Student Alumni Council making plans for year ahead 

September 16, 2021 — Students are back on campus and that means the Student Alumni Council (SAC) will resume organizing in-person events, including National Philanthropy Week and Arctic Lights – both of which were celebrated virtually last year due to the pandemic. 

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.

Maddie Sevier ’23 and Stella Schaefer-Brown ’22 are SAC co-chairs for the 2021-22 academic year. The two are excited to take the helm. Sevier, who hails from Kansas City, Missouri, is one of several swimmers on SAC. Her brother Mitch Sevier ’21 was co-chair last year. 

Stella Schaefer-Brown ’22 and Maddie Sevier '23
Student Alumni Council co-chairs Stella Schaefer-Brown ’22 and Maddie Sevier ’23 are excited about planning in-person student events this school year.

“I was looking for a student group to join a couple of months into my first semester here and Mitch encouraged me to attend a meeting,” explains Maddie. 

The sociology major served as SAC’s student outreach chair last year, advertising events and communicating with the student body. She also co-led the philanthropy committee and helped plan National Philanthropy Week and I Heart GC Week, which is dedicated to school pride, raising awareness about Grinnell traditions, and promoting Scarlet & Give Back Day. Sevier is also a Grinnell Advocate, a student group that runs a 24-7 hotline for students who’ve experienced sexual assault or dating violence.

Schaefer-Brown, a political science and economics major from Minneapolis, joined SAC her second year. “I had friends who were part of it and my primary interest was the alumni networking events because that was always intimidating to me,” she says. “But it’s so fun to learn from alumni what they’re doing with their career.” 

As the daughter of two Grinnell graduates, Kristen Brown ’90 and Kris Schaefer ’87, Schaefer-Brown has always felt like part of the Grinnell community.

“I know a lot of alums, so I was excited to join SAC and promote Grinnell,” she says. Last year Schaefer-Brown was SAC’s social media chair. She ran the group’s Facebook and Instagram pages and updated the website. She’s also on the Political Science Student Educational Policy Committee and a captain on the Mock Trial Team.

In 2020-21, SAC shifted most events to a virtual format. This academic year, most student-only events will be in person. “We want to make sure all events are COVID-safe, so we’ll have to evaluate networking events with alumni and see if those will be virtual or in-person,” Sevier says. Normally SAC helps bring together students and alums during Alumni Council weekends and other alumni visits. 

Other events the two are looking forward to planning are Messages for Midsems, when students write friends encouraging notes, which are collected and placed in their mailboxes along with candy; and a similar program where students write notes of appreciation to faculty and staff. 

Arctic Lights is a late fall event when the lights on Gates Tower are turned on as students enjoy refreshments and musical performances. It was established by SAC in 2015 as a community-building event. SAC also is involved with the care package collection and distribution in the spring. 

“We’re very excited to be back and to be having in-person events again,” Schaefer-Brown says. 

— by Anne Stein ’84

For your information:

Visit the Student Alumni Council website to learn more about the Council. 

To read more alumni news, check out our news archive and like the Alumni & Friends Facebook page.