Social Life at Kenyon

I’m a prospective student looking at Kenyon College. How frequent is drinking and smoking weed? Are those activities popular or rare? Thanks!

Good morning again Swimfrog!–I replied to your previous post. As I mentioned there my rising sophomore son attends Kenyon. He’s pretty open with us about his social life and while he’s no angel, he’s very focused on health and fitness. He would agree that there is drinking and smoking, but he doesn’t think its more prevalent than other schools. My impression from talking to him – Kenyon, as a smaller school, everyone knows who, where and what parties are happening. For some the focus of weekends are the parties–for others its not. He’s good friends with some of the hearty partiers, but has said he could never room with them. I hope that you have a chance for an overnight.

@luloobee Chiming I’m with another ? for you (or your son). Can you tell us how the college enforces rules around drinking?

@1stTimeThruMom I have been very impressed with Kenyon’s level of engagement with students. Kenyon seems committed to pursuing active and ongoing conversations with their students at all levels, from the Community Advisors (their version of RAs) to the senior administration. I can absolutely say that they genuinely and sincerely engage the students in these conversations to be true to themselves, make wise choices, and be respectful of others. I left orientation fairly confident that the school is a tight knit community committed to the well-being of the community. That being said, during my drive home I was an anxiety fueled wreck leaving my very social 18 year old on his own.

I’m sure in the academic handbook the rules around drinking are well-outlined. I’ve seen the Kenyon/Gambier security blotter mention underage drinking–so there are repercussions, but neither my son or I know firsthand. For my kid, this personal approach seems to be pretty effective, especially since it’s not much different to our discussions at home. Does he have fun–yes. Is he an angel–no. Does he have a healthy respect for himself and others–yes. I also believe, Kenyon has unequivocally contributed to this maturation during this first year.

Our state school has very hard and fast rules about drinking that are strictly enforced, but we kind of chuckle when hearing the “party stories” and how creative the kids keep getting to stay ahead of the rules.

Good luck–its so tough, this is my last one through college and it never gets easy!

Kenyon College is a small, rural isolated school populated, in large part, by upper middle class white students. Drinkng is quite common–just like at most small, rural LACs .

@Publisher Thanks so much for your thoughtful reply!

@Publisher - I don’t think you need to quantify with small, rural, white or middle class. Drinking is quite common at almost every college in the US. What matters, I think, is how the non-drinkers fit into the mix. As far as I can see, non-drinkers are leading happy social lives at Kenyon.

Those were factors noted in an often cited Harvard study.

Note that Kenyon does not appear in the current Princeton Review survey results related to high alcohol consumption.

Aren’t Princeton Review surveys voluntary, self reporting & conducted in an unscientific manner ?

While it is good to not be on this list, it doesn’t mean much.

OP, my daughter is a rising sophomore at Kenyon and she absolutely loves it. She’s made a number of close friendships in addition to getting a great education. Regarding alcohol, what I can say is this: she’s an athlete and Kenyon has a strict policy that no alcohol is to be consumed within 24 hours of practice or 48 hours of a game. Like all NCAA athletes, she’s subject to random drug testing, for which there are serious consequences if she fails. There just isn’t a window for her to be drinking or smoking during the season or during offseason training, other than the occasional Saturday night. From what I’ve seen, the athletes at Kenyon have their priorities straight (after all, Kenyon takes athletics seriously - maybe this is why they have won more NCAA Div III championships than any other LAC, by a wide margin). These kids know how to have fun, but it doesn’t always involve drugs or alcohol.

Of course there is drinking at Kenyon, both in the dorms (although the first year dorms are policed pretty heavily) and in the Greek houses (which are non-residential and are more like clubhouses). Some Kenyon students drink and smoke, and some don’t, but few do it to excess. Hope this helps.

While the # of titles is indeed highest by a large margin, 57 of those 60 were in swimming. So not necessarily a reflection of the emphasis on all athletics, but one of what a powerhouse Kenyon is in this one sport! Year in and year out.

With that said, the OP’s screen name suggests that this still might be relevant!

For a prospective first year like the OP, I suppose the relevant point is that athletes are well integrated into the social scene at Kenyon, meaning that many other students will have the same priorities (given their screen name I’m assuming the OP is a swimmer!). Beyond the titles (and athletic success at Kenyon is pretty broad although the swimming and diving team is the most successful for sure; over the past decade 14 Kenyon teams made the NCAA championships in their sport), more Kenyon students participate in athletics than at most other Div III schools. Kenyon has 50% more athletes than Oberlin, for example, even though Oberlin is larger. Kenyon even has a higher percentage of athletes than Denison (1 in 3 vs. 1 in 5), which is considered to be a pretty sporty school.

This was all a big factor for my daughter in choosing Kenyon. She wanted top academics in an environment where she felt supported as an athlete. She’s gotten that at Kenyon for sure.

My FY’s experience so far (it’s been a week LOL) is that no one cares if you drink or not. My S attended a club sport practice this weekend and said the guys are alot of fun. They invited the new kids to their house party and my S went. He doesn’t really drink, except for the occasional brunch mimosa, so I was nervous for him.
He said there was definitely drinking, but no one cared that he took 2 sips of a beer and gave it away. He said even if it weren’t god-awful, he would’ve only had one & no one would’ve cared. Instead, he grabbed a Sprite and spent a couple hours playing black jack, and went home to bed around 11pm. Were there kids there who’d drank too much? Yes. But it’s a personal choice and no one is pressuring anyone to do anything they don’t want to do.
He said he hasn’t seen any drugs at all. Not since moving in, and not last year when he over-nighted.