Letter: With new focus, SVC can rise from ashes
To the Editor:
I recently read in the Chronicle of Higher Education about a firm that is making money hand over fist selling the innards of colleges that are closing. The company commented that it has other clients in the pipeline. At first the article made me painfully aware, yet again, of the demise of SVC. I pictured the Mansion's insides being sold. I know they have been inventoried. Sad really. And as many of you know, my view is it never had to come to this.
All this raises three questions/issues for me that are seemingly unrelated but tied together when seen contextually. Think phoenixes.
First, SVC has some remarkable art and fixtures. Might the donors of art want their art back, or at least the option to repurchase their art? There are Hannocks and Benjamins among others. Also, separately, I know GoFundMe donors want their money back — the GoFundMe dollars to save SVC.
Second, were SVC ever to reopen (think St. Joe's and its new vision), perhaps it could purchase what it needs from this liquidating business? Sort of like swapping but not.
Third, SVC wouldn't necessarily need to restart in the same building. It could restart in Hunter Hall or some other location, starting small. It could use the Gate House and Hunter and the gym. The old dorms could be razed and the land used for planting some lucrative crop (say hemp).
Bottom line, I still see a future for a new SVC, filled with vision and creativity and bold ideas and deep engagement within the community and state. Selling furniture isn't the end. Nope. It creates opportunity for different furniture! If you don't believe, it will never even happen.
The writer is a former president of Southern Vermont College.
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