Knox is one of the top liberal arts colleges for community service, according to Washington Monthly.
Knox has been rated as number 37 out of more than 250 comparable schools and has become well known for its unique program geared towards the Peace Corps, the Peace Corps Prep Program.
Opportunities for Knox students to volunteer include Reading Buddies, Big Brothers Big Sisters, Up ‘til Dawn, Galesburg Youth Athletic Club, among many others. These opportunities are available throughout the month of October and many are available throughout the year.
Other groups like Habitat for Humanity, Student Health Advocacy Group and Students Against Sexism in Society focus on outreach to the community.
Individual courses like the anthropology and sociology course School & Society require volunteer hours within the Galesburg school system. Some popular options to fulfill this requirement include volunteering at the nearby daycare and participating in Reading Buddies.
Reading Buddies is one organization in which Knox encourages students to engage. A bus takes Knox students to Galesburg Elementary School during the week for 30-minute reading sessions with third and fourth grade students. This ends up being a weekly one-hour time commitment that students, from freshmen to seniors, are embracing.
Senior Kathleen Kellett began Reading Buddies this term. She is interested in becoming a certified tutor and said, “This is just a wonderful opportunity to prepare.”
Others, like sophomore Bryn Kimura, just love kids. She said that it is an incredibly rewarding experience. She insisted that Knox is very supporting and that there are plenty of opportunitieso of which many students seem to take advantage.
Senior Gabe Paz, assistant to the coordinator for student volunteering, states that volunteering is “incredibly accessible” to the Knox student body.
As assistant, Paz catalogs student hours, manages volunteer activities and focuses on community outreach. He volunteered his freshman and sophomore year at Big Brothers Big Sisters and stopped due to time restraints.
Paz said that Knox needs to focus on cracking the infamous “Knox bubble.” According to him, Knox students have a tendency to separate themselves from the Galesburg community.
Kimura, Kellet and sophmore Grace Lackey agreed to the existence of a Knox bubble. They all also agreed that activities that Knox offers, like Reading Buddies, help to bridge the gap between Knox students and the Galesburg community.
Lackey, also a Reading Buddy, said that this gives Galesburg “a really positive image of what a Knox student is.”
Paz also said that the turn-out this year has been particularly satisfying. The volunteers seem to be very engaged in their activities and interested in making a difference, according to Paz.