisted with a business plan workshop. Nevertheless, the success of the effort reflects the time and energy that Sam and other dedicated students (Lindsay Browne, Kat Thomas, Ty Clappsaddle, etc.) have dedicated to the business development side of the venture. Sam reports that he has learned a considerable amount by drafting contracts, floating business models, and advancing proposals for financial assistance.
In projects to come, C-shop hopes to be able to offer a stipend for team members, a mobile coffee cart, and eventually even cafe a cafe in the Weston Hall Student Center. To keep the ball rolling, Sam has applied for the Winning Victories Scholarship that provides funding for alumni projects. If successful with that effort, he hopes to cover costs to train individuals in the second level of servsafe, cover costs for equipment upgrades, and work on brand promotion. He hopes to continue this work up to a year after his graduation date.
Interested parties and catering requests can be directed to: email@example.com
Luisa Bieri, a Cooperative Education faculty member, performed and presented at the Inaugural Conference on Community Theater for Social Justice Action on April 27-28, 2018. The event was organized by a group of young POC activists who transformed their campus activism in South Bend, Indiana into a non-profit, InterAction Inc. Their mission “is to activate and advance young people of color and their counter-narratives to build a more just, inclusive, and equitable society” (http://interactioninc.org/).
At the conference, Luisa met keynote speaker Ntozake Shange, renowned playwright and poet, whose groundbreaking Obie Award-winning play, For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf (1976), elevated black women’s voices. Here, Luisa is pictured with Shange and her newest work, a bilingual Spanish/English book of poetry, Wild Beauty.
Luisa presented her new work, a solo performance, called Rites. The piece uncovers the story of her great-great-grandmother, who was institutionalized in the Athens state mental hospital from 1899 until her death 50 years later. Following the performance, Luisa discussed her creative practice to explore methods of performance that address trauma and engage in a process towards inter-generational healing. She will be performing Rites at The Foundry Theater on May 30, 2018, in collaboration with the States of Incarceration exhibit at Antioch College.
During the conference all attendees participated in strategy sessions on “Uprooting Anti-Blackness and Racism” led by InterAction. In partnership with the Civil Rights Heritage Center, Indiana University South Bend Women’s and Gender Studies, and Notre Dame’s Show Some Skin, the conference aimed “to create a space for deep strategizing among experts – community theater-makers, radically inclusive theater-makers in traditional theaters, community organizers, artist activists, and others” (http://interactioninc.org/conference/).
“By all accounts, the conference met and exceeded its goals,” says Luisa. “It was a privilege and honor to present my work amongst such inspiring arts activists, who are organizing in the trenches of their communities to envision and create change. As a white woman, I was inspired by InterAction’s bold and effective anti-racism work and look forward to bringing some of what I learned back to Antioch.”
My Co-op at The Blue Bench sexual assault prevention organization: “Putting an end to sexual assault through prevention and care.” It’s what The Blue Bench has been doing in Denver, CO for over thirty years now. The Blue Bench is the only organization in Denver and the nine surrounding counties doing comprehensive prevention and care for sexual assaults and rape.
Canvassing for The Blue Bench has been an experience and a half. While canvassers are often mistaken for solicitors (we do look scarily similar), what we do at the blue bench is considered a public service. After winning a Supreme Court case back in the day, we are now exempt from certain “no-knock rules” that may impede on our ability to get resources to people who, statistically speaking, can benefit from education on their rights.
As a canvasser, you knock on doors. You hope and pray that someone will answer the door and, if they do, you begin a conversation on a heavy topic that most aren’t expecting to have on any given day–especially not at the door. Clearly and directly communicating what we do and why we’re there are key steps toward a successful conversation. Yes, we’re there at your doorstep to give you resources, and yes were asking for your money for those same programs and resources. Since most of the funding for the programs come from people donating at the door, a canvassers ability to effectively mobilize funds on a daily basis is imperative.
Working at The Blue Bench gives us the opportunity to change the world. You have the opportunity to challenge a stranger’s stereotypes by confronting victim-blaming as it happens on stranger’s doorsteps. On the daily we are activists directly getting involved in difficult dialogues and offering solutions. Our job is to get as many people as possible involved in the issue of sexual assault in whatever way and at whatever level they’re comfortable with.
At least once a day I’ll hear, “Oh, what’s a young girl like you doing walking around in the dark by yourself?! It’s dangerous!” “Doesn’t it seem kind of contradictory to your work for you to be out here?” And on the flip-side, male co-workers have gotten, “Thank god, they sent a man this year!” As if men are exempt from sexual assault and rape. While victim-blaming language can ignite quite a flame of fury, the best way to combat it is by informing people (who are often speaking from a place of good will) that 2/3 of sexual assaults will happen in the home or other place of trust. Most of the time people are surprised to hear how much sexual assault occurs and how rape is so prevalent right under their noses.
In spite of the challenges, this without doubt has been the most rewarding job I have ever had, but it also has been the hardest in terms of emotional labor. This job requires a continuous effort toward learning self-care and how to speak about intimate topics with complete strangers. So here’s to the Blue Benchers who go out and make the world better–one door at a time.
Photo credit: https://thebluebench.org/
I seem to be writing quite a bit of blog posts recently, especially thank to my first co op opportunity. Ive been working as a Digital Archives Coordinator for OHLA (Oral History in the Liberal Arts) an interdisciplinary collaboration project that currently represents seven GLCA-affiliated schools. The project focuses on the wonderful pedagogical perks of digital storytelling and oral histories, as well as the pedagogy of reaching out into the community. All this is meant to help build, engage, and explore in your community as a practice of experiential learning. My role as the digital archives coordinator is to provide digital support to the faculty and staff on the OHLA steering committee, which includes: transcribing, indexing, and help navigating different tools to better solidify the presentation of a project. Coming into this role I had very little experience in digital arching, but given the opportunity I have learned to use many useful tools such as Popup Archive for transcriptions, and Podigee for podcasting. After exploring various tools, such as the two mentioned above, I write about my experience navigating them as well as the work flows that I adopt while utilizing them. Which not only helps me detangle various elements of these tools, but can be used as tutorials and tips for others venturing off into the oral histories, and digital storytelling world. This has also proved to make my co op experience with Brooke Bryan my supervisor very meaningful for me in terms of not only having a chance to have an impact on this project but for me to have educational aspects to my everyday work experience. It also doesn’t hurt to have a supervisor who is so passionate about her work, it makes every little task not matter how tedious exciting because you are reaffirmed constantly that your work, and struggles behind the scenes are well worth it and your contributions are meaningful no matter how small they may seem.