For nearly two hours after the Kenyon Athletic Center’s (KAC) 10 p.m. closing, Kassie Rimel ’22 is the only person remaining in the entire facility. She works in the equipment room two nights a week, washing towels and uniforms so they will be ready before anyone arrives the next morning.
Rimel is one of many student employees who performs essential services at the KAC. According to the Office of Student Employment, there are currently 182 student employees who work at the KAC, making them roughly 22 percent of all student employees.
The KAC is Kenyon’s city that never sleeps; no matter the time of day, be it 5 a.m. or 11 p.m., the lights from the KAC can be seen from virtually any spot on South campus. Without these student employees, the KAC could not function at the high level that earned the center the title of Best Athletic Facility in the 2015 and 2016 editions of The Princeton Review.
Rimel is not the only student who works behind the scenes. At most home games, Hayley Beluch ’22, a videographer for the Office of Athletic Communications, can be found on the field with a camera in hand, running alongside the players. Meanwhile, Liana Valin ’21, a statistician for Athletic Communications, works behind a computer, inputting game data. Both were athletes throughout their high school years, and take pleasure in their work.
“[Working as a videographer has let me] stay within the sports culture, even if … I’m not in it at the moment. It still feels like I’m involved and having fun,” Beluch said.
While Beluch and Valin use their employment to stay connected to Kenyon’s sports culture, Zach Sclar ’22 spends his time lifeguarding at the KAC pool merely reflecting.
“I [usually] don’t actually get time to… really kind of think. [But] when I’m the [lifeguard] chair … there’s not much you can do… Your mind wanders, you get to decompress a bit,” he said.
A number of student employees at the KAC are Kenyon athletes themselves. Rimel, for example, is a member of the softball team, and has coworkers who play softball and soccer.
Likewise, KAC student employees and athletes are in no way divided; they develop a rapport simply by working and training in proximity to each other. When describing his relationship with members of the swim team, Sclar said, “[Many of the swimmers are] certified lifeguards themselves… so there’s mutual respect there… I’m friends with a lot of [swimmers] because of [lifeguarding] It’s actually kind of nice, you know? You’re kind of meshing the two different kinds of cultures.”
Beluch echoed this sentiment. “There is a really big intersection between sports and academics here,” she said.
Most of the work Beluch and Valin do is dedicated to the players—filming their games and recording their statistics—yet, ironically, they spend very little time interacting with the players personally.
“Hayley [Beluch] is running on the field with the camera, and we’ll see [the players] and maybe they’ll see her. But for me, I’m stationary; I’m behind the computer,” Valin said.
But even if the players cannot see either of them, their work does not go unnoticed.
“Student-athletes recognize how important [KAC student employees’] roles are, whether it’s indirectly or directly, because when they watch our videos, or they look at the stats online, it’s [the result of] what Liana and I are doing… whether they know who makes it, they know someone did, and so they appreciate it,” Beluch said.
Though at times KAC student employees are an often-overlooked part of Kenyon’s athletic community, their work is crucial to the betterment of the school’s athletic programs and sense of unity among all students, athletes and non-athletes alike.