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The Scarlet & Black

Q&A with new CaNaDa RLC Annie Butler

Grinnell’s newest Residence Life Coordinator, Annie Butler. Photo by Sarah Ruiz
Grinnell's newest Residence Life Coordinator, Annie Butler. Photo by Sarah Ruiz
Grinnell’s newest Residence Life Coordinator, Annie Butler. Photo by Sarah Ruiz

Annie Butler joined Grinnell’s residence life staff this year, and is currently serving as the Residence Life Coordinator for CaNaDa. She holds a bachelor’s degree in mathematics and a master’s degree in student affairs, both from Iowa State Universtiy. She previously served as the Residence Director at the University of Minnesota. Butler sat down with The S&B’s Nora Coghlan to discuss what brought her to the school and how her work has been going so far.

Did you always know that you wanted to work in a residence life position?

No, not at all. When I first went to school, I was planning on going into engineering. I decided that was too much science … so I decided to go into math. I thought, ‘I don’t know what I’m going to do with this.’ I started talking to people on campus who were my advisors and mentors with student orgs and stuff, and I asked, ‘How did you get your job?’ I started thinking about student affairs and going to grad school, but even once I got to grad school I said I would never work in residence life, but that’s all I’ve done since grad school and I absolutely love it. I’m glad I didn’t live up to what I thought I was going to do.

How did you end up in Grinnell specifically?

I’m originally from Iowa. I wanted to get back to the area, but my partner actually works for a geotechnical engineering company and he is working on a hydroelectric dam not too far from here. That was the relocation to central Iowa. As far as what stood out for me in regards to Grinnell, I actually knew quite a few of the people in residence life that currently work here. I went to grad school with [RLC] Ashley Phipps, who is in Smounker, and then Gabe [Barela, Assistant Director of Residence Life and Orientation] was just a year ahead of us, and I was familiar with Jon Sexton [Director of Residence Life and Orientation], through my work in orientation. So I was really excited to have the opportunity to possibly work with all three of them, and then very intrigued about working in a community that was self-governed and what that can do to educational experience for students. Those were some of the things that drew me specifically to this campus and central Iowa.

How is it going so far?

It’s been going well. I’ve been getting to know everybody, as far as the SAs in my cluster and other students. It is just so different being in a smaller campus. I’m used to being around 30 or 50 thousand students … My building in Minneapolis was a 30 minute bus ride to the main campus and so it’s very different. I still get very excited when I see the students I already know on campus. I’m like, ‘Oh yeah, I’m going to see them a lot, because we are all so close.’ I’m really looking forward to having the experience of a small school and getting to work with more students and more professionals on campus.

What do you like to do with your free time?

I love being outside, so I am really enjoying this fluke of a winter we are having … I really enjoy running and biking so I can’t wait to explore Grinnell’s trails and everything as the weather continues to get nicer. I enjoy cooking and baking too. I’m always trying new recipes and everything, which is fun. I love spending time with our family. That is really nice, being closer to family, for my partner and I. We are expanding—we are getting a puppy in April. We are really excited for that. So we’re doing a lot of reading about how to train a dog and house training and all that kind of stuff. Mostly, anything outside is up my alley.

What has been your favorite part of Grinnell so far?

There’s a lot of good things. I think so far the students. I love hearing student narratives. I’ve been hearing a lot from people I work with about self-gov and how that impacts our work and what we do, but I really have enjoyed spending time with the SAs during SA training and really getting to hear why they chose to come to Grinnell, and why it’s such a special place, and what they view their role is and how I can be a partner in that. I think that’s what’s really exciting to me because I haven’t really had the chance to get to know residents quite yet, but really looking forward to that as well. The students I have gotten to know are just fabulous, and what motivates me every day is knowing that I get to help students do what they want to do. I am excited to be a part of the community.

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