Grinnell’s commitment to social justice and serving the common good is reflected in the college’s strong philosophy of student self-governance and personal responsibility, as well as in campus programs and initiatives that encourage students, staff, faculty, alumni, and the larger community to learn about civic issues and effect positive social change. Each year through various scholarships, fellowships, and awards the college recognizes individuals for outstanding commitment and innovation in serving the common good. Below are a few examples of such awards. 

Sarah Boyer ’08 Community Service Fellowship

The Sarah Boyer '08 Community Service Fellowship is given to one or more currently-enrolled students each year to fund a community service project within the Grinnell community. The fellowship is designed to allow one or more students to conduct a project over the summer to serve the common good. There are no restrictions on the class year of applicants, and the purpose of the fellowship is defined broadly so as to encourage student creativity about how they can best use their particular skills, talents, and interests to serve their community. Fellowship recipients may be able to pay to live in college housing, but the fellowship is considered a taxable benefit if taken. Fellows will submit either a final narrative or presentation after their summer, reflecting on what worked well; the impact this summer had on them and their community; and what they learned, along with a final financial accounting of how the funds were spent. 

For more information see Grinnell-Specific Awards.

Community Engagement Award

The Community Engagement Award annually provides up to three $1,000 grants to students who wish to implement a community improvement and enhancement project. The award is co-sponsored by the Student Government Association’s Student Services Committee as well as the Service Learning and Civic Engagement Program and the Community Enhancement and Engagement Office. Strong campus-community partnerships are a vital component of this award. Applications must demonstrate strong collaborative working relationships between students and local community partners. All applications must be endorsed by both students and an appropriate community partner.

For more information see Community Enhancement and Engagement Documents.

Lori Ann Schwab ’95 Prize for Community Service

The Lori Ann Schwab ’95 Prize for Community Service is a $1500 award given annually by Grinnell College to recognize a senior student's service to the campus and local community during their time here. While there are no restrictions on the use of the award, the recipient will be strongly encouraged to donate at least $500 to an organization with which he or she volunteered while at Grinnell. The recipient is announced during the commencement weekend Baccalaureate program, and the recipient's name is added to a plaque on permanent display in the Center for Careers, Life, and Service.

The Lori Ann Schwab Memorial Fund recognizes the spirit and memory of Lori Ann Schwab '95 and her commitment to making the world a better place by helping others. Lori died from a tragic illness during a study-abroad program in London. Lori, whose home was in Berkeley, California, was an art major and especially active at the college’s pre-school and in women's advocacy.

For more information see Grinnell-Specific Awards.

Lori Ann Schwab '95 Alumni Grant

Lori Ann Schwab '95 was committed to making the world a better place by helping others, but her life was cut short by a sudden illness while she was studying in London in 1994. The Lori Ann Schwab '95 Alumni Grant recognizes the ongoing community service of Grinnellians who were at the College with Lori. The grant provides stipends to support specific projects or fulfill the needs of nonprofit service organizations or public schools in which these individuals are significantly involved. Find out more about Lori Ann Schwab '95, the grant, eligibility, and the application process.

Wall Alumni Award

During Grinnell College’s sesquicentennial celebration in 1996, the Joseph F. Wall ’41 Service Award was established as a tribute to the college’s 150 year tradition of social commitment. The award was named in honor of Joseph Wall ‘41, late professor of history and longtime dean of the college, who inspired an ideal of social responsibility in his students. Find out more about the award and how to apply.

Grinnell Prize

The Grinnell Prize — which annually presents winners with a prize of $100,000 — honors leaders who show creativity, commitment, and extraordinary accomplishment in effecting positive social change. 

The program directly reflects Grinnell’s historic mission to educate men and women “who are prepared in life and work to use their knowledge and their abilities to serve the common good.

The Grinnell Prize reflects our college’s longstanding commitment to educating men and women who will make a difference in the world,” said President Raynard S. Kington. “We have been impressed by the high quality of nominations that we’ve received in the first years of the prize, and our students benefit greatly from interacting with Grinnell Prize recipients in the classroom and in informal settings on campus. The Grinnell Prize honors those who ‘practice what we teach,’ and we are pleased to have this forum to recognize people who are raising visibility and creating innovative solutions for some of the world’s most pressing issues.

For more information see the Grinnell Prize page.