Knox Survival Guide
It would perhaps be most useful to get some basic bearing on where you are and why you are there, and who all these people are around you. It's good to be a quick study.
To start off with the most painfully obvious, Knox is a small liberal arts college located in Western Illinois, which is part of the Midwest. There are 1420 students.  And you are stuck here for what may seem like an extraordinarily long time, about as long as a presidential administration. Added to them are several dozen members of the faculty and a number of staff, both administrative and rank-and-file. The town of Galesburg is home to around 33,000 people and a fluctuating number of trains. The trains will undoubtedly be one of the first things you notice, and you will notice them several times an hour for several months, until you don't even notice them anymore. You know how they say that people can learn to live with anything? That is the Knox Experience. Apparently it was copy-edited out of the admission brochures.
This article makes much reference to cardinal directions to place items of interest. For those of you used to mountains and city skylines as reference points, just remember that Old Main faces north, towards downtown Galesburg.
Also keep in mind that this guide was written around the inception of The Wiki Fire and edited completely randomly and largely anonymously since then. Basically, be the clever aspiring Knox students we all know you are when reading this.
Your Fellow Students
Of the 1392 students at Knox, maybe half come from the state of Illinois. The bulk of those come from Chicago and its various suburbs (mostly the suburbs). Generally, when meeting a person, if they don't say what state or specifically what neighborhood in Chicago he or she is from, you may as well cut to the chase and ask them what Chicago suburb they're from to save time. Those of you not from Chicago will soon learn the names and relative locations of all the suburbs. According to the Knox website, 14.1% of students live within 100 miles of Knox. This includes a number of Galesburg natives and non-traditional students with Galesburg residency, as well as students from Peoria, the Quad Cities, and the farms and small towns of western Illinois and eastern Iowa. The rest of the Illinois students come from places like Rockford, Carbondale, and other regions of northern, southern, and central Illinois. The local and non-Chicago Illinois students seem to comprise a remarkably large percentage of athletes and possibly the majority of Betas.
Beyond this, there are numerous students from surrounding states: Wisconsin, Iowa, and Missouri are the primary contributors. After Chicago, St. Louis and Kansas City may be the best-represented cities at Knox. There are a number of students from rural areas of these states as well.
Outside of the four-state area, the majority of American-resident students are from various sizeable cities. While for the more local students academic or athletic reputation was a significant consideration, for the rest financial aid often took precedence. Distant but well-represented cities at Knox include Denver, Albuquerque, and Portland (Oregon). Beyond the seven states so far mentioned, there are forty-one more states and territories currently sending students to Knox. These students are sad and all alone in the world. Comfort them. Instruct them in the relative fashionableness of Chicagoland's area codes (unless you actually want to make friends during orientation).
We mustn't forget also the substantial set of international students coming to Knox. These students have come looking for an American education, and are on the whole able to pay for it. Some question might be asked as to why they would choose, out of hundreds of schools, Knox, but as Knox has made a special effort to attract international students one can make some assumptions. Generally, the largest sources of international students seem to be tropical western Africa (especially Ghana and Nigeria), South Asia (especially Nepal), Southeast Asia (especially Vietnam), and eastern Asia (especially South Korea and Japan). There are several students from Europe, and one combination student and graduate teaching assistant from Germany each year. Many of the European students, as well as some of the others, are children of American diplomats or businesspeople.
Knox is said to be very diverse. Though this is true, the administration really likes the Chicagoland area. Like, a lot. It's almost sad that the most diverse experience some people have is at a school of only around 1400 undergrads, but most Knox students manage to cope with this sad state of affairs somehow. Those that can't at least have a wonderful new topic for their Honors project on Post-Colonialism.
Knox touts its distinction as the best liberal arts college in Illinois, a state that, to be fair, has a fairly weak history in the liberal arts. After all, the City of Big Shoulders, which back in Knox's time was a relatively uncultured creep of Midwestern industrial growth and centralization, required a meat-and-potatoes sort of higher education system, and there were certainly plenty of well-established schools further east for nancy English majors. Knox has, however, done fairly well for itself, placing somewhere in the seventies each year on the U.S. News and World Report rankings. It often garners good ratings in the Princeton Review, and is a perennial favorite of the book Colleges That Change Lives. Knox is quick to note whatever accolades it receives, and you can find them quoted here.
Quantitatively, 75% of Knox students were in the top quarter of their high school class, and 43% graduated in the top tenth. The middle of 50 percent of the ACT Composite score is 26-31; for the SAT (out of 1600), 1150-1410. Knox does not require the ACT or SAT anymore. This is because we are innovative. Remember this. We made Abraham Lincoln, too, as far as we're concerned.
These statistics, while good, aren't quite as impressive as some of the more famous schools – indeed, while many in Illinois or Missouri have heard of Knox, if you utter the name in California then people will think you're going to school in Tennessee. You will soon learn, if you have not already, that the official name of Knox outside of the Midwest is "Knox College, a small liberal arts school in western Illinois (not near Chicago)." A recent addition to this somewhat cumbersome name is 'where Stephen Colbert got his DFA'.
On the whole, the basic demographic at Knox is good students, with moderate achievements, generally with either a high personal concern either for community or a pressing practical concern for money. A larger than usual percentage are students whose work in high school was perhaps tempered by other concerns, usually social but sometimes associated with being batshit crazy. A fair number of intelligent underachievers add to the mix as well. To be fair, Knox, while selective, is not that selective.
As just mentioned, students often think much of social matters, and as the middle students of high school who, perhaps, existed without some firm sort of group identification, the social scene at Knox is quite involved. It is made the more so given Knox's small size and isolation: just as water boils faster in a covered, confined space, Knox's drama percolates up all the time. The wide availability of drugs and alcohol doesn't help anybody calm down, either. For Anso majors, it can be quite the opportunity for some ad-hoc fieldwork, but of course few of them can resist being involved themselves.
On the whole, Knox's drama appears to be more intricate than that at many other schools. And, as everybody pretty much knows everybody with at most two degrees of separation, and sees them once or twice a day, there are a lot of opportunities from social intercourse. This is the sense of community of a small school, but also one of its strangest phenomena. The rumor mill is especially large, and it is not unheard of for faculty to get entangled in it as well (they, apparently, need their sex too). Attempts have been made to catalogue the network of romantic and sexual relationships on campus, but the complexity and rapid changes have gotten the better of them. Anyone trying to compile such a list quickly realizes that not only are the heuristics absurd, but also that all of the compilers tend to be just as awkwardly and intricately connected as anyone else.
The Greek System
For first-years especially, the social scene is largely centered on the Greek system. After the first year, those who do join a Greek organization keep somewhat within that organization (though anyone will tell you that the Greek system at Knox is not nearly what you expect it to be), and those that do not join any will coalesce their own social channels or find a good balance between the two social realms, but until then there is significant room for maneuver. The fraternities are most prominent on the party scene, because they have residential houses and it is easiest for them to both fit people and organize. The sororities only have nonresidential houses, so they don't hold as many parties, instead attending the fraternity parties. The sororities are also larger and contain a larger variety of people within them than do the men's fraternities, making their identity somewhat more difficult to define. Recruitment for these organizations is different than many major universities, and begins in Winter Term. Besides the organizations listed, there are several more niche Greek organizations of various size and purpose.
- Tau Kappa Epsilon (Teke) is located to the east of Beta. It is known for its parties and recruits many fine young men out of Seymour. It is also the oldest remaining TKE house in the nation.
- Beta Theta Pi (Beta) has historically attracted athletes, including football players. Their house is on South St. between TKE and Alumni Hall.
- Phi Gamma Delta (FIJI) attracts a lot of baseball players, basketball players, a significant number of African international students, and sundry others. Depending on the year, it is the most multicultural of fraternities. Their house is on the southwest corner of Cedar and Tompkins streets, diagonal from the Galesburg Police Station and across the street from Standish Park.
- Sigma Nu (SNu) caters largely to the less obviously fraternity-material students (the geek contingent), and tends to be focused on video games, esoteric conversations, and "bein' chill". However, as of 2010-2011, they have attempted to "rise above the awkward," posing a more friendly socializing atmosphere. In 2013-14, they successfully "rose above the awkward," and are now no longer awkward. Their house is located on West St., across from the service ramp in the Quads, a fact which they enjoy reminding Quad residents of.
- Sigma Chi (Sig Chi) the newest fraternity grew out of the Ultimate Frisbee team. Its members are fond of nudity. Their house used to be a very prominent crackhouse until the occupants were arrested and one sorority member's family (KKG) purchased the house, remodeled it, and donated it to the school. It is located on the southwest corner of West and Knox streets.
- Delta Delta Delta (Tri Delta) is one of the sororities. They maintain their Lodge on Academy St., behind SMC. They are known for being overly enthusiastic about everything.
- Pi Beta Phi (Pi Phi) also maintains a house (the Bungalow) on Academy, just north of the Tri Delta Lodge. They are known on campus for being down to earth.
- Kappa Kappa Gamma (Kappa)'s house is north of the Pi Phi Bungalow. Kappas at Knox are known for their balance of partying and leadership activities and usually wear big sunglasses.
- Alpha Sigma Alpha is the newest sorority on campus. Originally branded the female SNu, they have since backed away from this label.
- Gentlemen of Quality (GQ) is the newest colony addition to the Greek system.
The other major locus of social organization is the suite system. Upperclassmen generally get to pick with whom they are living, if they have any preference in the matter, but first-years are simply thrown together based on survey answers. Given the pressure-cooker social atmosphere, few people end up living with their first-year roommates, for instance, for any additional time. Some first-year suites end up becoming destinations, and others are simply bedrooms. Some suites have perennial reputations, Seymour 3B being the most infamous. Each freshman suite or group of suites comes with a Knox-issue Resident Advisor (RA), who will range in quality and willingness to overlook suite members' actions and possessions. Regardless of your opinion of this person, they are there to for numerous reasons, mostly as an intermediary between you and the administration. Keep in mind that you screwing up (and getting caught) reflects poorly on them as well, but seeing as they have attended the college for longer than you it is totally acceptable to look to them for assistance and advice.
First-years are housed in residence halls, usually two to a room. Students may request a single, but it costs several hundred dollars extra and often requires some justifying to the administration. Generally demand is too low to fill them with paying students, so some first-years will be thrown into them at no cost. First-year singles are located in Five-Name. There are also two triples in Seymour Hall. Sometimes, due to dropouts, roommate moves, or the like, one might end up living alone in a standard room. This is called a double-single.
However, housing at Knox is best described as a creature with amoeba-like attributes and is, as you will see on campus, a matter of paperwork rather than actual practice for many students. Some students even opt to informally live somewhere other than where they were assigned, either because they have found a suite of people they like a little better or have found one person they like a lot better.
Seymour Hall houses about 80 male first-years. There is one suite on the second floor of Seymour on the north side of the building (Seymour 2), and two suites on the third floor: Seymour 3A above Seymour 2, and Seymour 3B perpendicular to 3A, over the Oak Room. The suites are accessible by a spiral staircase above the Grab-n-Go Cart between the Campus Life Office and Founders, and by the stairwell on the west side of Seymour, which leads down to the section of Seymour basement with the mailroom and the bookstore. These suites are the least secure on campus, as they are in a building that is open 24 hours a day, and the doors to them are usually propped (although Campus Safety unprops them on its rounds). The rooms are large, if not particularly nice looking. The closets are large enough to fit the standard-issue dresser in them. There is a single common area for all three suites, at the eastern end of 3A; it is hardly ever used, and usually is cannibalized for its furniture. There are vending machines on the third floor. Laundry facilities are in each of the bathrooms, of which there is one on each floor. The roof of Seymour is accessible from windows in the bathroom and several of the rooms, but fines for being out there can be significant if caught.
Seymour suites have unparalleled easy access to campus, as they are right upstairs from the eateries, the main computer lab, and the mailroom. On winter days, one need not leave the building except for class. These suites are generally the least well-kept of all on campus, and the suites often incur high repair fees at the end of the year for their various drunken indiscretions. 3B is perennially the worst of the three in this sense, and has a long history of alcohol and drugs beyond the normal levels. The squalor is part of the ambience. Those with a heightened sense of hygiene will find life in Seymour to be very hard on them.
First-year Post is a mixed gender area area of six suites, with about 100 students. These suites are on the north side of the building, along West St.; there are also four upperclass suites in the east wing of the building, and upperclassmen living in Post Basement (the rooms of which were installed to alleviate overcrowding during the 2006-2007 school year) and may be fondly referred to as Post Dungeon. Kitchens and laundry rooms are available in the basements, and the C-Store convenience store is in Post Lobby, along with a big-screen TV (generally controlled by the Gaming Information Network or other video-game players). There are stairwells between each suite
Each suite is two stories tall, with a common area on the lower floor, an internal staircase to the balcony, and two small bathrooms on each floor. Each suite has 16 to 18 students, making for a very small bathroom-to-student ratio – Post suites are likely the cleanest on campus. They also have very nice views of campus, with the huge suite window. Then again, this makes it very easy for Campus Safety to break up unregistered parties. Post suites are numbered from one to ten: Post 1 is the lower northernmost suite, Post 2 the suite above it, and so on, to Post 10, the upper-level suite farthest out on the east wing. Only Post 1-6 hold first-years.
Raub-Sellew is located in the Quads, and is largely made up of first-year housing, although the amount of upperclass housing changes from year to year. It runs east-west, between Five-Name and Four-Name. The Loading Dock is at its western end. There are six suites on three floors, each with 10 to 12 students. On each floor, one suite is Raub and one Sellew. As with Seymour, these are designated by floor (e.g. Raub 2, Sellew 1). There is a common area in each suite, and one bathroom separated in two parts for each floor. Sellew and Raub each have a stairwell. Laundry facilities are available in the basement, but no kitchen. Sellew-Raub is not co-ed by floor. The first floor is first-year boys, the others first-year girls. Sellew 1 has had a reputation for being full of obnoxious and noisy partiers who smoke too close to the building. It is typical Quads and pretty unremarkable.
Conger-Neal is a first year dorm. It was one of the first dorms to have renovated bathrooms, starting in 2018. It is located on West St. north of the Loading Dock. The Conger-Neal basement houses the Share Shop so people who live there are able to go very easily (lucky them).
Five-Name is the large L-shaped building rounding the northeast corner of West and Knox streets. It contains five suites. Campbell and Elder are the two suites of the north wing, and Neifert and Sherwin are on the east wing. Furrow is in the bend, and houses primarily upperclassmen. The basements also have a few rooms, but these are usually given to upperclassmen as well, although many believe them to be the worst housing on campus. This reputation is based largely on five-names extreme excess of fire alarms, though it may seem unthinkable to have as many as 6 fire alarms in a single day that is daily life in five-name. Each wing essentially has a double suite on each floor, with a shared hallway separated by a door that is usually open, and bathrooms at either end. The building is co-ed. There is a combination kitchen/laundry room in Neifert Basement, along with the former Roger Taylor Lounge. TheStudent Health Center sits on the outside corner of the building and is combined with the Counseling Center. Five-Name suites are numbered by floor, starting in the basement (Neifert or Elder 1, although usually they are referred to as Neifert or Elder Basement, with the actual first floor being numbered 2, and so forth). Five-Name is far away from everything, except loud Sigma Chi dance parties.
Knox strives for a parklike setting. It used to strive for a tree-lined sort of parklike, and then Dutch Elm Disease happened, so now it strives to evoke more of a prairie thing. In the summer and early fall it is very green, what with the well-kept lawns. The small nature patch east of the quads is what the land used to look like. One can imagine that in the future, when deer become sentient and take over the world, there will be a small patch of manicured lawn west of the quads at Deer-Knox (undoubtedly refounded by gazelle-slavery abolitionists) that will be visited by Human Studies classes.
On the northeast quarter of campus are most of the academic buildings on campus. Old Main is the old one, with the belltower. Seymour Hall is the one with all the stuff in it, in the center. You eat at it. GDH, the Aux Gym, and the Old Jail are around, along with administrative buildings outside of the campus proper. Alumni Hall is the other old one. To the west is the gray building that looks kind of like a scale model of itself, which is Seymour Library (not to be confused with Seymour Hall – Knox may have few wealthy alumni, but those it has are sometimes suitably generous). TKE and Beta, as well as the Wilson House, are nearby. North of South St. are the apartments, which are home mostly to seniors and some juniors, as well as 270 W. Tompkins (a rotating theme house) and the Jazz House. West of South West St. (confusing? Just wait) is SMC, the large building that suggests a swastika, and behind that the sorority houses, another house, and the Human Rights Center. On the eastern side of the campus is CFA, and in the southeast corner the Memorial Gym. The Quads are essentially the southwest corner, including the Old Quads (Four-Name, Conger-Neal, etc.) and the New Quads (Five-Name). Post Hall is just north of these, and a number of campus houses, including I-House, the Old Phi Delt House, SNu, Sigma Chi, and Yellow House are strung out along West St. from Berrien St. on the north end to First St. at the southern end. The Steam Pipe Network connects many of the campus buildings. Here, look at a map of campus.
Elevators on campus are about as common as Republicans in Chicago city government (see? Even if you're not from Chicago you pick up fast on these things). BLADU, the now-defunct humor magazine, had a feature in its early years called "This Month's Event that Disabled Students Can't Attend" or something to that effect. If you're wheelchair-bound, you might have done well to visit first.
Knox's signature building. It's on the letterhead. The school makes a big deal about it being the only remaining site of the Lincoln-Douglas debates. Abraham Lincoln climbed through a window to get to the debating platform – He'd "been through college," he said. You may have sat in his chair as a prospie. If Knox knew exactly where he had walked while on campus, they would surely mark it off as the Lincoln Trail, litter it with interpretive signage, and all but worship it. More prosaically, as it were, it holds the English, Philosophy, and History departments, as well as some key administrative offices on the first floor, including the office of the Dean of the College, the President's Office, the Business Office, the Office of Student Development, the Dean of Students, and so on. Major meeting rooms in Old Main are the Alumni Room on the first floor in the northwest corner, and the Common Room along the southern side of the second floor.
For a long time, Alumni Hall was kind of like a classic car – it's old, and really beautiful, but it's been neglected for forty years. Its owner always talked about restoring it, but doesn't have the balls to do it, so the car rusted out on the driveway, looking pretty stupid to anybody who drives by. At some point the owner would asks his friend, the former CEO of Gillette, who once landed his helicopter in the owner's backyard, whether he would be willing to give him several million dollars to restore the car and name it James Kilts Alumni Classic Car, to which this lugubrious CEO, already glorified to no end in the owner's admission brochures, will reply, "I don't do buildings." And here the analogy falls apart.
Going into the hall used to be a treat, not to be turned down by any student if they ever got a chance (usually when the Trustees come – the open it up to try to get them to feel bad and give money). Otherwise, it stood empty, and glowed sodium-orange at night. The daring at heart, (who were lucky enough to find Alumni Hall unlocked) would enter Alumni Hall under the protection of nightfall, escaping before the timer turned on said lights.
After Teresa Amott came in, she made Alumni Hall one of her top priority, got some backers and started restoration. It was "completed" by Fall 2014, but the presence of construction workers continued through Winter 2015. It now houses the Office of Admissions, Office of Financial Aid, and other administrative offices. It does not contain a coffee shop. No one knows why.
Where to begin?
Seymour Union, also known as Seymour Hall, has three floors and a basement. The second and third floors are entirely all-male residence hall. If the right doors and windows are open, sometimes marijuana smoke wafts down to the first floor. On the first floor are three different eatery options. Along the south side of the building is the Hard Knox Café, known as The Caf, the buffet-style option, and the most well-used (if not the most popular) one on campus. Just north of it is the Oak Room, which is single-pass and has less variety but is often better quality. Across the hall from the Caf is the Gizmo, the snack bar/fast food sort of place, which is open all day and is a major gathering spot. Next to it just outside the building is the Gizmo Patio, which is very popular for socializing and studying in warmer weather and smoking even in the winter. The windowed hallway from the Caf and Gizmo past the Oak Room to the north side of the building is known as the Gallery. This is where tabling happens. Often the school will bring traveling merchants in the Gallery to hawk their wares, most notably the poster sale, the book fair, girl scouts with cookies, and most often a woman who sells clothes and woven items.
The Gallery ends and a new perpendicular hallway takes its place for the north side of the building. The northeast corner of Seymour is taken up with Founders, the main computer lab. It has mostly Windows computers (but a few Macs), as well as a tricked-out laser printer. It used to be open 23 ½ hours a day (closed from 5-5:30 AM for computer maintenance) but now open 7am to 2:30am, and may drop next year due to minimum wage rises, as there has to be a student worker in the lab at all times. Across the hall from Founders is the Campus Life Office, where Craig Southern (the housing guy) and Cindy Wickliffe (the campus events organization lady, and the sender of campuswide e-mails that you're not supposed to respond to) work. The building foyer on the north side also has change machines and an ATM. The change machines are broken almost as often as not. You will get used to it. Be nice to the Gizmo people, because if you are they might give you change even though they're not supposed to.
Further west along the hall is the Carl Sandburg Study Lounge, which is basically the only study lounge open 24 hours a day. It is especially popular with international students. Next to that is the Publications Office, where staff for The Knox Student and Catch work. A hallway branches off to the west stairwell, which heads toward the mailroom, and after that there is Ferris Lounge and the Lincoln Room, which are sometimes used for meetings, a number of smaller rooms off a hallway, and Helmut Mayer's office (Helmut is the Director of Dining Services). The Loading Dock is on the west side of the building, and receives shipments for Dining Services. The Dining Services office is accessible only from outside the building, just west of the Caf.
There are actually three separate basements in Seymour, at least as far as student accessibility is concerned. Students can only get into two, unless they work for Dining Services, which uses the third section for storage. One section, on the northwest side of the building, contains the mailroom and bookstore. The other section is accessible from a stairwell near the Gizmo. At the landing there is the Union Board office, and some other club office space. At the bottom are two bathrooms, the Student Senate office, and the Roger Taylor Lounge (formerly Wallace Lounge). The left side, which has windows, is a study area, and the windowless right side used to be a bowling alley, but is now a game room complete with two pool tables, a foosball table, an air hockey table, several big-screen TVs and a Nintendo Wii. At the back of the lounge is the old BLADU office, which formerly housed the Free Store (now located in the basement of Conger-Neal). This is the only public building open 24 hours a day.
Seymour Library is in the top 2% of college libraries nationwide, they say. However, they don't quote this rank like they do for ranks associated with financial aid or the radio station, so it's a little suspect. All in all, however, it's a lovely library for a school of this size. Jobs at the library are among the most coveted on campus. It contains the main copy machines for public use, a number of computers (including laptops you can check out at the front desk), and a few dozen or so books, too. The study carrels are numerous and generally fairly quiet, although many of the red swivel chairs squeak horribly. The catalog is online, and accessible here. You can check out movies too – the VHS library is larger, but they continually acquire new DVDs for professors' class needs. The Special Collections and Archives room has a lot of very interesting old things. The major meeting areas in the library are the Muelder Reading Room (much, much better known as the Red Room, because of the red carpet), and a number of smaller rooms arrayed next to it, including the Bookfellows Room, Finley Room, and Cassidy Room. On the third floor above this area are Honors offices, for seniors who are doing an Honors Project. On the first floor, the study room at the east side of the building arrayed with glass-block windows is often referred to as the Fishbowl.
Reserves for (non science) classes are available at the front desk. Smaller reserves are in manila envelopes and listed by a file number, which you have to look up in the catalog. The rest are by call number. There are also open reserves, which are located on the first floor, between the periodicals and the DVD shelf. There is only one bathroom in the entire building, off the foyer. There are two stairwells, one at the front and the other at the back, running just to the right of the Fishbowl.
If you want science books or reserves, you'll have to wait until the A-Core in SMC is completed, for now there is no science library, but it should be done around homecoming but more reasonably winter term 2019. There is also a Music Library in CFA.
Officially known as the Sharvy G. Umbeck Science and Mathematics Center, it is called SMC (pronounced "smack") because many of Knox's benefactors (in this case a former college president) do not have pretty-sounding names. We can't all be Seymours or Kresges, after all. It contains offices and classrooms for all the sciences, including psychology, mathematics, and computer science. Its basement is creepy and contains the Computer Center, two computer labs, Stellyes and Caterpillar, and many file cabinets containing magical objects (this is where you can find the door to Narnia). The Office of Advancement is located in the E wing. The Kresge Science-Mathematics Library is in the center of the second floor (but will be in renovation until winter 2019, when the whale skeleton will finally return to its true home, hanging above us). The building has four wings, lettered B through E, with the core being A. The A-wing contains two large lecture pits seating over 100, one of which is the meeting place for Student Senate. There are six stairwells, two in the core and one on the end of each wing.
SMC is not really shaped like a swastika, but it kind of looks like it, especially from above. Perhaps they will make additions.
Be prepared to find yourself lost somewhere in SMC during the first term. It may help to watch the scenery outside the huge plate-glass windows--it's the only thing that changes as you move around.
Over the foreseeable future, SMC will be in renovation so science students (particularly CS students) be prepared for construction and frustrating smells.
Officially known as George Davis Hall, this was the science building before SMC was built in 1970, and currently houses a number of departments, including all the social sciences, Modern Languages, and Educational Studies. The radio station, WVKC, is located on the fourth floor, accessed from the eastern stairwell. It contains the Centel computer lab on the first floor, which contains special workstations for use with foreign language instruction. The basement is the second scariest on campus, although it is sometimes locked. There is a 19th-century X-ray machine down there.
The Old Jail, just east of GDH, contains faculty offices. It also holds the Lincoln Studies Center and the Underground Railroad Freedom Station, as well as an actual jail in the back. The jail is multilevel and quite impressive. If you get a chance, opt to take the tour.
Officially known as Ford Center for the Fine Arts. This holds the Art, Theatre and Dance, and Music departments. The main venue is the Harbach Theatre, which is the mainstage for theatre productions and is across the lobby corridor from the former Office of Admission, which is currently borzello art gallery even though all the theater students want it to go back to a study space even though we all know it should be a coffee shop. Kresge Recital Hall is used more often for speakers and musical performances, and for First-Year Orientation. It's on the south side of the main lobby. In the basement by the eastern stairwell is the Studio Theatre, used for smaller, usually student-directed, shows. The south wing of CFA is the music wing, and contains offices, recital halls, practice rooms, and the Music Library on the second floor. On the north side of the lobby is the main art exhibition space, around an obviously curved wall. Inside this wall is the Round Room, which would be the coolest room on campus if the seating weren't quite as unnecessarily cramped. The Office of Financial Aid sits above the Office of Admission on the second floor.
CFA has the same effect that created the term SMC rat, for science students, but without a name. You will get stuck in CFA if you commit to theatre or music. You will spend way more time in it than most people think is necessary. And you will, for some reason, feel compelled to visit it when you have nothing to do because there is inevitably someone, usually a group of someones, who have the same problem and will be more than happy to talk about things with you on the CFA patio because they don't know what to do with their time away from CFA either. If you have money you can buy a t-shirt that reads "CFA Ate My Soul."
The Memorial Gym holds most of the important athletic facilities on campus. It is tucked behind CFA and the track. Inside is a basketball court on the first floor. In the basement there is a woefully small natatorium (pool). This used to be easy to break into, but then they changed the lock. On the second floor there are offices for low-seniority faculty, as well as the headquarters of the Black Studies Program. The new-looking, floor-to-ceiling windowed section is the E. & L. Andrew Fitness Center.
Other Places on Campus
In addition to the buildings described above, there are numerous other, smaller places on campus that are worth noting.
In terms of classroom and meeting space, there are several other areas. One, the Compass Room, is a meeting and class room located on the second floor in the center of the Townhouses, which are upperclass housing on the northeast corner of South and Cedar streets. On class schedules it will show up as 251E in reference to the building's address, 251 South West St., and the letter E as coming after Townhouses A through D. It has a kitchen. Another, the Wilson House, is sometimes used for classes, and is located next to TKE. It also has a kitchen. There is also the Center for Intercultural Life, a small house adjoined to Simonds Hall (part of Four-Name). The Center for Teaching and Learning is used for tutoring and other functions, and is on West St., south of the parking lot.
Major named lawns include the South Lawn (south of Old Main) and Post Lawn (between Post and Seymour). There are tennis courts just east of the Quads, and a track east of those. On the other side of Knox St. there is a soccer field and the Knox Bowl, a football field with a manmade hill all around it. Pot smoking and sledding are popular Knox Bowl activities. Getting caught in there incurs reference to the Office of Student Development.
The main convenience store for campus is "The Quickie", the 24-hour Quick Sam's Convenience Convenient (seriously, that's what the sign says) at the corner of South and Academy. Unlike the C-Store, they sell cigarettes and alcohol.
The faculty are probably the best thing going at Knox. Many of Knox's professors are recent Ph.D. graduates who teach at Knox for a few years before moving to greener pastures, but the tenured faculty are none the worse for staying (perhaps, in fact, they are better for it). Those who do stay are generally extremely committed to the teaching-college niche of Knox, as well as the slightly odd nature of the Knox and Galesburg community. Some of them just really like the house they bought, and/or don't want to sell it at a loss in Galesburg's anemic real estate market. Students have a lot of contact with professors generally; some too little, some too much.
A lot of Knox's professors are married to each other, which is another reason they get tenure. Some of them are obvious, like Robin Metz and Elizabeth Carlin-Metz, or the Finebergs. Some of them are less so, like Nancy Eberhardt and Steve Cohn. You probably shouldn't badmouth one to the other.
The overwhelming majority of students get invited to a professor's house at least once. Knox ensures this by having the first-year advisors invite their advisees over for dinner during First-year Orientation. Nick and Sunshine Regiacorte serve really good pasta. Some of the other professors can't cook and do takeout or something. But it's the thought that counts, and now when the Office of Admission recalculates the number for the admission brochures you'll have to say that you went to a professor's house once.
This well-meaning group of people keeps Knox on an even keel, charting a course toward financial impregnability, as former President Roger Taylor might say. Members of the administrative offices are part of the staff.
There are five main departments at Knox, each headed by a Vice President.
Teresa L. Amott
The 19th President of the college, also the first female president, she is pretty cool but will regularly over schedule days where she is supposed to talk and the dean or someone else will have to give a speech.
Roger and Anne Taylor
Roger Taylor resigned at the end of the 2010-2011 school year from his position as the college president. He used to be a lawyer for Kirkland & Ellis LLP, in Chicago. He liked to introduce himself as an alum, only for it to eventually dawn on you that he was the president. This is because Knox is humble and down-home. He may have helped you move your things in during orientation. During Commencement, he pronounced 2007 as twenty-oh-seven. He was very concerned about financial birth control, and used many techniques, including the pill, the withdrawal method, and the messy partial-birth abortion. He likes to tell the story about how he met his wife Anne whenever he is within fifteen feet of a podium. If you visited Knox as a prospie, you might have been met by Roger as the tour group stopped outside of his office. This was not an accident; he had the tour guides talk louder so he knew to come out and say hi and prove to you that Knox is humble and down-home. Sometimes he would eat in the Caf and sit down by random students to make conversation. It was a little awkward.
Anne Taylor is Roger's wife. She is also an attorney, and is special counsel for the college. She is no friend of Flunk Day, for the multifarious liability issues. She makes sure Roger remembers people's names. She and Roger lived at Ingersoll House. A few special functions, such as Mortarboard induction, might get you a chance to go in.
Office of Admission
Maybe you remember them? The Office of Admission is headed by Vice President for Enrollment and Dean of Admission Paul Steenis. You won't have much to do with the Office of Admission proper as a student, but you will likely have dealings with the Office of Financial Aid, under Director Leigh Brinson. They send you a financial aid package, and help you out with student loans and so on (getting them, not paying for them. Please do not call/email the Office of Financial Aid about your billing plan).
Office of Advancement
Headed by Vice President of Advancement Beverly Holmes, the Office of Advancement is comprised of the Office of Alumni Relations and the Development Office (not to be confused with the Office of Student Development). Their main concern is getting people, especially alumni, to give the school money, because we are poor and that course toward financial impregnability won't chart itself. If you wanted a rich school, transfer to bourgeois Grinnell. Befriend the people who work in this office - they know everything about all the alumni - and they are more helpful getting you in touch with important alums when you need a job than Career Services.
Office of Academic Affairs
The Office of Academic Affairs is run by Larry Breitborde, Vice President for Academic Affairs and Dean of the College. Steve Bailey is the Associate Dean of the College, with whom you are likely to have more contact; Dean Bailey is a good person to know, as he can help you with problems large and small, academic and personal. This office is in charge of the faculty and most academic resources on campus, including the libraries, the Computer Center, the Registrar, Athletics, the Lincoln Studies Center, and various special programs including Honors, the Ford Fellowship, and the McNair Program. It also oversees all Faculty Advisors, who help you pick classes. The Honor Code and Honor Board are considered parts of this Office.
The Office of the Registrar is part of the Office of Academic Affairs. The Registrar is responsible for transcripts and grade reporting, and maintains your Educational Development Report (EDR). The Registrar's website, accessible here, also has the most recent copy of the Knox College Catalog, and the Academic Calendar for this and past years. The Registrar is responsible for class location assignments and class placement as well, and their system is what advisors log into to sign you up for classes.
They are in charge of computers, including both students' computers and the computer labs. They also administer the Knox servers, which include your e-mail account, webmail, home account (where you can store files you work on in computer labs on the server), and the wireless and wired Internet connections, and network printeres. The Computer Help Desk is also part of the Center. They maintain a lot of information about how to connect to the network at Knox. They also have a package of antivirus software that you're required to use. Winding up with a virus is no fun, but its less fun when you get quarantined (no internet access) and have to pay them to fix it for you. Their website is here. The Steves - Steve Jones and Steve Hall - run this department.
Office of Student Development
The Office of Student Development is run by Xavier Romano, Vice President for Student Development and Dean of Students. Xavier likes bow ties, and he probably thinks you're okay too. Xavier controls a slush fund. Xavier also sends out the e-mail announcing when Flunk Day season begins, and when it is in fact Flunk Day. Debbie Southern is the Associate Dean for Student Development, and is in charge of Orientation and judicial affairs; when Campus Safety refers you to the Office of Student Development, you make an appointment with her to have your wrist slapped. This Office controls primarily nonacademic student affairs, the exception being the Center for Teaching and Learning. Other subordinate departments include the Campus Life Office, the Conduct Council, the Grievance Panel, the Center for Career and Pre-Professional Development, the Center for Community Service, the Center for Intercultural Life (which is in charge of advising international students), the Counseling Center, Health Services (which it outsources), and the TRIO Achievement Program for low-income students. They work with faculty committees such as the Student Life Committee.
The Campus Life Office, headed by Craig Southern (Debbie Southern's husband), is in charge of housing and student activities. It decides where you will live as a first-year, and it controls the Housing Lottery for returning students each Spring Term. It also plans student activities and events, working with Union Board. If you need to change rooms or register a party, this is your go-to office. Cindy Wickliffe, the secretary, coordinates a lot of campus events, so chances are signups for them will be at her desk. She is also the contact person for clubs who need their copy card or information on their budgets. She will send you a lot of e-mails. Do not hit reply.
Center For Teaching and Learning
The CTL is run by John Haslem, and is in charge of tutoring services. They organize weekly tutoring sessions in the Red Room, and provide other services in that capacity. They also directly administrate the TRIO program. The CTL is located in a house along West St.
The Conduct Council is the catch-all disciplinary tribunal for students and student organizations – all cases, except those involving academic dishonesty, discrimination, and sexual misconduct, are directed here. They operate by the rules of their constitution, accessible here. They are able to expel you. If you are cited with an alcohol violation which you do not admit to (and usually you did do it), you will be brought before the Conduct Council. They won't expel you for that, though – a $40 fine is standard.
The Grievance Panel is convened to hear cases of sexual harassment, discrimination, and sexual misconduct, such as rape. Since Knox prefers to keep its public reporting requirements down to one rape every other year, it can be difficult to get a good conviction, and in general the Grievance Panel process is convoluted and difficult to use. Conversely, the Galesburg Police Department has no such limit... Their constitution is available here.
Office of Business, Finance, and Administrative Services
This department contains the various support services of the college and is run by Tom Axtell, Vice President for Finance and Administrative Services and College Treasurer. Tom Axtell and the finance people calculate tuition and other fees, and process the money. Fundraising and the endowment are the province of the Office of Advancement. Within the Office's voluminous ranks are the Business Office, Purchasing, Human Resources (for the faculty), Postal Services, the Bookstore, Facilities Services, Dining Services, and Campus Safety.
They're the ones you send tuition to. If you don't pay it on time, Penny Young will be breathing down your neck. If you're always late she will know your name, and this is a bad thing. If she knows your name, it means she doesn't like you. The Business Office also handles disbursement of checks for campus employment. They will desperately want you to sign up for Direct Deposit.
Knox's bookstore is small but determined. They have a wide array of Knox apparel, and some choice books that nobody has ever bought ever, including 50,000 copies of Colleges That Change Lives. They carry textbooks for classes, although often the prices are unfathomably high.
The custodians and maintenance folks. They clean your bathroom and take out your garbage, so be nice to them (KARES handles your recycling for the time being). They will loft your bed if you put in a work order, and they also do various building upkeep and some remodeling work. Scott Maust heads this department. He likes it when people make tracks in the snow, because then he can see where he needs to build new sidewalks.
Dining Services includes all dining facilities on the Knox campus and their employees. Bon Appetit has held the Knox dining service contract since 2015, following Helmut Mayer. The Hard Knox Cafe, Gizmo, Grab-n-Go, and C-Store all are run by Bon Appetit. Meal Swipes can be used at the Caf and Grab-n-Go, while Dining Dollars or cash can be used at the Gizmo and C-Store. If you want to eat well and healthy or prefer the greasy stuff, you can, and more so with a little creativity. Actually, you probably won't be that creative, so shut up and eat a breakfast bagel.
Campus Safety is the Knox security force. John Schlaf, the former Galesburg Chief of Police, heads the department. Although Campus Safety is nominally meant to enforce the law, the college philosophy is to focus on safety instead of the legal drinking age. Nonetheless, if they see it, they will usually confiscate it.
Galesburg is a city of 33,000 people. Galesburg was founded along with Knox by abolitionists. Later on, it became a major railroad hub, and at one point had one of the largest railyards in North America. It was also the first yard to use hump-sorting, which is basically putting cars up on a hill and letting them roll where they're supposed to go. The railyards are currently owned by Burlington Northern Santa Fe. Rail emanates from Galesburg in several different directions, and as such two transcontinental passenger trains, the California Zephyr and the Southwest Chief, serve Galesburg. The main railroad line runs just along the edge of Knox; the Memorial Gym is visible from the train when coming in from the west.
Due to the railroad activity, Galesburg has a dozen sides of the tracks, all of them wrong. Some of them are less wrong than others, though. The least wrong one is the area where most professors live, north of downtown Galesburg past Water St., along Cherry St. and environs. Numerous railroad crossings make commutes in Galesburg unpredictable.
In 2017, Galesburg's population was 31,215 (and falling). The median household income was $36,035 (and rising). The median house value was about $73,500 (and rising). The town is finally leveling out after the Maytag closure, so people are starting to be optimistic, especially with the weed legalization.
Galesburg is characterized by warm, humid summers and cold, somewhat drier winters. In the early fall, late spring, and summer, it will be very difficult to live without air conditioning, but most residence halls do not offer it. Heating is available using radiators. Snowfall is significant, but there generally are not more than two or three storms a year that bring sufficient snow for sledding. Ice storms are fairly common.
Table of Temperature Averages, 1971-2000 (in degrees Fahrenheit)
NOTE: HDD and CDD are Heating and Cooling Degree Days, the number of degrees the air must be heated or cooled to reach a base temperature of 65 degrees Fahrenheit.
Table of Rainfall Precipitation Averages, 1971-2000 (in inches)
Table of Snowfall Precipitation Averages, 1971-2000 (in inches)
Climate data obtained from the Illinois State Climatologist Office's State Water Survey, accessible here.
Galesburg, like many cities, is organized on a grid system, with address numbers radiating out from a central zero point. In Galesburg, that zero point is the Public Square roundabout at the intersection of Main and Broad streets. Main runs east-west, and Broad runs north-south. Cardinal directions are used on most street names to distinguish between north and south or east and west addresses (for instance, Old Main's address is 2 East South St., which places it just east of Broad St. along South St.). This leads to inadvertently funny street combinations, like the intersection of South West and West South streets.
Galesburg has long been a railroad town. It also used to have a large Maytag refrigerator plant. That plant was the area's largest employer, until the Maytag company decided to pack up the profitable Galesburg plant and move it to Reynosa, Mexico. Decisions like this ultimately destabilized Maytag, and now the brand is owned by Whirlpool. There is little love for Maytag in Galesburg; one organization bought one of the last Galesburg Maytag refrigerators and a sledgehammer and held a $2 a whack fundraiser. They raised a lot of money. Since then the economy has been flagging – a number of the stores downtown have closed, and some people have left the area. Many have gone to school to retrain for other work, flooding the nursing market, for instance. Some attended Knox for a few years. Other Maytag employees have ended up working at Knox, including a substantial number in Dining Services.
While Maytag is the most recent and the touchstone example, it is one in a long string of setbacks for Galesburg, including the withdrawal of the Galesburg Mental Health Center, the Gale Products Manufacturing Division of Outboard Marine Corp., and others, resulting in the loss of nearly 8000 good-paying union jobs.
Galesburg has also been hit with methamphetamines, which for many is now a popular pastime. The town has been working at getting on its feet, attempting to use its railroad proximity to attract Chinese investors, with some success. Still, the area's largest employer is Farmland Foods, a pig slaughterhouse in Monmouth. Burlington Northern Santa Fe, Knox, and the local community college, Carl Sandburg College, are major employers as well.
Downtown Galesburg is, more or less, the area bordered by South St. to the south, North St. to the north, West St. to the west, and Seminary St. to the east. The entirety is within easy walking distance of the college.
Seminary St. is the restored old-timey city center. A developer came in and paved the street with brick, and put $1000 a month apartments on the upper floors of the shops, apparently thinking that he was in Martha's Vineyard at the time. It is nonetheless a nice area, if sometimes a little upmarket for college students. Strung along Seminary are Innkeeper's Coffee, Cornucopia (a miniature Trader Joe's sort of natural foods place), The Landmark (not quite as formal, a little less expensive, and also very good – try the lobster bisque), The Packinghouse (a steakhouse, just off Seminary on Mulberry St.), the Seminary St. Pub, a wine bar on the street behind Seminary (Chambers St.), and Baked, the best pizza in town (thursdays they have a student deal, $5 for a personal pizza) as well as a smattering of live music, and the Amtrak station.
Main St. also has a number of destinations. Along Main you will find the Dollar General thrift store, Joy Garden Chinese takeout and delivery, most of the banks including a Wells Fargo and an Associated Bank, and the Broadview. In terms of bars there is Crappy's, La Mesa, and Big John's Silver Dollar Saloon.
Other popular places downtown include Pizza House and The Beanhive (both on Simmons St.). The Knox County Courthouse is an old-looking building with a tower, located at Cherry and South streets. The local congressman, Phil Hare, has his district office near Broad and Water streets. The Galesburg Public Library is located at Simmons and Broad, and the Galesburg City Hall on Broad between Simmons and Tompkins streets. The tallest building in Galesburg is the fifteen-story round brick building at the corner of Simmons and Cedar streets. It holds old people. The Knox County Jail and the offices of the Register-Mail newspaper are located on Prairie St., between Simmons St. and Tompkins St. The Orpheum Theatre is on Kellogg Street, just south of Main.
North Henderson Street
The other major shopping district in Galesburg used to be Carl Sanburg Mall but because Amazon exists, its empty now (don't try to explore it, the cops are always there). A Hy-Vee grocery store is there, and there is a Target just west of Henderson on Carl Sandburg. The YMCA and the Showplace 8 movie theater are further along Carl Sandburg, near the intersection with Fremont St. There is a Staples on National Blvd., but the turnoff is confusing and half the time you'll end up on Highway 34, so it's easier to head to the Lowe's parking lot off Carl Sandburg east of Henderson, and cut through there. Further south on Henderson, there is a sex shop, Romantix, located at the intersection of Henderson and Losey streets. There is also a standalone Hy-Vee Wine and Spirits on Henderson, and an Econofoods. There are several restaurants along the road, including Old Peking, New China Buffet, the Rib Shack, Perkins, La Gondola, and fast food restaurants like Taco Bell and Arby's.
The area east of the BNSF mainline is less traveled by Knox students, but has some useful resources. The popular Mexican restaurant Jalisco's and another Hy-Vee (with an attached Hy-Vee Wine and Spirits), are all on Main St. The Carl Sandburg birthplace is a favorite for nighttime pilgrimages, and is located at the corner of Third and Kellogg streets, accessible from the Third Street Overpass.
North Cherry Street
Cherry St. north of downtown has some of Galesburg's nicest houses, and thus most of the professors live in this area. Cottage Hospital, the main hospital for students, is located at the corner of Kellogg and Losey streets.
Outside of Town
ID Cards and Faces
All Knox students receive an ID card. The ID card contains the student's name, photograph, ID number, date of birth, and the card's expiration date (one week after the expected date of graduation). The photograph is generally ugly so don't judge anyone by their picture on the directory. Some student punch holes in their cards so they can be put on keyrings, but this greatly reduces the life of the card. The back of the card has a magnetic strip for use in swiping meals and using Dining Dollars and Flex Dollars. There are plans to integrate card-swipe entry for residence hall doors, but as yet there are none with this feature.
ID cards are made in the Dining Services office, which is accessed from outside of Seymour just west of the Caf. Orientation groups are assigned to go together to get their ID photos taken, but it is easy enough to go before the scheduled trips start and get it done with no wait at all.
The photograph taken for your ID photo also ends up on Faces, the student directory. It also ends up on your EDR and on the attendance sheets for every class you ever take. That photograph will haunt you until you graduate.
Lost ID card replacement costs $15. If you want your picture retaken, and the new picture promulgated to Faces and everywhere else, it will set you back $25.
Your ID number will show up on your ID card as nine digits, but only the last six digits are your real ID number. This number is useful for all sorts of things, so it's good to memorize it. You can find out the ID numbers of other people by going into Faces – the photograph filenames are the ID numbers. This is useful during Housing Lottery.
Meals and Eating
This section deals with your meal plan and dining options.
Nearly all Knox students are required to purchase a meal plan, which makes up the board costs of tuition. A few exceptions are made for students living off-campus and those with real or faked medical problems. If you're desperate to get off board, a note from your doctor to Helmut Mayer will do it, although they will not be pleased. Acid reflux disease is a pretty good excuse. A gluten allergy is even better. If you are unfortunately bereft of these afflictions, then "fake it till you make it," as it were, and get your family doctor to lie for you.
For everyone else, there are five meal plans, all of which cost $1020 per term, or $3060 per year.
|Meals/Term||Guest Meals||Dining Dollars||Price Per Meal|
Meals are counted in swipes, and are redeemable at the Caf and the Oak Room as one swipe per meal. One can also use them at the Grab-n-Go locations, where each food item has a point value, and 18 points equals one swipe.
Guest meals are like meals, but they cannot be used on you. They can be used for visitors, or for fellow students who have lost their cards.
Flex Dollars, which are not mentioned in the table above, can be optionally added to your card in various increments. They can be used at the Gizmo and the C-Store as well, although Dining Dollars are more common, so if you use Flex Dollars you need to specify that to the cashier. Flex Dollars may also be used on college copy machines.
Keep in mind that meals and dining dollars are not transferable, and they do not roll over to the next term, so don't get the plan with 200 meals if you aren't going to use them. Many students with a huge overage of meals like to buy large amounts of soda at the Grab-n-Go near the end of each term, but the Grab-n-Go workers quickly tire of this.
The daily and weekly menus can be found on the right-hand side of the "Current Students" section of the Knox website.
The Hard Knox Cafe (The Caf)
This is the main eating area, featuring all you can eat buffet-style food with a mid-80s ambience. The offerings change daily, and the menu runs on a five week cycle. There are a large number of vegetarian options, with vegan choices not far behind. If you have to eat gluten free you can. Same goes for most food allergies. All prepared foods are labeled so that you can see calories, ingredients and allergens.
The Caf offers a small breakfast on most mornings, including a limited omelet bar, and some small variety of breakfast food, including a wide variety of cereals. Sunday brunch is much more extensive, as it is basically lunch, and offers breakfast staples such as pancakes and the omelet bar along with Sunday brunch specials like chicken strips and tortellini.
From Monday to Saturday breakfast is offered from 7:30-10:00AM. Sunday brunch is available from 10:00AM to 2:00PM.
At lunch there is a larger variety of food, including pasta, a salad bar, soup, a hamburger grill, pizza, and a sandwich bar, plus offerings that change from day to day. There is a toaster oven and two panini grills where you can make anything from a grilled cheese sandwich to a quesadilla. Dessert options, including ice cream, soft serve yogurt and baked specials. Cereal is available all day.
Lunch is available from 11:00AM to 2:00PM. Sunday brunch is 10:00AM to 2:00PM.
Dinner features the same offerings as lunch, except that the sandwich bar is reduced in size to make way for the wok station, which is sort of a miniature Mongolian BBQ thing. Sometimes there is a personal pizza bar instead.
Dinner is available from 4:30PM to 7:30PM, seven days a week.
The Oak Room is located right next to the Caf and you can cross over from one to the other and back. The atmosphere and the food in the Oak Room are somewhat better. The Oak Room used to offer a themed menu each day, and the food was served instead of a self-serve buffet, but this hasn't been the case for a while, and does not seem to have any intention of coming back. Now it is just extra seating for the caf.
The Gizmo is a snack bar and short-order grill, open all day. Its offerings include soft drinks, coffee, a sub bar, grilled items such as hamburgers and chicken sandwiches, various breakfast items, bagel and personal pizzas, and a daily special available during lunchtime. It is most famous for its breakfast bagel.
The Gizmo is open on Monday through Thursday from 10:00AM to 1:00AM. On Friday and Saturday it is open from 10:00AM to 12:00AM. On Sunday it is open from 2:00PM to 1:00AM. Lunch specials are available while the other eateries are serving lunch. The sub bar generally closes two hours before the Gizmo closes, and the grill closes a half hour before closing.
The Grab-n-Go is a quick bagged lunch for people who are in too much of a hurry to go to the Gizmo, but not in enough hurry to skip a long line. It offers a daily-changing selection of sandwiches, sides, and drinks. There is one Grab-n-Go in Seymour Hall, and another in Post Lobby.
Don't call it the Outpost, call it the C-Store. It offers the widest range of drinks on campus, as well as condiments, microwave food, ice, chips, some basic groceries and hygiene products, prophylactics, and over-the-counter medicines. It does not sell alcohol or tobacco. The prices and selection are sometimes better at Quick Sam's, and the hours are certainly longer. However, the C-store defnintely carries more natural food/organic/grocery items than the Quickie.
The C-Store is open Monday through Friday from 8:30AM to 11:00PM, and Saturday and Sunday from 12:00PM to 10:00PM.
Advisors and Picking Classes
Each student, upon matriculation, is assigned their very own advisor, whom they share with some number of other first-years, as well as three classes' worth of other students. Professors who are in their first year of teaching at Knox are not permitted to take on advisees. For first-years the professor assignment is random, since your major has not been declared; once your major is declared you have one advisor of your choice (and their consent) for each major, although most people generally decide on one as their primary advisor for picking classes.
During First-Year Orientation, as mentioned before, professors are supposed to invite incoming students over for dinner in order to pad the admission brochures, give Dining Services some grace time to get their act together, and to a lesser extent to get to know them and have them get to know each other.
Classes are picked in an advisor's office, by appointments – most advisors have sign-ups posted on their doors for each pre-enrollment period. At the appointment, there may be some discussion of your academic track and so on, based on whatever your circumstances are. If you haven't yet done so, they may start urging you to figure out your major or work on your Educational Development Plan. The professor reviews your EDR, and then ultimately you are allowed to pick classes, which usually you have pre-selected using the class schedule mailed to you (either to home for incoming first-years or to your campus mailbox for all other terms). The professor enters your selections into the computer, and undertakes (or not, as the case may be) to give "instructor permission" or override prerequisites.
If a chosen class is nearly full, they may encourage students with less seniority to take something else. After the pre-enrollment period, the numbers are totaled up, and after setting aside spaces for the sign-ups who have to have the class, they perform a lottery for everyone else. This is intended to keep it fair between early and late sign-ups; however, since advisors can see the current totals, you're more likely to get placed in your top choices, at least at first, if you sign up early.
Most campus employment opportunities are offered with prejudice to students who have work-study allotments as part of their Financial Aid package. Some programs allow non-work-study students to sign up several weeks into the term, if there is any space remaining, and some of the less formal ones don't necessarily care as much one way or the other.
Work-study allotments can be for up to ten hours a week, which, under the $7.50 minimum wage in effect for 2007-2008, amounts to about $2650 for the year. You actually pay to the school the entirety of the allotment as part of the tuition checks; the actual work-study done is then "reimbursed" to you through paychecks. The caveat here is that few students will get paychecks amounting to the full amount. The income, after all, may be taxable. Also, there is a shortage of work-study positions on campus (at the very least, while there is a mathematical equality, the actual difficulties of holding multiple work-study jobs to fill smaller voids lead to some amount of de facto campus unemployment or underemployment).
For incoming first-years there is a job fair held in CFA. Those who don't get offers from that may have to go around to specific places and ask (this is how it's done for everyone else). The Dining Services office, where your ID card was made, is where signups are for all Dining Services positions.
Student employee positions are of three types: monitors (for instance in the computer labs), service employees (for instance in Dining Services), and office-ish work (libraries, publication editors, and sundry departments).
However, there are also departmental jobs that you gain after a year of being at school, most notably through the Theatre which includes jobs of skill like the Scene Shop, Costume Shop, and Departmental Dramaturg.
Generally, the least desirable positions are considered to be those in Dining Services and Facilities Services. The most desirable positions are library jobs and some of the office work, most of which is only available to returning students who have a rapport with the particular office. Facilities and Dining positions aren't necessarily bad, however, and some students have opted to work in the same position for several years at a time. Dining Services is also first-come, first-serve, and does not offer advantage based on seniority. The Gizmo used to run its schedule separately and did give weight to seniority, but then Dining Services stole it. The other big advantage to Dining Services work is that it offers a $100 bonus beyond one's work-study allotment for students who work 90% of their scheduled shifts.
Many positions must tabulate their hours using KRONOS, the employment computer system. Some Dining Services employees only have to swipe their ID card in and out. Some of the office positions have tallying by hand, or are basically salaried for a particular number of hours regardless of what is worked.
Some students choose to work off-campus. Some places employing students are Innkeeper's, The Beanhive, Baked, and Cornucopia. Those with cars and a lot of time may commute to Peoria or the Quad Cities to work.
The Honor Code is Knox's policy of academic honesty. It was adopted in 1951. Many students have learned all about the principles of academic honesty in high school; some haven't; some haven't and think they have. All students, regardless of prior instruction in the matter, should thoroughly read the Honor Code booklet, which is sent to all first-years by mail. Knox considers all students as having read and agreed to it by matriculating, and thus students will be held fully liable for failure to comply with the Honor Code. A PDF copy of the pamphlet is available here.
The Honor Code basically says that the school trusts students not to cheat, but if they do the school will pull no punches. As part of the trust component, professors are not supposed to monitor students during exams, and students are allowed to take exams anywhere in the building (except bathrooms and other nonpublic areas). However, students are expected to report suspicious behavior to the Honor Board, and professors are required to – they are not allowed to deal with cases of alleged academic dishonesty informally.
The Honor Board is the enforcer of the Honor Code, and the tribunal for students accused of academic dishonesty. It is comprised of nine students, three from each class, as well as two members of the faculty. The co-chairs of Honor Board for 2019-2020 are Melissa London and Ojashwi Sapkota.
When a student is accused of academic dishonesty, the Honor Board is convened to hear the evidence and various sides of the story. Verdicts have generally been for guilty, since Knox makes it rather difficult to get caught in the first place. The standard penalty for the first offense is an F in the class; for the second, expulsion. Deviations are rarely made, and certainly not for professed ignorance. Again, you should probably read that pamphlet.
Honor Board decisions may be appealed on three grounds: new evidence, procedural error, or Honor Board bias. Appeals are heard by an appeals committee consisting of the Dean of the College and one Honor Board member.
If you are wealthy, or your parents are alumni and/or have been generous in their giving to the school, certain officials of the administration have been rumored to be willing to intervene on your behalf in order to satisfy higher goals. The reality and frequency of this intervention is unclear.
Campus Safety and Discipline
Campus Safety is Knox's security force. They make rounds of the school, unprop doors, pour out beer, and the like. Sometimes they drive around in a heavy-duty golf cart. Their Knox extension is x7979.
Campus Safety maintains the emergency phones located throughout campus (they have blue lights on them). They manage keys, and maintain the Escort program for nighttime walking. If you need to get into a campus building (such as WVKC), or you are locked out of your room, Campus Safety lets you in. You get two free lockouts for your room each year, and after that they charge you. Lost keys cost $50 to replace.
Campus Safety also breaks up parties, or drops in on registered parties to ensure that there is not any illicit alcohol service. However, on the whole they are more concerned with making sure nobody is in danger, and only address alcohol violations when they are obvious.
If you are caught in an alcohol violation, one of two things may happen to you. At a large party, for instance, your drink may be confiscated without consequence. However, at smaller events he will ask for your ID card, and from it ascertain your name and date of birth. If you don't have it on you they will identify you from Faces. You will be cited, and within a few days the Office of Student Development will contact you to have you make an appointment with Debbie Southern. The proceedings for this are not sent home, even if you are on break, and your parents are not informed, even if you are a minor at the time. At your appointment, Debbie Southern tells you your options, and you can either admit the crime and pay the fine or go to a Conduct Council hearing to deny it. Sometimes she will dismiss the case herself if you have sufficient evidence to your benefit. The procedure is not at all harrowing, and the questioning is very limited. The standard fine for an alcohol violation is $40, payable in cash or as an addition to the student account at the Business Office.
Also, be nice to Debbie, she is not evil and is not out to get you. She's a geniunely nice person and understands college life, possibly better than some of the students. You have nothing to gain from going into her office in a bad mood and defenses up. She's not going to yell at you or make you feel bad. She just needs to know what happened.
Knox maintains a substantial student government in order to, at least in theory, ensure the students' voice is heard. Which students? Well, that's a matter for debate.
The chief part of student government is the Student Senate. The other major entity is Union Board. There is also an Intramurals Board and two Greek governance organizations, the Interfraternity Council and the Panhellenic Council. Honor Board, Conduct Council, and the Grievance Panel have significant student roles, but have been described above.
Student Senate is the Knox student body's primary legislative organization. It seats fifty senators, elected using plurality bloc voting by single- and multi-member districts, which are currently drawn by Senate's Executive Board each year. The Executive Board is comprised of a President, a Vice-President, a Treasurer, a Communications Officer, and the chairs of five committees (totaling eight, since the Treasurer is chair of the Finance Committee). Each of the fifty members of Senate belongs to one of these committees. Students are also drawn from Senate to serve as student representatives on faculty committees.
Senate has advisory powers on all aspects of Knox's governance, and may pass resolutions expressing the sense of the Senate and its recommendations. These are often ignored; sometimes they are not. Senate members also work within the faculty committees and with the administration to effect their wishes. Senate's primary special power is the allotment of budget money to the various clubs on campus, both in yearly budgets and through the Senate Discretionary Fund.
Criticism of Student Senate
Student Senate has borne criticism on many different issues over the past several years. What democracy exists in the Senate was only introduced about five years ago, when Senate was changed from a self-appointing body to an elected one. However, some trends against democracy have been noted.
In Spring Term 2007, Senate voted to limit those eligible to run for President to those who had served on Senate for a year. This was an attempt to ensure that the chair of Senate meetings was already familiar with the procedures, but it was seen by many as a step away from democracy.
Moreover, after Senate adjourned for Summer Break 2007, the incoming Executive Board, using a questionable interpretation of the Senate Constitution, amended the By-Laws to drastically alter key parts of Senate procedures, so that all resolutions proposed by Student Senate would have to go through committee. This means that the Executive Board now has power to approve or deny the passage of a resolution based upon the opinions of an eight-person Executive Board, or even so small a group as the committee chair or the Senate President. Many senators have protested what appears, to them, to be a reduction to rubber-stamp status, without an opportunity to vote on it; the Executive Board intends to introduce the changes at the first Senate meeting as a fait accompli.
Senate's electoral procedures have also been under fire in the past. Senate currently allows the Vice-President to draw new districts each year, leading to arbitrary and inconsistent district shapes and sizes. Some have alleged that this has also resulted in gerrymandering, most notably increasing the representation of certain small groups, of which TKE is the most notable. The use of plurality bloc voting, which allows voters to vote for as many candidates as there are positions, ensures that a small bloc of people voting together can disproportionately control the outcome in the district.
There are fears that the current Executive Board will prove to be more amenable to the interests of the administration than those of the students.
Publicity is also an issue. While Senate meetings are open to the public, the minutes taken and distributed to the school are not complete, and often butcher whatever the speakers were saying. Committee meetings are open to the public, but no minutes are taken. Executive Board meetings generally do not encourage public involvement, and no minutes are taken. This is especially notable because the Executive Board has directed more decisions through these less public channels.
The Union Board is in charge of organizing major events on campus of all different shapes and sizes. They are most famous for organizing Flunk Day. Union Board regularly receives criticism for the events it holds. When it was holding a number of smaller events, students wanted one big event. When they brought in Pablo Francisco (the biggest comedian Knox has the clout to book), the students didn't like it. Union Board cannot please all the people all the time.
Then again, there are many who would say they pleased nobody.
The Intramurals Board is the organization in charge of intramural sports, such as Ultimate Frisbee or Dodgeball and more traditional sports. They are much less formalized and skill-conscious than the Athletics Department.
Interfraternity and Panhellenic councils
Publications and Radio
Knox maintains several publications and one radio station. Most of these publications are overseen and funded through the Broadcast, Internet, and Publications Board (Board of Publications), a subcommittee of the Student Life Committee.
The Knox Student
The Knox Student, known informally as TKS, is the school newspaper. It comes out weekly on Thursdays. It contains a large variety of information, including feature articles and news, outdated information about last week's Student Senate proceedings, national and international news briefs, the Campus Safety Log (a list of all Campus Safety reports and citations, including fire alarms and alcohol violations), movie and music reviews, the Mosaic culture section, the Discourse op-ed section, and a sports section. The newspaper office is in the S.S. McClure Publications Office in Seymour. TKS is funded through the Board of Publications.
Catch is Knox's award-winning literary journal. It features mainly creative writing such as short stories and poetry, as well as some photography for aesthetic appeal. Other genres, such as journalism or critical works, are also accepted. Each Catch issue (there are two each year) is designed differently, with a level of complexity ranging from boringly elegant to matchbook-pasted-to-the-front-cover pretentious. If you are looking for a step into Knox's artistic culture, pick up a recent copy of Catch and you'll be filled in. Catch is a selective publication, and those pieces that are accepted are edited at the whims of the editors. The selection process is blind to help reduce bias. The Catch office is in the S.S. McClure Publications Office in Seymour. The current Editors-in-Chief are Franziska Hofhansel and Veronica Sefic. Catch is funded through the Board of Publications.
Cellar Door is a more inclusive literary journal that focuses less on production and more on workshopping and the writing process. It is published about twice a year, each copy being designed differently. Cellar Door features articles by faculty and others as well as by students. All submissions are accepted, so long as the writer is amenable to the workshopping process. Submitters are also required to sign a declaration saying that they love their work. If you don't love your work, stick with Catch. Cellar Door is another fantastic way to get acclimated with Knox culture. Cellar Door is funded through the Board of Publications.
Quiver is a webzine collective started by several students and Robin Metz. It is comprised of three separate zines: The Third Level, which publishes science fiction and fantasy; Wynken, Blynken, and Nod, which publishes children's literature; and Diminished Capacity, which publishes humor. Submissions are read collectively by Quiver's entire editorial board, but each webzine is managed by three of its own editors. It is currently not funded.
The Common Room
WVKC (The Voice) is Knox's radio station. The studio is located on the fourth floor of GDH. Almost all of the DJs are students; there is a signup and orientation meeting near the beginning of each term, advertised throughout campus. WVKC is no longer an actual radio station and now brodcasts through web radio, it is unknown how many people it reaches on a regular basis. WVKC is funded through the Board of Publications.
The majority of student activities at Knox come under the auspices of the various student clubs. These clubs receive their funding from Student Senate, and use it as they see fit (subject to various regulations) to produce events and further causes.
At the beginning of each school year there is a Club Fair where students can sign up to be on the mailing lists of various clubs.
- Anthropology and Sociology Club
- Business Club
- Chemistry Club
- Classics Club
- Educational Studies Club
- French Club
- Friends of Green Oaks
- German Club
- History Club
- Photography Club
- Physics Club
- Pre-Law Club
- Pre-Med Club
- Rocketry Club
- Spanish Club
- Speech and Debate
Community Service Clubs
- Alpha Phi Omega
- Best Buddies
- Circle K
- Habitat for Humanity
- Invisible Children
- KARES (Knox Advocates for Recycling and Environmental Support)
- Knox Community Garden
- Odyssey Mentoring Program
Cultural and Political Clubs
- AAINA (Southern Asian student group)
- ABLE (Allied Blacks for Liberty and Equality)
- Alliance for Peaceful Action
- Amnesty International
- Anime Club
- Art Club
- Asian Students Association (ASA)
- Chinese Club
- Common Ground (gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender group)
- Estudiantes Sin Frontieras (Students Without Borders)
- Food for Thought
- Harambee Club
- International Club
- Knox Democrats
- Knox Republicans
- Korean Club
- Lo Nuestro
- Making Things
- Model United Nations
- Non-Traditional Students Club
- SASS (Students Against Sexism in Society)
- SHAG (Student Health Advocacy Group)
Literature and Media (excepting Publications)
- Chamber Singers
- Galesburg Community Chorus
- Improv Club
- Jazz Combos
- Knox College Choir
- Knox Jazz Ensemble
- Knox-Galesburg Symphony
- Knox-Sandburg Community Band
- Men's Ensemble
- Sigma Alpha Iota
- String Ensemble
- Terpsichore Dance Collective
- Wind Ensemble
- Women's Chorale
- Fellowship of Christian Athletes
- Hillel Club
- Intervarsity Christian Fellowship
- Islamic Club
- Newman Club
- Pagan Student Alliance
Recreation and Gaming Clubs
- Badminton Club
- Ballroom Dancing Club
- Basketball (intramural sport)
- Co-ed Water Polo (club sport)
- Cycling Club
- Dodgeball (intramural sport)
- Fencing (club sport)
- FIGHT CLUB (Way of Life)
- Gaming Information Network
- Indoor Soccer (intramural sport)
- Knox Dance Squad
- Kolorworx (color guard club)
- LARC (Live Action Role Playing Club)
- Martial Arts Club
- Men's Lacrosse (club sport)
- Outdoor Recreation Club
- Racquetball Club
- Softball (intramural sport)
- Super Smash Brothers Club (gaming club)
- Ultimate Frisbee (club sport)
- Volleyball (intramural sport)
- Women's Lacrosse (club sport)
- Women's Rugby (club sport)
- Women's Water Polo (club sport)
- Yoga Way
Transportation and Getting Out
This section deals with transportation to, in, and from Galesburg, and other destinations in the area.
To get to Galesburg from I-80, take I-80 to the Quad Cities, and then go east on I-74.
For other driving directions, it might be easier to consult a map.
The nearest airports of consequence to Galesburg are Greater Peoria Regional Airport (PIA) and Quad City International Airport (MLI). PIA only has feeder flights to Chicago O'Hare, but MLI has flights to and from Chicago O'Hare, Denver, Dallas-Fort Worth, Atlanta, Detroit, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Las Vegas, and Orlando. Due to the higher cost of using these smaller airports, many students fly into Chicago O'Hare (ORD) or Chicago Midway (MDW) and get a ride or take the train into Galesburg. Knox offers a shuttle service to PIA and MLI, as well as Bradley University, at the beginning and end of each term. A small fee is assessed. With prior reservation, you can also book a taxi ride for $50, if the shuttles do not fit your time needs.
Galesburg is served by a number of trains, all run by Amtrak. The California Zephyr is a transcontinental train running from Chicago to San Francisco via Denver, with one train per day in each direction. Eastbound trains into Galesburg are late by several hours. The Southwest Chief is another transcontinental train running from Chicago to Los Angeles via Albuquerque, and is usually on time. The Illinois Zephyr is daily service between Chicago and Quincy, with an eastbound train in the morning and a westbound one in the evening. The Carl Sandburg follows the same route as the California Zephyr, with a westbound train in the morning and an eastbound one in the evening. These short-run trains are largely co-financed by Amtrak and the Illinois Department of Transportation. The train station is about four blocks from campus.
Travel within Galesburg
Accessing much of downtown is easy by foot, but for reaching the rest of town owning or borrowing a car or bicycle is necessary. There are three bus routes in Galesburg running on complicated loops once each hour, and an express option that runs two, but only until around 6:00PM. The bus terminal is at Main and Kellogg streets, and all three buses depart from there every hour on the hour. The fare is 60 cents, but there is a student fare of 40 cents if you show your ID. Few use the bus, but if time is not very important it is cheaper than calling a taxi. The schedules and routes can be found here.
Galesburg taxis are sketchy.
Getting out of Galesburg
For those used to the bright lights and big city, Galesburg can feel a little oppressively Galesburg.
The main destinations close to Galesburg are Peoria and the Quad Cities, each about 45 minutes away by car on I-74. They offer more shopping and dining options. The nereast actual big cities are St. Louis and Chicago, each about three hours away by car. Chicago, as mentioned above, can also be reached by train. Within Chicago there is the CTA and the Metra for mass transit – Midway lies at the south end of the orange line, and O'Hare at the north end of the blue line on CTA. There are also all the well-known tourist attractions of Chicago. Sadly, it is not close enough to be a common destination, except on the way to the airport, unless you either live in Chicago or have a car.
The Wiki Fire community hopes that this Knox Survival Guide will help you get your bearings quickly and adapt to your new surroundings, bleak and agricultural though they may be. As you spend more time here, you will come to recognize the ineffable Knox culture: the flouncing dramas of the 1350 students, the quirky but lovable periodic incompetence of the administration, the nuances of non-nuance that flow from Galesburg. If you love Knox, you will find the strangest reasons to love it more, and even if you hate Knox you'll come to have a grudging appreciation of its idiosyncrasies. Or you'll transfer. Either/or.