Volunteer Weekend 2017 – Work Session Summaries

Myths, Rumors, and Legends panel

with Angela Clement, associate director of investments; Andrea Conner, associate vice president of student affairs; Nino Parker ‘07, associate director of alumni & donor relations for regional and special events; and Maure Smith-Benanti, associate dean of students and director of intercultural affairs.

The panel addressed and dispelled myths, rumors and legends about Grinnell College in a question and answer format.

Q: Grinnell College’s endowment is huge and can be used to cover anything. Donors don’t need to give additional money.

A: False said Clement. While the College is in the fortunate position of having a sizable endowment and it’s tempting to let it cover a range of expenses, doing so would create problems in the future. It’s important to maintain the purchasing power of the endowment for future Grinnellians to benefit from. In fact, the Board of Trustees would like the College to rely less on the endowment for the operating budget. It’s risky to rely so heavily on the endowment.

Q: Grinnell College and the Posse Foundation ended their relationship in 2016. The College cares less about diversity.

A: False said Smith-Benanti. First of all, not all Posse scholars were minorities or came from low-income backgrounds. That’s a false perception. The College is taking a more comprehensive approach to achieving its goals for diversity. Smith-Benanti said the College cares deeply about diversity and inclusion, and is working on diversity recruiting.

Q: The College is getting rid of Lyle’s Pub and Bob’s Underground.

A: False said Conner. Both student-run establishments are on hiatus for a year, but there demise is not eminent. The College’s concern is Lyle’s and Bob’s lose money. Sometimes they lose thousands of dollars a year. While important to some students, there needs to be a way to make the businesses sustainable. Thus, the hiatus to figure it out. As a compromise, Bob’s is open five days a week for a few activities, such as pub nights, open mics and a study area on Sundays.

Q: Only alumni from designated years can come to Reunion. The College makes money on Reunion.

A: False and false said Parker. There’s a group of alumni that come to alumni every year. Logistically speaking, the college can’t host everyone at once, so we don’t publicize that all alumni can attend though that is the case. Reunion is the largest expense for the Office of Development and Alumni Relations. Fees collected subside some of the cost, but the College does not make money on the event.

Q: Alumni Awards are only given to donors. DAR staff have influence over the award process.

A: False and false said Parker. An Alumni Council committee decides the awards. Paige Everly, associate director of alumni & donor relations for reunion and awards, is available to answer questions, but the decision rests with the committee. The amount of money donated has no bearing on the proceedings. In fact, the committee is not provided with information about gift amounts.