Campus News

Changes to Campus Alcohol Policy

Grinnell College has implemented some changes in its alcohol policy with the 2016–17 academic year. This is partly due to recommendations from the College’s Task Force on Residential Learning, which included faculty, staff, and students, as well as national and Grinnell-specific research and recommendations from experts.

In a memo to campus, President Raynard S. Kington explained why the changes are being implemented: “I strongly believe that the College needs to make proactive changes in our culture of substance use now, instead of in response to student tragedy. Grinnell College has been on the forefront of tackling many vital social issues, but we’re behind the norm here. As we seek to raise the quality of student experience in the residence halls to better match their world-class academic experience, these are necessary first steps.”

Changes to the alcohol policy include the following:

  • Providing substance-free housing for all students who request it. To meet the demand for substance-free housing for first-year students in particular, the College converted Norris Hall to a first-year, substance-free residence hall. 
  • Changing policies related to student alcohol use in public areas of the residence halls. 
  • If alcohol is present in a lounge, a completed alcohol agreement must be in place, and all alcohol at the event must be accounted for in the agreement. 
  • Residence life coordinators and Campus Safety officers will conduct periodic walk-throughs in the residence halls to uphold the community standards in a non-punitive, educational fashion. 
  • Community advisers (student staffers formerly known as resident advisers) will be expected to uphold these policies as well to promote safe environments.
  • Creating a team of paid, trained servers to tend bar at all approved events with alcohol agreements. 
  • Convening a group of student and administrative leaders to revise campus events that center heavily on alcohol consumption, including the annual 10/10 party, a campuswide party started in the early 2000s. Given yearly spikes in the abuse of alcohol and other drugs, sexual misconduct, vandalism, and other infractions on community standards related to that event in particular, the College wants to involve students in finding ways to provide healthier, safer, appealing recreational alternatives.

One element that has not changed is that people of legal drinking age will still be permitted to use alcohol in their own rooms or houses. Additionally, the use of alcohol by any student in academic and athletic buildings will continue to be prohibited.

The Grinnell Magazine Online

The Grinnell Magazine now has its own website: magazine.grinnell.edu. Readers will be  able to access current and archived issues, back to the Fall 2015 issue, when the magazine was redesigned. 

“We wanted to provide another way for our readers to access and share our content,” says Michele Regenold ’89, editor. “It’s an addition to our quarterly print magazine, not a replacement.”

Readers will be able to post comments, follow links to related articles, and interact with visual media. In addition to digitized versions of articles appearing in print, the site will include some online-only content published between print magazine issues. 

According to Sarah Eagan Anderson ’98, director of interactive communications, the decision to go online was motivated by a collective desire to increase access and integration. Not only does an online option introduce The Grinnell Magazine to a broader audience, it also supports increased accessibility for readers with disabilities.

In addition, selected articles will appear on the main College website, to enhance content integration across platforms.

If you’d like to receive an email notification when each new issue goes online, and stop receiving the printed magazine, please email Alumni Relations with “Arlo’s List” in the subject line, and we’ll make the change.

Meet Your Grinnell Trustees

Six Grinnell College trustees are newly elected or otherwise entering into active roles on the board. We wanted you to get to know them through their own words, so we invited them to speak to the following questions:

  • Why do you want to serve on the board?
  • What do you hope to bring to it?

W. Edward Senn ’79

W. Edward Senn ’79A: I want to give back to the educational institution that helped make me the person I am today. My mother — Carolyn Neely Senn, Winthrop College class of 1936 — always said, “Don’t ever forget to support your alma mater!” I’ve worked in the political/public policy space for 35-plus years, and I think I’m a good listener. My professors often said, “Ed, sometimes it is not that you have the right answer; it’s that you have the right question.” I hope to help ask the right questions to secure the future of this amazing institution.

Kathryn Jagow Mohrman ’67

Kathryn Jagow Mohrman ’67A: Like so many alumni, I credit Grinnell for its major influence on the person I’ve become since graduation. I want to make the Grinnell experience available to future generations, but I know I won’t be able to leave millions of dollars to make that happen. Since my career was in higher education, however, I can “give back” through my time and experience. I was thrilled to be on the Board of Trustees in the 1980s and 1990s and equally delighted to start my second stint now that I am retired.

Angela Onwuachi-Willig ’94

Angela Onwuachi-Willig ’94A: I am honored to serve as a voice for Grinnell’s 20,000-plus alumni on the board. In my role as president of the Alumni Council, I look forward to learning from alumni, doing my best to represent their concerns on key issues, and offering perspectives that might otherwise be underrepresented or absent on the board. Personally, I want to serve on the board because Grinnell changed my life, and I have witnessed its impact on so many other lives. Also, I am thrilled to learn from President [Raynard S.] Kington and watch his vision in action. It’s an exciting time for the College!

Charles Gottdiener ’86

Charles Gottdiener ’86A: I feel indebted to Grinnell. It was here that I transitioned from teenager to adult and forged some of my closest relationships — the most important being the one with my wife, Alexa. I’ve had the good fortune of working with the College on a number of philanthropic activities. Joining the board felt like the most logical progression for continuing to serve the school. I bring a passion for Grinnell’s liberal arts education and the diversity of thought it encourages. Experience as a business executive and strategist will allow me to contribute on specific topics around management and governance of the College. 

John H. Kispert ’86

John H. Kispert ’86A: I am grateful for the opportunity to give back to Grinnell in this way. These are exciting times, domestically and globally. Grinnell is not immune to the many changes, yet is uniquely positioned to continue its leadership in preparing students to lead lives of purpose and meaning. My many years as a technology executive have provided me with extensive experience dealing with constant change. I hope to bring to the board this capacity to adapt along with my passion and respect for diversity of thought.

David Maxwell ’66

David Maxwell ’66A: My enthusiasm for serving on Grinnell’s Board of Trustees is driven by two factors. First, I feel indebted to the College for the impact it had on my life. The experience had a powerful influence on my values, my beliefs, and my aspirations to contribute in a significant way to the common good. Second, after 44 years in higher education, I am profoundly aware of the importance of the board in working with the faculty, the president and administration, and students to manage the challenges ahead and to ensure that the College remains vital, vibrant, and relevant. 

View the trustees’ biographical profiles

Work Begins on Humanities and Social Studies Complex Site

Last spring, the Grinnell College Board of Trustees enthusiastically approved EYP Architecture & Engineering’s schematic design for the new Humanities and Social Studies Complex (HSSC). The trustees’ action propelled the project into the design development phase and set building site preparation in motion on the southeast corner of Eighth Avenue and Park Street.

Plans for the 196,000-square-foot complex include renovation and revitalization of Alumni Recitation Hall (ARH) and Carnegie Hall. When the complex is ready for occupancy in fall of 2020, it will include 40 classrooms, 145 faculty offices, team spaces, a redesigned auditorium, and social spaces such as the main atrium and coffee bar.

Classrooms with advanced technology will support the many kinds of pedagogy desired for an inquiry-based approach to learning and facilitate the faculty-student and student-student connections integral to a Grinnell education.

Sustainability and accessibility

The HSSC is being designed to take maximum advantage of natural seasonal light, and a portion of the roof will be a “green roof” that further impacts sustainability. Geothermal well fields will help meet sustainability goals that aim for a modest net change in energy demand given the large increase in building size. 

Key accessibility considerations include bridging of the floor-level differential between the ARH and Carnegie pavilions, placing and pairing of elevators and stairs in and across pavilions, and incorporation of wider halls. 

Admission/Financial Aid Center site chosen

The southwest corner of Eighth Avenue and Park Street, directly across from the new HSSC, was named this summer as the future site for Grinnell’s new Admission/Financial Aid Center. The site was determined after extensive evaluation of multiple sites by design firm Ayers Saint Gross, Inc., with input from a broad base of campus constituents. 

New Leaders On Campus

Mark Christel

Mark Christel

Mark Christel brings an impressive record of leadership and innovation to the Grinnell College Libraries,” says Michael E. Latham, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the College. “His experience in promoting student and faculty research, interdisciplinary digital initiatives, external grants and collaborations, facilities design, and strategic planning makes him well-suited to this role.”

Christel served with distinction in previous positions at Hope College and Vassar College and as former director of libraries since 2008 at the College of Wooster in Ohio. He worked collaboratively with faculty, carefully stewarded collections, and championed technologies to promote open access and scholarship. 

Christel succeeds Julia Bauder, who was named interim director of Grinnell’s libraries in October 2015 after Richard Fyffe, Samuel R. and Marie-Louise Rosenthal Librarian of the College and associate professor, began permanent medical leave. He died on Nov. 5, due to complications from amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS).

“It is very humbling,” Christel says, “to follow in the footsteps of Richard Fyffe, a friend and colleague whom I greatly admired.”

Debra Lukehart

Debra LukehartDebra Lukehart joined the College staff on Sept. 6 as its new vice president for communications. 

“Debra has the experience, expertise, and energy to build on the great work of the Communications team. I am looking forward to her joining Grinnell as part of the senior leadership team,” says President Raynard S. Kington

Lukehart, formerly vice president of communications for Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, has more than 25 years of communications experience, including developing and implementing brand platforms, delivering full-service marketing communications solutions, deploying integrated marketing strategies, and managing oversight of multimedia and interactive programs. She has a bachelor’s in public relations from the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Drake University. The Iowa native and her husband Oscar have a daughter, Anna, 10.

David Cook-Martín

David Cook-MartínDavid Cook-Martín, professor of sociology, has been named assistant vice president for global education and senior international officer. He will lead Grinnell’s new Institute for Global Engagement and promote strategic planning for international education and external partnerships. The new institute assumes responsibilities formerly held by the Center for International Studies, which Cook-Martín led.

“We are collectively creating an organizational structure to empower students and faculty to very intentionally connect and engage with the world,” Cook-Martín says. 

The institute’s work will allow Grinnell to hold a distinctive position in global education. This initiative was made possible by the generosity of Carolyn “Kay” Swartz Bucksbaum ’51

Her recent $5 million gift created two endowments, one to create the senior international officer position and another to create a Global Distinctiveness Fund to support students and faculty through scholarships for global courses and language study, research initiatives, internships abroad, and international projects exploring global problems and challenges.

Commencement 2016

Shaun Mataire in mortar board and sunglasses

Shaun Mataire, computer science major from Harare, Zimbabwe.

Two people napping on red and white checked picnic blanket

Phineas Schlossberg, computer science major from St. George, Vt., and Rosie Crockett, English major from Towson, Md., at the all-campus picnic.

Zadie Smith at lecturn

Award-winning novelist Zadie Smith was the Commencement speaker. She told the graduating seniors, “Generations are defined by the projects they take on together.”

Graduate with diploma with mortarboard wreathed in flowers

Jeanette W Au, an independent major focused on international affairs, from Honolulu, Hawaii.

Kington and Davis hugging

Dan Davis, a math major and president of the Student Government Association this year, and President Raynard S. Kington.

Students receive congratulations from professors lining the processional path.

Rosie O’Brien (left), a political science and studio art double major from Lawrence, Kansas, and Kit Nika, an English major from Springfield, Ill., during procession.

 

Commencement 2016

Shaun Mataire in mortar board and sunglasses

Shaun Mataire, computer science major from Harare, Zimbabwe.

Two people napping on red and white checked picnic blanket

Phineas Schlossberg, computer science major from St. George, Vt., and Rosie Crockett, English major from Towson, Md., at the all-campus picnic.
Zadie Smith at lecturn

Award-winning novelist Zadie Smith was the Commencement speaker. She told the graduating seniors, “Generations are defined by the projects they take on together.”

Graduate with diploma with mortarboard wreathed in flowers

Jeanette W Au, an independent major focused on international affairs, from Honolulu, Hawaii.

Kington and Davis hugging

Dan Davis, a math major and president of the Student Government Association this year, and President Raynard S. Kington.
Students receive congratulations from professors lining the processional path.

Rosie O’Brien (left), a political science and studio art double major from Lawrence, Kansas, and Kit Nika, an English major from Springfield, Ill., during procession.

 

Artistic Alumni Engagement

Imagine scores of Grinnell Singers from across generations coming together to perform major choral works. While the performance would be amazing, it could be a major challenge to schedule rehearsal and concert dates.

But what if individual parts could be recorded by each singer at home? And what if all those parts could be edited together to create collaborative video performances online?

Then it would be the Grinnell Virtual Choir, and that is exactly what John Rommereim, Blanche Johnson Professor of Music, has launched with the help of the College’s Innovation Fund.

The Innovation Fund was established in 2012 by President Raynard S. Kington to support projects with new approaches to teaching and scholarship. It is open to proposals from faculty, staff, and students that foster a learning liberal arts environment conducive to experimentation and imagination.

“The main goal of the Grinnell Virtual Choir is to create an online platform that facilitates choral performances that are connected virtually,” Rommereim says. “It’s a way to engage and connect alumni in an artistic endeavor so they can actually collaborate with current students and with each other.”

A prototype of the virtual choir was produced this spring that shows seven current students performing a movement from Rachmaninov’s All-Night Vigil. Alumni who want to contribute vocals to the performance can access the score, a conducting video, and tips for recording and submitting files at Grinnell Virtual Choir.

Basically, it’s as simple as making a video of yourself singing into your phone.
“We want it to be fun and inspiring,” Rommereim says. “We’re hoping it will blossom into a significant artistic endeavor.”

Rommereim says he’s considering ways to incentivize participation in the virtual choir, partly because the follow-up project to All-Night Vigil is much more adventurous.

“Our strategy is to do something ambitious, so the second project will be Thomas Tallis’ Spem in alium, a 40-voice motet with eight choirs of five voices,” Rommereim says. “Grinnell Singers from the ’90s and 2000s sang in it, so the concept is familiar to them.”

Austin Morris ’15, a mathematics major and Grinnell Singers alumnus, is the talent behind the scenes working to clear technological hurdles and develop website aesthetics. Both Rommereim and Morris say audio and video editing challenges have been considerable.

“Once we get the videos from all the people that we contact, it’s my job to put them all together in the final project,” Morris says.

Faithful to Innovation Fund criteria, the project has a number of teaching and learning goals as well, including using videos to better evaluate the parts of individual singers in the chorus. “As we get better at the technology, using it on a regular basis as a pedagogical device will become more feasible,” Rommereim says.

New Athletic Director Named

Andy Hamilton ’85 will become the College’s next director of athletics and recreation, effective July 1. He served as interim director during the 2015–16 school year.

AndyHamilton, who also serves as an associate professor of physical education and head coach of both the men’s and women’s tennis teams, will succeed Greg Wallace, who was on sabbatical this year.

“Andy Hamilton’s deep understanding of Division III athletics, record as a coach, excellence in the classroom, and commitment to the student-athlete ideal make him particularly well suited to this role,” says Michael E. Latham, vice president for academic affairs and dean of the College. “I am very confident he will provide excellent leadership for Grinnell athletics and the department of physical education.”

“I look forward to maintaining Grinnell’s tradition of robust co-curricular programming,” Hamilton says.

A Phi Beta Kappa graduate, Hamilton has served as head men’s tennis coach since 1995 and head women’s tennis coach since 2007, leading both teams to multiple Midwest Conference championships. A national search for a tennis coach will be conducted.

During his career Hamilton also coached women’s basketball, was a men’s basketball assistant coach, and assisted with football.

Wallace joined the College 28 years ago and had been athletics director since 2007, men’s golf coach for 15 years, and head football coach for 20 years. He is moving to senior faculty status, focusing on recruiting student-athletes.

Grinnell College Innovator for Social Justice Prize

headshot of Luna RanjitAmong the 2016 Grinnell Prize winners is, for the first time, a Grinnell College graduate.

Luna Ranjit ’00 founded Adhikaar in 2005 to promote human rights and effective social justice work in Nepali-speaking communities in New York City and the United States.

Adhikaar works to understand and address the needs of the growing Nepali immigrant communities through community-based participatory action, research and leadership training.

In 2006, Ranjit received the Joseph F. Wall ’41 Alumni Service Award, which is given to Grinnell College alumni to either jump-start or complete a project that shows creativity and commitment to effecting positive social change. She also won an Alumni Award in 2016.

 Diana Jue and Jackie Stenson co-founded Essmart Global, which works directly with local street vendors in India upon whom the majority of households rely for their consumer needs. Essmart engages local consumers, vendors, and technology users as active decision-makers in their product choices and distribution methods.

Diana Jue and Jackie Stenson in a street vendor stall in IndiaEssmart’s innovative and interdisciplinary, last-mile distribution model is sustainable and gives developing communities decision-making power in their own well-being and economic growth.

“Our prizewinners inspire our students to explore how they may use their liberal arts education to become the next generation of social innovators,” says Susan Leathem Sanning, director of service and social innovation at the Center for Careers, Life, and Service. “Winners have offered numerous internship opportunities for our students, have taught workshops on social entrepreneurship, and are now beginning to collaborate with faculty and students at a curricular level.”

Nominations for the 2017 Grinnell Prize open July 1 and close Oct. 9.

The prizewinners will be on campus for Prize Week during the week of Oct. 3. The awards ceremony will be held Oct. 4.