Michaela Woodward – Staff Writer
Originally from Esko, Minnesota, Senior Communication Studies Major Aly Granholm always found that Gustavus was the best place for her.
“I applied to five schools and I got into all five, but Gustavus was the only place that offered me a place to swim. I swam in high school and it was a big part of my life, and Gustavus was the only college that had a team, so that was the main purpose I chose it. I did end up quitting the team my [first] year, but by then Gustavus was home to me. It was a community I wanted to stay a part of. I think it was because of the friends I had made, but also what Gustavus had to offer as in organizations, and I really got to know my professors. At that point, I just didn’t want to leave,” Granholm said.
Like with the swim team, Granholm found many of her plans changing, including her path of study.
“I was not originally a comm studies major. I went into the education program, I spent two years there [. . .] Then I thought I want to do something in public health; public health is so important and I can see myself working in a health field. I actually thought about transferring and then again, I was like ‘I don’t want to leave Gustavus, it’s home.’ So then I switched to communication studies because honestly, it was all I could fit in in my three semesters left,” Granholm said.
“Honestly, I have grown to love [communication studies] so much. I think what I enjoy most about it is that we get to have tough conversations about everything, and that goes for gender inequality and racial inequality, and you wouldn’t have those conversations, I don’t think, in an education department. I think it has helped me grow as a person and learn more about inequalities. Since the death of George Floyd, I have valued my communication studies major more than anything else,” Granholm said.
After graduating, Granholm will be pursuing a Master Degree in Higher Education at the University of Minnesota.
“What I ultimately want to do is work in student affairs, so that could be res life, student sctivities, career development. I had a mentor at Gustavus who was really just there for me and really helped me find my true passion, and I really want to be that to college students. I think that goes back to my education days. I want to be a positive influence in someone’s life. So, when I found out I didn’t like children, that kind of switched to college students. I feel like in my role as CAB co-president I kind of get to do that. I just kind of want to be a mentor for life,” Granholm said.
Those who work with Granholm in CAB do see her as a positive role model.
“[Granholm] is a great leader, mentor, and Gustie. I work with her as a co-president of the Campus Activity Board (CAB) and she really showed me the way. [Granholm] is great at communicating and delegating tasks throughout our organization and works hard to make sure everyone feels comfortable and happy in their role. She is extremely driven and always on top of tasks that need to get done. It’s such a pleasure working with her and I know I can always count on her for help,” Senior Katie Ashpole said.
Granholm’s work on CAB has been a highlight of her Gustavus experience.
“I love CAB. This is my third year on CAB. I started off as Late Nights and Weekends Executive and I planned two SNLs. One of them was Headphone Disco which is always a popular event on campus. And then my second and third year I transitioned to co-president and I have loved that. I have learned a lot of leadership skills. Again, I get to be a supportive figure in the other Cabbies roles. They come to me–CAB-related, academic-related–and it’s just nice to have those connections and build those friendships,” Granholm said.
Her other on-campus involvements involve working at the Information Desk in the Campus Center and being a founding member of Community Center Buddies.
“A lot of my friends are in the education department and last year we noticed that a lot of the middle school students hung out at the community center after school. We [thought] ‘What can we do to keep them engaged and learning?’ Having those middle schoolers at the community center put a lot of stress on the workers there, because the middle schoolers just run around and they don’t do anything. So we thought it was a great opportunity to have Gusties go down there and play games with them and mentor them and just be there if they had a rough day at school. Just be there so the community center doesn’t have to watch them, but also create a connection again with the community of St. Peter,” Granholm said.
Community is what drives Granholm in everything she does, especially the community she has found at Gustavus.“I just love being a Gustie,”Granholm said.