Section: Features

Students weigh in with do’s and don’ts for Family Weekend

It’s an age-old question: Does the apple fall far from the tree? We will find out when Kenyon parents and family members hit town for Family Weekend. As the community prepares for the occasion, visitors can mark their calendars with a wide variety of activities on and around campus, ranging from a live music concert in Mount Vernon to a fall festival hosted by the Brown Family Environmental Center (BFEC).

Families should definitely carve out time this weekend to explore the serene trails and robust rural life that surround the Hill. After all, the campus’s unique spot in the Midwest is what distinguishes Kenyon from many other liberal arts colleges in the country. “I think that you should enjoy a nice, long leisurely walk with your family at the BFEC,” Caroline Brady ’25 recommends. “Or show them the observatory, or go apple picking.” 

Fortunately for families eager to traverse Gambier, the BFEC is hosting its annual Fall Harvest Festival on Saturday from 12-4 p.m. According to a Student-Info email, the event will feature “live music, hayrides, a cider press, farm animals, food trucks…and more!” Hitting the trails is an absolute must for visitors, especially with the added bonus of fall foliage.

For a taste of Kenyon culture, families can soak in art at various sites on campus. “You can take your parents to the Gund Gallery because parents like art and it’s a really fun place to go. Also, you should take your parents to the Bulmash Exhibition Hall in Chalmers Library,” Abigail Foster ’23 says. The hall displays various works from students and faculty, along with pieces from Special Collections and the Kenyon College Archives. Foster urges families to visit the new exhibit that opens this Friday: “There will be an art exhibit there curated by the students in the ‘Museum Objects’ Art History class — of which I am a member — about Byzantine objects.”

If families are feeling eager to listen to live music this weekend, they have options. The Kokosingers, one of Kenyon’s several a cappella groups, are performing at Rosse Hall at 7 p.m. on Friday and invite families to come. Alternatively, families can check out a live solo acoustic music concert by Professor of Religious Studies Vernon Schubel at the Happy Street Brü-Werks brewery in Mount Vernon at 6 p.m that same day. Songs will span a variety of genres, including classic folk, contemporary indie music and folk rock. It’s very Kenyon. 

To get the most out of their getaway in Gambier, families should check out any of the many sports games that will take place this weekend. Luca Segalla ’25 shares that his parents enjoyed watching his upperclassmen versus lowerclassmen club soccer game last year on Family Weekend. This year, he invites families to watch his team’s rugby competition: “It’s not going to be a pretty game, but it’ll be fun,” he says. Perhaps parents can bring first-aid kits.

Kate Berges ’23 advises parents to check out the summer research poster presentation event at the Toan Track in the Lowry Center this weekend. The event will feature students’ work from various research programs they took part in during the summer: “It’s a cool way to get feedback on your work from parents that might be in the biochemical fields or whatever science field you’re in,” she says. Posters from numerous academic fields will be featured at the event.

Guess who’s coming to dinner? This weekend, it will be everyone and their family. By mealtime, it’s best not to try your luck at the nearest restaurant — especially because there are only two on campus. “Do not expect any restaurant to take walk-ins,” Delaney Gallagher ’23 advises. “Make your reservations now,”  

Below are some final do’s and don’ts from students before the weekend festival commences: 

Don’t: “Parents really like to ask people that look like students what the schedule is, and I would deter them from doing that because it does put us in a weird position sometimes,” Berges says. Instead, visitors can access the weekend schedule from a page on Kenyon’s website. 

Do: “Do exploit their credit card,” Will Bryant ’25 advises students whose parents are visiting. “Take them to the bookstore to buy merch.” 

Don’t: “Don’t bring them to Peirce or else they’ll know they’re not getting their money’s worth,” Brady says. 

Do: Take a stroll on the Kokosing Gap Trail, Segalla says. 

Regardless of where the weekend takes students and their families, Kenyon’s wide array of activities are likely to have something for everyone.

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