What makes a Kenyon experience classic? First-year sing, Peircegiving, mac-and-cheese wedges — and Summer Sendoff. Tradition is important at Kenyon. Music is important at Kenyon. We bookend each year with renditions of “Kokosing Farewell” and, of course, a musical performance by a noteworthy artist or band at Sendoff.
On Feb. 2, yet another emailed news bulletin brought dismay to the student body. “This year, the College will work with a third-party provider to sell alcohol on site during the festivities. Students of age can purchase wristbands with tabs for up to five drinks. Underage students will be given wristbands of another color. No other alcohol will be permitted.” Cue a collective groan across campus.
After the recent news bulletin announcing the closing of the Cove, it seems we’re one all-campus party shutdown away from having a full-blown conniption. In addition to the impending feeling that the administration is slowly micro-managing us away from the classic college experience, there are many other reasons why I disagree with the new plans for Sendoff.
It’s been said before, but it’s worth repeating: College students are going to drink. The new rule that bans drinking on the south quad before the concert is wildly ignorant. This will not prevent underage students from drinking. Instead, it will prevent students from drinking in the presence of Campus Safety. Before, students may have enjoyed casually drinking on the south quad before the concert. Now, students will feel the need to binge on hard liquor in the privacy of their dorm rooms.
Beer and Sex Advisor Katie Samples ’18 believes these new rules are trying to fix what wasn’t broken. “I don’t know why the administration is trying to change something that has worked in the past,” Samples told me. “They’re making it more dangerous because it will promote binge drinking, which will cause more problems rather than solving them.”
With the added variables of an outdoor event, the overwhelming stress of finals and the bittersweet end of the year, it seems binge drinking will be more plausible at this year’s Sendoff than ever before. Underage students may also turn to experimenting with other, more dangerous illicit substances in lieu of alcohol.
Since students will no longer be able to drink outside, they will resort to staying indoors and drinking in small groups. These new rules are threatening my favorite part of Sendoff, the sense of unity. It’s one of the few events where the whole student body comes together. Regardless of sports teams, Greek organizations, clubs or societies, every student comes to Ransom Lawn and celebrates the end of the year with their peers.
Perhaps the most disheartening part of the new Sendoff is the change of a beloved Kenyon tradition and a reminder that we truly have little say in decisions that diminish our college experience.
Maya Lowenstein ’18 is a sociology and film major from Toronto, Canada. Contact her at email@example.com.