Parents Facebook group co-moderator looks at role through anthropological lens

November 19, 2021 — When Martin Pollack ’22 and more than a dozen other Grinnell students decided to live together in a collab house in Utah during the pandemic, his father David was quite proud. 

“Martin was able to sort things out on his own and come up with a solution with his friends,” says David, the co-administrator of the Grinnell College Parents and Families Facebook group. 

David Pollack
  David Pollack P’22

He has always given his children the benefit of the doubt. “My parenting style resembles more free-range versus a helicopter or bulldozer model,” David muses. “I give my kids the tools to make decisions on their own, and they know if they need help, they can ask.”

As the founder and principal consultant of FirstAID Labs, connecting nonprofits with the philanthropic world, David focuses on fundraising, digital-organizing, and capacity-building. 

Having lived in in the community of San Carlos, California, for more than 20 years, he volunteers with several area nonprofits, and is an active parent, with a 9th and 11th grader still at home. Adding to this, he’s currently running for public office as the San Mateo County Assessor/Elections Officer.

David heard about the Parents and Families Facebook group the day Martin arrived on Grinnell’s campus. “After an hour or so of moving Martin in, I was left to my own devices and ran into Karen [Fuller], the other moderator for the Facebook group,” Pollack recalls. “We chatted and I explained that I knew a thing or two about Facebook group moderation through my day job. I offered to co-manage and have been doing so ever since.” 

David looks at his role of moderator through an anthropological lens. “It’s fascinating to see the various ways parents connect and what topics come up,” he says. 

He finds the group to be a valuable resource for parents and families where they can share practical information like where to find items for dorm rooms as well as a forum for discussion on current issues facing students. David appreciates how the group mostly self-regulates when sticky topics come up, checking one another, which makes the moderator role easier to manage.

David Pollack is joined by his daughter, Jianna, and son, Martin Pollack ’22, for a picture during a past vacation.
David Pollack is joined by his daughter, Jianna, and son, Martin Pollack ’22, for a picture during a past vacation. 

An alumnus of George Washington University, David experienced a city campus that from his perspective lacked a sense of community. 

“There wasn’t much of a campus life, and I shared this observation with Martin when he was looking at colleges,” David says. “On the other hand, I was worried that a small campus in a small town could be stifling, but Grinnell is unusual in this regard. It’s a lot more diverse than most, and that makes it feel worldly.” 

Martin already knew some things about Grinnell since his mom, Kristina Scott ’87, is an alumna. Ultimately it fit all of his parameters including the open curriculum and opportunities for direct research. A math and German major with a statistics concentration, Martin competes in intramural soccer, plays violin and viola, and most recently picked up ultimate Frisbee when living with his Grinnell friends in Utah.

David’s co-administrator role with the Facebook group will end when Martin graduates in the spring, but he anticipates he’ll still check in. 

“I’ll stick around to add the fun facts I uncover,” he says referring to the Grinnell articles and unique facts about the College he often posts to the page. He has enjoyed being a Grinnell parent and looks forward to seeing where Martin ends up post-Grinnell. “He’s keeping his options open, but has some good leads, one through an internship he did this summer.”

— by Melanie Drake ’92

For your information:

Additional information about the Grinnell College Parents and Families Facebook group can be found on the group’s About section.

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