Campus / News / Student Senate / October 23, 2008

Spotlight on a Senator: James Abram Zumwalt

Senator ‘Abe’ Zumwalt is a sophomore at Knox and a first-timer in student senate. Representing the small house district, many may better know Abe as the very well-dressed gentleman who can be seen around campus in a nice suit and tie more often than not. After flirting with the idea of being a senator last year, Abe decided that this was a good time to get into the campus political scene.

“To tell you the truth, it started out as a whim,” Zumwalt said, “and after I finished my candidate report, just what you read when you vote, and mine was actually rather ridiculous and silly, all of a sudden after I finished that and I applied I realized that there were a lot of ideas that I had for this school, and lots of ways I’d like to see it improved.”

Zumwalt is already working with his fellow senators to see some of those ideas enacted.

“In conjunction with Senator Lovett,” Zumwalt said, “first of all I would like to see greatly expanded the small patch of prairie we have. I believe that if we took over lots of the unused acres, acres, of lawn that we have at the college and set with the native plants, prairie plants, switch grass plants, we would be giving a layer of integrity to the college. A kind of backing up our whole movement towards environmental sustainability. It would create more habitats, probably cut down on irrigation issues that we have in the wintertime, it would add a sense of credibility and give weight to what we’re talking about here. Also, it would add a sense of natural beauty to the situation.”

A general improvement of campus aesthetics ranks high on Zumwalt’s list of ideas.

“I’m also a great proponent of bringing this credibility behind Knox to a greater degree just in aesthetic values,” Zumwalt said. “I feel like we have all of these beautiful architectural masterpieces on campus – Old Main is wonderful, the older section of the library is beautiful — the only problem is that one of the few places that we actually go to every single day and have to deal with every day, which is our dining services area, are really not up to snuff just purely aesthetically and atmospherically. I would be completely for bringing more of a ‘Red Room’ aesthetic to the entire school. I think a beautification is in order.”

If anything, Zumwalt could not be faulted with a lack of ideas on how to improve the campus. But he does realize that all goals do not have the same chance of success.

“Tim Lovett had this marvelous idea that to maintain the grass,” Zumwalt said, “we don’t use fertilizer, we don’t use lawnmowers, but instead we purchase a small flock of sheep and a shepherd. The sheep do not kill the grass, they actually trim it to a level, much like a lawnmower does. Also, they’ll be in the process of fertilizing it by [defecating] all over it. This is a pie-in-the-sky idea, I realize, and it’s very unlikely that any idea like this would be passed.”

Overall, Zumwalt sees a definite need to improve the way the Knox community views itself and Senate.

“[Students] should realize that Senate controls a significant amount of money,” Zumwalt said, “and a lot of what happens on the campus, a lot of things like events are dictated by Senate. I feel like we need to assert our presence a little more. But more than that, I think that has to do with a chronic lack of school spirit. Knox is completely sarcastic and ironic. School spirit is completely non-existent. Overall, I don’t think people regard the place as good or bad. They don’t feel – they’re all too disenfranchised to – I guess there’s just not enough to grasp onto.”

Andrew Polk

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