In a recent e-mail to President Taylor '63, a father of a first-year student -- a defensive back on the Prairie Fire football team -- said he was a little disappointed that his son's friends were all other corn-fed Midwestern football players who played video games in their spare time. But the e-mail didn't end there. The father went on to say that his son's group of friends invited a young man from China and another from India to join their gaming group. Soon, their video game time began to be filled with discussions that spilled over from class, wrestling with issues such as the treatment of Native Americans. "That's Knox," said the father in his e-mail.
And that's the Knox you'll see each and every day. No matter the time of day, Knox students are discussing issues from class in their dorm suite, typing away in the computer lab, preparing for a presentation in Seymour Library, or rehearsing for an upcoming play in Harbach Theatre. At Knox, it is never a question of "what will we do?" but rather, "what will we do next?"
"So many students are out and about at all times and open to being with other people," says Hayley Lerner '09, a creative writing and history major from Mundelein, Illinois. "And there are so many diverse types of personalities that you can find exactly the group you want to be with."
With more than 100 student clubs and organizations and a vibrant Greek system -- eight fraternities and sororities and three new colonies -- Knox students can find a variety of activities to match their interests and personalities. Not surprisingly, the typical Knox student is involved in several student clubs and organizations, may hold at least one leadership position, and has a full class load.
"That explains the lack of sleep," says Brad Middleton '08, president of Knox College Student Senate. Middleton is a political science major from Rock Falls, Illinois. His pursuit of a bachelor's degree in political science is flanked by his various campus responsibilities including his position as president of the Student Senate.
Middleton also is a student representative on the Faculty Executive Committee, the Institutional Planning Group, and the Student Life Committee; a member of Mortar Board and the varsity golf team; and is a student worker in the Office of Advancement. "This lifestyle is totally voluntary. It is what students here enjoy," he says. "They wouldn?t trade involvement for sleep or free time."
One would think that all of these clubs and organizations would take away from academics. But, according to Xavier Romano, dean of students and vice president for student life, that?s not the case.
"Knox students are dedicated to doing everything," he says. "They are having conversations in the suites and the fraternity houses about the upcoming presidential campaign and the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. They are talking about the dollar related to the British pound and the Euro. They are passionate."
But student life isn?t all academics or extracurricular. Knox students are dedicated to serving others. "More than 36 percent of Knox students are involved in a volunteer effort," says Coordinator for the Center for Community Service Kathleen Ridlon. "These students work with local, regional, national, and international organizations."
Funded through a grant from the Ellen Browning Scripps Foundation, the Center for Community Service officially opened in January 2006. It serves as a liaison between Knox students and the outside community, partnering with 23 local and national organizations. During the 2006-2007 academic year, the Center managed 36 community service opportunities that engaged more than 470 student volunteers, resulting in more than 7,000 hours of volunteer work.
With so much activity happening both in and out of the classroom, it's no surprise that students have some big ideas for the future. Romano says that the student engagement at Knox helps prepare students for life after college.
"Knox students are very driven and focused. Whether they worked towards a career, graduate school, or developing a life-long portfolio, they come out of Knox excited and ready for global engagement or service in their own backyard," he says. "Everything contributes to their plan."
And life at Knox is fun, too.
"Just walk by Founders computer lab during the year, and you will see students up at all hours," says Leah Heister '08, a political science major from Bristol, Connecticut. "Knox has events running from early morning to late at night. This is one of the great things about our campus community. The resources are there if you are interested."
More than 100 student clubs and organizations participate in the annual Club Fair each fall, including clubs with an academic focus like the Business Club, a service focus like Habitat for Humanity, a political club like Allied Blacks for Liberty and Equality (ABLE), or a religious club like Hillel. Students can also participate in their favorite sport in one of the 26 recreation and game clubs. And for students interested in the Greek System, Knox offers eight fraternities and sororities and three new colonies. If students don't find what they're looking for, they can start a new club. Learn more about Knox student clubs and organizations.