What’s “global” about Iowa, you ask? How about the fact that the state is the top U.S. exporter of soybeans, feed grains, and live animals? Or the fact that the state’s newest citizens come from places like Bosnia, Mexico, and Vietnam?

Grinnell College recognizes that international learning begins in the College’s own location. The rolling prairie hills around campus provide a “living laboratory” for studying the global implications of food production, land and energy use, environmental change and sustainable development. That’s why programs like the Environmental Studies Concentration use of the multi-acre Conard Environmental Research Area just outside campus to explore ecological questions that have global consequences. It’s why the Center for Prairie Studies works with the Center for International Studies and the Rosenfield Program to sponsor symposia on topics like Brazil’s challenge to American farmers and on the new immigration to Iowa. And it’s why students in majors like Economics might do a Mentored Advanced Project on the economic consequences of ethanol subsidies.

Moreover, the small-town location for the College provides a uniquely intimate setting that allows people to really listen to one another and to learn from their different perspectives. Paradoxical as it sounds, this small college in the middle of the American heartland is one of the best settings for you to participate in a true international dialogue—learning from global students and faculty as you study the processes that take Iowa corn to Mexico and bring South American fruits to the grocery store.


  • The Graham Laboratory at the Conard Environmental Research Area includes a reference library, an herbarium, an insect collection and a greenhouse to provide space for experimenting with and propagating native plants.
  • Grinnell College's Dining Services has been recognized for its efforts in local food purchasing and recycling by the Sustainable Endowments Institute.
  • The Grinnell College “Statement on Environmental Responsibility” says that the College has a duty to be a leader “in environmental stewardship, education, and policy” and that the College “is therefore committed to incorporating environmental responsibility into policies, decisions, and daily life on campus.”
  • Read about Professor Vince Eckhart’s research on evolutionary plant ecology.
  • The Iowa Caucuses, held at the very beginning of the election process often sets the tone for the US Presidential Election. Due to its location in Iowa, Grinnell College has the unique opportunity of being an important destination for Presidential campaigns.