Campus Culture

Our campus thrives on growth and inspiring the collective. It’s the Grinnellian way. This means you and your peers have a say in defining how our campus should feel, sound, and come to life. Don’t see a club you’re looking for? Create one. Want to improve sustainability efforts? Draw up a plan. Ready to step into the spotlight? We’ve got stages. Joining students from all over the world, you’ll discover what happens when we embrace differences, appreciate individuality, and focus on the common good.

Help build a place you want to be a part of.

You can take an active role in sustaining the safe, welcoming community we call home. As Grinnellians, we support and look out for each other. Use your voice to lead campus discussions, drive progress and change, and ask for help when you need it. You might even be selected by your peers to join the Student Government Association, helping manage a $400,000 budget that provides support, programming, and entertainment for all students. It’s just one way we see our campus as a model for the world at large, emphasizing action for the community’s interests, and finding what inspires you.

Make a scene. Make a team. Make it matter.

Our campus is fraternity- and sorority-free.  Because Grinnellians are an inclusive, open-minded bunch. So you can join any of over 105 student groups, which span the spectrum from serious to silly, and are open to all.

Student groups cover all sorts of topics, including these:

  • advocacy and support
  • activity
  • athletics
  • food
  • multiculturalism
  • performance, art, and publication
  • politics
  • religion and spirituality
  • social justice and activism

Find your medium and express yourself.

We see all of the arts as a source of inspiration. In fact, over 75 percent of Grinnellians are actively engaged in one or more of our arts programs, clubs, and other forms of creative activity.

We bring celebrated artists, musicians, dancers, and theatre groups from all over the world to campus, where they perform, exhibit, lead workshops, and teach classes. As a student, you can have a say in who visits Grinnell and what shows you’d like to see. Just join one of the student-run film or concert committees, or you can become a student representative on any of our program committees.

You’ll also have access to exhibitions of regional, national, and international art year-round at the Faulconer Gallery in our Bucksbaum Center for the Arts. Or, if you’d like to venture off campus, visit any of the nearby galleries and museums supported through the Grinnell Arts Council.

Healthy mind, healthy body.

You work hard in your studies. It’s just as important to dedicate time to your own health and staying active. You’ll have access to fresh, local food in the dining hall. You can play for one of our 20 NCAA Division III varsity teams, or cut loose with intramural sports and outdoor recreation activities. Strengthen your body with Zumba classes, a climbing wall, free weights, swimming, and more at the Charles Benson Bear '39 Recreation and Athletic Center. Our student health and counseling center is also available for physical and mental health care.

See the bigger picture.

To navigate the complexities of the world, you must first open yourself up to what’s around you. International students and students of color make up around half of our students. The majority of students study off campus during their academic career. In other words, our students come from all over and strive to create a campus that fosters inclusivity and celebrates our differences.

Our Institute for Global Engagement advances Grinnell’s Global Education Learning Goals by facilitating collaboration across academic departments, centers, and programs to promote international learning and research.

Our International Student Affairs is a resource for any things you might need to settle in and questions you may have, all specifically tailored to our international students.

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Student Quote

There was a warmth that emanated from the campus, the kids who were here, and I could see the way that people were interacting.

Brendan Hyatt '21