SAC co-presidents embrace role helping students transition to alumni

Nov. 27, 2019Kaitlyn Goss-Peirce ’20 and Ayyad Jacob ’20 value the chance to connect students with alumni through their work as co-presidents of the Grinnell College Student Alumni Council.

The Council, often called by its abbreviation, SAC, is a student-run group that fosters connections between students and alumni, empowers students to be a part of the wider Grinnell community, raises awareness about Grinnell’s history and traditions, and works to develop a culture of service and philanthropy among current students.

Ayyad Jacob ’20
  Ayyad Jacob ’20

“Since my first year, my overall college experience has been dominated by the idea of paying it forward,” Jacob says. “I’m only here, because an alum decided ‘I’m going to make a scholarship and help a person that I have never met.’”

Jacob, a political science major from Chicago, started with Grinnell’s Phonathon program, then joined Student Alumni Council. He also works in Admission, serves on the Senior Gift Giving Committee, and has spoken at several of Grinnell’s campaign launch events.

“Other students don’t realize how much they benefit from philanthropy, alumni giving and student giving as well,” he says. “I decided the co-president role would be an opportunity to try and get my voice out in the forefront and try to change current student’s opinions on giving and alumni.

Goss-Peirce is an English major from Deerfield, Wisconsin. She works as a writing mentor in the Writing Lab and volunteers at Drake Community Library. She was SAC philanthropy chair for two years prior to becoming co-president.

SAC’s mission revolves around a few points, Goss-Peirce says.

Kaitlyn Goss-Peirce ’20
  Kaitlyn Goss-Peirce ’20

“Encouraging student philanthropy is one of the big ones,” she says. “Facilitating alumni connections to students, and helping students transition from being students to alumni is another large role that we have on campus. We have a day every spring that we bring back alumni to talk about life after Grinnell.”

Last week, the Student Alumni Council put on several activities for National Philanthropy Week. The week was meant to celebrate and encourage students to give back through the four T’s: time, talent, treasure, and ties.

The Council also organizes I Heart GC Week, a week of school spirit that focuses on philanthropy, through treasure and time. Additionally, during the first week of December, SAC is planning the Arctic Light ceremony, which illuminates holiday lights on Gates Tower.

“We have more fun events coming up for the next semester as well,” Jacob says. “One of my favorite events is when we work with Tiger Packs, an amazing organization in town that helps create a take home dinner for students who face food insecurity. SAC goes in on one big volunteer day and creates meals. Last year, we created about 300 individual meals as well as facilitating notes from the student body.”

Goss-Peirce says she also has enjoyed getting to know members of the Alumni Council and other alums who visit campus.

“That’s helped in the sense that I’ve developed a feeling that we, even as students, belong in this larger community.”

Goss-Peirce and Jacob encourage students to join SAC to make connections.

“One of the taglines that I tell students when I try to convince them to join SAC, is that it’s an organization where a group of students are trying to figure out how to be their best selves, both in learning how to give back to the institution that shaped them, and how to become the best alum when they leave,” Jacob says. “It can be anywhere from networking to getting life advice from someone who has been there before to just being able to look at an institution or a group of people that you helped fundraise for change and smile knowing that you made a difference. I think that’s what makes SAC special.”

—by Lisa Shapiro

For your information:

Visit the Student Alumni Council website to learn more about what the council does.

To read more alumni news, check out our news archive.