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‘Cultural Connections’ program hosts prospective students

‘Cultural Connections’ program hosts prospective students

Lowell House | COURTESY OF AYMAN WADUD

From Nov. 4 to Nov. 6, 80 prospective students took guided nature walks, toured facilities such as The Gund and waited for grilled cheese in Peirce Dining Hall as part of Kenyon’s ‘Cultural Connections’ program. The annual event — which grants travel stipends to its attendees — aims to promote and recruit students with diverse identities, backgrounds and experiences to campus. 

 According to Vice President of Enrollment Management & Dean of Admissions Diane Anci, Cultural Connections is meant to bring a wide array of viewpoints to Kenyon and develop introspective and compassionate future students. This year, the Hill hosted attendees from 18 states, many of whom were nominated by their school’s guidance counselors following outreach from Kenyon. Throughout the program, students chose from various classes to shadow, while also attending club-hosted activities and panels. 

On Saturday, students from the West Coast arrived, participating in activities from board games in the Kenyon Inn to a “Chill Saturday” substance-free party in the Crozier Center for Women. On Sunday morning, the remainder of students were welcomed to campus with tours and an address from President Julie Kornfeld. Throughout their visit, students could meet with senior admissions fellows, engage in interactive crafting workshops and experience daily aspects of student life — including waiting in the Peirce Dining Hall lunch lines for grilled cheese and hot dogs. 

The students also had the opportunity to meet with affinity groups, with events ranging from a “Not Being Latinx Enough” talk with ¡Adelante! to fall crafts with Sisterhood. Students looking to learn more about academic programs could also attend a discussion on the Kenyon Educational Enrichment Program (KEEP) and the STEM Scholar Program, hosted by Assistant Director of the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Sasha Pauline Fanny-Holston ’11. 

Beyond the activities and events organized by groups, a central part of the yearly program is the opportunity for students to visit classes and experience collegiate academia. On Monday, professors opened their classrooms to the visitors, with over 85 classes available for the students to observe. Assistant Professor of Biology Natalie Wright hosted several students in her Comparative Vertebrate Anatomy (BIOL 247) course, where students learned about circulatory pathways in a range of vertebrates. “It’s good for students to get a feel for what a class at Kenyon looks like before they commit to coming to Kenyon,” she said in an interview with the Collegian. “They often really enjoy it.” 

According to Anci, about half of the student attendees have already committed to attend Kenyon, with more anticipated to join the ranks as the regular decision deadline approaches. Because so many of the program’s attendees will soon be on campus, Anci emphasized the value of giving students the opportunity to connect with their future classmates. “What was really noteworthy was how cohesive the group was,” she said. “The students appeared to really bond with one another. The group was sort of amazingly kind and generous with one another.”

From the friendships forged between future students to the opportunity to meet faculty and club members on campus, Anci emphasized that the program is an excellent way for participants to get a glimpse at their potential future at Kenyon. “We are happy to provide a campus visit for students who may not have had the opportunity to visit, to give them the chance to immerse themselves in the Kenyon community and to meet future classmates,” she said. 

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