Fourth annual Grinnell College Global Day of Service set for June 9

May 11, 2018 — Grinnell College alumni will once again join together next month to serve their communities through projects helping residents and the environment.

This year’s Global Day of Service is June 9. Registration for 12 group projects in 10 cities is now open.

While there are opportunities throughout the year for Grinnell alumni to connect with one another through education or social events, Global Days of Service provides a bonding opportunity centered on social responsibility.

“Service is part of the core of what it means to be a Grinnellian,” says Anna Halpin-Healy ’13, Grinnell College assistant director of alumni relations for regional programs. “It’s great to have an event that is focused on service. It helps alumni make connections around a meaningful experience.”

Grinnell’s Global Day of Service started in 2015 to honor Founders’ Day. On June 10, 1846, Trustee James J. Hill laid a single silver dollar — the seed that started Grinnell’s endowment — on the table at the first meeting of the College’s Board of Trustees. Grinnellians around the world have worked to better their communities ever since through giving and service.

“Many of our alumni are tuned into the life journey of this institution, including where we’ve been and where we want Grinnell to go,” Halpin-Healy says. “Part of that means living out the ideas of this institution. I think that manifests in a dedication to service.”

Erik Henderson ’19 sorts and packs books for the New Student Orientation flea market during the 2017 Global Day of Service.
Erik Henderson ’19 sorts and packs books for the New Student Orientation flea market during the 2017 Global Day of Service.

Alumni can participate in group projects set up by members of Grinnell’s Regional Networks and other Grinnellians. A full list of those is below.

For alumni living outside group project areas, another option is independent service work. If alumni regularly volunteer at organizations in their community, those hours will count toward the total hours served on Global Day of Service by filling out this form.

Here’s a rundown of group projects. Additional details about each can be found on the Global Day of Service website.


Room to Grow – From Noon to 2 p.m., assist this parenting support organization by packing and organizing donations of baby essentials, checking items for quality, sorting, and stocking shelves.


Hosted by Renata Heberton ’06
Angelica Village – From noon to 4 p.m., alumni can cook meals, partake in grounds and garden work, or give the parents of the community an afternoon off by providing activities for their children.

Des Moines and Ames

Hosted by Alice McGary ’98 and Naomi Ramsay ’14
There are two Des Moines projects and one Ames projects to choose from.

  1. Iowa Homeless Youth Center – From 10 a.m. to noon, help prepare meals, organize clothing donations and art supplies, and clean up the youth center.
  2. The Lighthouse Transitional Living Center – From 10 a.m. to noon, bring the family to clean up a playground, help maintain the garden, and prepare a living unit for a new family. This project is reserved for Grinnellians with children who wish to participate.
  3. Mustad Seed Community Farm in Ames – From 1:30 to 5 p.m., lend a hand with harvesting, planting, and caring for vegetable crops.


Milkweed Matters – From 1 to 3 p.m., make milkweed seedballs that will be dispersed by RAGBRAI riders to help support the monarch butterfly population.

New York City

Hosted by Hanna Feldman ’14 and Sam Forman ’11
Partnerships for Parks – From 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Clean, mulch, and plant annuals in Fred Samuel Playground in preparation for summer.

Puget Sound

Hosted by Robert Ruhl ’76 and Steve MacFarlane ’82

Food Lifeline Hunger Solutions Center – From 1:30 to 4 p.m., support Food Lifeline by sorting and packing food in their Seattle warehouse for distribution to people in need.

Twin Cities

Hosted by Kristin Stout ’89
There are two projects to choose from. Please note the dates as they are not directly on Global Day of Service.

  1. June 2 Great River Greening – From 8:30 a.m. to noon, plant native shrubs and tree seedlings to enhance the floodplain terrain and natural habitat for wildlife in Crosby Farm Regional Park.
  2. June 13 Service Harvest Heartland Food Bank – From 5:50 to 8 p.m., sort and package food.

Washington D.C.

Hosted by Matt Johnson ’08 and Matt Johnson ’08
Food for All DC – From 8:45 a.m. to noon, pack and deliver groceries to area families.

To volunteer at a group project, fill out a registration from at The deadline to sign up for most group projects is June 2. Everyone who signs up by the deadline will receive a Grinnell College bandana.

— by Jeremy Shapiro

For your information:

We encourage alumni to share their service commitment with the greater Grinnell community. Post updates and photos to the Facebook Event for Global Day of Service and let people know you are “going.” Use the hashtag #GCDayofService when posting.