The vision of Antioch College is to be “the place where new and better ways of living are discovered as a result of meaningful engagement with the world through intentional linkages between classroom and experiential education.” In keeping with this vision of “new and better ways of living”, Antioch College has established itself as a national leader in higher education sustainability. In 2014, the College signed the Real Food Campus Commitment and is currently the second highest Real Food campus in the country, utilizing 56% real food; behind only Sterling College. In 2015, the College became a “neonic-free campus”, one of only three in the United States, committing to the Bee Protective Campaign, as recognized by The Center for Food Safety and Beyond Pesticides. Also in 2015, the College signed the American College and University Presidents Climate Commitment and in 2016 The White House Educator’s Commitment on Resilient Design.
Antioch College is now ready to support the next conversation in new ways of thinking: closing the human nutrient cycle. As water becomes more scarce, droughts become more frequent, and dead zones appear in lakes and oceans due to nutrient run-off, we can no longer afford our current practice of using potable drinking water to flush our waste into treatment facilities and on into rivers and estuaries.
Beth Bridgeman, cooperative education faculty member at Antioch College, has received a $4500 grant from the Yellow Springs Community Foundation for four days of campus and community-wide workshops on advancing the use of human waste as a resource in order to conserve water, prevent pollution, and sustain soil fertility. The workshops will be offered in spring, 2017, led by staff from the Rich Earth Institute, a national change leader in the issue of river and estuary pollution, water scarcity and human waste. Through research, demonstration, and education projects, The Rich Earth Institute illustrates the positive effect of this approach in important areas including water quality, food security, energy use, soil health, economic sustainability, carbon footprint, public health, and emergency preparedness.
Along with their partner institutions University of Michigan and University of Buffalo, they are the recent recipients of a three million dollar grant from the National Science Foundation. The work of the Rich Earth Institute has been featured in National Geographic, NPR’s The Salt, Modern Farmer, and BBC Mundo, as well as in national professional journals such as Water Environment & Technology, Pumper, Planning, and Public Works. Their constituents include scientific research partners, wastewater engineers, environmentalists, and all people concerned with water quality and sustainable agriculture.
They have presented at conferences and symposia throughout New England; at Tufts, MIT, and six other higher education institutions as well as the 2013 New England Water Environment Association, the 2015 & 2016 Northeast Sustainable Energy Association conferences in Boston, and the 2015 WEFTEC conference in Chicago. Their programming at Antioch College will be their first higher education presentation in the Midwest.
Workshops will include the hands-on building of a prototype urine diversion dry composting outhouse to be used by Antioch to train additional local and regional community members and organizations in this “new and better ways” technique. These presentations and workshops are being co-sponsored by the Ethos Center at the University of Dayton School of Engineering. They will take place on the Antioch campus and will be open to the Yellow Springs community, public works officials, area institutes of higher education and interested people and organizations throughout the Miami Valley. Look for details in the coming months.
Jen Ruud ’18 traveled to the Bahamas to be a part of the exciting work taking place at the Forfar Field Station. The Forfar Field Station exists to educate “students from American high schools and colleges to local Bahamians about the environment using the local ecosystems.” In her time at Forfar, Jen wore many hats from facilitating trips around the island and out to sea, to dive lessons in blue holes, and even carpentry, gardening, and cooking! While initially focused on exploring environmental justice issues, through this experience Jen developed a fascination with teaching and learning. “I love seeing the look in a student’s eye the first time they hold a sea star or the smile on their face the first time we go kayaking,” Jen remarks. And while she never imagined it, her love and desire to pursue a career in education grew with each new, transformative student interaction. Learning by doing. “It’s about wanting to learn geology and oceanography because you saw the tongue of the ocean while scuba diving, not learning about it because your professor assigned that reading,” she states. Antioch has provided Jen the ability to learn beyond traditional methods and to truly immerse herself in experiential learning an opportunity she hopes to share with others.
For her third co-op, Alison Easter ’17 did not have to venture too far from Yellow Springs to have a meaningful co-op experience. She joined the team at the Goodwill Art Studio & Gallery in Columbus, Ohio, “which runs an art program for adults with developmental and physical disabilities.” The program empowers adults with disability to express themselves through the medium of art and creativity while also allowing them to be compensated for their work by featuring their artwork in a gallery. Alison worked alongside the participants and studio managers in various ways, from assisting with finishing touches of color on participants artwork pieces, to preparing artwork for sale, and securing the necessary materials for the artwork to be completed –all the while sharing conversations, laughs, and stories with everyone in the studio. Through her co-op, Alison expanded her knowledge of programs available to individuals with disability and left with a new intrigue in discovering “how communities and creativity are so important to one’s concepts of self and feelings of support, especially people with marginalized identities.”
Check out this touching success story of studio participant, Charlotte McGraw, and the positive impact the Goodwill Art Studio & Gallery has had on her life and the lives of those she is reaching through her artwork!
*excerpts taken from Alison Easter’s blog assignment
Photo Credit: https://www.goodwillcolumbus.org/shop/shop-the-art-studio-and-gallery/
Eager for a new challenge and seeking a learning adventure, Melissa Rudie ’17 and Steven Taylor ’17 ventured to Kauai, Hawaii for their third co-op, where they joined the hardworking team at the Makauwahi Cave Reserve. “Visitors come to Hawaii seeking paradise. But the truth is, these islands have become a kind of living hell for nature. The place is a microcosm of the world condition, where the role of humans in transforming nature stands out in high relief.” This quote, taken from the book titled “Back to the Future in the Caves of Kauai” by one of the cave reserve founders, David Burney, clarified for Steven and Melissa the true mission behind their co-op adventure. The Makauwahi Cave Reserve sits on 17 acres of land. The limestone cave, now turned shallow lake, is filled with an abundance of history, preserving “all types of artifacts: human, animal, plant, spores, pollen, and even wood in its oxygen deprived mud.” Thousands of years ago, the introduction of invasive species allowed for foreign plants to kill off the native species, eventually leading to endangerment and ultimately, extinction. The hopes of all those that work at the Makauwahi Cave Reserve is to restore the Cave and its surrounding landscape to its original beauty. Steven and Melissa took an active role in the restoration and conservation efforts. As interns, they wore many hats; days were spent accomplishing a wide variety of tasks, from giving tours educating visitors on the state of the beautiful nature around them, excavating, maintaining hiking trails, and removing invasive species to make room for the planting of native species in an effort to restore the land to its pre-human invasion state. Steven and Melissa were able to witness first hand how discovering things of the past can lead to saving the future. Great work, Steven and Melissa!
*Excerpts taken from Steven and Melissa’s blog assignments
For his third co-op, Keegan Smith-Nichols ’17 finds himself commuting to the quaint town of Wilmington, Ohio for his position at the Peace Resource Center of Wilmington College. He spends his time “working in the archive, which houses the Hiroshima/Nagasaki Memorial Collection and the Barbara Reynolds papers.” Keegan has been “[focused] on three major projects: applying for a grant to preserve a collection of historic 16mm films, organizing the information available about the archive, and writing an independent scholarly research article to eventually be submitted to an academic journal.” Keegan is actively working towards the preservation of history, generating new research material and experiencing first hand what working inside an archive, filled with history, is all about. Way to go, Keegan!
*exerpts taken from Keegan Smith-Nichols’ blog post