After receiving my Thumbs-Up envelope during my senior year of high school, I rushed to Kenyon’s website to investigate the different residence halls available to first-year students. Recently, I visited this page again and read this: “You can live in one of the historic stone residence halls or a modern apartment with its own kitchen.” I realized on the day of the stressful, soul-crushing housing lottery, this was an empty promise.
My plan was to get a New Apartment. Say what you will about the disintegrating infrastructure, beer-soaked carpets or even the rumored cockroaches. I desperately wanted the comfort of my own single room, plus a communal living space and a mini kitchen, and even the price for an apartment single on campus, $4,175 per semester, seemed reasonable enough. Unfortunately, before the junior housing lottery had even started, the apartment I had started to decorate mentally had been taken.
In past years, the housing lottery for NCAs happened separately. This meant students who wished to live in the NCAs had to organize their groups before applying for an apartment. This year, the NCAs were lumped in with the rest of the housing lottery. Any student with a high lottery number could haphazardly pull a group of housemates together and have their choice of apartment in senior suburbia. The highest number a student used to obtain an NCA this year was 81. Many seniors were locked out of NCAs and other apartment options. The housing lottery should revert to the old system, the which worked well in prior years.
To make matters worse, the administration has announced it will crack down on off-campus living next year. I appreciate Kenyon’s close-knit community, but I don’t believe the administration should ban off-campus housing without offering sufficient apartment-style alternatives, especially when many of these “off-campus” houses are actually closer to the center of campus than some on-campus housing. After the College builds more housing options like the apartments planned for the area the Cove used to occupy, the administration will have grounds to enforce this rule. Until then, groups of students eager for their own space and independence should be granted permission to live off-campus.
One day we will all graduate and leave the Kenyon bubble. The school is responsible for preparing us for postgrad life. Living in an apartment can help developskills such as cooking, cleaning and getting along with multiple housemates. If Kenyon cannot provide enough apartment-style housing for upperclass students, can the College adequately prepare students for the outside world?
Maya Lowenstein ’18 is a film and sociology major from Toronto. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.