Being from a foreign country and knowing little about Iowa or the Midwest, I thought of Grinnell as a little campus in the middle of the tall prairie grass. Indeed, I chose to come here not only because I wanted the isolation and oneness with nature that Grinnell seemed to offer, but also because I desired a retreat where I could nurse my tired body while nourishing my hungry mind. I had a fantasy image of Grinnell as the perfect retreat center, where all was quiet and serene.
In high school, I was always one to come home after sports practice and go study in my quiet room — I concentrate more easily when it’s quiet. Before coming to Grinnell, I was nervous that it might be difficult to find a good space to study. However, this has not been a problem at all. I have found a plethora of places to study on campus, and Burling Library has become one of my favorites.
“You know, now that you’re starting college, you’re really an adult. You’ve got to be grown-up now.” How many of us have heard that from those *cough* well-meaning adults in our lives? To some extent, being an adult at Grinnell is necessary; for most of us, it’s our first time out from under parental rule.
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?
Grinnell, IA -
The Social Entrepreneurs of Grinnell (SEG), a student-run nonprofit microfinance lending organization at Grinnell College, is one of 15 finalists in the White House “Campus Champions of Change Challenge.”
SEG was chosen from more than 1,400 submissions and is the only small college finalist and the only from Iowa. The Campus Champions of Change initiative highlights innovative ideas on college campuses across the country and aims to inspire others to get involved in their communities.
In its five years of operation, SEG has expanded from providing international loans in remote communities to also working to improve conditions in local communities. The microfinance organization has loaned more than $37,000 to 44 countries, with $13,000 going to 25 individuals in the Grinnell area.
The project selected for the competition—SEG’s Local Loans Project—provides emergency, no-interest microloans to individuals for medical expenses, automobile repairs, education, and repayment of high-interest loans from payday loan sharks.
Voting for the Challenge continues until Sat., Mar. 3 at 11:59 p.m. EST. The top five finalists will be invited to an event at the White House, will be featured on mtvU and MTV Act, and the overall winner will host an episode of mtvU’s signature program, “The Dean’s List.”
To speak to a SEG student coordinator, please contact Cindy Deppe, communications, firstname.lastname@example.org, 641-269-4834.