Grinnell’s Service Learning and Civic Engagement Program is an outgrowth of the College’s rich history of social responsibility, and operates under the assumption that civic engagement not only addresses the common good, but is a form of interdisciplinary, transformational learning. Activities and classes supported by this program allow you to become an active participant in your education while making a difference in the community.

In addition to enhancing your overall sense of wellbeing and civic purpose, service learning and civic engagement deepen your understanding of what you’re learning in the classroom and teach related, transferrable professional skills. These activities also allow you to appreciate the interdisciplinary nature of real world problem solving, and to understand the civic and professional value of a liberal arts education. 

The College collaborates with more than 50 different non-profit, direct service community partners to support both curricular and co-curricular service opportunities.  In the co-curricular realm students may volunteer in the community, participate in the Community Service Work-Study Program or volunteer with the AmeriCorps ICAP education award program. Co-curricular service at Grinnell is unique in that most projects are student initiated, led and organized.


Throughout the curriculum, Grinnell’s Service Learning and Civic Engagement program helps faculty and students incorporate civic engagement components into a wide variety of courses, strengthening thelinks between classroom learning and some of the most pressing issues facing individuals, communities, and countries today. These courses allow you to apply what you’re learning in class through some form of public work, such as issue advocacy, social or policy action, or community service projects.  Through collaborative partnerships with local non-profit partners, civic engagement classes will deepen your appreciation of course content and use interdisciplinary methods to address real world problems and issues. These curricular opportunities also provide avenues for reflection, giving you time to intentionally integrate your values, academic interests, and emerging professional skills with your personal, civic, and professional goals.

Recent examples of how civic engagement has informed course content at Grinnell: in a class about policy and immigration, inviting a local immigrants’ advocate to speak about the issue of domestic abuse within the immigrant population; in a secondary education class, evaluating a computer program used by a local school to place a diverse group of children in the right classes; in a politics of food course, engaging with local farmers on the challenges of sustainable agriculture.


Compensation is available for service work you're already interested in doing — with local non-profit organizations you'll love!

Through the Grinnell College Community Service Work-Study and Iowa Campus Compact AmeriCorps (ICAP) programs, you can be compensated for service work with a local non-profit organization. Community service work-study students and AmeriCorps ICAP members not only assist with the day-to-day activities of their partner organizations, but also help develop and lead sustainable service or social justice projects related to the organization's philosophy and scope of practice. 

The goal of our work-study and AmeriCorps programs is to provide you with opportunities to work collaboratively with community partners and peers to improve the quality of life for people in the larger Grinnell community.  These partnerships will help you develop the collaborative leadership skills needed to become a socially responsible and responsive member of society. You’ll not only make a direct difference to the community, but you’ll also serve as a link between our partner organizations and the Grinnell campus by raising awareness of community needs and encouraging campus engagement now and well into the future. At Grinnell, we’re educating the next generation of social justice leaders.