Student-made memes on Knox College’s Facebook meme page, Cox Knollege 2.0, are attracting a growing number of followers who have discovered that there’s something oddly cathartic about sharing memes about funny Knox moments with their peers.
Ranging from memes about events on campus to posts venting about professors, staff or coaches, things that happened to them in class to cafeteria food, the meme page offers a place for students to air their grievances or make good-natured jokes without consequence.
Although some of the memes are inside jokes for a person or group, most of the memes are relatable to the campus at large like a meme that pokes fun at Knox’s proximity to the railroad. It depicts Shaquille O’Neal sleeping through a train blasting its massive horn two blocks from campus only to be awakened seconds later by someone coughing on the other end of the dorm suite.
Monica Martinez, ‘19, had created the original Cox Knollege, but out of the blue she posted that she was planning on deleting the page. Rachel Watson, ‘19, did not understand why.
“No matter how bad it got, I couldn’t really think of anything that would, like, warrant full deletion and not just transferring it over,” Watson said.
When Martinez deleted the original Cox Knollege group, Watson and a group of her friends wanted to create a new meme page for the Knox community. They were concerned that they didn’t have the social skills necessary to create and maintain a meme page. They did not know if they could make this page as successful as the last had been.
“I didn’t want to be that person who makes a group intended for the whole college and, seven people are in it, and it just looks really bad,” Watson said.
Finally, with the help of her friends, Watson made a new meme page: Cox Knollege 2.0. The first week after making the group was an aggressive campaign to get students to join it. Watson invited all of her Knox student Facebook friends to join the page, and they invited theirs. She posted about Cox Knollege 2.0 in other Knox community groups. Watson was a member of the Quiz Bowl team and recalls making the other members take out their phones and join the group the day after she made it.
By the end of that first week, Watson recalls the new group having about 200 members. She felt a sense of relief knowing the group was not a flop. As soon as students joined, they were creating new content for the page. Watson was shocked to see the page flooding with content. The original Cox Knollege only had a couple of posts every week.
In its own way, Cox Knollege 2.0 became a student news source. Students had to wait until Thursday night for a new issue of The Knox Student, but Watson said students were able to glance at the new meme page for a quirky perspective on events on campus as they happened.
Throughout the summer, students posted about updates to Knox’s wifi system. One such meme shows a screencap from an episode of Spongebob with Larry the Lobster labeled as “The Knox IT system” standing in anguish over a dead fish labeled “Kevin Kogut” with a crowd of onlooking fish in the background labeled “Me watching from Colorado.”
Fall term brought memes about freshman orientation and move in, cafeteria food and the snowstorm that hit on Halloween. Recently, students have used the page to complain about the lack of salt on the icy sidewalks around campus.
With near-daily posts, Knox students are never out of the loop. While some memes are wildly niche, like a meme about the SMC whale being dead when the environmental studies department found it, others are easily relatable, like Watson’s building alignment chart. The most popular times to post memes seem to be around midterms and finals when students share in the panic of the season. When the wifi goes out or the Gizmo floods, you can bet students are posting about it in Cox Knollege 2.0.
Cox Knollege 2.0 has given students a place to vent, make jokes, procrastinate and gossip. Beyond that, it has formed bonds between students who may have never interacted otherwise. Alumni can keep up with campus goings-on, and current students can help keep them in the loop.
Watson admits that running the page hasn’t always been easy. Some students reach out to her with complaints about posts or comments in the group. Watson does not want to insert herself into most issues, but in instances when someone would approach her and let her know that their abuser or someone who had assaulted them was in the group, Watson would take away that person’s access to the page.
It was always a hard decision because Watson could not know the other side of the story. She is afraid that one day, one of the alleged abusers may approach her to ask why they got kicked from the group. It has not happened yet, but Watson worries about what would happen if it did because she does not want to throw a victim under the bus.
Now that Watson has graduated from Knox, she has taken a step back from being a moderator on the page. For now, Watson has passed the role of administrator on to Maggie Garrett, a junior, the user who posted the first-ever meme to Cox Knollege 2.0.
With a new job and living in a different city, Watson feels disconnected from the Knox campus and isolated from what happens on Cox Knollege 2.0. She thinks the meme page is a fun way for alumni to keep up with what’s going on but knows it can be confusing since they are not sharing the same experiences as the students anymore.
Watson knows she will eventually remove herself from the page altogether, but until then, she enjoys seeing new memes and catching up on all of the hot gossip at Knox.