It is Collegian tradition for the outgoing Editors-in-chief to publish a goodbye editorial, which represents the last chance for us to share our thoughts before we pass on our titles to next year’s editorial team. Since we have arrived on the Hill, the College has proposed and undergone numerous changes, from a repaved Middle Path to the opening of the Wright Center in Mount Vernon. We welcome change. We began working for the Collegian because this newspaper enabled us to examine and report on such changes. We will no longer be around to witness firsthand how Kenyon evolves in the future, so instead, we would like to leave behind a few of our hopes for the future of the College.
The College and the Board of Trustees must listen to students. No one — not even Kenyon alumni — knows the daily lives and problems of Kenyon better than its students. College administrators and trustees must increase their efforts to be transparent about their decision-making and provide students with avenues to make our voices heard. This does not mean seeking out the perspectives of the same few students each time a new committee forms, which happens all too often. Large, representative samples of students are necessary for accurate information.
Prioritize housing. By “housing,” we do not mean the new NCA-style buildings behind the market. Most students live in dorms that are showing their wear. We need dorms with better lighting, common spaces and outlets — and less mold. We hope students hold the College and trustees accountable, so they provide the kinds of spaces students truly want. (Maybe it is just us, but we think students are a little tired of white boxes.)
Provide more food options. Speaking of dorms — all dorms should have kitchens, so students with severe allergies or eating restrictions do not have to rely on Peirce Hall serving at least one thing they can eat at each meal. Few students may know that Gund Commons, until several years ago, housed a “Grab N’ Go” dining hall. Given the recent proliferation of North campus housing, the College should consider reviving this kind of food option.
Change the mascot. We love the teams that play under these names, but as a moniker, Lord and Ladies is antiquated. As Kenyon works to rewrite its policies to be inclusive of all genders, the College would benefit from a mascot that does not define itself strictly according to the gender binary. Several months ago, a New York Times article showed that Kenyon has more students in the top one percent than in the bottom 60 percent, putting into words what most of us already know: Kenyon is an elitist institution. Changing our mascot will not solve that problem, but will eliminate a symbol of elitism at Kenyon.
Remain open to dialogue. The beauty of a liberal arts education is it provides the chance for students to explore a variety of subjects and foster an interdisciplinary mode of thinking. Far too often, however, our student body attempts to shut down conversations deemed offensive. We know this sentiment may sound like a broken record, but perhaps one day students will take it to heart: Listen to what other people are saying. Engage in a constructive dialogue. And consider submitting an op-ed to the Collegian or joining our staff. We may not be Collegian editors anymore, but we will always be Collegian readers.
Maya Kaufman ’17 is a political science major from New York, N.Y. You can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org. Victoria Ungvarsky ’17 is an American studies and English major from Bexley, Ohio. You can contact her at email@example.com.