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Ford Center for the Fine Arts

Campus Sustainability Month: How Knox Students Live More Sustainably

Sustainability is a core value at Knox, and the campus community is constantly evolving and finding new ways to make the College more earth-friendly. The Office of Sustainability was created in 2012 and has played a significant role in helping Knox implement sustainability initiatives such as recycling and composting, using 100% renewable energy, the Knox Farm, and more. If students want to be more involved in sustainability-focused efforts, there are many opportunities to contribute to different departments and clubs. 

October is Campus Sustainability Month, and we’ve put together a short list of campus groups that work to make Knox as eco-friendly as possible. 

Hilary Lehmann

The Knox Farm

The Knox Farm consists of an acre of outdoor growing space and two season-extending "high tunnel" structures. The farm produces food for on-campus use and for sharing with the Galesburg community.

Students manage most farm operations through the Office of Sustainability. Farm crew employees plant, harvest, and process the crop, and overall productivity depends on volunteer involvement. Workers amend the soil with campus-generated compost, practice integrated pest management techniques, and refrain from using synthetic pesticides or artificial soil amendments.

The newest addition to the farm is a beekeeping center, created as part of an urban agriculture research project by Ava Vaccarella '25. Future honey harvests are planned. 

Students for Sustainability

Students for Sustainability (S4S) is a student-led group focused on increasing support for environmentally friendly practices in the Knox community. S4S works closely with the Student Senate Sustainability Committee on a variety of issues. Currently, the group is working to increase community composting by placing compost bins around campus, especially in residential areas. 

Each April, S4S typically hosts or collaborates on different weekly events to celebrate Earth Month, with the goal of prioritizing low-waste events. During last year’s celebration, S4S hosted terrarium-building workshops, flower-planting sessions, organic face mask workshops, and more. The majority of these events involved a collaborative effort with other groups on campus, including sororities, literary magazines, faculty members, and more.

“What I love seeing now is the collaboration between the different departments on campus. This work does not get done just in one office; this is a campus initiative done by everyone. A lot of people care about it, so they’re starting to be more aware and more involved,” Director of Sustainability Initiatives Tina Hope said.

Hilary Lehmann

Bike Shop

Located in the basement of the Old Jail, the Knox College Bike Shop is a free resource for students to utilize for their transportation needs. The Bike Shop provides students with a zero-emission transportation option. Students may rent bikes to get to class or for a leisure ride around Galesburg. 

The Bike Shop is staffed by student and staff mechanics and also serves as a repair facility providing guidance and resources on general bike repair, maintenance, and safety for the Knox community. The Bike Shop hosts repair workshops and specialty classes on bike building. 

Food Recovery Network

Food Recovery Network (FRN) is a club that combines sustainability and community service by packing unused food from the Hard Knox Cafe and donating it to local organizations within the Galesburg community such as Safe Harbor and the Galesburg Rescue Mission. 

On campus, the club screens food justice-themed documentaries, holds expert talks, and hosts events in collaboration with other clubs to promote sustainability. FRN aims to create a zero-waste campus and foster Galesburg community connections between people in need of food and businesses who have food to donate.

Hilary Lehmann

Share Shop

The Knox College Share Shop is an on-campus resource for reusing materials and fostering a sharing economy. This student-run "store" includes gently used clothing, home goods, electronics, books, kitchen supplies, and more for the Knox community at no charge.

The majority of items are collected at year-end when students move out, but items can be donated throughout the year during open hours or by contacting the Office of Sustainability. The Share Shop is open during the academic year. 

Green Pledge

During Commencement activities, Knox seniors are asked to take the Graduation Pledge for Social and Environmental Responsibility, otherwise known as the Green Pledge. The pledge was adopted in 2009 and reads: "I pledge to explore and take into account the social and environmental consequences of any job I consider and will try to improve these aspects of any organization for which I work." The pledge was adopted in 2009.

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Printed on Sunday, April 21, 2024