Outreach Programs and Events

The Office of Community Partnerships, Planning, and Research is organized to allow for a more concerted effort to showcase Grinnell as a thriving and vibrant community, finding ways to connect campus and community through outreach programs and events, while enhancing the community’s social and economic vitality. Summerfest and Ignite are two large public outreach programs that have successfully provided meaningful impact. The office also leads campus and community teams to create, plan, promote and execute original events showcasing the value and relevance of the humanities in the public sphere, i.e. Smithsonian programming, Mellon grant-funded programming, and the Community Common Read. Additionally, the office leads efforts to develop and execute materials and programming to excite newcomers and guests about the resources, opportunities, and quality of life in Grinnell, i.e. New Student, New Employee, and New Faculty Orientations, Prospect and VIP tours, NSO and Relocation Videos.

Outreach Programs

Ignite brings local preschool through elementary students to Grinnell College for a day of unlimited student-led learning. Participating students take courses in both conventional and unconventional subjects taught by Grinnell College students.

On each Ignite Saturday, students take two unique classes of their choice ranging in subjects from rockets to storytelling and everything in between. Students take one class in the morning and one in the afternoon. All courses are both educational and fun! Ignite is completely free and open to all students who wish to attend.

To learn more about Ignite.

Mellon Presidential Grant — Connecting People through Humanities

Through a generous Presidential Grant, The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation will allow Grinnellians to consider how public humanities can amplify different voices and bring campus and community together.

To learn more or apply for a Mellon grant.

What is Grinnell Summerfest?

Grinnell Summerfest is a day-long celebration of learning and discovery for curious minds of all ages. Immerse yourself in the academic, cultural and social atmosphere of one of the nation’s top colleges. Connect, explore, discover! The day includes engaging workshops, creative performances, and family-oriented activities by a range of area cultural organizations. 

To learn more about Summerfest.

Grinnell College is proud to be a Smithsonian Affiliate, a national outreach program that develops long-term collaborative partnerships with museums, educational, and cultural organizations to enrich communities with Smithsonian resources.

Two exhibitions have been shared with the surrounding community (Hometown Teams: How Sports Shape America and The Way We Worked), which inspired a local crowd-sourced project, Grinnell Works, specific to the Grinnell Community. 

To learn more about Grinnell’s Smithsonian exhibitions.

Grinnell College’s Common Read program rests on a simple idea: reading the same book brings people closer together as a community by creating common ground for discussion, creating a sense of belonging, and allowing campus and community to engage with one another over topics such as social justice, diversity, inclusion, and identity. The Community Common Read invites readers throughout Grinnell to join the discussion and build community connections through book club meetings, at Drake Community Library. There is typically a new book each year, often followed by an author visit to campus.

Past Books include:

  • 2020 - Paused due to COVID-19
  • 2019 - The Book of Unknown Americans by Cristina Henríquez
  • 2018 - Homegoing by Yaa Gasi

Complimentary books for community members are generously provided by the Presidential grant to Grinnell College from The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Hello and welcome to Grinnell! The Office of Community Partnerships, Planning, and Research supports the College’s core mission by helping our hometown to become and even stronger place to live, work, and study. We are happy to introduce new residents of Grinnell to the community and its offerings. Throughout the year, we engage the campus community with the city of Grinnell and we invite the city of Grinnell to engage with on campus events.

For current happenings, download our GrinnTogether Visitor Guide mobile app.

GrinnTogether Visitor Guide Mobile App

Grinnell Visitor App
Grinnell Visitor App

Download the GrinnTogether Visitor Guide mobile app for information and a schedule of activities happening in Grinnell both on and off campus. From dining, to entertainment, to weather, this guide gives you all the information you need.

From your smartphone:

  1. Open either your App Store or Google Play Store on your smart device.
  2. Search for “Grinnell College Events.”
  3. Download this free app.
  4. Once downloaded, open the app and click on “GrinnTogether Visitor Guide.”

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