Columns / Discourse / September 24, 2015

State of the Campus: Student Senate president addresses Knox

Now is such an exciting time to be a college student. Our generation is engaged, passionate and determined to effect change. Nowhere is this determination more evident than at Knox. Simply put, Knox students care. We care about ourselves. We care about our fellow students. We care about the community. What encourages me most, though, is that the level of engagement and activity is growing. Students are no longer content with just discussion and dialogue — we’re ready for actionable next steps in the right direction.

Student Senate exemplifies this shift in the culture of the campus perfectly. During my first two years in Student Senate, we held countless open forums and conducted more surveys than I can recall. That is not to say that this dialogue and fact-finding was pointless. In fact, the contrary is true. We needed to have those discussions then and we still need them now. However, it’s time to talk the talk and to walk the walk.

When it comes to “walking the walk,” preventing sexual assault takes top priority. Issues regarding sexual assault have come to the forefront of discussion on college campuses nationwide and Knox is no exception. All Knox students agree that any form of sexual assault is wrong. Not many things in life are as clear-cut as that — sexual assault is always unacceptable.

Yet, the issue still persists. Student Senate will work to identify the most effective ways to eliminate sexual assault on campus and to provide support to those who have experienced sexual assault. This goes beyond Student Senate, though. It is a campus wide issue and deserves campus wide attention. Ultimately, it’s on us — the students, staff and faculty of Knox College — to end sexual assault on campus.

Addressing the concerns of students of color is another pressing goal of this year’s Student Senate. Last year, Student Senate introduced Diversity Art Month, an artistic exploration of identities and experiences, and required diversity training for all clubs under our purview. Systemic changes that have a long-lasting impact — like the mandatory diversity training — are what this year’s Student Senate is aiming for. We will be continuing Diversity Art Month and mandatory diversity training while also looking to add new initiatives of our own.

Bruce Barton, the famous American author and politician once said, “When I consider what tremendous consequences come from little things, I am tempted to think there are no little things.”

The issues outlined above are massively important, but we must not neglect the “little things” on this campus. We will be working closely with the Campus Life Office to make improvements to students’ lives outside of the classroom.

The initiatives we will be pursuing run the gamut from placing hammocks around campus to a renovation of the outdoor basketball court. We are also welcoming a new Dining Services provider this year.

While there are many exciting changes in store for dining on campus, we made sure one thing will remain the sameÑthe number of student workers to be hired each term.

Knox students aren’t just ready for change to happen — they’re ready to effect change. The campus is more engaged now than at any time in my four years here. We have to foster this engagement while making sure discussion begets action and action begets results.


Charlie Harned

Tags:  address charlie harned state of the campus Student Senate

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