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Four changes to look out for at Kenyon this year

Come face the strange: four changes to notice during the upcoming year

After a long summer break, here are some changes to look out for on campus in the coming months:

 

The Office of Student Engagement will pilot a BYOB program.

Illustration by Henry Uhrik ’18

 

The Office of Student Engagement will pilot a Bring Your Own Bottle (BYOB) program this upcoming year, meaning they will invite student groups to host registered parties where participants bring their own alcohol.

 

Previously, BYOB parties were banned at Kenyon.

 

“All of our national or international fraternities and sororities have risk management policies that either strongly suggest or require them to use a third-party vendor or to do BYOB when they have social events with alcohol,” Director of Student Engagement Laura Kane said. “What we’re doing is piloting ways in which folks can … follow those guidelines.”

 

The Office of Student Engagement (OSE) has not decided how these parties will look in practice. They are reviewing BYOB policies at other institutions and plan to get input from student groups on campus.

 

They will reach out to all student groups on campus this semester to ask them if they want to take part in the BYOB pilot.

 

“Part of the point of BYOB is it helps someone decide, ‘Maybe I don’t want to guzzle down a thirty-rack of Keystone — maybe I want to buy this six-pack of beer and just have a few of them tonight,’” Kane said.

 

OSE also plans to host more events with alcohol for students who are 21 or older.

 

CSAD will host a conference about free speech.

 

The Center for the Study of American Democracy, a center at Kenyon that organizes nonpartisan programming aimed at stimulating political discourse, will host a conference titled “Free Speech, Civil Discourse” on Sept. 27 and 28. Though CSAD is still finalizing the schedule, the day panels will be held in the Gund Gallery Community Foundation theater and the evening keynotes will be held in Rosse Hall.

 

The conference will interrogate the political, social and moral conflicts surrounding freedom of speech on college campuses.

 

“Events of the past week or two have made the issues of free speech in a college context come to the surface even more, post-Charlottesville,” President Sean Decatur said, referring to the rally hosted by white nationalist, neo-Nazi and Ku Klux Klan (KKK) organizations on August 16 in Charlottesville, Va. “The speakers we have for that and discussions that that should bring out will be very exciting.”

 

The speakers include former Democratic National Committee chair Howard Dean, senior fellow at the Center for Middle East Policy Shadi Hamid, feminist cultural critic Laura Kipnis, secular conservative journalist Heather Mac Donald, cognitive scientist Steven Pinker and legal commentator Jeff Rosen.

 

Gambier construction will bring new retail and disrupt parking.

Construction in downtown Gambier will continue through the year and extend into fall 2018.

 

The former bookstore is currently undergoing internal renovations, which include opening up the space. When these renovations are finished in early January, the northern part of Farr Hall will be demolished and replaced by a new home for the Gambier Deli and retail spaces with student apartments above.

 

Starting in fall 2018, one of these spaces will be occupied by a new Mexican restaurant called Chilitos Fresh Mex and Margaritas. The restaurant’s owner, José Avalos, owns the two Fiesta Mexicana restaurants in Mount Vernon.

 

A number of local business have contacted Chief Business Officer Mark Kohlman to express interest in the other two retail spaces, but it has not been decided which businesses will occupy them.

 

“I’ve had a number of people contact me in terms of interest — clothing stores, office space, a doctor’s office,” Kohlman said. “It’s going to depend on what brings something to the community.”

 

Kohlman said there will be disruptions to driving and walking in downtown Gambier as construction continues. Gaskin Avenue will become a one-way street and the parking north of Scott Lane on Gaskin Avenue will disappear. The College will add parking on the west side of Gaskin Ave south of Scott Lane.

 

The College will offer stipends for food over breaks.

Illustration by Henry Uhrik ’18

 

Students staying on campus over Thanksgiving, winter and spring breaks can apply for stipends to pay for their meals when Peirce Dining Hall is closed.

 

The stipends will be $10 per day, which students can use to buy food at any local market or restaurant. These stipends will mainly go to students who receive the Pell Grant, a subsidy from the federal government awarded to students who need financial assistance to pay for college. If a student does not receive the Pell Grant but still needs assistance paying for meals over the breaks, they may contact the Office for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (ODEI) or the Center for Global Engagement (CGE) directly.

 

The program is the result of a partnership between Student Council, ODEI, CGE and the Office of Housing and Residential Life, and it has been in the works for about two years. In that time, the organizers have tested different versions of it, including partnering with AVI and hosting communal meals. At the end of last semester, Student Council committed to continuing the current version of the program for at least three years.

 

Funding for the program comes out of the student activities fee, an amount of money that every student is required to pay as part of their fees each semester. The fee is about $150, meaning the student activities budget comes to approximately $247,500 this year. The meal stipend program will cost $12,000 per year.

 

“It says a lot about our Student Council and body that it’s something coming from them,” Director of Housing and Residential Life Jill Engel-Hellman said. “For our Student Council to say, ‘This is important to us,’ is, I think, tremendous.”

Emily Birnbaum

Emily Birnbaum is News Editor of the Collegian.