GAMBIER — Community service and involvement has been one a part of the student experience for those attending Kenyon College. The college feels it is an important part of the Kenyon student’s curriculum and encourages it whenever it can. That encouragement also includes Kenyon employees.
The Student Affairs Department of Kenyon held a professional development day on Tuesday with staff members attending a meeting in the morning and taking part in several community service projects in the afternoon.
One of the projects took place at the Harcourt Parish House in Gambier. Staff members helped prepare games and activity booklets to be shared by children at the Gambier Head Start and their parents. The activities were placed in paper bags to be given the children to take home once a month.
“This is part of a staff kickoff for us,” said Hank Toutain, dean of students at Kenyon. “We had meetings earlier today. We had some professional development sessions where we ramped up on certain skills and had conversations about challenges we confront in our work. We spent most of the day talking to one another in various configurations about the work that we do, how we do it and what we could do better. And we built in this exercise because we felt we should practice what we preach. We encourage our students to participate in community and to be engaged and involved not only in the campus community but the local community.”
Toutain said community service is beneficial to anyone, not just students, because it gives a sense of connectivity to the community.
“Even though our students only live here nine or 10 months out of the year, they are still here,” he added. “Our expectation is they will be good neighbors and will be responsible citizens and part of the community.”