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The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

College hires new Service Coordinator

By Kirsten Nelson

“It’s keeping me working, and I love it.”

That’s how Susan Sanning describes her new position as Community Service Coordinator for Grinnell College. The position was created this year by President Raynard Kington at the continued urging of Grinnell students.

“As I understand it,” said Sanning “The SGA went to the president and asked him why, on a campus so focused on social justice and service, there was not full time position devoted to the needs of students in this area.”

The President asked the students to write up a proposal and, after jumping through the necessary hoops, the proposal was approved and Sanning was hired.

“I am a result of student action, which makes me accountable to [students] in a big way,” Sanning said.

To snag the job, Sanning interviewed with students and faculty. Student Services Coordinator Maria Higgs ’12 says that the overall reception by students of the new position and of Sanning has been extremely positive.

“She’s so passionate, and she has a comprehensive list of community organizations that we can use to match a student with something they are passionate about,” Higgs said.

Sanning developed her drive while working as a hospice chaplain in the Grinnell community. As a result, she is very connected with the people just outside our college borders.

“I’ve been committed to community service my whole life,” Sanning said. “This is my way of giving back to the hospice patients who told me about their lives and the community.”

Sanning wants students to learn more about what it’s like to live in rural America. She hopes they see where their food is coming from, work with the farming community, and study the unique health care system and an entirely new set of economic conditions and barriers. This will educate a “different kind of generation” of future policy makers and world-changers to be conscious of small-town America, through community service and action.

“There’s something so unique about rural America,” Sanning said. “There are tons of things to do, tons of ways you can help around the community, it just might look different than what you’re used to.”

This year there is also an emphasis on creating a community service project, and to try to make it sustainable and continue past the four-year migration of students at the College. At first, Sanning says students did not know how to begin. But this feeling is typical and temporary and Sanning wants the students to be as motivated by her as she is by them.

“The students also let community organization’s dream again,” Higgs said. “We all volunteered in high school, we need to be equally as involved in this community.”

“The sky’s the limit, I’m not afraid of failure, there’s no such thing. Propose a project, lets see if we can make it happen.” Sanning said.

For those interested, there is a Volunteer Fair Thursday Sept. 8 at 11 a.m. in JRC 101.

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