Carlos Piedrasanta, a third year student at Grinnell College, is a student leader who works to address issues of food insecurity, resource disparity, and educational inequity within the Grinnell Community. For the past three years, he has been central in establishing a collaborative relationship between Grinnell College and the Grinnell community by working closely with the Grinnell-Newburg Education system. He has developed, managed, and expanded access programs that provide middle school and high school students in at-risk environments with the resources and academic support necessary for them to realize their potential and actualize their aspirations. Within these programs, Carlos now maintains the Invisible Closet at Grinnell High School, which provide students with free resources such as food, clothes, shoes, and hygiene products. Additionally, he developed a program that primarily aids students in on-on-one academic support but also build their personal development. As a result of his work in the community, Carlos is currently institutionalizing the student organization Connecting Grinnellians that strives to promote, support, and improve student lead community engagement and service initiatives across the entire campus. Through his work, Carlos strives to construct a support system within Grinnell that stretches beyond community boundaries.
Living my early years in Guatemala, Ethiopia, and Mozambique I grew up in an environment where promoting educational equity and social injustice was not only expected but demanded by my parents. When we moved to the United States, I was fortunate to have people who advocated for my enrollment in programs where the majority of students did not look like me or live by me. After hard work and support, I became a Posse scholar and actualized my dream to attend college. Through my experience, I began to recognize systemic inequities within the education system that afforded opportunities to some, but not all. What my family, teachers, and Posse did for me symbolizes the liberation within educational equity, a necessary systemic change that will help students actualize their aspirations and overcome destitution. Their support inspired me to establish Connecting Grinnellians, a student-led organization that collaborates with members of the community to address the issue of educational inequity within the Grinnell-Newburg education system. Through the implementation of access programs, we have been able to provide students with free resources such as healthy foods, clothing, and shoes as well as specialized academic assistance.