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The Scarlet & Black

SGA, CRSSJ restore full service job

By Kevin Hong

Grinnell College will hire a full-time Community Service Coordinator to take the burden off the current one, Howie Stein. This is not the first time the college will have a full-time community service coordinator, but five years ago, it was rolled into the RLC position. Eventually, the duties were taken over by the Center for Religion, Spirituality and Social Justice (CRSSJ) as a half-time position.

President Raynard Kington approved the final decision in response to appeals by the CRSSJ and SGA. Chaplain Deanna Shorb, Dean of Religious Life wrote the proposal with input from SGA. SGA President Ben Offenberg and the SGA cabinet expressed very clearly to president Kington that they thought this was a top priority and they want to see more resources put into community service on campus.

“There’s a lot of need of this from students,” Offenberg said. “[The position] really gives support to students, and there’s a lot of programs that need support like Alt-Break program, ReNew program and community service in the town.”

Director of Social Commitment Doug Cutchins believes that given the College’s commitment to social justice, a full time Director of Community Service is long overdue.

“We have a lot of students involved in community service work, and even more potential for more people to be involved,“ Cutchins said. “By having somebody who does this full-time they will be able to pay attention [to student needs] all the time. We’ll really see some growth in this area, and see more and more attention paid to it, more assistance given to students who want to do community service.”

Offenburg hopes that the Coordinator will help generate new options and ideas for how students can get involved and provide support for existing community service programs.

“If you want to start a service group, I do not think a lot of people would know how to, or who to go to talk necessarily. So having a community service coordinator will help that,” Offenberg said. The process for starting a new student group that’s focused on community service, the development of the group, how to get funding is ambiguous.”

The Community Service Coordinator will be responsible for a wide variety of programs that are already in existence and this position would bring them all under one supervisor, in order to better organize the efforts of these groups. The position will also help students interested in starting new service projects get in contact with non-college associated people and organizations that could help, especially for those students trying to set up trips. Hopefully, the College will find the coordinator by next school year, according to Offenberg.

“The core value is social responsibility, so we really must have a way to support students fully in that,” Shorb said. “We are at a point where we really need more staff dedicated to that.”

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    Doug CutchinsMay 6, 2011 at 8:09 am

    A point of clarification: I am not the college’s community service coordinator. That position is currently held by Howie Stein, whose title is “Rabbi and Community Service Coordinator.”