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Bargain Values

by B.J. Hollars '07

Reprinted with permission from The Knox Student.

Our education here at Knox is a better bargain than the Fire Starter breakfast in the Gizmo. Maybe we don't get the eggs, links of sausage and the heart attack that soon follows, but according to the Princeton Review's 2006 edition of America's Best Value Colleges, Knox is one of the top 81 'best value' schools.

What makes a 'best value' school? It's not the cafeteria food. According to the Princeton Review's Vice President of Publishing Robert Franke, "We used over 30 factors to rate the colleges in four categories: academics, grade point average, tuition (the sticker price minus average amount students receive in scholarships and grants), financial aid (how well colleges meet students' financial need), and student borrowing."

To me, it sounds like we're all a bunch of frugal bargain shoppers. We know a good deal when we see one.

But it was a quote from Paul Steenis '85, Knox's vice president for enrollment and dean of admission, that struck me: "The best value ranking recognizes Knox's commitment to making a quality education affordable for all students. Knox is proud to know that students recognize the value of their experience here."

Now, I whole-heartedly agree with the first part, but do we really recognize the value of our experience?

When was the last time we shook Dean of Students Xavier Romano's hand and thanked him for our experiences? When did we last sit in Lincoln's chair in Old Main's Alumni Room, or read Ernest Hemingway's letters in the archives, or slip-and-slide down the Knox Bowl? We are given these opportunities, but since they are readily at our disposal, we do just that—dispose of them readily.

I've seen entirely too much window breaking, juice stealing and other petty acts of vandalism lately for me to agree that we all value our time here. If it's angst we want to show, then I suggest joining the Boxing Club, because that's probably a good way to get your frustrations out.

Sure, Galesburg is no Chicago, but Chicago is no Galesburg either. Chicago doesn't have Cornucopia or Foley's Photography or a cockatiel named Dundee that greets you every time you enter the public library. There is a charm here that resonates, and, instead of grumbling about how lame Knox is or how boring Galesburg is, perhaps our time would be better spent digging up the treasures that these places possess. Chicagoans can't walk half a mile and find themselves reading poetry in Carl Sandburg's backyard. They can't appreciate the former brick factory in East Galesburg, or the incessant lullaby of trains, or that rank smell of pig refinery that is ours when the wind blows right. These are all part of the allure of Knox College.

If asked, the majority of the student body would respond that the reason they chose Knox was because it was cheap; it was a bargain. But that doesn't cut it, because there are 80 other bargains to choose from. We chose Knox because of the ability to deem a day 'No Pants Day' and have a few brave students actually heed the call. We chose Knox because we realized that the people here remembered our names and where we were from. Or maybe we chose it for the Fire Starter. After all, if you're going to go into cardiac arrest, you might as well choose a place with plenty of pre-med students around.

According to The Knox Student, B.J. Hollars is a junior who loves Knox so much he would marry it. According to B.J. Hollars, he is a junior English and education double major from Fort Wayne, Indiana. He will serve as The Knox Student's Discourse (editorial page) editor and Catch's organizations editor during the 2005-2006 school year.