By Christina Milbourne
The year was 1918, exactly one month before the end of what would become known as World War I. Instead of usual Oberlin College life, students and faculty alike worked hard together to help in whatever ways they could to aid the war effort.
Students in the former Oberlin College Women’s League volunteered to entertain the Student Army Training Corps (SATC). The League’s goal was to literally include every member of Oberlin’s student body. Thanks to their efforts, the soldiers enjoyed Sunday dinner in college dining halls and holiday parties. Holiday greeting cards as well as issues of The Review were also sent to soldiers overseas.
Aside from helping Oberlin student soldiers, a committee was also organized to aid French soldiers by writing weekly letters in French and sending Christmas packages. In 1917, the Women’s League also aided a small group of French orphans in the hopes that with goodwill and education, the newer generation will someday be able to rebuild France after the war.
The head of Oberlin’s Slavic Department (now defunct), Louis Miskovsky, was granted leave from the college during the tail end of the war to help direct the policy of the former Czecho-Slovakia in the United States, working closely alongside their president-to-be, Tomas G. Masaryk.
The lesson to be learned from these Obies of the past is this: while Oberlin may pride itself on being a community of progressive, politically conscious students, our knowledge, passion, and compassion are useless if we continue to use it on ourselves and our school. To really make a difference we must reach out and see what the world needs us to do for it. Branch out from Oberlin, OH and help the rest of the country, help the rest of the world.