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The Scarlet & Black

New ambassadors create class bonds


Last year, Grinnell’s Student Advisory Council (SAC) and Student Government Association (SGA) noticed that while students formed bonds with their classmates and within their majors, there was a lack of cohesion among the class years.  The SGA Executive Board invited students to apply to be class ambassadors earlier this year as a method for encouraging class-wide camaraderie. The board, including SGA President Opeyemi Awe ’15 and Vice President for Student Affairs Iulia Iordache ’15, along with SAC representatives, interviewed applicants and chose two ambassadors to represent each class. SGA expressed a need for similar positions in the past, but were unable to create the position until this year.

“This group of ambassadors is the first group of ambassadors. I think [SGA] wanted to do it before, but they … didn’t have the resources or the time to put it together,” said Class Ambassador Dixon Romeo ’16.

Every other week, the class ambassadors meet with various representatives from SAC and SGA to discuss their programming plans. Class Ambassadors are encouraged to organize five community-building events per semester, and according to ambassador Courtney Petersen ’18, ambassadors should have a variety of academic, recreational and educational events.

“We work to foster class unity. We’re supposed to coordinate events that appeal to different demographics,” Petersen said.

Last semester, class-based programming included a night of Halloween festivities as well as an event in which a Grinnell alumnus and Google employee gave professional advice to class of 2016 students. Although these events went well, Romeo hopes that future class activities will yield greater turnouts and foster more communication and connections. 

“We’re really trying to take our time to think and plan out stuff to raise the bar and be more organized,” Romeo said. 

Romeo and Petersen, along with the other class ambassadors, also helped to organize I Heart GC Day on Wednesday. Ambassadors from each class had to make their own contributions. Petersen and the other 2018 Class Ambassador Yuan Wang ’18 made buttons for their class. Other class ambassadors distributed donuts to students in 8 a.m. classes on Wednesday morning.

The new community-building program is proving to be most successful for younger students, who will have the benefit of class-based programming throughout their entire time at Grinnell. 

“I really think that the first years, they are coming in with class ambassadors, and by the time they get to their fourth year, they will be extremely successful,” Romeo said.

Grinnell’s longstanding lack of class connections has made it difficult for ambassadors to facilitate friendships, but they are optimistic about the future. 

“I think because [class unity] is something that Grinnell hasn’t had for such a long time, it’s not going to happen overnight. It will take time,” Romeo said.

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