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For Alumni, Work Projects Are a Labor of Love

Mac PalmerYELLOW SPRINGS, Ohio – February 10, 2011  The Volunteers for Antioch Maintenance Projects (VAMP) might seem new, but it has Antioch roots that stretch back to the 1950s.

In a report written by VAMP member Jon Baker, E. Macdougall “Mac” Palmer ‘61 recalls his early Antioch College experience, participating in a freshman orientation work project. Those first-year students constructed the Cedar Center in Glen Helen.

Palmer was so struck by this experience that, during the 1985 reunion, he had a “bull session” with other alumni to discuss having a work project as part of the annual Reunion. The next year, 1986, kicked off the first alumni work project, with Rice Hall in Birch repainted, repaired, and patched.

The alumni work project took a new turn, however, after the October 2009 Reunion. It was the first Reunion for an independent Antioch College, and volunteers mainly concentrated on the Library. Alumni and friends repaired ceilings and walls, scrubbed floors, and rewired lights, amongst other tasks.

It became painfully clear during that work project, however, how much maintenance had been deferred by the university. Julian Sharp, the manager of volunteer work, had alumni work on projects around campus in December 2009, the 2010 Reunion, and in November 2010.

It was during this last project—cleaning and painting Pennell’s porch railings and lattice work—that the volunteers had another “bull session,” similar to the one that launched the annual alumni work project. This session led to the Volunteers for Antioch Maintenance Projects (VAMP).

VAMP recruits alumni and friends to work on building maintenance projects on campus. Work is set up on a scheduled basis to aid with trip planning. The VAMP crew first took on turning the old Maples Fire Station garage into a functioning workshop.

The crew, along with the Antioch College facilities staff, found saws, a drill press, welders, and other equipment around campus and moved it to the new workshop. The new workshop features four saws, a drill press, a sander, a welder, a bench grinder, air compressor, and plentiful work tables. It also features lockers for personal tools, as well as the original Maples Fire Department sign.

VAMP seeks volunteers of all skill levels and abilities. Upcoming VAMP projects are scheduled for:

  • February 14-19
  • March 21-26
  • April 18-23
  • May 16-27
  • June 10-17

For information on volunteering with VAMP, contact Julian Sharp at

Reporting by Christian Feuerstein '94

Gariot P. Louima 

Chief Communications Officer
Mobile: 937-581-8201