Five New Themed Houses to Join Campus Community
Published: Thursday, April 12, 2012
Updated: Thursday, November 15, 2012 01:11
Want to drink coffee and write creatively? There’s a house for that. The Creative Writing/Coffee House is one of five new themed houses approved for next year. Five other themed houses were also reapproved for the 2012-13 school year.
The returning themed houses are Buddhist Club, Environmental Campus Organization (ECO) /People Endorsing Agrarian Sustainability (PEAS), International Students at Kenyon (ISAK), KAC Heads and Kenyon Food Co-op. The newly approved themed houses are BE: Victorious, a fellowship of Christian athletes; Bike Co-op; Community Service Club; Creative Writing/Coffee House and the Outdoors Club.
Due to the high rate of students studying abroad, rising sophomores will head many of the houses.
The Creative Writing/Coffee House seeks to provide a non-judgmental safe zone where budding artists can share their writing. Janet Wlody ’13, the themed house coordinator, said Kenyon needs a relaxed environment for students to feel free to share their works.
“All of the creative writing opportunities at Kenyon are through an application process,” Wlody said. “If you’re applying to be in a creative writing class, which is pretty selective, or if you’re already writing and submitting to HIKA or Persimmons, there’s no forums where you can just get your feet wet.”
The group encourages both seasoned writers and novices to attend. Next year, the house will host a monthly themed writing event where members will distribute prompts and works by professional authors. Creative Writing/Coffee House will be in a North Campus Apartment.
BE: Victorious, also occupying a North Campus Apartment, is a subset of BE:, a new Christian campus organization spearheaded by Jennifer and Zane Sanders, members of the Board of Spiritual and Religious Life. BE: seeks to bring all aspects of Christian life on campus under one umbrella, including Saturday Night Fellowship, Koinonia and Bible study groups. BE: Victorious specifically refers to the Fellowship of Christian Athletes (FCA), a group only recognized as an official student organization this semester. Lianne Castile ’13, one of the themed housing coordinators for BE: Victorious, is a member of the Ladies soccer team. A varsity letter, however, is not a prerequisite for FCA.
“With FCA, we want it to be really open. You don’t have to be a varsity athlete to be involved,” Castile said. “Some people living in the house next year were high school athletes.”
This openness extends to religious affiliation as well. BE: Victorious welcomes students who are deeply religious as well as those who are less committed. Next year, BE: Victorious will be involved in community service and plans to organize support for Kenyon athletics. The themed housing option provides BE: Victorious with a space to organize and gather beyond its current weekly meetings. “If we were living together, the conversations could continue,” Castile said. “We could be each other’s support system and live a lifestyle we want to live.”
The Bike Co-op was originally denied in the first round of themed housing decisions. Through the appeals process, members explained how a house would help them foster a better relationship with the campus. Themed housing offers the Bike Co-op not only a space for bike maintenance, but also a headquarters that enables them to “promote a positive bike culture on campus,” according to Steve Nisi ’14, the themed house coordinator.
“We are here to encourage everyone to ride. It is as simple as that,” Nisi said. “Our role here on campus is to achieve that goal in any and every way we can.” The Bike Co-op will have drop-in hours offering help for students. Its services range from simple tune-ups to revamping bikes that have been sent to campus.
Community Service House will reside in Spaid House, this year’s Music House, near the Kenyon Athletic Center (KAC). They will organize volunteers for a number of local and global causes, focusing primarily on improving the relationship between Kenyon and the Gambier and Mount Vernon communities.
The Community Service House members have several ideas for future service projects. These include working with Transition Mission, an organization that teaches life skills to students in a Mount Vernon High School special needs program; hosting a fall festival meal with Hot Meals; collecting items for a holiday gift drive and making cards for military families. Olivia LaViolette ’13, the themed house coordinator, is also president of Transition Mission.
For the first time since the organization’s inception, the Outdoors Club will have its own themed housing. A house will allow the Outdoors Club to become more involved and active in campus life. Its slogan, “Bringing the outdoors indoors,” reflects its goal of becoming a larger presence on campus.
Rob Heavner ’15, the themed house coordinator, believes having a house will help unify the club. “Right now, it’s just an email dis-list. … We don’t have a place where we can meet,” he said. “The Outdoors House is meant to provide more unification and centralize the club.” Current members hope the house will facilitate further involvement in campus life for the organization. Outdoors House will be in a North Campus Apartment.