On Saturday, Oct. 27, the Environmental Campus Organization (ECO) hosted Oktoberfest: the ECO theme housing North Campus Apartment (NCA) was packed with people enjoying grilled vegetables provided by the Kenyon Farm and bratwurst purchased from Fredericktown’s Fox Hollow Farm. Oktoberfest is a long-standing tradition of the club, primarily aimed at bringing people together to celebrate fall and enjoy local food, according to Emily Barton ’20, co-president of ECO.
There were also vegan pumpkin chocolate chip cookies made with a recipe passed down by an alum, and this year, ECO also added homemade vegan challah to the food lineup. Barton, who has been to every Oktoberfest since her freshman year, says that the event “has always been about local food, and music, and being outside.”
Although rain forced the grilling and music indoors, many people in attendance still enjoyed food and beverages outside. Cooks took shifts in the kitchen, shouting out names of friends and orders while musicians performed their sets on a couch in the next room.
In addition, to avoid the rain, performers were asked to adapt their performances to a slightly smaller venue: the NCA’s living room, where speakers were set up and people gathered around for intimate performances.
Brian Sellers ’21 and Laura Phillips ’19, members of the Kenyon-based band Booty Robbins, were among the many performers who played at the event. ECO’s social chair, Dora Segall ’20, was responsible for encouraging bands from all over campus to sign up and making sure the performances ran smoothly. According to Sellers, “Oktoberfest offered a great atmosphere to play an acoustic set. I felt the intimate setting and it strengthened the overall good vibes.” At one point, people even began singing along during their set.
While this is primarily a social event, there are clear connections to larger sustainability efforts at Kenyon. For example, Kenyon students volunteer on Fox Hollow Farm for Sustainable Agriculture (ENVS 253), a class taught by Professor of Anthropology Bruce Hardy. Local food efforts are getting increased attention at Kenyon through classes like Sustainable Agriculture as well as through Peirce Dining Hall. On Monday, Chris Wisbey, resident director of AVI sent out a newsletter to the student body announcing that Kenyon has recently rejoined the Knox County Local Foods Council. Students interested in learning more about sustainability at Kenyon or about local foods can attend ECO meetings, which are held every Sunday at 4 p.m. in the Horn Gallery.