The Scarlet & Black

The Independent Student News Site of Grinnell College

The Scarlet & Black

The Scarlet & Black

OCS starts new Global commons

A new student-faculty group, Global Commons, is in the process of establishing itself on campus this semester. This hybrid group, designed to complement the services of the pre-existing Off-Campus Study (OCS) office and Center for International Studies (CIS), is interested in fostering open conversation between faculty and students about off-campus study and other internationally-themed programs at Grinnell, as well as providing both international students and students returning from off-campus programs the opportunity to share their global perspective with the rest of the campus community.

“The idea is that [Global Commons] would create ways for students to communicate their views, through this group, to the Off-Campus Study office, to the administration, to the faculty, about anything and everything about internationalization and off-campus study,” said Richard Bright, Director of Off-Campus Study.

Global Commons formed last spring when, during meetings with Bright and Neela Nandyal, Assistant Director of Off-Campus Study, students expressed their desire to share their experiences with the rest of the campus community and frustration at not having found any formal means of doing so.

“A lot of us talked about trying to re-integrate our experiences back into Grinnell … and I feel like a lot of people felt like there wasn’t a way to do it,” said Kat Atcheson ’12, a founding member of Global Commons. “You just are supposed to step back into this kind of mold and your off-campus experience is this whole other entity.”

In response to these conversations, Bright brought together classmates Atcheson, Morgan Bober ’12 and Anna-Lisa Bowans ’12, a group of students who all had very positive experiences with off-campus study and who wanted to share these experiences with their campus peers. As conversations began to occur regarding the group’s goals and direction, the creation of a way for students to share these experiences emerged as a primary objective.

“The idea is to facilitate what we call ‘internationalization,’” Bright said. “To help students become more aware of the wider world … and hopefully more interested in it to the degree that they themselves would choose to have an international experience of some sort.”

To this end, Global Commons already hosted and plans to host a number of campus events geared towards those returning from off-campus study, those interested in pursuing such opportunities in the future and Grinnell’s significant international student population. Earlier this semester, the group hosted an ice-cream social for students who participated in off-campus study last semester, an event they hope to repeat this spring for those students who are currently abroad.

First and foremost on the group’s agenda, however, is an Off-Campus Study Meet-and-Greet scheduled for this Tuesday, Sept. 27 from 7-9 p.m. in the Joe Rosenfield ’25 Center in the 2nd Floor Lobby. At this event, interested students will have the opportunity to speak with Grinnell upperclassmen who have participated in a wide range of off-campus study programs around the world.

While Global Commons is currently still in a nascent stage of its existence, students and faculty are encouraged get involved by providing input into directions they would like to see the group take or events they would like to see planned. The group can be contacted at [globalcommons].

Leave a Comment
More to Discover
Donate to The Scarlet & Black
Our Goal

Comments (0)

All The Scarlet & Black Picks Reader Picks Sort: Newest

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *