The Homies Come Home: Every five years Homesteaders make their way back to campus to see how the living experiment is coming along.
The Homestead has been around for 35 years. That’s 35 years of “Homies” out there milling about and taking the lessons learned at the Homestead into the world with them. Lessons likehow to cultivate an indoor garden in a Midwestern winter, how to construct a cabin with environmentally friendly materials, and how to live a life of self reliance. In May, more than 200 alumni met up at the Homestead to remember their college days and to make it better for the students living there now. True to their nature, the Homies—past and present—got to work, painting, constructing, and planting. They cooked together, ate together, and played together. (There are a couple of homemade seesaws on the property, after all.)
For current Homestead residents Ryan Culligan ’14 and Juan Pablo Sarmiento Torres ’13, the weekend was about capturing 35 years-worth of memories. In the months leading up to that spring weekend, Culligan, Kyle Plummer ’12, and Henry Jochem ’12 worked with humanities librarian Josh Finnell, to create a digital archive of the Homestead by scanning the photographs (up to 2,000 of them) and documents (which included the original formation documents and a noise citation) that lived in binders and boxes on the property. When the Homies showed up in May, Culligan brought photos, and the graduates helped him identify the faces of folks who came before him. Sarmiento Torres spent the weekend capturing oral histories and video from the group. The students’ work was part of the Denison University Digital Resource Project, funded by a Next Generation Libraries grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. To see the photos, the videos, even that noise citation, visit drc.denison.edu.