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Forum examines town and gown

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Last Friday night at the Corretta Scott King Center for Cultural and Intellectual Freedom, about 75 college and village representatives came together to talk about the strength that could be created by fostering positive relations between the village and Antioch College. Many reminisced about the history of such a partnership, while others talked about new ideas to rekindle a “marriage” or a “dance” in which both the college and the village are able to thrive individually and together through their relationship with one another.

Jill Becker, former professor of dance at the college, shared ideas such as forming a chamber of ideas, much like a think tank to build on the village-college theme. She also suggested meal cards that students could use in village businesses, opening college classes to local seniors and high school students, connecting students with village families, and inviting the college community to use the village as a social and political laboratory by getting involved in local issues. Doug Hinkley added that the college could consider appointing a villager as a trustee, and advertise the village as a part of the Antioch College experience and a way to participate in and witness “how a democracy actually works.”

Tony Dallas, villager and alumnus, recalled that Arthur Morgan’s original intent was to create a community first, and then the college “fell in his lap.” What grew from there was a collaborative Shakespeare festival and a lively theater community, which could be revived in an even bigger way today by connecting the local community to all the universities in the area.

College board member David Goodman agreed, suggesting that Morgan’s thesis that community and learning were one could be manifested now by practicing progressive and socially responsible agriculture, energy, health and governance systems in the local community.

Louise Smith, former theater professor, urged the college and village not to limit the ways in which a deep town-gown unity could be expressed. She raised the idea of using the book The Lore of the Local as a model. Former college faculty member Dimi Reber encouraged a leadership structure for the village and the college, which could each benefit by planning the future together.

A video of the entire forum can be found at under Online Media.


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