GRASP 2.0 - Relaunch to provide leadership opportunities for young alumni

When it comes to sharing the Grinnell experience with prospective students, young alumni are excellent recruiters, which is the impetus behind the newly relaunched version of GRASP (Grinnell Regional Admission Support Program).

GRASP Volunteers at training for the new programGRASP volunteers have long served as an extension of the Office of Admission, acting as ambassadors to prospective and incoming students. It’s Grinnell’s number one venue for alumni volunteering, and duties include interviewing prospective students, welcoming incoming students and their families at receptions, and representing Grinnell at local college fairs.

This fall sees a relaunch of GRASP, with the new role of GRASP Fellow available for interested alumni who’ve graduated in the past 10 years (2006-16). This year, one to three fellows were chosen in a competitive process in eight regions across the country: Des Moines, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, Seattle/Portland, San Francisco Bay Area, and Washington, DC. Next year the GRASP Fellows program will expand to Boston, Kansas City, and St. Louis.

While most prospective student interviews will be conducted on campus by the Office of Admissions and by a small group of current fourth-year students, GRASP Fellows will conduct a ‘Grinnell Global Interview Day’ in nine cities and several locations worldwide, with some 15-20 interviews per location.

“It’s a leadership role with a title and they’ll also get training and job advice from mentors (older alumni),” says Ashley Schaefer, GRASP Coordinator and associate director of alumni and donor relations for campus partnerships, of the Fellows program.

Alumni volunteers from earlier class years will still be critical to GRASP, attending college fairs, connecting with parents at receptions and other events, writing cards or notes to prospective students, and representing Grinnell at Office of Admission regional events.

GRASP Volunteers at the bowling alley. Group Shot. Besides assisting in the planning and execution of events related to admissions recruitment, including Grinnell Global Interview Day, summer picnics, admitted student weekends on campus, admitted student receptions, college fairs, and small meet-n-greet events, Fellows will also help in the recruitment and training of volunteers for interviews and college fairs.

Sivan Philo ’13, was chosen as one of the New York City GRASP Fellows. He’d previously volunteered and conducted interviews with prospective students. “(Prospective students) would ask what was my experience was like and it was much easier for me to paint a specific picture, since I had graduated so recently -- and my experience wouldn’t be very different than what they would experience if they were admitted and went to Grinnell,” he says.

“Grinnell will always be a home to me,” he adds. “I feel like this program will be a really great way to continue giving back to the college, contribute to the direction it’s going, and to stay engaged with current students and build meaningful relationships with current and incoming students.”

—by Anne Stein ’84

For your information:

Learn more about the GRASP Program and GRASP volunteer opportunities.