On Nov. 12, the Senior Class Committee and the Office of Student Engagement (OSE) hosted the first Senior Soiree since 2019. Held in the Gund Commons ballroom — a change from the event’s typical location in Peirce Dining Hall’s Thomas Hall — the annual event celebrated the achievements of the Class of 2022.
Senior Class President Grant Holt ’22 said the event’s return was a monumental step towards a sense of normalcy.
“On a recovering campus, I think the importance of Senior Soiree has never been more apparent,” said Holt in an email to the Collegian. “The Senior Class needs as many opportunities as possible to make memories this year.”
From 8 p.m. to 11 p.m., around 300 seniors attended the gathering, which featured live music from student bands SERENA and Mount Vermin, student DJs and catering by AVI, all of whom were paid for their work.
“Mount Vermin and SERENA both rocked the house,” Holt said.
Senior Soiree is historically one of Kenyon’s most dangerous school-sponsored events. For many years, it was the event that recorded the most student hospitalizations due to alcohol intoxication. Holt noted that the Senior Class Committee took precautions to ensure safety, making the event ticketed to prevent underage drinking and working alongside AVI to provide heavier foods to accompany the catered alcohol.
“I was told at the beginning of the year that if Soiree was dangerous again, the college would consider axing it completely. Those were pretty high stakes,” he said.
The organizers’ efforts seem to have paid off: To his knowledge, not a single person needed medical assistance as a result of the event.
The Senior Class Committee also partnered with the Office of Advancement to fundraise for the Kenyon Access Initiative, which provides scholarships to students from underrepresented backgrounds. They raised $500 by soliciting donations when students registered for tickets online.
The return of Senior Soiree comes as other large events — including Family Weekend, a cappella shows, Horn Gallery performances and all-campus parties — are returning as well, albeit with precautions.
According to Keiran Lorentzen ’22 who attended the soiree, this event provided a glimpse into pre-pandemic campus life.
“I thought that the soiree was a fun time,” he said. “People were exercising a reasonable amount of caution, but it’s the first large event I’ve been to in some time where Covid wasn’t immediately on my mind in a crowd of people.”
Holt agreed that Soiree provided something that seniors had not experienced in some time.
“It’s been a very long time since the Senior class could gather like that. Seeing everyone in that room was nothing less than a blessing, and a sign that Kenyon — slowly but surely — is climbing out of this pandemic,” Holt said. “We are recovering.”