Vice President for Student Affairs Meredith Harper Bonham ’92 has instituted the Housing Study Committee, a plan for housing improvements on campus that recognizes and values student autonomy.
The committee, which is currently reviewing student applications, will begin shortly and continue into next semester. It will work with students to develop a plan for improving Kenyon’s residence halls.
“These are student spaces, and we need the benefit of student input,” Bonham said. “I’m excited about this particular process because rather than going in and doing some of the necessary work, we are taking a step back and thinking very carefully about how students actually live and use their residential spaces.”
Discussion about this committee has been in the works since Nov. of 2019. The administration first sought out an independent consulting firm to work with the committee and then reached out to Student Council President Delaney Barker ’20, who informed students about the application process via an all-campus email. Ideally, four to five students will be chosen to work with the team, according to an email sent out by Barker.
Kim Martin is the director of the Brailsford & Dunlavey (B&D) consulting team, which has partnered with over 600 colleges and universities to evaluate comprehensive campus systems and plans. In the past, B&D has worked on student housing, recreation, athletics, dining and more. With this consulting firm’s assistance, the Housing Committee will tackle issues such as design characteristics and community-building features.
The consultant firm chosen to work with the Housing Committee will provide students with the general schematics of the buildings, such as floor plans and diagrams, similar to the way in which students chose furniture for the new library. Through this committee’s operations, students will have the chance to react and offer their own insight into these plans.
“I really like that the administration is taking the time to recruit students that actually care about this issue,” Barker said.
Bonham also noted that the buildings on Kenyon’s campus are somewhat outdated, and discussed the importance of maintaining their modernity. “We have to be thinking not only about how students are using them now, but also how they’re going to be using them in the future,” she said.