Section: Uncategorized

Walking campus in a driving county

All you needed were a few things from Walmart. Some ramen, a few bananas, a new air freshener. Lacking a car on campus or a friend with one, you take the shuttle that comes on Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays. It’s about 20 minutes late, but you don’t have another choice. It comes, drops you off, tells you it’ll be back in an hour. You shop away. You wait outside on the bench surrounded by plastic bags and despair. The shuttle doesn’t come. You’re stranded at the bustling Mount Vernon Walmart. You’re hungry and resort to eating the Lunchable you bought. The shuttle eventually comes, but its arrival cannot recover the lost morale of your evening.

Though Kenyon is often billed as a “walking campus,” traveling into town or to the airport is a different issue. The shuttle is a free way to town, but it is inconsistent, rarely showing up on time. It only operates three days a week, and while there has been talk of increasing it to daily service, its reliability is questionable. Students rely on this transportation not only for groceries, but also for rides into town to get medication, supplies for class, volunteering and other time-sensitive errands. There is currently no school-sponsored airport shuttle either, a service many other schools provide. I know plenty of students — myself included — who were stranded at the airport because of inconsistent arrival times with the Gambier Coach and other taxi services.

Part of Kenyon’s appeal is its rural location. The cornfields and green landscape are a change of pace for me, a girl from the suburbs of the overpopulated state of New Jersey. Despite the appeal of the quiet, focused vibe, I would like for Kenyon to have more reliable methods of transportation. When I visited and applied here, I was told there was adequate transportation for getting to Mount Vernon and even to Columbus. I enjoy going to concerts back home, and I wanted to have the opportunity to see shows in a larger setting than those found in Gambier. The most cost-effective option is to take the GoBus — which does not have the most flexible schedule, often picking up passengers at 6:45 a.m. and returning at 5:34 p.m. — for $10.

The second option is to rent one of the UhaulCarShare vehicles available in the lot of Watson Residence Hall. A few friends and I did this last semester. Driving to Columbus for the day cost us $60, and the car we rented was poorly kept, needed an oil change and had a broken gas card. Split, it wasn’t bad, but for one or two people, it would be a substantial cost.

Getting into town and the surrounding area shouldn’t be as difficult as it is. No matter how much you love Kenyon, the small-town feel can get a bit tiring. Whether you want to go to Columbus or simply walk around Mount Vernon, the options to do so should be available, reliable and easy.

Jacqueleen Eng ’19 is undeclared from Chatham, N.J. Contact her at engj@kenyon.edu.

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