Humans of Grinnell College

Student Alumni Council works to bridge the gap between students and alumni.

Oct. 4, 2016 — The Student Alumni Council’s Alumni Student Connections Committee has found a way to bridge the gap between current students and alumni over social media. In April 2016, the committee launched the Humans of Grinnell College Facebook page, based on Humans of New York. So far, the page has featured seven students and 13 alumni and has more than 1,200 likes.

“You hear about alums but you don’t know who they are,” says Jennifer Dong ’17, Alumni Student Connections Committee chair, “The same is true of students from an alum’s perspective.” Dong is one of several students who volunteer their time interviewing, photographing, and posting as part of this project.

The stories that this page tells are brief, but their effect is noteworthy both to subscribers to the page and to the Council for Advancement and Support of Education. CASE is the higher education and advancement support organization that effectively sets the standards for advancement work. The students who created Humans of Grinnell College were selected to share the project at the CASE Affiliated Student Advancement Programs’ national conference in Atlanta. The students described their process and explained how other schools could benefit from employing a similar concept.

“This is an opportunity to hear nuanced stories that doesn’t require an in-person introduction,” says Dong. She also points out that the posts are only the first step in what often turns into a series of connections through comments, direct messages, emails, and in some cases even phone calls between students and alumni. “On the surface, it’s a connection between students and alumni, but there are so many opportunities for specific connections between individuals,” says Dong.