18 Quick Tips for Snowy Days!

The Hope College Families Facebook group is brimming over with collective wisdom and experience. As we faced the first major snowstorm of the year, many family members chimed in with words of wisdom for surviving and thriving in a Michigan winter. Read on to see which tips you might need to put into practice!

  • “Layers! And stay dry. Love Smartwool socks (available downtown on 8th Street for those who need them ASAP!) and I’m a big fan of hand warmers (disposable or reusable) tucked in my coat pockets.”
  • “Staying hydrated is just as important in cold temperatures as it is in warmer ones.”
  • “Keep a shovel to keep in your car for when the plow buries your car in its spot.”
  • “Don’t walk on the Lake Michigan ice shelf!”
  • “If you are prone to depression in the dark winter months, get help. Van Wylen Library checks out therapy lights, professional help can also be useful and some people need medication or medication changes for SAD.”
  • “It’s a tricky time of year and important to have strategies to cope with winter and dark early evenings, like scheduling social get togethers, working out, eating healthfully or yoga, whatever tools help you. I eat sunshine fruits every day, like oranges. Vitamin C helps and gives me a boost :-)”
  • “You shouldn’t have exposed skin really for any amount of time in this polar vortex weather. Have extra sets of gloves (mittens are warmer) because they will get lost :-)”
  • “Get out and EnJOY! Have a snowball fight- build an igloo- or a snowman- it is so much fun when there is snow!!❄️❄️
  • “Raise your windshield wipers off the windshield so they don’t freeze to the windshield.”
  • “Keep your gas tank at least half full.”
  • ““Black ice” is a real thing. I’m sure Hope works very hard to clear pathways, but be aware that a thin layer of snow – or worse yet, water/melting ice – over any unmelted ice is a serious slipping hazard. Just noticing if ice has fully melted before the next snow is helpful.”
  • “Kitty litter and a small shovel can be helpful to keep in your car in case you get stuck.”
  • “Super light weight long underwear from Costco under your jeans. And wool socks!”
  • “It was a cold day, long ago on a different campus when my forehead became frostbitten while walking to class. I didn’t want to mess up my giant ’80’s hair by wearing a hat. I’ve been paying for that decision ever since. So, wear a hat!”
  • “Function over fashion 😉
  • “When driving always have a snow brush and your coat in the car and gloves. Your car might breakdown, so toss a coat and gloves in the backseat even if you are a non-coat-wearing person.”
  • “Being cooped up indoors can bring on anxiety and restlessness. Get a good workout in at the Dow and break a sweat. You might even meet new people!”
  • “Don’t lick the flagpole!😆😆

Meet the Knoester Family

Our collective story of Hope is a circuitous one, full of rivalry, partnership and unexpected joy. Where to start?  

Growing up I (Peter) always had one foot on either side of the Calvin/Hope divide. My parents, Pat and Arie Knoester are both Calvin graduates yet my uncle, Tom Davelaar, has held down the Hope bench in epic on-court matchups over the years (especially memorable in the nineties against my cousin, Calvin standout, All-American Chris Knoester.) 

Given the tangled family Calvin/Hope dynamics I was torn when it came to deciding where to attend college as I wasn’t ready to hang up my soccer boots and had grown close to Hope’s coach at the time, Steve Smith, over my high school career. Ultimately Calvin was the right financial choice for me and my family, but I thoroughly enjoyed the on-pitch battles with the Flying  Dutchmen each year. 

The decision to attend Calvin was much easier for Sara as she was heavily recruited to run track. She had immense success in the classroom and on the track as she and her 4×400 relay team were 3-time national champions during her tenure. 

Jonah and Aidan (Class of 2027) prematurely came into this world while I was in my third year of medical school at the University of Michigan. After spending the first couple weeks of life under the round-the-clock care of an elite team of NICU nurses and physicians at Mott, our identical twins finally made it home. To be honest, I wasn’t sure if any of the four of us were going to make it through those first 6 months, but somehow we managed to find our way with the help of family, our village and plenty of coffee. 

As we were waiting in the back of the sanctuary on the day of our boys’ dedication, our pastor turned to us and asked if we knew what parenting was all about. With glazed-over eyes we turned and looked at him and braced ourselves for a three-part sermon, but were pleasantly surprised by his simple yet profound advice; 

Parenting is all about letting go.” 

We have come back to this pearl throughout many seasons over the last 18 years, and it continues to serve us well as parents as we have walked alongside our boys as they navigated the waters of college selection, and through their first semester at Hope. 

At the completion of my training, we decided to move back to West Michigan to be closer to family. The best job opportunity at the time was with Macatawa Anesthesia at Holland  Hospital. What was once “Babylon” had now become our home. We would eventually settle on 12th Street in the Historic District, and grow to embrace the Hope community.  

Coach Smith opened up the beautiful pitch at Van Andel Soccer Stadium for pick-up soccer games for our boys and their friends and other kids in the Holland community. They both attended Hope Soccer, Science and Kirk Cousin Football camps in the summers. Sara and I developed deep friendships with Hope professors as well as Hope grads throughout the community.  However, we eventually moved back to Grand Rapids so that our kids could have a more diverse and inclusive, Christ-centered academic experience.  

As Aidan and Jonah started to stretch their wings and dream of life after high school they initially imagined going to college in some place warm year-round with plenty of sunshine (we didn’t blame them as these Michigan winters are too dark and dreary for our liking). They also informed us that they didn’t feel strongly about going to the same college, but they each expressed interest in careers in medicine and dentistry. Knowing the amount of time, discipline and sacrifice that goes into schooling for those careers, we encouraged them to also look for a school that would be able to help them pivot if they decided to change their trajectory. Small liberal arts schools where they can get to know their professors, and that also provide a robust core curriculum, offer just that. Given Calvin and Hope’s amazing track records in admissions to medical and dental schools, we naturally encouraged them to consider both. But we did so with reservation. 

Being one of the few people of color on campus in the late 90s came with its own set of challenges while attending Calvin (and Hope at the time was no better.). The ‘white-centered, Christian Reformed’ worldview was deafening at times as it left little room for a more globally inclusive witness of lived experiences of people both within and outside of ‘the Church.’ Representation matters from the classroom to the workplace. I/we craved a more robust social and learning environment back then and now for our children. Calvin and Hope have made great strides over the years at becoming more diverse and inclusive communities of learning, but both have a ways to go in becoming a safe place for their pupils and educators no matter how they identify.  

Our boys initially recoiled at the thought of attending either, but their resolve was no match for Kelly Wolters, Nate Haveman and the rest of Hope’s admissions team! 

They were hooked halfway through their Scholars Day visit. Not only were they impressed by the Hope students and professors, and what they had to share, but they ultimately felt seen and embraced. Hope felt like home.  

Even as the acceptance letters from other colleges they had applied to rolled in, they were certain Hope was where they wanted to spend their next chapter to learn how to become better ‘human beings to other human beings’ and set a firm foundation for their careers.  

Sara and I made a hard sell for Calvin, but did so while ‘letting go,’ and couldn’t be more proud of them and the decision they each made. They are both in the Phelps Scholars program, which has allowed them to grow in intentional community with their peers from all walks of life. Phelps has helped them engage in difficult conversations, learn how to actively listen and have their eyes and hearts opened to a more diverse human experience from their classmates. They have also spent time volunteering in the classrooms at Jefferson Elementary and Harbor Lights Middle School with I AM Academy, a non-profit based in Holland helping to dismantle the school-to-prison pipeline of minority students through mentorship and providing these students with a glimpse of their future as students of color in places of higher education. 

Jonah and Aidan have had their fair share of highs and lows as they have navigated their first semester at Hope, and the ‘letting go’ has looked different in each situation. It has looked like moving them into the dorm in 90 minutes because Hope’s move-in process is flawless, and then saying our goodbyes and driving away. It has looked like phone calls late at night with illness, trusting that they are taking the correct medication and getting enough sleep. It has meant not checking our Find My Phone app to make sure they are back in their dorms every evening. It has meant listening when they are disappointed with a lower grade than they were hoping for in biology, and trusting that they are learning how to use their time more wisely to study for the next exam. It means letting them choose if they want to exercise, go to chapel, join a fraternity, eat fruits and vegetables, or go to bed before midnight! It has been a learning curve for all of us.  

As we continue to loosen our loving grip on our children, we are beyond grateful that they are at an academic institution that humbly attempts to do its part in the redeeming and  reconciliatory work of Christ and invites them to be co-conspirators on that journey. This sparkle has caught their sister Micah’s eye and she has already set her sights on being part of the Hope Class of 2031!

For One Hope Family, It’s a Very Merry Swiftmas

For the Scott family of Naperville, IL, this year will be a very merry Swiftmas! 

The Scott family has always gone big with their holiday light display. This year, the “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour” movie inspired them to put a different spin on things! When you take a closer look, you will find album covers, friendship bracelets (Hope!), Travis Kelce on the roof, and a variety of “easter eggs” that only true Swifties will understand. Amy Scott is emphatic that this is truly a whole family effort. As soon as Hope students Rebecca and Emily pulled into the driveway for Thanksgiving break, they were up on ladders installing giant friendship bracelets around trees in their yard. 

Rebecca, a freshman, and Emily, a senior, both run for Hope on the cross country and track teams. This year has been a meaningful one for the Scott sisters! Up until this year, Emily frequently traveled home to see her sister, who was grappling with frustrating health challenges. The two sisters have always been a major support system for each other, and Emily was a big part of the reason why Rebecca ultimately chose Hope last spring. While they both stay busy with friends, athletics, and academics (Emily will be student teaching this spring!), they have established a tradition of “Sister Sunday.” Every Sunday, they intentionally meet for dinner or Captain Sundae. Amy was quick to offer to “sponsor” this weekly tradition, loving that her daughters were prioritizing time with each other.

While the entire Scott family is looking forward to a break from school and a series of peaceful days together, you can be certain that their holiday lights will continue to draw carloads of Swifties. In the words of Amy (and, ahem, someone else we know…), “We’ll leave the Christmas lights up till January.”

Meet the Herrman Family

You mean there is a college in the land of salt-free water, blueberries and cherries, long days and beautiful sunsets, endless sand dunes AND with a lack of stifling humidity? Never mind the snowy long winters and that dreaded “drive around the lake,” we want our daughter to go THERE! Hope College, here comes Camille, class of 2026!

We are Rachel and Kyle Herrman from Webster Groves, Missouri and we serve on Hope’s Family Advisory Council. Our daughter, Camille, is a sophomore majoring in Communication and Spanish. I (Rachel) knew of Hope College after growing up in the Chicago area and my mom had a condo and home in SW Michigan for many years and eventually retired to South Haven when our children were little. Having many special memories of the area, we camped in Van Buren State Park over COVID and decided to just do a drive-by of campus. We instantly fell in love!

Camille knew she wanted a small, liberal arts education. She wanted to be known by professors and just experience a cozy learning environment. We looked at many liberal arts colleges in the Midwest. What stood out right away at Hope was that the Admissions advisor spoke directly to Camille our entire visit. I was just a fly on the wall! It was clear that Hope was student-focused.  

Camille applied and was a finalist for the Hope Forward scholarship. Even though she was not a recipient, Hope held her heart. She already felt known before she moved onto campus! She was accepted into the Phelps Scholars program and loved the experiences and friends she made through that living/learning environment. Those friends continue to be her best friends on campus. She has served as a student-advisor for a First Year Seminar (FYS) class and she is an Engagement Center Specialist with the Philanthropy and Engagement department. She did a communications internship in that same office this past summer and lived on campus. She is really blossoming into an amazing, mature young woman at Hope!

All has not been blueberries and sunsets on the beach, though. Camille’s freshman year was incredibly difficult. Beyond the general bumpiness of transitioning to college academics, her life fell apart upon return to school for second semester.

I mentioned that my mom had retired to South Haven and that our family has special memories of the area as being part of our draw to Hope. Our beloved “Boosha,” my mom, unexpectedly passed away from a stroke on January 19, 2023. Camille came home that weekend to be together as a family. That Sunday, literally while she was driving back to school, her dad collapsed after a run and experienced an aortic aneurysm just 3 days after she lost her grandma. She called me as she was pulling into Holland and I couldn’t answer as I was sobbing in the emergency room. Her other grandparents called her back and gave her the news. In a span of 3 days, she lost her grandma and almost lost her dad.  

We are beyond relieved and overjoyed that Kyle survived the dissected aneurysm. He is a living miracle (Amen!). He was in the ICU and hospital for 10 days. I talked with Camille and we decided to have her remain on campus where she could maintain her social support and daily routine. Her professors were SO understanding and Hope really became her “home away from home.”

Hope really loved her in a tangible way that semester while her dad was in his long-haul recovery. Kyle is a HUGE Malcolm Gladwell fan. He had been looking forward to hopefully seeing him on campus when he spoke in March of 2023. He and Camille had listened to one of his books, David and Goliath, on the drive to drop her off at school in August of 2022. Malcolm coming to campus while her dad was on the mend felt like a little gift from God.

Camille wrote an email to President Scogin requesting to be in attendance at his talk. She let him know of her dad’s fawning over Mr. Gladwell and how they had listened to one of his books on the way to Hope and that her dad had just almost died and she was missing him. She stalked his office trying to get his attention (this made us chuckle from afar!). She had friends go up to him on campus and tell him of her plight to get to see Malcolm for her dad.  It was an all-out “bring Camille to Malcolm” campaign.  She did hear from President Scogin’s office in response and not only was she invited to his keynote address, she was invited to EVERY event that Malcolm participated in that weekend.  She even got her picture with Malcom and a signed copy of the book they had listened to on the way to Hope. Camille cried out and Hope listened. Now THAT is student-centered love and care. Not only is Camille receiving an outstanding education, she is receiving the true definition of Hope: a feeling of trust and of good things to come.  From the bottom of the Herrman Family’s hearts, thank you Hope College, for living out your values.

Encouragement from Dr. Ellen

I am a parent of a college student. I want my student to have an exceptional experience that helps him emerge into adulthood. I am guessing you have similar dreams for your Hope student! I offer a few bits of perspective on college student development for you to consider. 1) College students learn and grow when they are challenged coupled with the right amount of support. Students grow in self-confidence and build a skillset when they are able to take steps to work through a challenge. When a student has a positive outcome, it helps them develop a healthy sense of self-efficacy, the feeling that they can do it. 2) Developing confidence and a belief in one’s capacity to succeed requires the student to take action, to practice skills, and to follow through. Sometimes, as parents, we want to help our kid so that they live a less anxious or stressful life. Although well-intended, trying to fix an issue for your college student can rob them of necessary growth and development. Here is a perspective check: Do you plan to call their boss once they start their first job post-college if they are having a hard time? Probably not. So, while they attend Hope College, help them to have experiences to help them grow and develop. When they text or call to say they are struggling, encourage them to seek resources that are available here. We have people here to help them navigate just about anything they need. When you have questions or are looking for more support from Hope, we hope that you will contact Katie DeKoster, Hope’s Director of Family Engagement. If she doesn’t have the answer, she will connect you with the person who does. We look forward to working with you as your students forge their own path here at Hope.

Family Access Chats | Spring 2022

Thanks for joining us for Family Access Chats this semester. Here are the recordings in case you missed anything.

Family Access Chat | Campus Resources for your Student | March 8, 2022
Family Access Chat | Major and Career Discernment | April 12, 2022

And here are the links that we discussed for your reference:

Additional resources available to students:

Questions? Email families@hope.edu anytime.

Fall 2020 Reflections and Questions To Ask Your Student

Yoli Vega ’88 is a senior academic and career advisor with the Boerigter Center for Calling and Career.

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.

Yoli Vega meets with a student on campus pre-pandemic.


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?

Also, check out the Boerigter Center for Calling and Career’s recent blog post “Five Ways to Have a Healthy and Productive Break” for great tips from our current career ambassador Lisbeth Franzon.

Thank you for sharing your students with the Hope community and the world!

Celebrate Family Weekend with Snacks!

Register at hope.edu/onebigweekend

Hello Hope Families!

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
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
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
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

Order your treat basket today at: hope.edu/treats

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 families@hope.edu 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.

Family Access Chats

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 Campus Ministries 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 families@hope.edu at any time.