The housing selection process for the 2022-23 academic year has officially begun, and next year will look vastly different than this one. With temporary modular housing, the $100 million South Quad construction project and another year of overenrollment, Kenyon as we know it is rapidly changing. Not only will these changes alter Kenyon’s physical landscape, but it will further alter a campus culture that has already been drastically affected by the pandemic. At such a fragile time in Kenyon’s history, all these campus changes beg the question: Is it really for the better? We aren’t so sure.
For starters, the construction project on the south end of campus, which won’t be completed until 2027, will dramatically alter the campus’ serene atmosphere. Sounds of students playing music while lounging on the quad will soon be replaced by bulldozers tearing through what was once Bushnell. Recently, Vice President for Student Affairs Celestino Limas informed students that they should not live on that end of campus if they are sensitive to noise, but for most, the lottery selection process leaves them with little say in the matter. Futhermore, due to continued overenrollment, students are now, more than ever, forced to live wherever they can fit — whether they like it or not.
Beyond turning much of South campus into a construction site, when completed, these massive residence halls will completely ruin the College’s historic skyline, highlighted by the steeples of Old Kenyon’s silhouette, the quintessential building of the College used for all of the school’s promotional material.
Because of this construction project and the College’s overenrollment, some students will live in temporary modular housing, located close to the Lowry Center, in the upcoming 2022-23 academic year. Although Kenyon is offering the price of a double room for a single room, this still seems to be too steep a price to pay. Not only are the mods isolated and far removed from the rest of campus, but the quality of living in temporary units will likely be substandard. The College needs to further consider the sacrifices that students living in the mods may be forced to make.
Students were also informed that NCAs which housed four people prior to the COVID-19 pandemic will continue to house five people as a result of overenrollment, with the top-floor double room converted into a triple. The widespread presence of triple occupancy rooms in primarily upperclass-student apartments has the potential to affect many students’ well being and academic success, as they are forced to live in extremely tight quarters. We have seen this year that such situations often lead to strife between roommates and friends alike. The lasting friendships we make at Kenyon are one of the College’s most endearing qualities, so it is alarming to consider the long-term impact of these changes to the housing process.
While the College is clearly making decisions right now that they think will make Kenyon better in the long term, the administration does not realize the lasting cultural effects their choices will have. To continue to overenroll classes, dig up new expanses of campus and disregard current opinion in favor of future success year after year is disheartening for current students. With these housing changes, the College is making a clear choice: to expand the College for monetary gain instead of valuing the campus culture that we all know and love.
The staff editorial is written weekly by editors-in-chief Jordy Fee-Platt ’22 and Linnea Mumma ’22, managing editor Amanda Pyne ’22 and executive director Joe Wint ’22. You can contact them at firstname.lastname@example.org, email@example.com, firstname.lastname@example.org and email@example.com, respectively.