The Hope Gratitude Project

Gratitude, is it your attitude? This February, Hope students put gratitude into practice during the first ever Hope Gratitude Project hosted by the annual giving team.

“We are always looking for ways to educate students and get them involved; expressing gratitude for scholarship gifts really seemed to fit.”

The Hope Gratitude Project was a month-long student-focused event intended to encourage thankfulness throughout the Hope Community. The team provided calendars to students which contained one gratitude action per day and encouraged them to lead a full and grateful life. From positive personal activities such as “Complaint free day!” and “List ways you’ve impressed yourself” to interpersonal thankfulness like “Thank a professor who challenged you” and interactive events in the Bultman Student Center. The campus was brighter in a traditionally gloomy winter month.  

Through two events, students came together to write over 150 personal thank you notes to donors. One student exclaimed,

“This is so great! I’ve always wanted to express how thankful I am to people that give!” – Annie ‘20

The Hope Gratitude Project challenged us to balance academics, faith, family, and gratefulness (among a long list of other commitments). Being grateful to ourselves and others takes a small amount of time each day, and can have such a positive impact on daily life. A simple smile or encouragement to a friend can make a big difference in our lives, and other’s lives.

Being grateful doesn’t have to stop now that February is over. Keep it going, and find a way each day to complete a simple act of gratitude!

Diving into Hope

Erica Slenk, a sophomore on Hope College’s swimming and diving team, is studying early childhood education with a minor in Spanish. Coming to Hope College, Erica grew even more passionate about swimming and diving. She loves the atmosphere of the team. Erica competes in the 100 and 200 meter breaststroke, and 50 and 100 meter freestyle swim. 

Erica says Hope College’s swimming and diving team is like a family. The team shares meals together and sit at chapel together. They all get along so well. Hope College Swimming and Diving Coach, John Patnott, has been voted the NCAA Division III national Coach-of-the-Year by the College Swimming Coaches Association three times. 

“I can tell that Coach Patnott truly cares about us outside of the pool. He’s helped me through so much and I can talk to him about everything. He’s a really great mentor and he’s been coaching for so long that he just knows what he’s doing, and he gets it.”

When Erica visited Hope College as a high schooler, she noticed the community. Just walking around campus, she could just tell that the community was so strong. Complete strangers were smiling and talking to her. Chapel and the Gathering were huge, “I love going somewhere to continue to grow my faith and challenge me.”

Through Hope College, Erica has met so many people from so many different places around the world. Each with different backgrounds and different beliefs which have helped her grow in her beliefs and as a person. She has learned about who others are and what others believe and their reasoning behind their beliefs.

“Hope does such a great job of being so inclusive to everyone here. Even the community is so great, and I feel very supported. I have just had so many opportunities to get to know people and step outside of my comfort zone.”

Erica is drawn to early childhood development because she has always had a passion for working with kids, and would love to work with younger children. Through Hope College, she has had a lot of opportunities to be in classrooms and field placements. Erica is also involved in Love your Melon, bible studies through Campus Ministries, and Nykerk song for the past two years.

Your Orange and Blue Fund gifts support Erica and student-athletes just like her. Gifts to the Orange and Blue Fund go directly to support student-athlete scholarships and make it possible for many deserving student-athletes to attend Hope College and compete in athletics. You make an immediate and life shaping impact for students when you join the community of Orange and Blue Fund donors. Your gifts create passion and bolster commitment to help student-athletes grow spiritually, academically, and athletically.

Investing in Erica and all Hope student-athletes provides them with an unsurpassed educational and athletic experience at Hope College. Your faithful giving makes a difference. Give now at crowdfunding.hope.edu/athletics.

Heather is Shaped by Hope College Women’s Basketball

Visiting Hope College for the first time, Heather Randall fell in love with the professor-to-student ratio, basketball environment, and the Hope community. She knew from the beginning that great relationships were going to be built with fans, teammates, and coaches. 

Heather has been playing basketball since 4th grade and always knew she wanted to play at the college level. Her dad understood the seriousness of her goal and said to her, “I’m gonna help you, we’re gonna get you there.” She worked hard towards that goal, and fulfilled her calling by coming to Hope College and playing women’s varsity basketball.

Now fully immersed in Hope College as a senior, Heather is completing a Business Marketing and Communication double major, and loves all things Hope. She has been a part of Hope women’s varsity basketball for four years, is on the Hopey Award Committee, and is an intern for Holland Hope Sustainable Institute. She also contributes to the community through volunteer service acts through the SEED Program (Sport Evangelism to Equip Disciples) including going on a mission trip to Costa Rica with a team of student athletes and coaches.

“Hope College has changed me into a young, confident individual.”

Heather used to stay silent instead of speaking up when she felt the need to. After attending a liberal arts college for four years, she knows that it really makes a difference, and that Hope College is an incredible place to be. Friends, faculty and staff are here to help you no matter what. The relationships she’s created will last her lifetime. 

“Hope College has absolutely transformed me. I am ready to tackle whatever problems come in my future.”

The Hope College’s women’s basketball team were the first faces Heather met freshman year, and are now her closest friends. She is a part of an athletic community and knows that there are fourteen other girls who constantly have her back, and five coaches that she could ask for help with anything. The athletic culture has taught her how to work together with a team, as they all pursue a common goal. Team comradery is at a constant high on the women’s basketball team, and they keep each other accountable. Heather succeeded as an individual, but she only focuses on the success of her team.

In Heather’s third year, the team went into the first round of nationals where they faced the giant, undefeated Thomas More College. She recalls that even the announcers presumed that Hope College would be obliterated by the opposing team. But Hope’s coaches, bench, and fans believed in them, and they beat the top team when everyone else thought that they were done for. Heather recalls the excitement and pure joy in the locker room afterwards, which included people full of excitement and proud of their team. Hope College women’s basketball was the big time underdog that everyone thought would have their butt’s kicked, yet at Thomas More College’s home court, with every single odd against them, and they worked together to win.

Heather believes that she could not be attending Hope or fulfilling her dream of playing college basketball without the help of scholarships. They provide her and many other students with the opportunity to work toward a goal, go to a new place, physically, emotionally, and spiritually, that they may not have been able to get to without help.

“All over the world, you find someone from Hope, you’re always anchored in the Hope College world.”

Your Orange and Blue Fund gifts support Heather and student-athletes just like her. Gifts to the Orange and Blue Fund go directly to support student-athlete scholarships and make it possible for many deserving student-athletes to attend Hope College and compete in athletics. You make an immediate and life-shaping impact for students when you join the community of Orange and Blue Fund donors. Your gifts create passion and bolster commitment to help student athletes grow spiritually, academically, and athletically.

Investing in Heather and all Hope student-athletes provides them with an unsurpassed educational and athletic experience at Hope College. Your faithful giving makes a difference. Give now at crowdfunding.hope.edu/athletics.

Chapel Choir Will Cross Oceans

Gabby Barber, a junior at Hope College, is a music and political science major and on Chapel Choir’s leadership board. She has been a soprano singer in Chapel Choir for three years. When Gabby came to Hope College she knew that music would be a concrete part of her future, because it was a huge part of her past. She sang in high school choir, took voice lessons, participated in musicals, and knew she never wanted to stop singing.

Chapel Choir is a medium size ensemble made up of men and women who come from diverse backgrounds and majors, but they all have a parallel passion for singing and performing. As a group they have the very unique experience of traveling and singing, while becoming a tight knit group. Chapel choir performs at baccalaureate, opening convocation, vespers and many other Hope College events.

“Usually if there’s a choir singing, it’s us.”

Gabby’s favorite part of being a part of Chapel Choir is the amazing experience of putting herself out in the world through Chapel Choir tours. The choir performs for audiences of different geographical locations, social-economical and racial backgrounds, and the choir hopes that their music affects their audience in a positive way. Gabby’s years in Chapel Choir have brought a new understanding that you never know how the music is going to encourage a listener.

Gabby has been told that Chapel Choir’s 2018 Tour to South Africa will be a life-changing experience and she believes that statement.

“The way we get to interact with people though our music is so much bigger than just traveling and singing to people. We just need a little help to get there. The people that donate to Chapel Choir can know that they will change lives. 

Your Chapel Choir Fund gifts support Gabby and student choir members just like her. Gifts to the Chapel Choir Fund go directly to support sending chapel choir students to South Africa. You make an immediate and life-shaping impact for students when you join the community of Chapel Choir Fund donors. Your gifts create passion and bolster commitment to help students grow spiritually and musically.

Investing in Gabby and all Chapel Choir members provides them with an unsurpassed educational experience at Hope College. Your faithful giving makes a difference.

Lydia Berkey Doesn’t Shoot for the Stars, She Builds Her Own Ladder to Them

Lydia Berkey’s first three years at Hope College have been stuffed to the brim with her involvement on campus. She brings her leadership abilities and inspirational spirit to every project she undertakes. Now in her junior year, Lydia is the Vice President of Student Congress, and has previously been involved in the Student Activities Committee for two years. She works in the Bultman Student Center at the Student Life and Center for Diversity and Inclusion Office as a Student Manager, is a general member of Black Student Union and a member of the Gospel Choir.

Lydia grew up in Fenton, Michigan, with many Hope College alumni family members. During her visit to Hope College, she focused solely on Hope’s Social Work program. She instantly fell in love with it due to its esteemed program and it’s friendly, welcoming faculty members. Lydia has continued pursuing her passion of social work and has thrived at Hope College since day one.

Lydia’s post-graduate plans are to receive her Masters in Social Work. Her dream is to become a Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapist with a focus on children.

“I have a passion for advocating for those whose voices aren’t heard.”

Your Hope Fund gifts support Lydia and students just like her. Gifts to the Hope Fund go directly to support student scholarships and make it possible for many deserving students to attend Hope College. You make an immediate and life-shaping impact for students when you join the community of Hope Fund donors. Your gifts create passion and bolster commitment to help students grow spiritually and academically.

Investing in Lydia and all Hope students provides them with an unsurpassed educational experience at Hope College. Your faithful giving makes a difference.

Ian Leads Hope Football to Best Season Yet

Ian Gorgenson played football and graduated from Lansing Catholic High School. As he began searching for colleges, he was attracted to Hope’s football program. After attending a tour and meeting the coaches, Ian knew Hope College was the place for him. However, as distinguished as Hope’s athletics are, they were not the deciding factor. His decision to attend Hope College as a student-athlete was deeply influenced by the people themselves.

“The people at Hope are the people I want to surround myself with.”

Subsequent to his first game freshman year, Ian has continued to start every Hope football game as a defensive linemen. He has proven his relentless talent repeatedly on the field. Ian’s first college career quarterback sack occurred in the first conference game of his freshman season. Now as a junior, he has steadily progressed in strength and explosiveness. His current statistics stand at 9.5 tackles for loss, and 5.5 quarterback sacks.

“The guys on the football team are guys I want to physically defend.”

Ian’s fascination in exploring how the Earth works drew him to declare a geology major and environmental science minor. He has participated in 10 weeks of research under Dr. Edward Hansen, and is an avid participator in the Geology Club. Ian’s athletic goals include becoming an All-American player and Conference Champion. His career objectives include working in environmental consulting or working directly with an oil company.

Your Orange and Blue Fund gifts support Ian and student-athletes just like him. Gifts to the Orange and Blue Fund go directly to support student-athlete scholarships and make it possible for many deserving student-athletes to attend Hope College and compete in athletics. You make an immediate and life-shaping impact for students when you join the community of Orange and Blue Fund donors. Your gifts create passion and bolster commitment to help student athletes grow spiritually, academically, and athletically.

Investing in Ian and all Hope student-athletes provides them with an unsurpassed educational and athletic experience at Hope College. Your faithful giving makes a difference.

Ashley’s on Pointe for Success

Ashley, a freshman at Hope College, is from Lapeer, Michigan. Throughout high school, Ashley began noticing a multitude of her fellow dancers dealing with eating disorders, psychological disorders, and personality disorders. These girls’ constant negativity toward themselves was flooding through her dance department and cascading down into the next generation of dancers. Ashley heard a younger dancer say as she looked in the mirror, “I’m so fat,” and another say, “I look like a whale.” Both girls were eleven years old. This contagious disease of self loathing was progressing into the younger dancers, and Ashley couldn’t just sit around and watch it happen. She approached her student counselor and said,

“I want to do something for young people. I care about them, and they need help.”

Ashley brought her enthusiasm to Hope College, where she fell in love with both the Dance and Science Departments.
“The [Hope College] Dance Department was so friendly and personable, I fell in love with it.”

Ashley plans on double majoring in Dance and Psychology and minoring in Neuroscience. Her short term goals include joining Hope College’s H2 Dance Co. and participating in research in the neurological sciences. Ashley’s long term goals focus on creating a career through Dance Therapy and dancing in her favorite city — Paris! Hope College created a platform for Ashley’s ambition to thrive and to combine her two passions — dance and science. Ashley will be an unstoppable force at Hope College.

Ashley is only able to attend Hope College because of her scholarships. She would like those donors who provided her scholarships to know how much she appreciates them by saying,

“Thank you so much for contributing to my education, enabling me to attend Hope College! Because of your generosity, attending Hope has become more attainable!”

Your Hope Fund gifts support Ashley and students just like her. Gifts to the Hope Fund go directly to support student scholarships and make it possible for many deserving students to attend Hope College. You make an immediate and life-shaping impact for students when you join the community of Hope Fund donors. Your gifts create passion and bolster commitment to help students grow spiritually and academically.

Investing in Ashley and all Hope students provides them with an unsurpassed educational experience at Hope College. Your faithful giving makes a difference.