In writing this blog post, I attempted a variety of introductions that would provide just the right words to reflect on the semester Hope students, parents, staff and faculty have endured this fall. I realized with each attempt, however, that there was no one perfect way to describe a semester that was unlike any other I had experienced as a Hope alum (’88), parent (Samuel, ’21), First Year Seminar instructor and staff member of 30 years. What I could describe though was the ways in which I witnessed the Hope community remain faithful to its mission of “preparing students for lives of leadership and service in a global society” even in the midst of a pandemic. Regardless of my vantage points or roles, I am grateful for the creativity and connection that has shone during this time and for what can be cultivated as we look to next semester.
From teaching and learning via Zoom to organizing the flow of dining hall traffic to live streaming Chapel and theater productions, creativity has been nurtured in ways that we never thought possible. Group work and presentations have had to look different as have social events. And yet, there has been a spirit of adaptability and resilience that has kept the students and the college moving forward. This was especially evident to me through the final projects of the 18 students in my First Year Seminar course, “Images: An Invitation to Our Everyday Lives.” Throughout the semester, they practiced contemplative photography and sacred seeing by submitting weekly images on themes such as What We Carried, Challenge, Strengths, Light, Shadow, Hope and Gratitude. Through the themes, we explored the difference between “taking” a photo and “receiving” a photo and how that mindset shift invites us to be more present and aware. In developing their projects, students used new technology, wrote poetry, provided feedback to one another and reflected on the process. I was genuinely inspired by their intentionality in highlighting the moments that made up their first semester and each project was truly a creative gallery of hope. This is just one of many ways the faculty and students of Hope continued their creative and educational adventures despite COVID.
What I could describe though was the ways in which I witnessed the Hope community remain faithful to its mission of “preparing students for lives of leadership and service in a global society” even in the midst of a pandemic.
According to author William Cronon in his article, “Only Connect” The Goals of a Liberal Arts Education, there are several qualities that position a student to connect with text, self, others and experiences. These qualities include, “ . . . listening, reading, talking, writing, puzzle solving, truth-seeking, seeing through other people’s eyes, leading, working in a community . . . ” which in turn can equip “ . . . one to make sense of the world and act within it in creative ways.” With or without a pandemic, Hope has maintained a steadfast commitment to offer learning experiences that create space for students to grow in these areas. What did that look like this semester? It looked like students analyzing readings in a course on The Beatnik Generation (a class my son was in), problem-solving in a lab, serving on the Executive Board of a student organization, attending a lecture on anti-racism, or perhaps viewing videos such as “The Danger of a Single Story” by Nigerian author Chimamanda Ngozo Adichie as in my course. Whether students were excited by or grappled with the new information or perspectives presented through these experiences, they were still making connections to the past, present and future, an exercise that is critical to preparing for lives of service. We are extremely proud of their hard work and honor all of the staff and faculty who offered their support and guidance along the way!
As we look forward, there may be a temptation for our students and us to focus on the unknown. As a parent and staff member, I can sometimes find myself in that space and then, I remember the wise words of my husband, “What can you control and what can’t you control?” While it may seem that there is more that falls into the “can’t control” category, I am grateful for the ways in which our students can access quality resources and support that cultivates their continued growth and well-being. This can include scheduling an appointment with a Boerigter Center staff member to explore majors or work on a résumé (shameless plug!) or a time to meet with CAPS or an academic advisor. It can also include a continued commitment to hold one another accountable to the COVID-19 safety guidelines so that everyone remains healthy and here. Cultivation implies work and process and when we have the opportunity to do that in community, the fruit produced benefits us all.
When my son was growing up, I eventually learned that asking about his school day required some creativity, connection and cultivating on my part. Shifting from “What did you learn today?” to “What questions did you ask today?” oftentimes yielded more interesting conversations. As we spend time with our students during this break, may we enjoy the gift of reflection by seeing this very different fall semester through their eyes.
What questions will you ask today?! What went well this semester? What might you do differently next semester? What are you grateful for? Where did you notice the extraordinary in the midst of the ordinary? What was a question you asked that led to a new perspective? What was the most interesting thing you read or discussed? What was a challenge you worked through and what did you learn about yourself through that experience? What surprised you about virtual or hybrid learning? In what ways did staff and faculty help you feel seen, heard and cared for? What was one way you encouraged or supported someone else?
Are you looking for a way to treat your Hope student? While we all wish that we could celebrate Family Weekend together on-campus this fall, we have a great way for you to spoil your students with some treats in honor of this traditional weekend. This year, as part of Hope’s One BIG Virtual Weekend (Homecoming and Family Weekend combined), we are offering families the opportunity to send a surprise care package to your students, to be distributed just as this special event begins.
Choose between one of three different care package options. They will be ready for pick up on Thursday, October 15 and Friday, October 16. Your student will receive an email that week letting them know there is a special surprise waiting for them and instructions for how to pick it up.
Check out these great options!
Basket #1: Health Nut Basket $35 Strawberry Banana Smoothie, Berry Boost Juice, Propel bottled water, Bubbly sparkling water, Hippeas White Cheddar Chickpea Puffs, Kar’s Sweet and Spicy Trail Mix, Kar’s Yogurt Apple Nut Trail Mix, Kar’s Mango Pineapple Trail Mix, Red Pepper Hummus with Pretzel Crisps, Baby Carrots with Ranch Dip, 2 Kind Bars, Nature Valley Whole Grain Cinnamon Crackers, 3 pieces of whole fruit
Basket #2: Snack Attack $25 Snickers Bar, Reeses, Twix Bar, Doritos, Cheetos, Fritos, IBC Rootbeer, IBC Black Cherry, Sierra Mist, Haribo Gold Gummi Bears, White Cheddar Popcorn, Slim Jim, Dutch Braids, 3 pieces of whole fruit
Basket #3: Let’s Go Hope $35 Hope Water Bottle, Hope keychain,1 dozen H-Cookies, Cheddar Sun Chips, Regular Sun Chips, Hope bottled water, Jarritos soda mandarine, Hope Trail Mix
In addition to these three basket options, add-on items can be purchased and added to any of the following basket items: 1 dozen H Cookies (a student favorite): $15 Hope College Sweatshirt Blanket: $25 $25 Gift Card to the Kletz Market: $25
Orders must be submitted by October 9, 2020 to be freshly packed and prepared with love for your students.
If your student has any dietary restrictions please let us know in the comment box on the order form and we will do our best to make any necessary changes. Questions? Email email@example.com for assistance. And don’t forget to register for all of the great virtual event options as part of One BIG Virtual weekend at hope.edu/onebigweekend.
The Family Engagement team is excited to share plans for two virtual events for current parents this fall. Mark your calendar for these Family Access Chat events featuring student support services on campus.
Learn more about our campus partnership with the CampusMinistries team as we focus on the positive things we are doing to keep students engaged and involved, as well as plan for the future. Join us as we welcome a panel of experts from Campus Ministries to talk through the resources available to students on Tuesday, September 29 at 7 pm EST.
We’ll host the Boerigter Center for Calling and Career on Tuesday, November 10 at 7 pm EST.
Members of each team will share ways they are working to keep students engaged and involved on campus beyond their academics, as well as share plans and ideas for the future. These events will take place live using Zoom and there will be an opportunity to ask questions of the panelists.
Register for one or both events today! Zoom links will be sent via email the morning of each event. Questions? Feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org at any time.
Greetings from the Hope College Parents’ Council! As co-chairs of the council, we are hearing from other parents whose students are experiencing a wide range of emotions as they prepare to return to Hope — excitement, uncertainty, nervousness and everything in between! No matter what the emotion, it’s clear that Hope students are eager to be with each other and with their professors again.
In a virtual meeting with students and families, President Scogin explained that, in order for the campus community to be together, in person, all semester long, students will need to do their part. He urged all families to talk about expectations and responsibilities during the fall. We’re writing to encourage you to do the same, and to start those conversations now — the sooner, and the more frequent, the better!
Not sure where to start? Here are some questions that can start conversations:
Are you eager to return to campus? If so, what do you most look forward to? What are you most nervous about? Remind your student that the best way to maintain a safe in-person experience, all semester long, is to follow all the safeguards. You’ve heard these before, but they’re worth repeating: wear a face covering that completely covers the nose and mouth; distance six feet or more from others; wash hands well and frequently; keep personal and shared spaces clean; participate in testing; and comply with quarantine/isolation protocols. When practiced by everyone on campus, these safeguards decrease the risk of widespread infection and increase chances of remaining on campus.
What new daily habits will you need to build? For many students, the fall semester will usher in new daily habits, including wearing a face covering and screening themselves every morning for symptoms. Hope will provide every student with a machine-washable face-covering. But as you probably know, everybody has a preference for brands and face-coverings designs. Encourage your student to select the kind they like best and bring a supply with them when they come to campus.
What are the risks associated with not following the safeguards? It’s going to be tempting to get a little lax about the safeguards. Remind your students of the risks of doing so, including:
Having to shift to 100% remote classes, as the students experienced in March;
Spreading the virus to classmates, professors and staff members, especially those who have underlying health conditions and are immuno-compromised;
Spreading the virus to neighbors and residents of Holland as well as employees of downtown Holland businesses; and
Becoming infected themselves.
What are you going to do if there’s a party or social gathering off campus? Socializing is a normal part of the college experience. This semester, students will need to think about how to adapt their social behavior to reduce the risk of spread. The college can help students build a safe and healthy living and learning environment on campus, but students will need to take responsibility for a safe and healthy social environment off campus. Unfortunately, parties and social gatherings have been the source of spread on other college campuses across the country. Students give themselves the best chances of uninterrupted life on campus by practicing the safeguards at all times, not just when they’re at Hope.
What will you do if your friends or roommates aren’t following the safeguards? Encourage your student to connect with their roommates and friends about expectations for living and socializing together. If they feel nervous about initiating the conversation, encourage them to reach out to their Resident Assistant (RA) for help. Also, if your student becomes concerned that another student, a group or an employee has chosen to not follow a commitment to safeguards, please encourage them to file a report via the COVID Concern Form. For health-related concerns, the Health Center will contact the necessary persons to offer guidance and instruction. For behavior-related concerns, the individual(s) will be contacted by either Student Development (students) or Human Resources (employees), with possible disciplinary action to follow.
What will you do if you’re feeling anxious or isolated? Some students feel nervous about the prospect of coming back to campus and being in a close-knit community. If your student is anxious about the pandemic, listen to them and remind them about the resources they have at Hope. The Counseling and Psychological Services (CAPS) stand ready to assist, and so does the Campus Ministries team. If your student will be living on campus, they can contact the Residential Life staff, including RAs. For questions about physical health and wellness, including questions about symptoms of COVID-19, the Health Center staff is available. And of course, professors, advisors, coaches and staff members are eager to help, too.
What will you do if a friend tests positive? A positive test prompts a series of actions. If a student is symptomatic or tests positive, they will be moved into Hope’s isolation housing. A member of Hope’s contact tracing team will reach out to the student and begin working with them to prepare for the contact tracing investigation, which will be conducted by the Ottawa County Department of Public Health. The team member will help the student understand the health department’s processes and also help them develop a list of individuals with whom they’ve had close contact. Honesty by all involved is paramount here to ensure the protection of others in this process. Finally, though your student will not be able to visit their friends in person, they certainly can communicate and be supportive from a distance!
Did you know you can be quarantined even if you’re not sick? If your student comes into direct contact or close contactwith an individual who has COVID-19, they will need to move into quarantine housing. Quarantine reduces the risk of spread throughout the campus community. Again, this measure — recommended by the CDC and the local health department — significantly increases the campus community’s chances of remaining in-person for the entire semester. Efforts to avoid quarantine put other students and employees at risk, and may result in a shift to remote classes.
What will you do if you need to go into quarantine or isolation? Students will be permitted to go home to quarantine or isolate, if their family is agreeable and within driving distance. If you and your student decide this will be the best option, you will need to following these rules:
The student may not use public transportation to go home.
If the student is ill, someone (e.g., a family member) must be responsible to pick them up in their personal vehicle.
The student will be in isolation on campus until they are picked up.
Once the student is at home, public health guidelines should be followed strictly.
The student may return to campus once they have met appropriate college and public health guidelines to be cleared.
In significant ways, the ability to remain in person through the semester rests in the hands of our students!
If you need more guidance about how to talk to your student about life at Hope this fall, we encourage you to connect with Dr. Richard Frost, dean of students, at email@example.com or 616-395-7940. Dean Frost is always happy to talk to parents and families, no matter what the situation!
While there is a lot of uncertainty right now, here is what we know for certain: Hope College is doing everything it can to prepare for the fall semester, and the faculty and staff are fully committed to their students.
We wish you and your student all the best for a happy, healthy and productive fall!
Greetings from our home in Lake Ann, Michigan where we are spending quality time learning and re-learning Spanish with our youngest daughter, Elizabeth. She is finishing up her Hope College senior year at home with us. We have had a lot of fun listening to virtual classes and watching her adapt to this different way of learning.
As we go through this, we’ve also been brushing up on psychology. We are reminded, and want to remind you, of the importance of confidence, optimism, hope and resiliency. One of the best ways to boost each of these key areas of positive psychological capital is to connect with others.
To this end, please join us as we launch The Hope College Connection. This new resource links students, families and alumni for mentoring and networking.
We are asking you to share your experiences and make a big difference in a student’s journey by:
Creating your profile and choosing your communication preferences, including type and frequency.
Sharing career advice and industry insights with the Hope community.
Discovering your own career connections with other families and alumni using the platform’s powerful smart-matching algorithm. I think you will really like this feature!
Actively communicating on your own time with complimentary, in-platform video meetings (great tool for right now) and messaging, including text notifications.
So go ahead and get started to help us all build confidence, optimism, hope and resiliency! Don’t forget to encourage your students to create an account as well. If you have questions, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Climb With Us
Do you remember Cliff Hangers from The Price is Right? It debuted just over 44 years ago on April 12, 1976. We are going to have some fun and get that yodely guy (and his famous music) back in the game. We have a goal of getting 600 Hope College families on The Hope College Connection. We are now up to 513 profiles from families (as of May 13). Help us, and our mountain climbing friend, reach the top by activating your profile today. We will keep this post up-to-date as our journey continues. Come on down!
You may suddenly find yourself trying to help your student navigate this new normal on the road to their first job or internship. Even though their search might look a little different, there are many ways you can support your student and keep them in the game.
Here are some helpful suggestions:
First, if your student is unsure about anything we welcome them to head into Handshaketo schedule a virtual appointment. Even if they don’t know what they need to talk about the Boerigter Center team will surround them with the support they need!
Recommend they learn more about some of the different fields that connect to their major or another area of interest.
Check to see if your student has taken one of our assessments (PathwayU or CliftonStrengths). If they want to take an assessment they can email email@example.com. Encourage them to schedule an appointment via Handshake to debrief their results.
Your student might also want to research different cities and general cost of living. Job/Internship search platforms, such as our recommended resource Handshake,allows the user to search down to a zip code, so they can take the market into consideration while mulling over their options.
This is a perfect time to virtually introduce your student to anyone in your personal network who works in an area of professional interest. Encourage them to set up informational interviews to learn, explore, and network. They can use our exclusive tool The Hope College Connection to get in touch with alumni and other Hope parents. LinkedIn is another great option!
Share our How-To Guides with your student. If they haven’t pulled out their resume in awhile or written a cover letter, now is a great time to get started! The Boerigter Center is happy to review and give feedback through an appointment.
Was your student able to attend one of our webinars? Have your student review our series and/or watch for yourself.
Webinar #1: Career Conversations April 1, 2020
This webinar provides a lot of helpful guidance. We reacted to students burning questions but also reviewed several topics including: the job and internship search process, applying for graduate school, The Hope College Connection, virtual interviewing and utilizing Handshake.
Webinar #2: Career Conversations – How is COVID 19 Impacting Jobs and Internships? April 9, 2020
The Boerigter Center team has been monitoring the labor market closely as new information comes out each day. During this webinar we discussed: the latest trends in jobs and internships, tactical tips for hunting with confidence during this pandemic, and provided resources to learn which industries are hiring and which are freezing.
The Boerigter Center for Calling and Career would love to hear from your student! For more information on any of the above topics, please visit hope.edu/boerigter.
The word “unprecedented” has been used a lot lately to describe not only the COVID-19 pandemic, but also the response from government and business. Businesses and schools have shifted to work at home and online learning in order to maintain social distance. This has several implications for your student preparing for their next steps whether it’s an internship, a new career or graduate school.
The good news is that the Boerigter Center for Calling and Career is here to help in every step along the way. In these unprecedented times, we are here to help your student. Whether it involves coming up with a new strategy or resetting expectations, students should prepare to pivot.
Many companies are experiencing financial stress and uncertainty. Just a few weeks ago, employers were struggling to find talent and opportunities were abundant. The sudden onset of this pandemic and the financial markets reactions have many companies implementing hiring freezes, furloughs, even layoffs. Now is the time to work together to proactively identify where opportunities have shifted.
What are we doing? The team at the Boerigter Center is proactively monitoring what employers are doing and working to get perspectives on their future plans. We are also networking with employers, alumni and families to identify opportunities in the shifting landscape. We would love to hear from you regarding opportunities and information, positive or negative, about what employers are doing in your area or field. While many companies are putting hiring on hold, others are actively seeking workers. We are sorting through these opportunities and will get the word out to students as we find them.
What can you and your student do? In a word, network. More than two-thirds of jobs are secured through networking. The Boerigter Center has great networking tools including The Hope College Connection. In addition, make sure to network with family and friends, and their family and friends! Colleagues and clients are great referral sources as well. I find that people are more than willing to help our students. Encourage your student to have a sharp résumé, good online presence and interview skills which are all fundamental preparation steps. The Boerigter Center has abundant tools and resources and the staff continue to be available for an appointment virtually through Handshake.
Secondly, be patient. There are still jobs out there. Companies are dealing with many challenges right now, so onboarding new employees may not be their first priority. Help your student reset their expectations that it may take longer than usual to get hired.
As we have seen in the past few weeks, things are changing fast. I graduated from Hope in 1991. The Gulf War broke out my senior year and the job market turned down rapidly. A few of us were fortunate to have jobs lined up early only to face layoffs shortly after starting. A story for another day is how my career path was dramatically changed on September 11, 2001. The networking advice is even more critical in this situation because your student, now a young professional, will have more experience and a broader network of contacts. Also, the Boerigter Center is a resource for alumni just as it is for current students.
Attending a liberal arts college has well-positioned your student to pivot and has provided them the skills that employers and graduate programs are seeking. Remind them of that philosophy or English class where they had no idea what to write about or that seemingly impossible test in chemistry or biology. Perhaps they faced a difficult challenge on the field, court or stage. Your student has successfully executed tasks where they had no idea where to start or faced seemingly insurmountable uncertainty, but through coaching, mentors and encouragement they were well prepared. This is no different. Prepare to pivot.
As President Scogin recently shared, “in 154 years of Hope’s history, we have not seen anything like this.” On March 11, in response to Governor Whitmer’s recommendation and to support efforts to contain the virus, Hope College made the decision to begin remote classes. On March 20, this decision was extended through the remainder of the semester. All college-sponsored on-campus events through the end of the semester are canceled or are being re-scheduled. Rest assured, the Hope College community is continuing to work together in support of one goal: to get our students to the finish line of the spring semester! If you are interested in learning more about these decisions, please visit hope.edu/coronavirus.
You may also be wondering what this means for the opportunities we have planned for alumni and families, both on-campus and in communities around the world. Below is an overview of where things currently stand. As you might expect, things are rapidly evolving, so please check back for future updates. We are committed to keeping you informed and will update this post as the situation unfolds.
Presidential Welcome Tour
We have been having a great time introducing President Scogin to alumni and families at Welcome Tour events since November. We look forward to these continuing. However, all events as part of this series have been postponed. We will send new invitations once they have been rescheduled.
The Hope College Connection Live! | Chicago
The health and safety of our students, event attendees and staff is our top priority. For this reason, the Connection Live! event scheduled for April 7 in Chicago will not take place. If you haven’t already, we encourage you to check out The Hope College Connection at connection.hope.edu. It’s an innovative online community for calling and career that brings together students, alumni and families for mentoring and experiential learning. You can activate a profile and start connecting with students from anywhere, even while practicing social distancing!
On March 12, NCAA President Mark Emmert and the Board of Governors canceled remaining winter and spring NCAA championships in all divisions. We are disappointed that our championship caliber student-athletes won’t be able to show the result of all their hard work and that Hope College fans around the world won’t have the chance to cheer them on. Please continue to follow the Hope Athletics website for further announcements. If you would like to help encourage our student-athletes, check out this Spread Hope, Not Germs post.
We agree with President Scogin that this “is certainly not what any of us envisioned for the semester, but it is a time when we can come together as a community to show the world the power of resilience and hope. Spera in Deo.”