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Student Read, Student Written, Student Led Since 1878

The Knox Student

Student Read, Student Written, Student Led Since 1878

The Knox Student

Student Read, Student Written, Student Led Since 1878

The Knox Student

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April 15, 2024
Poll

Student Senate recently passed a bylaw requiring a club representative at senate meetings. They have since paused the bylaw. Are you in favor of it?

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“Who will be there when I am gone?”

Companion Piece to “Are Knox Students Over-Involved on Campus?”
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Imagine that you are an average Knox College student. You might be in athletics or might not, but you are probably in at least three organizations on campus. You probably also hold at least one or two jobs on campus, possibly one off campus. You have at least three classes of varying intensity, on a campus full of try-hard nerds (from a try-hard nerd), and you attempt to at least achieve a C in every class in order to graduate. You have many friends who all like to hang out for hours at a time, weekly, perhaps even multiple times a week. Your day is most likely somewhere between 7-10 hours long in terms of clubs, work, class, and studying. (Or you’re me, with a 14 hour day.)

Now, taking that all into consideration, would you Average Knox College Student, attend an event, for a club you’re not even a part of?

A little background on myself first. Currently I am involved in seven clubs on campus, two of those I have paid positions for, and I am playing in Intramural Volleyball this term. I am also a Resident Assistant & Duty RA. And just for fun, I’m DMing for Dungeons, Dragons and Deutch, off the books. So I also have, unofficially, four classes.

Knox College is an interesting environment to be in. It is a culture of caring, a culture of wanting to be as involved as you can. Sometimes people come into the school with this desire already, sometimes it is nurtured within students while they attend the college. It is true that some people are only involved in one thing on campus for all four years. Yet, most of my peers are involved in more than two organizations at once. Most of my peers are on exec boards or have been in the past. I know four different people who founded their own club within the time that I have been a student of Knox.

However, in my experience, this has quickly turned into many students becoming over-involved. Students who are in six, seven, nine different clubs at once. Who have two or three different exec positions. Students who have to juggle classes, multiple organizations and executive positions, and most likely, a job or two on campus.

This over-involvement leaves very little room to join new clubs, despite your wishes to add that 10th thing to your schedule.

Because there are so few students with actual free time (or generally, the willingness to even join a club), it creates a constant feeling of desperation from the perspective of someone already in the club trying to garner interest and new members. Organization Fairs quickly become primarily about hunting down people who are not yet over-involved, or grasping at straws with the increasingly smaller first-year class.

It’s difficult to explain what the constant low-level, background stress of a club failing after you’ve left does to you. Especially if it’s the stress from four or seven different clubs. Every year I go to another poorly advertised mandatory Student Senate budgeting meeting, and I add more and more clubs that I have to represent, because there is nobody else to do it. Last year I represented two clubs. This year I had four.

Every year, at those meetings, the people in Student Senate tell us that engagement on campus is at an all time low. And it’s not just Student Senate, in my experience with campus life as an RA it has become clear to students and administrators alike that student engagement is low. We on the RA Team are told multiple times that engagement is down. That we need to encourage more involvement on campus for campus events. It is part of our job to encourage students to go to events on campus, but even from last year to this year, the stress and gravity put upon that encouragement is greater.

However, the statistics show us that on average, students are involved in three organizations. The surveys also show that a not insignificant amount of students are in one or zero organizations on campus. From the 120 students surveyed, 24.1%, a quarter of the respondents, said they were in one or no organizations.

Yet, despite this representative quarter of campus, event engagement is lower than ever. Students don’t go to events – because they’re already at their own events. I and many of my peers typically do not attend an event that is not hosted by our own organizations. Whether it is due to time conflicts, or just sheer exhaustion, there’s an unwillingness to go outside our own events. And everyone always tries to go to their own organizations’ events, because we are told engagement is down – and that we must attend, so that our clubs can continue to exist and operate each term.

I cannot help but ask myself, when I see less and less people show up to events or club meetings, ‘When I graduate, who will do the work? Who will keep my club alive?’

How is a campus this involved, this dedicated, this intensely focused and driven to participate with our own groups and the community as a whole, constantly failing to get people to engage?

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About the Contributor
Red Engel
Red Engel, Graphics Editor
Sasse/Red Engel '25, (he/they) is an Art History major with a Chemistry minor. They joined TKS in 2021 as the graphics editor and have continued in that position since. He is in charge of social media and the creation of the magazines. He is from Chicago, Illinois, and their current goal in life is to work one day at DC Comics, as a comic book artist.

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    Ro IvanJan 9, 2024 at 3:40 pm

    This was such a huge thing that haunted me during my senior year, you’ve articulated it really well.

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