Civic Activity at Grinnell

At Grinnell College we are committed to providing civic learning opportunities that equip students to become equity-minded and innovative civic agents. During their time at Grinnell, students are encouraged to discern, explore, and assess what their civic role might be in any given setting. Our approach acknowledges that constructive change-making necessitates the filling of many interlaced roles.  Some volunteer to make small changes or meet immediate needs. Some make concrete plans for others or manage projects. Some analyze situations or systems. Some take on activist, ally, or advocacy roles, and yet others work to create more equitable systems altogether. Our ecosystem of advising and experiential learning opportunities encourages students to explore and experience while remaining conscious of the impact of the intersections between their community context, their positionality, and their evolving civic interests and capacity.

In the CLS we believe that civic responsibility starts at home in the way we live and work together in our residential halls, on our campus, in our local communities, regions, nations, and world. In collaboration with our partners across the College, we offer an array of opportunities to build the mindsets, knowledge, and skills necessary to become equity-minded civic agents in just about any community we might find ourselves inhabiting.

Opportunities for Civic Learning abound at Grinnell! Do you want to:

  • Join us on a local “Social Justice Tour” to learn more about our local community’s needs and innovative change-making?
  • Volunteer with a local organization?
  • Take a community engaged class?
  • Collaborate with a community partner on an on-going service project?
  • Participate in or lead a community dialogue?
  • Take part in a workshop with our Social Innovator in Residence?
  • Apply for a Service Leadership Work-Study position?
  • Learn to diagram the systemic underpinnings of an entrenched social or environmental issue?
  • Help your peers register to vote?
  • Collaborate with local activists? or
  • Lead or explore your own distinctive initiative?

You don’t have to do it all, you only need to do what is right for you, right now.

Click on a button above or meet with one of our staff members to learn more about who we are and how we can help you hone your civic aspirations.

News & Advice

Grinnell’s Girls Who Code group strives to close gender gap in tech jobs

Grinnell College March 29, 2024

The Ragnar Thorisson ’11 Endowed Memorial Fund for Social Justice was used to purchase small, circular robots that can light up and change direction.

After learning coding in all-girl programs growing up, Mia Hines ’24

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How We Move Forward Together: Essie Justice Group

By Gina Clayton-Johnson, January 22, 2024, for Convergence Magazine

Gina Clayton-Johnson, pictured above with students at Saints Rest, was the recipient of our 2017 Grinnell College Innovator for Social Justice Prize. She recently shared the following about a piece she’s …

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The Principles for Equitable and Inclusive Civic Engagement

by Kip Holley, The Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity at The Ohio State University

Executive Summary

Civic engagement is more than collection of meetings, techniques, and tools. It takes place in an environment made up of …

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Grinnell, IA 50112


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