Directly in front of me as I sit in The Spencer Grill, four banners hang from the second- floor balcony. Eighteen feet tall and four feet wide, the banners are covered in pictures, hundreds of them. Volunteer students and staff hand-ironed the photos on with transfer paper, and the banners went up on Oct. 9. The next day, the student newspaper, the Scarlet & Black, published two articles describing the project. This is the end of the story.
Grinnell College is not a music school, and does not have a large music department. But someone forgot to tell the students.
The presiding officer’s heavy wooden gavel comes smashing down on the table as the opening theme to Lady Gaga’s new single blares from my computer speakers. My friend and I flinch, sigh, and exit the YouTube window, shaking our heads at yet another failed attempt to spice up the beginning of the Joint Board meeting between the Student Government Association cabinet and senators. We’ve got three new resolutions on the table and four budgets to approve, so we know it will be a long Wednesday night. With hours of debate ahead of us, why not start off with a catchy song?
Until I came to Grinnell, I had lived with my parents in Kansas City. Living in a dorm in the middle of rural Iowa has been quite a change for me. College was the first time I had to share a room and the first time I lived among my peers for any extended period. I was a bit nervous the day I moved in, knowing my living space would be drastically different from what I was used to. My floor would be my home for the next year. And what a home it has become!
Change often happens without notice. One day, I’m just a student, taking classes, thinking about ideas — and suddenly the school year is nearly over, and it hits me just how much I’ve learned, grown, and changed in the last nine months. One of the courses that influenced me the most was Education 101. It challenged my ideas about what knowledge is and how it’s acquired, and revitalized my desire to work in public education.
All it took was 30 days for me to be swept off my feet. Grinnell took my breath away from day one, and as I walked dazedly around campus, I felt a wave of relief wash over me. From the beaming smiles of everyone I passed, to the crisp and refreshingly unpolluted Iowa air, to my awesome Nepali roommate, everything finally seemed comfortable.
J.B. Grinnell is a towering figure in the history of Grinnell, Iowa. Josiah Bushnell Grinnell -- better known as J.B. -- was born in Vermont in 1821. He grew up a farm boy, working in the fields in the spring and summer and attending school only in the winter. He learned quickly and began teaching in a one-room schoolhouse by the age of 16. After spending a few years teaching, he left Vermont to attend Oneida Institute in New York, a radical institution that opposed slavery. It was there that Grinnell became a staunch abolitionist.