69° Galesburg
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

Poll

This poll has ended.

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?

Loading...

Sorry, there was an error loading this poll.

Here is why Knox students don’t join Union Board.

The+I+
The “I <3 Union Board" logo found on UB Merch

There’s not a single student at Knox who doesn’t know what Union Board is. In fact, it is hard to find a student who is not part of Union Board, or wishes they could join Union Board. Every UB meeting is crowded with people, and members often get free pizza from Baked…Ok, one more word and I’ll open a fanfiction account.

The truth is that at least half of the campus has no idea what Union Board is. And I can’t blame folks for not knowing, since UB is not a topic that is advertised, nor does it circulate in lunch conversation. Some people, however, like to guess. This is how occasional guesses about what UB is end up on that one anonymous app that Knox students mainly use to vent about roommates and ask if the C-store’s open.

 

 

It would be a pleasure to enlighten you, Anonymous User 3.

Even though Union Board is technically a club, I think more of it as an organization because we receive funding and are provided office space. Simply put, Union Board is a group of people who work together to organize and throw events on campus. For context, I am currently Chair of the Music and Expressions Committee.

Music Trivia Night, Knox Olympics, Nostalgia Night, “Brunch, Beauties, and Bingo”, Escape Room, Build-a-Bear, March Madness, Murder Mystery Dinner, Pause for Paws, Winter Fair, Speed Dating, Rollapalooza, and (much) more are all events hosted by Union Board.

Although these things are important, UB is not responsible for providing accessible buildings on campus or promoting other clubs and sports events. We are, however, encharged with creating a more fun and engaging campus.

Any student can join UB. All they just have to do is show up to the general meetings (Tuesday from 5:00-6:00 p.m., but I’m not advertising I swear).

In these meetings, general members and execs work together to plan existing events or come up with new event ideas. Anyone can give ideas and even help put those ideas into action. Union board is like the cliché phrase “make your dreams come true”. Except if your dreams involve a Gladiator-Real-Sword-Combat-Until-One-Stands-Victorious-Bathed-In-The-Blood-Of-Their-Fallen-Foes Event. I suggested that last week and sadly it was rejected.

Doesn’t Union Board sound like a lot of fun? (If your answer wasn’t ‘yes,’ do you even have a soul?) Yet, if it’s so cool, why do we have so few members? Why aren’t students lining up to be part of UB?

If I knew the exact answer, I’d try for a solution. However, all I have are speculations. So, if you care to read, here is my opinion on why Knox students don’t join Union Board.

Disclaimer: This column is not a complaint or a criticism to any student or faculty. All this article intends is to provide possible explanations for why UB’s engagement is lower than expected. Also, half of my arguments came from deep contemplations during a longer-than-necessary shower.

Reason 1-Little advertising 

How can you want to be part of something if you don’t even know what it is? UB does have a spot on every student organization fair, but that is pretty much all the contact that first-years have with it. In case a group of first-years inconveniently look up to watch out for crow poop right at the time they are passing by UB’s stand, they will not know of Union Boards’ existence.

Sure, these students might eventually come across UB when they happen to attend one of the organization’s events, but you’d be surprised by the number of people who attend events without having a clue on who’s behind it. This is, in fact, one explanation for why many students come to UB events but few of them know what UB is.

But, Julia, isn’t first-years’ only contact with other clubs also brief? That puts UB and the other clubs in the same boat!’ That’s a great point, Intrusive Voices in My Head. Props to me for the counter argument to myself.

My answer is that UB and other clubs are not exactly in the same boat.

Think about Jimmy, a boy who loves water polo. Jimmy played the sport in high school, and he wants to play it again in college. When Jimmy comes to Knox, the first thing he looks for is a water polo club. Once Jimmy finds it, he joins it. The same goes for Sarah, who joined the chess club, or for Arthur who joined the literature club, and Emily, who joined the Royal Rat-Catchers’ Society Club (I don’t know, people have peculiar tastes).

In the boat, the Water Polo Club gets new members, the Chess Club gets new members, the Literature Club gets new members, and the Royal Rat-Catchers’ Society Club gets new members.

In a sad excuse of a canoe without oars, Union Board sits with no new members in sight. This happens because UB is something that most high schools don’t have, so it’s hard for students to come in contact with it before college.

The fact that the majority of students are not already interested in UB when joining college puts our organization at a disadvantage towards most clubs, which feature a popular common interest. I assure you that before I found out what UB was, my primary interest was not ‘making events at Knox College’.

For that reason, to better present itself, UB would need special attention to advertising, especially when presenting itself to new people. When we get no attention from first-years, those first-years soon turn to sophomores, who will turn to juniors, then seniors, and eventually graduate with a slight to no clue of what UB is or what UB does.

Reason 2- Knox students are overinvolved in campus activities

As much as I love Union Board, I have to confess it is not the best club to join if you are looking for a chill time. UB throws multiple events a term, and general members are expected to assist in and volunteer for these events. Execs and chairs have even more expectations. These include contacting vendors, submitting purchase requests, preparing presentations, registering events, signing contracts, and sometimes cleaning the office, in addition to doing everything that general members do.

A 2023 survey asking 120 Knox students how many organizations were they involved in on campus revealed that, on average, students are engaged in three organizations. Seventy-five percent of the students reported they were involved in at least two organizations. Some students responded with numbers as high as nine, thirteen, and sixteen organizations.

On a campus in which students are overinvolved in club and organization activities, it is hard to find people who can commit to something that requires as much attention as UB does. It is not surprising that students are not lining up at Union Board’s door asking for more things to do.

Reason 3- No recognition

A big factor in getting people to do something that requires hard work is getting recognized for it. And when I speak of recognition, I am not expecting to walk on a red carpet, signing autographs until someone brings me a Nobel prize.

I am speaking of something, anything. Perhaps a mention at graduation? ‘Thank you UB members for putting so much effort into throwing events’. Perhaps having someone from upper administration—who sometimes asks UB to throw specific events—come to a general meeting and say something nice like ‘Congratulations for doing a good job.’ A few words can do wonders in inspiring people.

Maybe a Senior Honor Cord, like multiple clubs on campus get? I wonder why Union Board does not get one. Can’t be because of the price…

A screenshot of a google results page for graduation chords.

Of course, friendly words and graduation cords are not the only reason people join clubs. But for sure it’s a motivation! The lack of motivation UB provides is not only a problem when getting new members, but it’s also an issue in making members stay.

“Personally for me, UB is not fulfilling to any part of my life/identity,” sophomore Nicole Ruby, the current Human Relations Chair who decided not to re-apply for the position next year said, “I did it this year and it was fun but I also realized it’s not gonna help me any more than this.”

So the article is not only filled with my own biased opinions, I’ve interviewed some other Chairs and Execs on why they think that not a lot of people join UB.

Here is what I got:

“I think it’s because people are busy with a lot of other commitments and that there’s a lot of uncertainty about what UB does and what happens at UB general meetings”, said UB’s Operations Coordinator, junior Trinity Slavik.

“Honestly I just think it’s cause people don’t really know what UB does… It’s clear by the way they talk about UB on YikYak. They truly believe UB is campus life and that it’s responsible for programming on campus but also fixing stuff on campus like the automatic doors in academic buildings. People need to understand that students who program stuff in UB are still students by the end of the day and don’t control everything,” said chair of Community and Games, sophomore Sania Shetty.

“I think it’s because people this year are involved in a lot more of the orgs and clubs that are personal to them. And even though UB pays they don’t have a personal connection to it,” said Ruby.

“I don’t know why people don’t join. UB is awesome”, said sophomore Tisya Goel, the Public Relations chair.

You are so real for that, Tisya.

 

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
About the Contributor
Julia Maron
Julia Maron, Staff Writer
Julia Maron '26 (she/her) is a staff writer in TKS since her freshman year. She is a psychology and creative writing double major. Julia spends her free time writing, drawing, profoundly reflecting upon the deepest secrets of the human physical existence, and reading.

Comments (0)

All The Knox Student Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *