I like the campus a lot. It is very open and pretty, especially South campus. The athletic center is very good - it has a range of things to do and it's still new, so all the facilities are state-of-the-art. I like the size - I don't know everyone who goes here; it's always nice to meet new people who happen to be acquainted with friends or people who are completely outside your circle. Fortunately, the small campus gives Kenyon a more community feel - there are less cliques and more openness than at my high school, which had about 700 more people crowded into a smaller space. I think I would change the administration. Although I do not know them very well (or perhaps because I don't), I find it hard to connect and agree with things that they do. I do not feel respected by the President of Kenyon and some of the Deans. People Nugent has hired seem to view college students as young children. I feel a huge disconnect between the administration and the students. I also feel like there is some disconnect between the staff and the administration. This does not create an aura of trust. Kenyon may have problems accepting change, but this is not necessarily a bad thing - the administration, however, seems to think it is. Any project they want to initiate that the students do not is blamed on our inability to change, even if the students have a legitimate argument. For example, the administration has felt pressure from parents to put in swipe cards to get into the dorms and possibly the academic buildings. They claim that it is for our safety; it could prevent bomb threats and incidents like Virginia Tech (VT had swipe cards, however). Obviously, swipe cards are not going to prevent bombs or bomb threats. Kenyon residents hold doors open for other people, which could give someone with a bomb access. Swipe cards are definitely not going to protect students from bombs placed outside the building, either. The moral here is that if someone wants to gain access to a building for good or ill, they will. Swipe cards are easily stolen, lost, or bypassed. This is logic, not inability to accept change. -the swipe card issue may be more about liability than anything else. If something does happen, Kenyon leaves itself vulnerable to attack if it does not have swipe cards. This is a logical reason, even if the people who attack are not being logical. If the administration would just admit this, I think Kenyon students would be less annoyed. At the moment, we feel lied to and belittled. Overall, I do not think Kenyon students are happy with the administration. We believe they are taking Kenyon to a place we don't want to go - we want to remain unique, but it is hard when the charm of Kenyon is being wiped out by modern-style buildings, conservatism, and an era of mistrust. However, I may be a little annoyed because the tuition is so high, which I (perhaps mistakenly) blame on the administration. If I am on campus, I usually am in an academic building or one of the study lounges. I also like to go to the garden at the Brown Family Environmental Center when it is warm out, which has wireless internet access, so I can do work and be outdoors. Gambier is mostly Kenyon - there is access to food, books, school supplies, mail, etc., but unfortunately to buy more exotic things (like non-Kenyon clothing), we must travel to Mount Vernon (a five-minute drive). I prefer this, though, because it means that I am not tempted to buy too much and going to pick up something simple like an air freshener turns into a road trip with your friends.
Kenyon is a tiny school in a tiny town - it's too small and isolated for me, but that's obviously something of personal taste, though that tends to be the feeling after four years. This lends itself to an excellent academic atmosphere in which students and professors interact outside of the classroom when they bump into each other getting coffee or at performance, etc. Unfortunately, this also creates a very intense social situation in which you live in closes quarters for four years just over 1000 people. The best thing about Kenyon is the small classes and the professors. I would change the Greek system, either by getting rid of it, or adding legitimate, NATIONAL sororities to give girls an option equivalent to the entrenched fraternity system, which controls much of the social life (basically, the school needs to make up its mind, since it is very Greek, but pretends not to be). When I tell people I go to Kenyon, they either have never heard of it (most often), or know someone who went there/have no strong reaction. Well, I spend just about all of my time on campus, like everyone, and on campus, I am outside when it's nice, in the coffee shop, bookstore, or study lounge working and socializing, or in my room trying to snag a bit of time alone. The town of Gambier and Kenyon really aren't separated; in fact, Kenyon's campus exists on either side of the main drag of town, so it's all basically the school. It has a couple of bars and a deli, coffee shop, etc, but nothing else. You NEED a car, even just to go to a movie or to buy toiletries. Kenyon's administration seems to be a bit out of touch with the reality of the school, maybe trying to make it into some "New Ivy" cookie-cutter school. The most recent campus controversy was over the proposed addition of swipe-card entrances to dorms, which was loudly and overwhelmingly opposed by students. The administration wanted to appease parents, and students want to keep Kenyon the small-town kind of community that it is. There is a certain kind of school pride - not in athletics, except for from athletes, but in its quirkiness. I'm not sure if Kenyon is all that different from a lot of small, rural liberal arts schools - they all have their traditions and quirks, but I will say that that experience is very singular and bonding. You could take two kids from the same class who are different and never meet, and in ten years, they would have very different memories.
Going to Kenyon is like living in a snow globe--whether it's snow, rain or cherry blossoms falling down only depends on the season. It's a great college to attend because you can find your family here, find yourself here, find yourself having midnight conversations about the merits of libertarianism or how /Paradise Lost/ is applicable in everyday life. You apply your education here, and it's a great education to apply. Even the kids I know who avoid homework at all costs end up leaving their classes knowing something, and the kids who go above and beyond will graduate here being prepared to face the world. Admittedly, Kenyon is tiny. Everyone will know your business, even if you don't tell anyone. Thing is, most people won't really judge you--mock you a little, sure, but in the end they'll support you. And there's really no way to get away from it all, since Kenyon /is/ it all. The school is bigger than Gambier, the town surrounding the college. Quaint it may be, but sometimes you need to get away. The school knows this, and provides the occasional shuttle trip into Columbus, where you can watch a movie and do some shopping. Not to mention that there are some great concerts in Columbus, and you can usually find someone either willing to lend you their car or going to the concert anyway. Kenyon people are just that friendly. When I tell people I go to Kenyon, I get one of three reactions. The blank look dominates--where is that? Why are you going to school in Ohio? Following that is the semi-confused look, the "that sounds kind of familiar but I can't place it" look. You do get some people who know what Kenyon is, and all of those people are impressed. They give you the "wow, that's a great school, my friend's daughter goes there or I read something from the Kenyon Review or isn't that one of the new Ivies" look. That's a great look to get, because it's someone recognizing that you were prepared enough, smart enough, looked good on paper enough, worked hard enough to get into a great school.
The best thing about Kenyon is middle path. Its long and can either be peaceful at night or in the mornings or you will see all of your friends on the way to classes. I would change the president, Georgia Nugent. She is changing Kenyon for the worst and taking in a direction that the students do not agree with. The school is small in the winter, when you feel a little trapped but its perfect in the sense that you get to know a lot of students and professors. The bonds I have made are closer than my other friends at other large universities. I spend most of my time in South Quad when its warm out or my apartment with my friends. Most likely more time at Pierce when it opens next fall. The college is the town which has its draw backs and advantages. I really dislike the Kenyon administration. They do NOT serve the students needs, and like I previosly stated, are at the moment more concerned with rankings than the cumminity feel. The biggest recent controversy is over the 'spide cards' which would create a feeling of distrust among the students. The administration tried to pass the implimentation of this withoutthe students knowledge. Yes, there is a lot of school pride. The ghost stories and the friendliness of the students are all a bit unusual. Students go out of their way to make others feel comfortable. I will always remember my first 'Shock Your Mom' party. Ask about it. The most frequent student complaints are over the use of cell phones and about the president or the dean of students, Tammy Gocial.
The academics are incredible here. I visited a number of other colleges in high school and last year when I considered transferring, but I didn't visit any classes that were as thought provoking and insightful. The small class size allows you to really get to know your professors, which makes them much more willing to help you when you need it. Obviously the classes are a lot of work, but if you take the recommended course load and go to class, you should be fine. Kenyon is in a very small town, if it can even be called a town. If you're looking for anything remotely city-like, I don't know if I would choose Kenyon. It's nice that the campus is small so you can walk everywhere (especially nice in fall and spring), but the town of Gambier is the college. To go anywhere else you need a car, which can be frustrating. Luckily I think they're setting up more fruquent shuttles to Mt. Vernon/Columbus/airport. The student body is very, very small. This has it's pros and cons. It's nice to walk down middle path and see people you know. It really adds a sense of community to the place. I think the smallness of the student body helps to counteract the feeling of isolation one might get from being in such a small town. There's always someone you know around. Unfortunately, this makes it difficult to avoid people. It also helps to fuel gossip since everyone knows each other. Gossip is at any school though.
It's a little too small in my opinion, but overall it's fine. We need an environment to live in pretty badly though, for this time in our lives, corn fields don't cut it. Iffy and conflicted school pride abounds, irony is usually employed when love of the school is expressed, but most people seem to feel it deep down. Irony is employed in regard to absolutely everything else, so it's hardly a reflection on our commitment to the institution. I'll always remember the various antics of my friends: public recitations of "Love Song of J. Alfred Proofrock", filming pumpkins being thrown out of a window on the 10th floor of the ugliest dorm imaginable. We make something of this place. Frequent student complaints are nonsense: students seem to believe that the school had soul which it is in the process of losing, but this is nostalgic and delusional. It's always in a state of transition, as is every other place. We can look back on the past with pleasure but it's just silly to expect it to stay the same. There will be new and different good things to come, we just need to have a little imagination. We're writers, it shouldn't be that hard.
Best thing: The KAC I'd change: the state that it's located in .. OHIO BLOWS!!! Kenyon is waaaay 2 small you can't hook up with someone on Friday without seeing them on Saturday People look at me like I'm crazy when I tell them to go to Kenyon What?? Kenyon? Where is that Africa??? WHat!!! OHio ... no way man! What?? You don't have a Wal-Mart in your town?? I spend most of time in the library or at the KAC COllege town?? Hahah WE ARE THE TOWN! biggest recent controversy: Someone broke the vending machine during the black out..there was glass everywhere SCHOOL PRIDE??? HAHAHAHAHAHHAHA hardly any kids go to the games the football guys are great about supporting all the teams.. but hardly anyone goes to their games it's a shitty situation if you ask me A couple of my friends took my sledding Virginity it was awesome! The most frequent complaint is def. the food... AVI wants us to eat homegrown food but can we please start with edible.
I love the campus feel here. It is so beautiful. Everyone knows each other. It is a cute little college town. We are sortof out in the middle of nowhere. Polaris mall is a little less than an hour away. We have a movie theatre, bowling alley, walmart, and good restraunts like LA FIesta in nearby Mount Vernon. If you need the city life, Kenyon is not the place for you. Kenyon is having a big problem with communication right now. There is a disconnect between students and adminstration, professors and administration, and in some cases involved students and uninvolved students. We are working very hard on ways to get information out to people in a better way. We are holding more community forums, where students can come and ask questions of staff members, and we are working on sustaining the student government memory by having those in office mentor their successors.
kenyon is perfect for the right kind of person. most of the complaints are about administration. i agree with a lot of the complaints that kenyon is heading in a new direction. the campus feels different to me than it did when I visited, and that says a lot. maybe its the people, or perhaps it's the administration, but i dont feel very connected to the 'big picture' here. absolutely there isnt enough conversation between students and the administration. what little there is isnt often taken serisouly by students, either because they've lost trust in the administration, or they simply do not care. also, we aren't as progressive as other schools, as a community. sure, we can yell at each other when we don't want our dorms locked, but we have no solutions to make kenyon better for future students.
To be honest, I love everything about Kenyon. my only advice is, if you don't like or want to try out a very small school where there isn't whole lot to do (things that a city might offer for example) then don't come here. Though there is not a lot to do, it is relaxed and full of great and interesting people (students and faculty). My only other comment, which shouldn't really affect your decision to come or not, but is absolutely necessary to be made public, is that the food is AWEFUL, and even more awful when I know my parents are looking at a 42 thousand dollar check each year. We are in the process of building a new dinning hall that is supposed to be a huge improvement, but with the same food carrier, how can it be?