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Grinnell College Experiential College for alumni

The Alumni Experiential College (ExCo) returns this November with 12 free virtual workshops. This is an opportunity for alumni and current students to interactively learn about a range of fascinating topics from Grinnell alumni. Explore the workshops today and learn more about this series’ theme: “The World Needs Grinnellians.”

Additional information can be found in the the Frequently Asked Questions page for prospective participants.

Fall 2020 Workshops

Please register for one workshop.

From Diseased Pariahs to Getting Your Groove On (Fluid Free): Exploring the AIDS Pandemic of the 1980s and 1990s with the Queer Zine Archive Project

Using zines and other ephemeral material from the collection of the Queer Zine Archive Project, participants will explore multiple facets of the HIV/AIDS pandemic and the way that it effected queer communities across the globe.

Instructor: Christopher Wilde ’88
Time: Tuesday, Nov. 10 at 7 p.m. CT

Learn more about Christopher and sign up for the workshop on the From Diseased Pariahs to Getting Your Groove On (Fluid Free) registration page

Combating Sex Trafficking: Myths and Realities

The recent rise of conspiracy theories involving child sex trafficking, such as Pizzagate and QAnon, has warped perceptions of a significant issue that was already plagued by widely-held myths and misleading pop cultural narratives. The truth is that sex trafficking is a persistent problem. But without a much better societal understanding of the realities, we will not make progress toward preventing sex trafficking and helping victims rebuild their lives.

Instructor: Joel Shapiro ’89
Time: Thursday, November 12 at 7 p.m. CT

Learn more about Joel and sign up for the workshop on the Combating Sex Trafficking registration page

Show Me the Money! Basics of Equity Investing

Have you ever wondered how to decide what stocks to invest your money in, or how to better diversify your portfolio? If yes, this workshop will provide some basic information on stocks and bonds, how to get insight from a company's earnings release, how to diversify a portfolio, how to leverage commodities like oil and gold, and how to set up a hypothetical portfolio to be able to experiment with trading and see hypothetical returns. No investing experience is required.

Instructor: Siddhartha Agarwal ’93
Time: Saturday, Nov. 14 at Noon CT

Learn more about Siddhartha and sign up for the workshop on the Show Me the Money workshop registration page

All About Braille

Have you ever wondered how people use braille, or whether it still has a place in a digital world? Learn about what braille is and how people with limited or no vision use it to access literature, math, music, and more.

Instructor: Anna Werner ’09
Time: Sunday, Nov. 15 at 3 p.m. CT

Learn more about Anna and sign up for the workshop on the All About Braille workshop registration page

A Cold Process for Warm Hearts: CP Soap Making for Yourself and Gifting

Cold process soap making is a surprisingly easy hobby to pick up. Making your own soap is a great way to personalize it so it's exactly what you or loved ones want. It's so fun; once you start, you won't be able to stop!

Instructor: Sam Kubica ’16
Time: Sunday, Nov. 15 at 5 p.m. CT

Learn more about Sam and sign up for the workshop on the A Cold Process for Warm Hearts workshop registration page

Look Like an Artist: Art Appreciation Through Art Making

Ever look at a work of art and think, “What am I even looking at?” Do you love museums, but wish you could engage with artworks beyond the little white squares beside them? This workshop will use a combination of observation, discussion, brief readings, and no-skills-required art exercises to help participants think differently about the way that they engage with visual art.

Instructor: Zoe Schein ’12
Time: Tuesday, Nov. 17 at 7 p.m. CT

Learn more about Zoe and sign up for the workshop on the Look Like an Artist workshop registration page

Your Sock is a Fractal

Drawing on the writings of Octavia Butler and Adrienne Maree Brown, participants will learn about fractal theory, and how shaping our world can start small, like a hole in a sock. Participants will also get a brief overview of mending techniques, and will start darning a sock or patching jeans by the end of the hour.

Instructor: Olivia Caro ’17
Time: Thursday, Nov. 19 at 7 p.m. CT

Learn more about Olivia and sign up for the workshop on the Your Sock is a Fractal workshop registration page

Fiber Crafts 101 & Homemade Gift Ideas

In this workshop, Duncombe will start with an overview of different types of fiber crafts like embroidery, sashiko, felting, spinning, crochet, knitting, punch needle, and weaving. We'll discuss supplies, resources, and inspiration for getting started. She’ll end with some ideas for homemade gifts and a demonstration of a gift that participants can make together.

Instructor: Natalie Duncombe ’15
Time: Saturday, Nov. 21 at Noon CT

Learn more about Natalie and sign up for the workshop on the Fiber Crafts 101 workshop registration page

Innovations in Empathy: Exploring Immersive Performance in the Pandemic Era

Immersive performance has exploded in the past decade with commercial endeavors such as Sleep No More and Meow Wolf. This workshop will examine social-change-focused works in the immersive sphere, with the goal of examining how these works of art create engagement and foster empathy in their audience members. Participants will engage in small group exercises to test out immersive engagement techniques, and design a mini-experience for a fellow participant. No artistic experience is required.

Instructor: Margo Gray ’05
Time: Saturday, Nov. 21 at 3 p.m. CT

Learn more about Margo and sign up for the workshop on the Innovations in Empathy workshop registration page

Making Alcohol at Home: Not Just for Moonshiners

In this course, participants will discuss the various types of (legal) alcohols that can be made. Following this discussion, Rebelsky will give a brief tutorial on the general form for a recipe and also walk through a specific recipe for a simple country wine.

Instructor: Jonathan Rebelsky ’20
Time: Sunday, Nov. 22 at 1 p.m. CT

Learn more about Jonathan and sign up for the workshop on the Making Alcohol at Home workshop registration page

How to Tame Your Mind and Discover Your Wild Heart

We all know what it's like when our minds are either racing around, caught up in a whirlwind of thoughts and emotions, or when they become fixated on one (often painful) thought. It's an uncomfortable experience, to say the least! In this workshop, participants will be exploring practical meditative techniques, which you can use to help you calm your mind and discover the peace, beauty and, joy of your own wild heart.

Instructor: Vishwam Heckert ’97
Time: Sunday, Nov. 22 at 3 p.m. CT

Learn more about Vishwam and sign up for the workshop on the How to Tame Your Mind and Discover Your Wild Heart workshop registration page

8 Months in... How are you doing??? – Building YOUR Resilience through Psychology, Mindfulness, and Self Compassion

The full impact of the COVID-19 is multi-faceted and impacts us in a variety of ways. Healthcare professionals predict a “Second Wave” in the form of negative mental health consequences, as a result of the adversities we are all facing. Using research-validated cognitive behavioral psychology strategies, participants can build daily habits that increase their resilience, and help them not just survive, but THRIVE, during the uncertainty of the ongoing pandemic.

Instructor: Karen Lehman ’90
Time: Sunday, Nov. 22 at 5 p.m. CT

Learn more about Karen and sign up for the workshop on the 8 Months in...How are you doing??? workshop registration page