- “We prize and value the individual, but we prize and value the individual in community,” says Henry Rietz, Grinnell professor of religious studies, who enjoys helping students connect to the alumni community.
- Students also form community in their campus living situations with people who may be very different from them.
- Rietz empowers students with different theories, methods, and understandings to help them engage with the world. Reitz hopes those experiences help prepare students for living in a diverse community in the broader world.
Equipping Students to Find Their Path
I'm really excited about the community of Grinnell, both the students who are here, as well as our alumni network. In many ways, I think our alumni are one of our greatest resources, because they are the folks who have taken a liberal arts education and made their place in the world. And so I love connecting up current students with alumni, who are out there. Who have created a life and a career that could not have even been imagined 20 years ago. And so empowering students to-- to not necessarily follow one particular trajectory, but to be equipped to find their own path in the world. I teach in the Religious Studies Department, my area of research is early Judaism and early Christianity. So that translates into teaching the Christian scriptures and Hebrew Bible. But I also teach a range of things. I teach religion and popular culture, apocalyptic sexuality. So looking at apocalyptic movements and literature. I hope that students who take my classes come away with a better understanding of themselves in a better understanding of their place in their world, whether it's their place in their local community, or the ways in which their local community engages with the broader global community, as well. I hope they're empowered to be able to encounter difference and celebrate difference, and value the unique perspectives that that we all bring and ways of experiencing the world. Here at Grinnell, we value the individual and students can explore who they are, they can express who they are. We prize and value the individual but we prize the value the individual in community. One of the hallmarks of Grinnell and the residential experience is self governance. So students are figuring out how do we live together as a diverse community in the small microcosms that-- that then reflect the larger campus culture and hopefully lay the foundation for living in a diverse community and in the larger world as they become productive citizens wherever their home is going to be. As a liberal arts college, we are preparing students for a lifetime of learning. Certainly, they will be prepared for career both but we really are are looking at the whole student. I'm trying to help my students to be empowered with different theories, different methods, different understandings, that then can help them engage in the world that they live in.
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