March 6, 2003
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Diversions abound on empty campus—
Antioch students bond over break

While many college students spend their spring breaks on the beach or skiing, Antioch students, didn’t flock with the masses to traditional spring break hot spots like Daytona Beach, or South Padre Island, Texas, during last week’s break. Instead they traveled to destinations such as Maine, Chicago, New York City, the mountains of Eastern Tennessee –– not exactly hot spots considering the severity of this winter’s weather.

Many students bucked tradition all together and stayed on campus.

In fact, the biggest gathering of Antioch students during the break was probably the group that didn’t go anywhere. About 40 students –– mostly older students who claimed to be working on their senior projects — stayed behind, choosing a practically empty campus over crowded airports and mile-long beer lines at the beach.

Fourth-year student Molly Wazniak said that while most people who stayed did so to study, very little work actually got done. “I’m sure everyone wanted to study, but the atmosphere on campus was too relaxed, too leisurely. I was lucky my work took me off campus during the day so I could get something done,” she said.

Many students who stayed pointed out that while they often fell short of their academic goals for break, they found a variety of ways to keep themselves busy.

Fifth-year student “Dr.” Noah C. Zuss said that the campus was peaceful and provided a good opportunity to relax and talk with people he doesn’t normally see every day. Fourth-year student Alex Needham and second-year student Brendan Franklin said that they gave up work in favor of one of America’s most popular diversions, video games. “I tried to get work done in this alcohol-ridden den of debauchery, but that wasn’t happening, so I beat ‘Dead to Rights’ instead,” Needham said.

Franklin agreed. “Without a doubt the highlight of the week was when we finished ‘Dead to Rights.’ The last guy had flaming fists. It was awesome,” he said.

Another fourth-year, Ross Thomas, battled through a serious illness to party in the empty dorms during the beak. “I got walking pneumonia,” Thomas said, “Then I got stupid drunk like I was a member of the Kennedy family.”

Not all of the students who stayed were drinking or playing video games. Fourth-years Matt Penfield and Justin Price said that they were quite pleased with the progress they made on their senior projects. Penfield said he spent upwards of five hours a day editing his video documentary, and Price estimated that he spent over a dozen hours “editing, shooting, lamenting and doing post production” on his film.

“It was as boring as Utah here this week. What else were we going to do? We had to work,” Penfield said.

The students who left campus actually seemed to get more work done than those who stayed. Fifth-year Greg Day went to Maine to read newspaper editorials for his senior project in political science. “It was cold, but I spent about 13 hours a day in the library at the University of Maine, so I got a lot done. It was a very productive week,” Day said.

Sara Diamond and Kya Kim were two of six students who traveled to Chicago to sharpen their activist skills. The group attended the first ever national conference of the Campus Anti-war Network. The conference hosted delegates from more than 100 schools and focused on spreading the antiwar message to college and university students across the country.

Other students who left had less productive breaks but enjoyed their time away from campus nonetheless. A former editorial intern at the News, Mike Hogan Jr., spent his break arguing with Germans in Santiago, Chile. Two unidentified students smuggled over 10 gallons of moonshine from Eastern Tennessee to Columbus. Community Government officials Shalini Deo and Brandy Ellis partied down in Las Vegas.

All in all, it was just another break at Antioch. No fires, no deaths or major injuries. Mischief abounding in every direction, but no major catastrophies to speak of.

Before retiring for the night last Sunday, Wazniak put the break in perspective: “Sure it’s not as wild as some colleges’ breaks, but anything can happen. For those of us that stay, one thing that happens is we build a bond with people we may not have gotten the chance to know as well.”

—Brian Loudon