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Students on campus over break participate in Easton trip

Students on campus over break participate in Easton trip

Students at lunch in Easton | COURTESY OF YEGOR SOROKIN

On Nov. 19, the Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (ODEI) and the Center for Global Engagement (CGE) hosted a trip to Easton Town Center and Saraga International Grocery for students staying on campus over Thanksgiving break. According to Program Coordinator for International Students and Scholars Yegor Sorokin, 38 students — a mixture of international and domestic students — attended the trip and had the opportunity to explore various stores and cuisines throughout the day. 

Spearheaded by both the CGE and ODEI, the trip to Easton and Saraga was an initiative dedicated to supporting international students and increasing inclusivity on campus. While many students at Kenyon choose to visit their homes over breaks, several international students do not have the same ability. Although the initiative primarily aimed to provide international students with access to groceries and resources, Sorokin explained that the trip was available to all students staying on campus over Thanksgiving break, regardless of their background. 

Assistant Director of DEI René Guo, one of the faculty members who attended the trip, emphasized that the initiative was further intended to aid students living on campus over break with transportation. “With ODEI providing fiscal support (half of the cost) for renting two school buses, the initiative aimed to bridge transportation gaps for students who lacked means to access culturally fitting food and ingredients in Easton and Columbus,” Guo wrote in an email to the Collegian

Leaving campus early in the morning, students first drove to Easton Town Center, where they had the opportunity to explore the mall, shop for the holidays and eat lunch with options from various cuisines. Afterward, the buses traveled to Saraga International Groceries, where students could purchase groceries from different cultures and ethnicities that may not be available in regular grocery stores closer to campus. 

Sorokin emphasized that because Peirce Dining Hall is closed over break, many students choose to cook their own meals instead, with several opting to use the CGE’s kitchen to cook together. “It’s a very enriching experience for them,” he said, noting that many students appreciated having access to a wide range of international groceries for Thanksgiving break. 

He added that while the trip offered students the chance to connect with one another, it also proved to be beneficial for faculty members who attended as well. According to Sorokin, many students took the opportunity to ask faculty attendees for advice and shared their own advice in return. In particular, he recalled two Chinese students teaching him what ingredients he would need to make Chinese dumplings, a cultural food for them. 

Guo emphasized that while Columbus trips are a regular occurrence over breaks, particularly Thanksgiving and winter break, the response from students has encouraged ODEI and the CGE to extend similar services during spring break. “The success and positive reception of the Thanksgiving shuttle underscore the potential for future collaborations,” they wrote. “This underscores a proactive approach to fostering a supportive and inclusive campus environment for all students.

“I think it was great that there are activities happening for international students over breaks,” Sorokin agreed. “And of course, I wish there were just a bit more.”

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