The Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (ODEI) has organized a free LGBTQ+ Wellness Shuttle that aims to provide students with access to gender-affirming care. As of Sept. 23, the seven-person van transports students bi-weekly to destinations in Columbus or New Albany, such as the Equitas Health King-Lincoln Medical Center in Columbus or The Ohio State University Wexner Medical Center.
Assistant Director of ODEI René Guo said that ODEI created the shuttle to help transitioning students at Kenyon access healthcare. “While Knox Community Hospital does provide these services, issues such as long wait times and a lack of trust created barriers for LGBTQ+ students,” Guo said in an email to the Collegian. “The shuttle was seen as an intermediate solution to address these challenges, with the hope that incoming leadership at the College would identify a long-term solution for gender-affirming care on campus.”
During the fall semester, the shuttle will run on the following dates: Oct. 14, Oct. 28, Nov. 11 and Dec. 2. The shuttle picks up and drops off students in front of Allen House, departing at 9 a.m. and returning by 3 p.m. Students must sign up online to use the shuttle by the Thursday prior to their departure date. Students in need of gender-affirming healthcare needs are guaranteed a seat, while priority is next given to queer and trans students with other medical needs. However, anyone is welcome to sign up if there are vacancies. According to Guo, ODEI is currently gauging student interest in the wellness shuttle to determine how frequently it should operate in the future.
As ODEI continues to create and expand programs for students, they are working to integrate feedback from students as part of their strategic plan for the 2023-24 academic year. “ODEI’s approach to wellness initiatives involves integrating trauma-informed care and collaboration into all programming,” Guo said.
ODEI programs like the wellness shuttle, as well as the Office’s other programs such as the Allyship Training Program and the Student LGBTQ+ Diversity Fund, are designed to enact meaningful change to Kenyon’s culture. “Instead of focusing solely on traumatic narratives, ODEI aims to celebrate queer resilience, joy and empowerment, enabling students to make positive cultural changes rather than feeling overwhelmed by negative experiences,” Guo said.