Section: News

Board of Trustees discusses sustainability at fall meeting

Last Thursday and Friday, the College’s Board of Trustees came to campus for their fall meeting. The Board’s meetings are not open to the public, but  what they discussed was shared with campus in a report published Wednesday morning. The Board discussed a variety of topics, including Kenyon’s commitments to carbon neutrality and environmental literacy, and took part in a ceremony dedicating the new West Quad. 

The Board of Trustees, which currently has 31 members, meets three times a year, with meetings on campus typically taking place in October and April. The Board is organized into three large committees: the Campus and Finance Committee, the Student Experience Committee and the Kenyon and the World Committee. 

According to Acting President Jeff Bowman, the meetings focused on the priorities of the 2021-2025 Strategic Plan, especially sustainability commitments. This was the focus of the plenary meeting, which the entire Board took part in. “It’s a priority that sort of cuts across a bunch of different parts of the College,” Bowman explained. “It includes the business about carbon neutrality that is sort of about our buildings, and whether the lights are on or off, and where our power is coming from, and carbon sequestration that is about our physical plant. But it also includes things that are curricular, things like the environmental studies program. So this presentation to the entire board was about how these different things connect to each other.”

On the same theme, the Board’s Campus and Finance Committee discussed Kenyon’s commitment to reach carbon neutrality by 2040 and reviewed an initial report from Ever-Green Energy (the company creating a decarbonization master plan for the College).  

The Kenyon and the World Committee discussed another priority laid out in the strategic plan — increasing the size of the student body. “They were largely focused on admissions and enrollment,” Bowman said.  “[They were] thinking a little bit about how different parts of the strategic plan that we adopted a year and a half ago would resonate with prospective students.” 

Finally, the Student Experience Committee spent their meeting discussing Kenyon’s diversity, equity and inclusion (DEI) efforts. “They were mainly focused on belonging, on DEI initiatives, health and counseling and things that we’re doing there and a little bit on how those efforts are articulated in the academic program,” Bowman said. “They had a couple of faculty members presenting to them thoughts about pedagogical models that are inclusive and foster belonging.”

The Board’s visit ended with a small dedication ceremony for the buildings on the West Quad. Attendees included donors to the West Quad project and honorees including President Emeritus Robert Oden, for whom Oden Hall is named. According to Bowman, there will be a larger public event in the spring after the social science departments have moved into Oden Hall.

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