Volunteer Weekend 2017 – Work Session Summaries

Humanities and Social Studies Center

with Jim Swartz, Dack Professor of Chemistry; Keith Brouhle ’96 , associate professor of economics; Adam Laug, director of development; and Mae Parker, director of annual giving

This session combined information about the College’s comprehensive campaign with an overview of the Humanities and Social Studies Center (HSSC).

Parker started the session by talking about Development & Alumni Relations (DAR) strategies and priorities. She emphasized the importance of being able to tell donors how their money is being put to use. In addition to fund-raising, DAR is actively friend-raising. Volunteers are instrumental in that regard since alumni would rather hear from classmates than DAR staff.

It’s been almost 20 years since the College has embarked on a comprehensive campaign. Laug spoke of seven areas of focus.

  1. Campaign Counsel (consultant)
  2. Grinnell College Campaign Committee
  3. Training and Development
  4. Campaign Communications
  5. Confirmation of Priorities and Amounts
  6. Public Launch
  7. Campaign Events

Some of these elements are underway; other details won’t be finalized until a new DAR vice president is hired. Volunteer Weekend was part of the training portion.

The campaign amounts won’t be decided until later, but the Board of Trustee approved a $20 million fundraising effort for Phase 1 construction, which includes the HSSC, the Admission and Financial Aid Center, and landscaping throughout campus. The Board of Trustees has a working goal of $150 million raised from fiscal years 2014 through 2021.

In 2000, Grinnell College implemented a 25-year campus master plan. The plan called for upgrades to humanities and social studies facilities. Currently, those two subject areas are spread over five buildings. Most of the teaching space is close to or exceeds 100 years old. The older classrooms are not conducive to today’s learning environment in terms of size, structure and (lack of) technology.

Swartz said those elements were kept in mind for the design of the HSSC. In addition to the classrooms, a great deal of attention was paid to informal space, ambiance, and how faculty and staff from across disciplines can run into each other. After a national architect search, EYP was selected.

Swartz also talked about other building features such as more research areas, accessibility, and sustainability. Brouhle showed drawings of the interior of HSSC, pointing out features and innovations. He showed how “intellectual collisions” could take place by the placement of certain offices, labs as well as the coffee bar in the atrium.

“We see value and breaking down silos,” Brouhle said. “But at this same time, we don’t want departments to lose their identities.”

The solution? Like neighborhoods within a city, certain subject areas will have their own neighborhoods in HSSC with a distinctive feel. 

Construction to the new portions of the HSSC is on schedule to finish at the end of 2018. The new portions will be occupied in 2019. Alumni Recitation Hall (ARH) and Carnegie Hall renovations will begin in 2019 and be completed in 2020.