Section: Features

Life in the “Mods”: residents share their first impressions

Life in the “Mods”: residents share their first impressions

Crandall King ’25 poses with dog Rigley. | MADELEINE MAGILL

Kenyon often boasts that it is one of the few American colleges to have 100% of students living on campus. This year, though, some Kenyon students feel that their housing location is secluded from the rest of the community.

To make up for another year of high enrollment, Kenyon recently constructed three temporary modular housing units on Meadow Lane. Known as the “Mods,” the new residences pose as a living experiment for the students, who reside separately from the rest of campus in trailer-like dorms behind McBride Field.

The Mods are not the first housing option that the Office of Residential Life has devised in recent years. As class sizes have continued to grow, Kenyon has had to think outside of the box. During the 2021-22 academic year, many students lived in the Kenyon Inn, the McIlvaine apartments and even off-campus in the Pines of Apple Valley.

Similar to last year’s unprecedented housing options, the Mods have new features that contrast with those of Kenyon’s typical campus dorms. According to Kenyon’s website, each of the single rooms is charged at the rate of a double, with access to a suite-style bathroom shared with one other person. The air-conditioned buildings have free laundry facilities, presenting another financial incentive for students to live there. 

When it comes to the compact, remote living quarters, Crandall King ’25 is not just worried for herself, but for her dog. King shares her 75-square-foot dorm at the bottom of the Hill with Rigley, her emotional support animal. King has found it difficult to visit Rigley throughout the day due to the distance of her dorm from the rest of campus.

“In order to properly care for my animal, I need to be in my room a lot,” King said. “But being in this room for a prolonged period of time is kind of sad.” 

Like other students living in the Mods, King feels a disconnect with her space. “I think it’s important to be inspired by the space around you. It almost feels like there is a common history whenever you walk into Old K or Leonard and you feel like you have this shared experience with the hundreds of other previous Kenyon students who lived there and experienced the beauty of the architecture.” 

After a lengthy appeal process to the Student Accessibility and Support Services, King received approval for a housing accommodation to move out of the Mods. According to King, the Office of Residential Life plans to provide a new living space for her in the near future. 

Fellow Mods resident Kate Haydel-Brown ’25 said that the considerable distance between the Mods and the rest of campus could pose an isolation challenge. “I can see in the winter feeling a little bit sad and isolated here if I don’t feel like leaving my room,” she said.  

Last year, Haydel-Brown was one of 50 students in her class year to spend her first semester of college studying abroad in Copenhagen due to Kenyon’s high enrollment. However,  many students who studied in Copenhagen continued to live together in Mather Residence Hall upon their return to campus for the spring semester. Several former Copenhagen students ended up living in the Mods this year too, according to Haydel-Brown. “It does feel like I’m seeing the same faces,” she said. “I would definitely prefer to meet new people in the place I am living.”

When her housing lottery time slot came around late last spring, Haydel-Brown’s choice was between living in the Mods or living in Mather again. The decision to live in the new housing option was clear to her, especially as a member of Kenyon College Rugby Club  who enjoys the close proximity of the Mods to the rugby field. “It’s been nice because I like working out in the mornings. I have access to the Gap Trail, and I’m super close to the Lowry Center,” she said.

Community Advisor for Meadow Lane Logan Coleman ’25 said that the biggest challenge he faces in his role this year are the unexpected obstacles that come with living in a new building. He expressed appreciation for the maintenance workers who have jumped in several times to fix various problems that have arisen in the Mods. “It was almost comedic how many fire alarms were going off the first week from people taking showers that were too hot (and overly sensitive alarms). Not to mention how my Mod specifically had malfunctioning locks — no one’s keys (including mine) worked on our doors!” he wrote in an email to the Collegian

Director of Campus Safety Michael Sweazy explained in an email to the Collegian how the fire alarm issue will be resolved. “It was discovered that the steam from the showers could set off the smoke detectors. Upon this discovery, facilities arranged for the smoke detector heads to be replaced by heat detector heads, which are less prone to be activated by the presence of steam clouds,” he wrote.

Despite the challenges, though, Coleman expressed gratitude for the unique opportunity  to form a community with his fellow Mod-mates. He shared, “I think everyone living in the Mods has a pretty good sense of humor about our situation. I’ve seen plenty of people embracing the ‘trailer park’ jokes, lots of people helping one another move in, and overall a sense of camaraderie.”


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