By Rebecca Frank
There is nothing quite like walking into a kitchen and being greeted by the decadent smells of a home-cooked meal. On college campuses, however, this experience is a rare thing.
That is why Marc Nagel ’17 and five other sophomores are endeavoring to start a student-run cooking club at Kenyon, something that has recently been missing from campus, which the members thought was strange.
Nagel, the prospective club’s president, first came up with the idea to jumpstart the club after taking a gap year in France, where he cooked a lot and took cooking classes. Cooking is also a family tradition for him, and the founders felt that having a cooking club on campus would remind students of home.
Many at Kenyon would agree, because, as Nagal said, several students expressed interest in the potential of a cooking club here. “I think a part of that is just the desire to enjoy a home-cooked meal is definitely universal,” Nagel said.
The club hopes to be able to bring that sense of home to Kenyon, coupling learning how to cook with the rewarding experience of working with friends. The club plans on learning together and trying out recipes that, at least at the start, the founding members will provide. Schuyler Vanderveen ’17, one of the club’s potential founding members, said they want it to be “a club and not a class.”
The club also hopes to increase its reach once it obtains the necessary recognition and funds from the College. To achieve this, the club hopes to connect with already-established organizations on campus, such as Kenyon Hillel, an organization centered around serving Jewish students and faculty on campus. Hillel already hosts home-cooked Shabbat dinners every other Friday. The cooking club also plan to host all-campus events such as a barbecue, according to Nagel.
In addition, the club hopes to connect with the Kenyon Farm to obtain some fresh ingredients. “We’re trying right now to do local, seasonal vegetables, because you can really take advantage of that in the fall,” Charlotte Herzog ’17, prospective vice president and co-founder of the club, said.
However, the club needs Kenyon’s sponsorship first, which is not entirely a simple process. According to the Kenyon website, the club must first meet certain criteria such as filling a need for Kenyon students not currently met by another club on campus.
“Typically before [the club applies for registration], we hope that they’ve gotten a really good dis-list or maybe had one meeting just to show that some people are actually interested in it,” Assistant Director of Student Activities for Leadership Sam Filkins said,
To complete the process, the club must then become registered. This entails meeting with a staff member from the Student Activities Office, obtaining a faculty advisor, writing a constitution and completing a registration application on OrgSync with the club’s goals and plans for the year. Then the application is reviewed by the Director of Student Activities and the Committee on Student Life, which votes on whether to approve the organization. After that, the full Student Council votes to approve or deny the club. If the club does get approved, it will receive funding from the College, allowing it to plan larger events.
Filkins said the faculty at Kenyon are generally in favor of starting new clubs here. “Where you find your passion, really, is through the student clubs, where you find a group of students that kind of becomes your family away from your family,” Filkins said.
The cooking club hopes to be able to do just that. They plan to meet on Thursday nights at the Art Barn kitchen.