Family Weekend returned to Kenyon this past weekend, welcoming over 800 parents and families to Gambier. The event was one of the College’s largest since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We had 1781 total registrants and 859 total check-ins. We have no doubt there were far more on campus that we didn’t capture whether it be that they didn’t check in or they might have just grabbed their name tag without us getting their name,” Associate Director of Alumni and Parent Engagement Lindsey Colopy wrote in an email to the Collegian.
Decatur also commented that the College made efforts to ensure that all weekend activities were as safe as possible. The Office of Alumni and Parent Engagement started working with Associate Provost and COVID Steering Committee Chair Drew Kerkhoff to organize Family Weekend early in the academic year in order to make sure that their event plans stayed within the latest COVID-19 guidelines. The Office also communicated COVID-19 protocols for the event to both the Kenyon community and families traveling to Gambier.
The College moved multiple events outside for Family Weekend, including registration, the hospitality center and receptions. In addition, College staff members were present at any indoor events to ensure that visitors followed all guidelines. Kenyon also provided food trucks and tents to allow for outdoor dining. Certain areas of campus were restricted as well, including residence halls, classrooms and Peirce Dining Hall.
This highly populated event came at a time when the College reported 15 active COVID-19 cases among students and two among employees in the week before. As of Oct. 25, the College’s COVID-19 Dashboard reported three active student cases and two active employee cases. When asked whether he was concerned about a possible outbreak following the influx of visitors, Decatur said that he had “no concerns that are extraordinary concerns.”
Colopy highlighted the significance of once again hosting large events on campus, while also stressing the importance of making such events as safe as possible.
“The Advancement Office was excited to host a successful Family Weekend that welcomed over 800 parents and families to the Hill,” Colopy wrote. “After nearly two years without hosting large events on campus we knew how important it was to create a safe and enjoyable environment for both students and families to reconnect with each other and our community.”
President Decatur felt proud to see multiple student groups host events and concerts during Family Weekend. The Fall Harvest Festival, Kenyon College Dance Drama & Cinema Club’s Oedipus Rex and a Shakespeare Medley performance by the Crow’s Nest all took place during Family Weekend.
“It felt good to see the work that’s gone into many of those student groups over the course of the semester,” Decatur said. “Family Weekend is often one of the points where that work pays off in terms of the opportunity to share with not only the campus community, but a broader audience. It was nice to see the fruits of that work this past weekend.”