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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

Grinnudists strip away clothing, sexual attitudes

There’s a new student organization on campus that provides a clothing-optional space for Grinnellians to interact. The club, called Grinnudists, was founded by Adam Arsenault ’16, Reba Brooks ’17 and Isabel Cooke ’16 and has held two meetings so far, the first of which was a fully clothed information session and the other was the club’s first foray into nudity.

“We’re a group of people who don’t like the sexual connotation nudity has that Western society has forced on us,” Arsenault said. “We’re trying to reclaim a perfectly natural state of being by engaging in nonsexual interactions with other naked people.”

Thus far, the clothing-optional meetings have been a space for students to do homework, play board games or just hang out in whatever state of undress they prefer.

“We see ourselves as a body positivity thing rather than a nudist club because the term nudist has some weird connotations for some people. It’s not a thing that you have to be naked to do, it’s more about being able to accept various states of undress in yourself and other people,” Cooke said.

While they had some qualms about how their vision for the first clothing-optional meeting would translate into reality, the founders were thrilled with the turnout.

“I was very worried that there were going to be people coming into the space with attitudes that were less than conducive to people’s comfort, but everyone was there for the right reasons,” Arsenault said.

Brooks concurred, responding to the difficulty of creating a nonsexual space for students to be fully or partially undressed in the context of the college environment.

“I [had concerns] at first, but Grinnell is a wonderful, self-gov place and everyone has been superbly great about respecting boundaries and being generally awesome,” she wrote in an email to The S&B.

“It was really great. We had a lot of fun and the vibe in the room was so positive. It felt kind of utopian,” Cooke said.

In order to ensure the privacy and safety of its membership, Grinnudists does not publicize its meeting location information.

“We want to make sure people are on the same page as us before there’s any nudity involved to keep it as a safe space,” Cooke said.

“I am worried about keeping our meetings on the down-low, but if we get the room officially reserved that won’t be a problem anymore,” Brooks said.

As the club expands, its founders say they aspire to engage in more formal discussions amongst themselves and with the campus community at large about bodies and body positivity. They also hope to receive institutional recognition from the College. Brooks and Cooke have already unsuccessfully filed two OrgSync applications for Grinnudists.

“We’re planning on talking to someone in SGA and figuring out why that’s the case. We don’t want to be discriminated against just because we’re outside of the norm for what you might think of as a student group,” Cooke said.

Students interested in attending future meetings should email [arsenaul], [brooksre] or [cookeisa] for more information on Grinnudists and its activities.

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  • J

    JeffDec 27, 2014 at 7:11 pm

    So glad to see young college kids creating and
    Embracing the nudist lifestyle as without them
    The lifestyle won’t last!

  • J

    jochanaanDec 19, 2014 at 10:06 am

    I am not a student or alumnus of Grinnell, but I wanted to let the group know that you have the support of nudists and naturists around the world. We love to hear about groups like yours! It gives us hope for the future of naturism, whatever you call it.

  • R

    RobertDec 15, 2014 at 8:03 am

    If there have been any other comments on this post, I’d like to see them. Thanks.

  • R

    RobertDec 13, 2014 at 1:16 pm

    your group is “clothing optional. neither nudist nor textile. You have just as much right to organize as a campus group as anyone else. (Check out the purposes of all the other special interest groups.) Non-sexual nude optional groups have successfully been organized on other campuses for some time. Run with it. Just be sure to sit on a towel (for hygiene purposes).