By Maya Kaufman
What does it take to be a student adviser? With application numbers on the rise, applicants for positions in the Discrimination Adviser (DA), Sexual Misconduct Adviser (SMA) and Beer and Sex programs are facing fierce competition. The DA program — the smallest of the three — received 19 applications, the same number as in 2012, and a marginal increase from the 17 applications submitted in 2011.
“[Application numbers] have been climbing for the past number of years,” said Alex Britt ’15, who is a student coordinator for the DAs, and has been a DA for two years. “It’s great that there are more people people who are getting to know who the DAs are and what we do.”
There are currently 13 to 15 student DAs. The program tries to maintain this number, and with only a few senior DAs graduating this year, just a handful of students will be offered a position. The group runs programming to promote discussion of diversity issues, as well as counseling students who have faced discrimination. Students submitted an application in which they explained their reasons for applying and what projects they would like to be involved in as a DA. Applicant interviews conclude this week.
“It’s going to be really tough, because we’re going to have to make decisions in a couple of weeks,” Britt said. “You don’t want to say no to anyone because everyone has a reason for applying. Everyone [who applied] would make an amazing DA, but we can only take so many in our program.”
Typically drawing between 35 and 40 applicants per year, the SMA program received 47 applications this year, about a 12-percent increase from last year’s 42 applicants. Applicants submit a brief narrative explaining their interest in the program. The interview process, conducted by a member of the Counseling Center and three to five SMAs, begins this week and will continue into next week.
“[Sexual] misconduct has been more discussed on campus in recent years, and people have more of an interest in this topic,” Nicole Keller, college counselor at the Health and Counseling Center, said in regard to the rise in applications. “There has been a steady increase over the last four to five years. It’s one of those topics that people are very passionate about. Kenyon students really want to help each other.”
The Beer and Sex adviser position is widely regarded as a competitive, sought-after job. The program received approximately 60 applications for the upcoming school year and typically attracts anywhere from 50 to 80 applicants per year.
“Our relative number of applications each year usually depends on how well we do in terms of year-round programming and sending out student infos about applications,” Emily Estus ’14, co-president of Beer and Sex, wrote in an email. “This year, we did Beer and Sex-themed trivia in the fall and the Polar Plunge in the spring, so I’m assuming that kept our numbers up.”
Although Estus declined to release the exact numbers, the current estimate of 60 applications would mark a 20 percent increase from last year’s approximate number of 50 applications. The program is looking to fill 11 to 13 spots, placing the acceptance rate at approximately 20 percent.
The program first narrows down the applicant pool to 30 to 40 people for a group interview. “The criteria for our final choices are usually based around trying to maintain a diversity of experiences and opinions, finding people who are confident enough to speak to a room full of people and choosing those who seem passionate about our mission while remaining level-headed,” Estus wrote.
Britt, Keller and Estus each expressed that their respective applicant pools were characterized by a strong passion to help other students. “The common thread that ties everyone together is a passion for contributing to the development of an enlightened community,” Estus said. “We are all learning how to take care of each other and ourselves.”