Section: Features

kenyon_dormz lays the welcome mat for housing choices

kenyon_dormz lays the welcome mat for housing choices

COURTESY OF KENYON_DORMZ

After gaining over 100 followers just days after its first post, kenyon_dormz, a new Instagram account featuring student housing on the Hill, has provided new insight into the realities of housing options into the realities of housing options for both current and incoming students. The account runs on photos and videos submitted by students, which are presented in a slideshow format, and answers simple questions about the housing options, including laundry, accessibility and the bathroom situation. Additionally, each post has a short description of both red flags and green flags, explaining potential benefits and drawbacks for the particular housing option. 

As of now, aside from a pinned post that explains the intentions of the account, there are four submissions of different housing options, featuring, Gund Residence Hall (Gund), Lewis Residence Hall (Lewis Hall), the New Apartments (New Apts) and the Meadow Lane Suites (Mods). “I started this account because I was fed up with the lack of accessible information about Kenyon’s dorms,” kenyon_dormz, who prefers to remain anonymous to preserve the integrity of their account, said in a message to the Collegian. “I remember my freshman year when I was terrified that my dorm was going to be terrible just because there was only one photo of it. Once I got here, I realized that photo is not even up to date.”

Dorms, particularly for incoming first-year students, are an essential part of the social acclimation process in college. Aarno Heller-Matza ’27, a particularly worried and non-division-housing rising sophomore, shared his concerns about the cutthroat housing process, which for him began Wednesday. “To be honest I don’t really know what to expect. Of course there’s some places I would rather live — I hope I don’t live in the Mods — but I guess it will be the kind of thing that sorts itself out, you know. I got my time slot, and my roommate and I are on the same page about things. We would be disappointed to end up in housing for our sophomore year removed from the action,” he said in an interview with the Collegian. When asked where he turned to when he had questions or problems, he responded: “A couple times when I had questions about the rooms or how the process actually worked, I just asked friends, usually older friends. I know I could contact the [Office of] Residential [Life (ResLife)], but I never really felt the need — most of the process feels self-explanatory. I actually learned about Kenyon_Dormz [on Tuesday], but it mostly seemed to confirm what I already knew. But if I was an incoming student, a reliable and honest source of housing information would be great. I think I lucked out with my housing this year.” It is clear students have strong housing preferences but not always the strongest sources of information. 

Outside of the information provided on the Kenyon website regarding specific housing, which offers history, dimensions, a floor plan, redeeming qualities and other bits of important information, there is little to be found regarding students’ actual living experiences. With many housing options on the website, it can be difficult to find a credible photo of the inside or outside, as in the case with the Mods. Anna Kalnite ’25, a rising senior who transferred to Kenyon this year, described her experience with the ResLife website: “I thought the descriptions were really good of all the different housing options, but I wish there were more pictures of the insides. At Bryn Mawr [College], they had pictures of the all the insides of the dorms ont the website. Because of this I found myself asking around more than relying on the website.”

kenyon_dormz hopes to improve transparency in the housing process for students. “I want this to be a place for current students to openly share their living situations. I am aiming to have at least one room from all the dorms and apartments on campus pictured on this account as a reference for Kenyon students. Really this is just to make their life easier,” kenyon_dormz wrote. This Instagram account, though still in its early stages, provides a valuable glimpse into the housing scene at Kenyon, and undoubtedly will help all students decide where they might settle down from August to May in Gambier. “But I can’t do that without people submitting photos and videos of their dorms! So please submit your dorm and encourage others to do the same,” kenyon_dormz wrote. “No matter how small or ‘ugly’ your room may be, it is still incredibly helpful!”

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