Kenyon is a tough place to get friends to come visit. The closest major airport is an hour away and even getting in from Cleveland takes a decent two-hour drive. Somebody always needs to have a car, or money to pay someone with a car, and our spring break is mysteriously one week longer than that of our peer institutions meaning that it’s us, not our friends, who can do the visiting in March. So, when your friends do make the commitment to schlep out, it’s important that you show them a good time.
Having friends come to visit Gambier is nice because we have lots of quaint and “free”-to-cheap things to see and eat. First, and this is obvious, upon your friend’s arrival take them to Peirce and impress them with our swipe-free dining hall. A free post-travel cup of stewed leaves instantly proves the charm of our little village. Also on the charm chart: the lack of Village traffic light (Gambier, we love you, never change).
Register your buddy with safety so you don’t need to swipe them in to any buildings and then let them into your room. As you make your way over, point out directional land marks (Middle Path, North Campus, South Campus, Wiggle Ground) and tell them the most relevant Kenyon ghost story to your living situation. If all goes well, this will make too terrified to sleep and therefore snore in your presence. Save the rest of the ghost stories for when you’re walking to an Old Kenyon party later.
Take them to happy hour at the VI. If they’re from cities on the coasts or college towns more expensive than our own, the one dollar drafts will shock them. Like, actually put them into a state of low-functioning craft beer obsession. Remember to mention the half-off well drinks (whiskey sours for less than $2!!). Hopefully, at this point you will get to run into a professor enjoying a flight of beer. Greeting them will demonstrate how congenial and close-knit the Kenyon community is. Also, if it’s Anna Sun, you’ll win points for knowing the lady of Walk the Moon fame.
Post happy hour, and if you have money on your K-card, take them out for a meal! If you have a lot of money on your K-card, take them out for a meal at the Kenyon Inn! This will show that you are very generous and fun. Do not tell your friend that what you are spending is essentially Kenyon funny money. If you don’t have money on your K-card, take them to drunk Peirce to reinforce the greatness of our swipe-free dining hall.
In order for them to have arrived in Gambier, at least one of you needed to have a car, right? So, in the morning, take that car and drive your friend through historic Mount Vernon, Ohio. The Victorian houses are truly beautiful, even in the winter time.
After returning to campus, walk with them to Gund Gallery. There’re a bunch of cool shows up right now and you can leave them there while you go clock a homework hour in Olin. Have them meet you in the library atrium and then walk over to Horvitz, because even if you don’t do art, the computers and view in the two digital labs are sights to behold.
Other things not to miss: Philo and the third floor of Ascension, the creepy NCAs, the KAC (play racquetball!), the troll-hut Tafts and, if the Lords and Ladies are in season, a swim meet.