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The Scarlet & Black

Community Engagement Award application out

Last year’s winners, Ana Novak (left) and Tayler Chicoine (right) pose for a photo.

Applications for the Community Engagement Award are out and are due by Monday, Dec. 15. The award offers students up to three $1,000 awards to initiate their ideas into a project that addresses community improvement and enhancement.

The award, sponsored by SGA Student Services, the Community Enhancement and Engagement Office, the Service Learning and Civic Engagement Office and the Claude W. and Dolly Ahrens Foundation, originated last year in order to offer students the opportunity to take action and contribute to the community.

“The Community Engagement Award originated through discussions between the SGA, Service Learning and Civic Engagement, and the Office of Community Enhancement and Engagement.  Jointly, we recognized an opportunity to increase student engagement in off-campus activities that might build on other work that students have done either in the classroom or as a result of off-campus experiences like Alt-Break,” wrote Monica Chavez-Silva, Director of Community Enhancement and Engagement, in an email to The S&B.

According to SGA Student Services Director Elaine Fang ’15, the committee behind this award decided to release the applications before winter break, which would “allow students to have their award for a longer period of time to work on their projects so that the award could be more effective throughout the rest of the year.”

With more sponsors this year, Grinnell can recognize up to three students who wish to take initiative and work with partners in the community to address local issues. Last year they were only able to award the grant to two students.

Last year’s winners, Ana Novak (left) and Tayler Chicoine (right) pose for a photo.
Last year’s winners, Ana Novak (left) and Tayler Chicoine (right) pose for a photo.

Tayler Chicoine and Ana Novak (both ’14) were the previous Grinnell College recipients of this award. Chicoine received the grant for her work in trying to improve water quality with the help of Iowater, a state organization affiliated with the Department of Natural Resources.

Novak, on the other hand, received her award for her collaboration with Galaxy Inc. Youth, a youth program in town.

Novak’s project was based off of a Mentored Advanced Project she did her third year to develop and design art-based research methods for teaching and learning. “As a biology major, I was really interested … doing that from a scientific perspective. I wanted to [test] scientific concepts and ideas through dance and movement,” Novak said.

Novak collaborated with the College’s dance ensemble Activate and its director, Professor Celeste Miller, Theatre and Dance.  Combining her love for dance and science, Novak used kinesthetic teaching techniques of dance to help Grinnell youth from the Galaxy Inc. Program become more familiar with scientifically complex topics.

Novak encourages this year’s applicants to look for every opportunity to work with Grinnell’s community. “It’s a really fulfilling kind of experience to … contribute to Grinnell and be a part of the larger Grinnell community in that way,” she said.

The committee that selects the winner has both non-student, student, faculty and office input in the award. Students who are interested in applying are encouraged to contact Director of Service Learning and Civic Engagement Susan Sanning and to communicate with organizations in town.

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