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.

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.

Introducing the Orange & Blue Fund

Soccer player Mallory Beswick, having just completed her freshman year at Hope, sat amongst a crowd of older Hope student-athletes and experienced community leaders at the 2015 Willow Creek Global Leadership Summit and felt a simultaneous wave of gratitude and nerves. There she was, all of a 19-year-old and a mostly substitute player, being asked by pastoral giant and author Bill Hybels to consider why she loves to do what she does, why she believes like she believes. It seemed daunting to consider but her resulting epiphany spoke volumes, not only about herself but also about the ways the Hope College athletic department seeks to provide its student-athletes with transformative experiences and competitive excellence.

In reflecting on Hybels’s call to dig deep, Beswisk put her pen to paper and wrote:

“I am Mallory Beswick — a strong, passionate, genuine, loving child of God. I am His hands and feet on Earth. Yes, I’m here to play soccer, a game I’ve loved since I was three and a game that has tied my family together. But, I am here for reasons larger than myself. I’m here for others I know that wish so badly they could have this opportunity. I’m here because I’m making memories that will last forever with some of the most humble, passionate, hardworking, servants of God I know. And ultimately, above all else, I am here to glorify God by using the gifts He has blessed me with.”

Looking back now on those words and that experience, Beswick’s sentiments have not changed but she does see with greater clarity the profound opportunity she was given by her Coach Leigh Sears and the entire Hope athletic department to attend the summit. The lessons she learned were brought back to impact her team, yes, but they also enlightened her calling to become a physician’s assistant one day, too. Beswisk sincerely hopes that leadership training can be afforded to other Hope student-athletes for years to come.

“I was honored as a freshman to get to go on a leadership retreat,” she says. “It was a blessing to be surrounded by other Hope athletes from different sports and different levels of experience. We shared stories and were honest with each other about our teams and our faith. The fact the Hope athletes were given the chance to dig deeper with each other, regardless of gender or sport, was amazing.”

By making a gift to the Orange and Blue Fund, you ensure that more Hope student-athletes, eager to be difference makers, Lord lovers, and committed athletes like Mallory Beswick, have future opportunities to reflect and lead, play and compete for transformational experiences. Your gift supports leadership training, culture development, service opportunities and more.

Make your gift today at crowdfunding.hope.edu/athletics.