Pumphandle 2011

Longtime tradition unites Knox College students, faculty, staff

September 08, 2011

Pumphandle 2011For Knox College senior Erik Hane, the fall tradition of Pumphandle represents "a lot of connectedness."

"At least for a second, you're meeting everyone," said Hane, a senior from Littleton, Colorado.

Knox students, faculty, and staff gathered on the south lawn of Old Main Wednesday afternoon for the annual welcoming event, held the day before Knox's fall term begins.

President Teresa Amott greets studentHere's how Pumphandle works: Knox College President Teresa Amott  leads the welcoming line. The second person in line shakes her hand. The third person shakes the hands of the other two individuals. And so on, with everyone shaking hands with everyone else. (A short Pumphandle video can be viewed here.)

As more people join Pumphandle, an enormous line takes shape, snaking its way across the Knox campus. Some participants wear special outfits, funny hats, or team uniforms.

"I come for the tradition," said Caleb Thompson, a sophomore from Galesburg, Illinois. (Photo at bottom right of page depicts Caleb Thompson at left with Erik Hane.)

Pumphandle line through Old Main window Dressed up for Pumphandle

Kara Gurvey, a first-year student from Glenview, Illinois, greeted each person with a different adjective as she shook hands and smiled. Her variations included "It's marvelous to meet you!" and "It's fabulous to meet you!" along with "It's awesome to meet you!" and "It's magnificent to meet you!"

She said she is excited to be at Knox. "I think it's a really accepting, diverse, friendly community."

The 2011 Pumphandle on Wednesday was her first.

"I think it's a really awesome experience that says a lot about what Knox is about," she said. "It's a community, and it brings everybody together."

Moving though Pumphandle line Caleb Thompson and Erik Hane