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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

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Feven Getachew
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Michael Lozada
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School’s Out, Summer’s In


The tests end, the bell rings, the dorms empty, someone blasts “School’s Out” at a deafening volume and everyone says their final goodbyes to each other before heading out for the summer. Well, almost everyone. And no, the ones that stay behind are not just staying to turn in that late paper; they’re here for the long haul.

With over a hundred students and a lively town, there are a variety of fun things for Grinnellians to do in the quaint little home we call Grinnell over summer break. 

“Getting to know the town better, and getting to live a part of my life in the town as opposed to on campus, was really good,” said Violeta Ruiz Espigares ’15. 

Ruiz Espigares spent her summer in Grinnell working on her Mentored Advanced Project (MAP) on music theory and philosophy. MAPs allow students to live in Grinnell over the summer in order to perform research with a professor on a topic of their choice. 


The infamous “Grinnell Bubble” seems to pop when students leave for the summer. 

“Getting to know people from the town [is something I took away from the summer] because I think there’s always a huge divide between the students and the people that work in the town. It’s pretty great being able to go into Saints Rest and say ‘Hey Sam, how are you doing?’ or knowing the people that work at Lonnski’s or Rabbit’s,” Ruiz Espigares said.

Liza Morse ’15 spent her summer working at the Conard Environmental Research Area (CERA) near Kellogg, Iowa, with three other students. Her group completed prairie restoration work, species monitoring and research into how easily prairies could be integrated into agriculture.

“It helped me figure out what I do and don’t like and what kind of a career I want to pursue,” Morse said. 

Morse’s internship got her working out in the fields, building bird boxes and trapping snakes in order to get a read on the health of the prairie’s ecosystem.  Her internship also took her to several national parks and protected areas of the state in order to perform fieldwork. 

“A lot of people come to Iowa thinking there’s nothing natural here … and there’s this assumption that there was never anything beautiful here, so it’s fine that it’s all covered up by corn,” Morse said. “Seeing [things this summer] made me reevaluate my opinion that there’s sort of nothing natural left in Iowa and it also made me sort of angry that all of it’s corn.” 

The College’s social scene is also a bit different during the summer months. 

“There’s not quite as much socializing as I would have expected,” Morse said. “But there were still parties and almost all the off-campus houses that are available to students were full.”

Since few people live on campus over the summer, most students tend to spend much more of their time in the town. 

“I actually did most of my work in Saints Rest, the coffee shop downtown.  I only went to campus sometimes to check something out of the library or to check my mailbox,” Ruiz Espigares said.

The town also offers a variety of activities for students to participate in over the summer. These include events such as “Movies Under the Stars,” where the town projects a movie in the park, and the annual block party that the town throws for its residents. 

“We had a potluck at CERA and we provided shuttling for people on campus to be able to come out,” Morse said. “That was really fun, because you spend all summer here but you don’t necessarily know the whole time who else is around, so that was a great time for people to be able to sit down and be together.”

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