This week, the College bids farewell to Chief Business Officer Mark Kohlman and hello to Ian Smith, the new vice president for facilities, planning, and sustainability.
Kohlman’s legacy will be cemented by the numerous construction projects the College initiated under his tenure, the efforts he made towards a more sustainable campus and the relationships he fostered between Kenyon and local businesses. The Collegian thanks him for his candor in weekly interviews and the kindness and respect with which he has treated our reporters. Kohlman’s tenure set a high bar for Smith, but we believe that his arrival marks an opportunity to propose some novel ideas for Kenyon-Mount Vernon business partnerships.
Kenyon’s K-Card partnership with Domino’s Pizza should serve as a model for relationships the College could strike up with other businesses in Knox County, whether small, local businesses or national chains.
Seniors on campus will remember that fateful day, Aug. 30, 2016, that Domino’s Pizza began taking K-Card for the first time, an event Kohlman announced to the campus via email. We cannot quantify the rate at which Domino’s delivers to campus, but in a 2016 Collegian article written after the new K-Card deal was struck, one delivery man mentioned that the common practice is to try and knock out multiple Kenyon deliveries in one trip. More anecdotally, it is hard to imagine a Friday or Saturday night on campus without picturing a sedan with the red and blue logo lighting up the top.
We implore the College’s business officers and the Office of Community Partnerships to explore other business opportunities with the greater Knox County community. Striking up deals to get vendors to take K-Cards will help advertise those businesses and will encourage Kenyon students to put their money back into the local economy. Too often, the Kenyon-Mount Vernon relationship is presented in terms of volunteering, community service and community-engaged learning. While these projects are valuable, there is a lot of value added to these projects by encouraging students to enjoy Mount Vernon’s many local businesses.
With the newly built Wright Center in the center of Mount Vernon, Kenyon students already frequent many businesses in the town. Establishments such Diner Dashers, Southside Diner, Happy Bean, China Buffet, Dunkin’ Donuts and Dirko’s Pizza are already fixtures in the minds of Kenyon students. Striking up new K-Card partnerships with these and other local ventures will not only make it easier for Kenyon students to support these businesses, but could help establish a more regular rapport with the locals that run them.
Expanding the number of businesses that take K-Card is just one idea, but the Collegian implores the College to consider ways to expand the exchange between Kenyon and the greater Knox County. The College wants to form a deeper connection to its neighbors. The county is exploring ways to promote economic development. Given these current conversations, there’s no better time to get Kenyon students more involved in Mount Vernon.
The staff editorial is written weekly by editors-in-chief Becca Foley ’20, Adam Schwager ’20 and executive director Tommy Johnson ’20. You can contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com and johnson1@kenyon.