Social life at Kenyon sucks. It's intense, cliquey, catty, and isolated - worse than high school or middle school. Kids are very active and friendly, but the party scene is boring after two months because of lack of options. There are weekends when there nothing going on, which I thought was the opposite of college, though you could drink seven nights a week. Average is going out three. I met all of my closest friends freshman year through parties, hanging out, dorms, etc. You just have to get out of town at least once a semester, and if you don't have a car, I feel bad for you. Living in Amish country is quaint, but after a while, you want more. Looking at percentages is deceiving: fraternities are very important on campus, but there is no real alternative for girls (a few local sororities without much presence due to housing inequivalent to the boys'). For a relatively Greek school, the party scene leaves a lot to be desired, and everyone is thankful when they are 21 and can finally go to the two bars in town. Dating scene? Dating doesn't exist at colleges where everyone already knows each other, unless you're already sleeping together. If I'm awake at 2 am on a Tuesday, I'm probably walking home from the library or hanging out in someone's room watching tv or a movie or talking. I'm probably asleep. I'm not sure what events there are on Saturday nights for non-partiers (I DO have friends that go out and don't drink), but there are some groups that have like pajama party movie-viewing things. I've never been. Outside of the party scene, lectures and a capela concerts are well attended. Sports games are sometimes - depends on the weather and the team (boys soccer does alright, no one watches football). Apparently we have a great swim team? Some fun traditions are the Halloween party, Philander's Phling (all school semi-formal), and Summer Sendoff (big all-day party and concert in the Spring). I go off campus around once a week to eat dinner, shop, run errands, see a movie, and try to keep my sanity.
One group I'm a part of is the Archon Society. We're techinically a co-ed fraternity, but we only became greek recently. Our main focus is community service. I was big into community service in high school and I think it's something everyone should do, which is why I've joined. It's got just under 100 active members, which is good and bad. Good because we get more service done and there are more people to meet, but bad because we're in a greek system with only other small frats/sororities, so we get treated like a small frat, which we're not. The people I know in Archons are really fun, and our officers are for the most part really organized and good as melding the social and service aspects of the frat together. The dating scene on campus is really weird. People either just hook up or are seriously dating. Casual dating is virtually non-existent on campus. Kenyon brings a lot of great speakers/events to campus. This year we've had Margaret Atwood, Christopher Guest, Jamie Lee Curtis, and more come. In the spring, the school also brings in a band for Summer Sendoff. There are also other musical groups coming in and out throughout the year. I think the social committee realizes how isolated Kenyon is, and so tries to bring in the speakers, bands, etc. that we would have been more exposed to if we were in a big city. I think it's great, and I've enjoyed every speaker I've seen.
ARchons, a comunity service group, has the most members of any group on campus. I am a part of the Sailing club which was just started and with each group you jin it gives you a new group of people to meet and be friends with. Students are very into speakers at Kenyon. Often, if they are popular and well advertised, the entire auditorium will be filled. Dating can be intense at Kenyon because it is so small. Most people have hooked up with the same people by the time you graduate. I met my closest friends through my freshman hall, sailing club, ultimate frisbee, and my sorority. If I am awake at 2am I usually drive into McDonalds with my friends because I am most likely pulling an all nighter and they start serving breakfast at 2am. Phling which is a formal is anual, Halloween in Old Kenyon, and the Shock Your Mom event. Frats and teams are pretty influential because they hold all of the large parties on campus but you do not feel pressured to join one. Last weekend I went to a formal for my guy friend, a concert, a cowboys and indians party, and a mo-town band presentation that my friends are part of. Off campus you can drive into Columbus or Easton shopping center which is 45 min away.
Some sports are popular, like swimming and basketball, but not much else. Anything involved with the visual and performing arts is really huge. Fraternities are popular here as well since they throw all the parties every weekend. Partying is the biggest activity on the weekends and on Wednesday nights. Drinking is huge here. Most people don't seriously date; they tend to hook up with one person frequently (aka "Kenyon dating"). Every year, there's a school dance called Phling, and if both the men's and women's swim teams win the national championship, there's another school dance as well called "Shock Your Mama." You can guess what happens there. Last weekend, I played Twilight Imperium with my friends for thirteen hours. It was pretty sweet. Off campus, most people either go home, visit friends at other schools, and go into Mount Vernon and Columbus to shop and eat.
The swim team is sick. 29 consecutive national championships or something like that. There definitely isn't a jock culture on campus, but sporting event are pretty well attended none the less. Plays, musical performances and lectures draw large audiences too. Students are not overly concerned about there safety. Most dorm room doors are left unlocked despite please from the administration. The college currently does not have any swipe card systems for entrance to forms or the dining halls, but the administration is trying to change that despite heavy student resistance. The frats exist, they through good parties on the weekends, but most students don't pledge. Most students go out on only Friday and Saturday nights.
My friends lived on my hall Freshman year. I did not get along with my roomate so I spent a lot of my time in their rooms. All eight of us found a way to room in the same hall the next year and now we share a suite together. At Kenyon you will make life long friendships. At the end of each school year, we have an all day event called Summer Send-Off. DUring the morning and afternoon, activities are held on Ransom Lawn for the members of our community (face painting, jupiter jump, sand art balloons, etc.) Towards the evening, various schoolbands plays. It culminates in the performance of a famous band. (Student do tend to drink all day and night on this event.)
I do not know what the most popular groups are - there are a lot of things to choose from, if you have the time. There are varsity, intramural, and club sports, volunteer opportunities, study groups, academic discussion groups, political activist groups, anti-drug/alcohol groups, greek life events, and more. i have never needed to look far for something to do. Social Board, as well as some other clubs, arrange trips off campus (movie nights, skiing, rock climbing, etc.), so every weekend there is something for students to do that does not involve partying. There are plenty of opportunities to party, as well, if that is what you are interested in.
Paryting happens every Wednesday, Friday and Saturday nights and that is about all there is to do at that time. There isn't much to do in Gambier besides party. For some people this is the biggest problem about coming to Kenyon. You can just hang out though if you don't party and chill with people, or go partying and not drink. Guest speakers are fairly common and there is usually at least one a week. Some big events that happen yearly are in no particular order: Summer Send Off, Shock Your Mamma, Phling, First Year Sing, Founder's Day. Frats and Sorority's are not that big on campus, though they do exist.
I've heard the dating scene can be awkward, mainly because it's a small campus and word travels fast, but many people do date here at Kenyon. Those who choose to party most often do so 2-3 times a week (Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday). For those like myself, who aren't into that sorta thing, you can always find people who just want to chill and play games or have a movie night. Most people don't leave campus on a regular basis, but some take the shuttle into Mt. Vernon (the neighboring town) on $2 movie nights or take a trip to Walmart. Most of the fun takes place on campus, though.
The performing arts are big on campus, and intremurals are getting bigger. Students rarely leave their dorms open, suggesting that they are usually sleeping or sitting alonw doing work. At 2am on a Tuesday, I would be finishing homework and studying for an upcoming exam. People party on the weekends, and some party on Wednesday nights, but about 1/3 of the campus (at least) doesn't bother going out on any night. The dating scene is completely stereotypical: you're either hooking up or married, and there is no other option.