Satisfaction with typical college housing can often be hit or miss, but students who choose to live in special interest houses at Knox might have a better sense of what they’ll be getting out of their residential learning experience: an inclusive living atmosphere with other students who identify themselves with a common interest.
Knox has six main residencies that qualify uniquely as “special interest” houses, said Director of Residential Learning Craig Southern; this means that they have been OK-ed by Student Senate and have gone through a lengthy application process to become special interest houses.
The following are the current special interest houses at Knox:
As a part of an initiative to promote sustainability on campus, the Eco House became a permanent special interest house in 2006, and is located at 675 S. West Street. Historically, it has often been tied to KARES, the Knox Advocates for Recycling and Environmental Support. House leader and senior Michelle Gerber described the Eco House as an “incredibly friendly and inviting space” for students interested in living an environmentally conscious lifestyle. House members actively try to conserve water and energy, which includes unplugging appliances, composting and using an “if it’s yellow, let it mellow” policy to conserve the large amounts of water generated by toilet flushing.
Not that this should intimidate anyone interested in living in the Eco House, though. Gerber said that it is a “clean, healthy, happy living space” and that they want everyone to feel as comfortable as possible living an environmentally conscious lifestyle.
The house plans on hosting an open house in the fall, which all students will be welcome to attend.
Reel House, as the name suggests, consists of a group of students who are interested in movies, films, and cinematography. They are located in one of the townhouses on campus.
Asian Cultural House
Though it is not yet recognized as one of the larger “cultural centers” on campus (such as ABLE, Casa Latina, and International House, which all have a separate distinction from the special interest houses), the Asian Cultural House is well on its way towards becoming one. Located on 530 S. West Street and currently in its third year, house leader Willie Ow, senior, said that it is a house created “to help represent the Asian and Asian-American community at Knox,” which he said is often mis- or under-represented. He is clear to make the distinction that it operates independently of International House, which does not focus specifically on Asian culture, but is rather more focused on international students from all over the globe.
Asian Cultural House is home to many club meetings and organizations that focus on Asian culture: Japanese Club, Korean Club, and the Asian Student Association have all hosted events there, many of which are open to the campus. “We usually have six or seven larger events there each term,” said Ow. In the past, they have had large dinners and workshops on various aspects of Asian culture (including a tea ceremony and chocolate-making workshop hosted by Japanese Club).
The house also has a small library of modern books on Asian culture and identity, which Ow said anyone with a Knox student ID is welcome to check out.
Queer and Ally House
Queer and Ally House is a house for students who take interest in issues pertaining to the LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) community. It is also a safe house for students who identify themselves as a part of this community.
The Jazz House was founded in 1997, and is perhaps one of the reasons why the jazz program is so strong at Knox.
According to its statement on the Knox College website, it was “founded on the principles that those who live together make better music together and that there are no requirements to appreciate the art of jazz music.” Most of the students who live there are musicians who take part in one of several jazz ensembles at Knox, including the award-winning Cherry Street Combo.
Externally, their goal is to “provide outreach to members of the Knox and Galesburg communities, as well as to other school’s jazz programs” which they do by hosting open houses, doing a radio show and performing at gigs both on and off campus.
The clever name for this theme house, which consists entirely of sophomore males, comes from the idea that after the speculated end of the world in 2012, the graduating class of 2013 will be the “post-apocalypse.” Fittingly situated in Post 8, Post-Apocalypse House is in its first year, said sophomore member Gabe Ayers, and is meant to be a place where any sophomore can come and feel welcome. Ayers is hoping that the house will be around for at least another year, depending on the availability of its current members.
Though the following are not yet official “special interest” houses recognized by Student Senate, Knox also has a few lottery-chosen, unofficial theme residencies on campus.
Though not yet an official “house” on campus, French House is composed of a group of students interested in French language and culture living together in three apartments in the Executive Apartment System. Junior Elise Hyser, who is leader of the house and president of French Club, said the house is the primary meeting place for French Club, which has meetings every Friday from 4 to 6 p.m. Club activities include watching French movies, making crepes and playing French scrabble. Hyser says that anyone interested in French language (including those who know nothing about it) and francophone culture are welcome to come to the meetings.
Football Flat is a residency for fans of soccer and who enjoy discussing issues and partaking in activities relating to the sport.