Tips on Talking with Your Student About Returning to Hope’s Campus

Dear Parents and Families,

Darren and Judy Gross

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 contact with 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 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!


Darren and Judy Gross

Co-Chairs, Hope Parents’ Council

Hope Families Can Join “The Hope College Connection”

Steve and Kristi Sieck
Parents’ Council Co-Chairs

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 

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!

We’ve passed 500! There are 513 Hope families signed up and climbing!

Steve and Kristi Sieck
Hope College Parents’ Council

Supporting Your Student During COVID-19

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 Handshake to 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 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

Prepare to Pivot

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.

Family Engagement Event Updates Due to Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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

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.

March 12 Update on COVID-19 from President Scogin

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 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!

NCAA Tournaments

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.

The Alumni and Family Engagement team stands by to answer questions and provide additional information. Please contact us at and we will be in touch as soon as we can.

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.”

What’s New at the Boerigter Center for Calling and Career?

The Boerigter Center for Calling and Career helps students find internships, build connections with alumni, polish their interviewing skills and résumé, and overall be prepared for whatever might come next after their time at Hope.

Check out this video where students talk about their experience:

You can stay up to date and learn more about upcoming events by following them on Facebook and Twitter. And of course at

When you go to the Boerigter Center’s blog here are a few posts that we think you might enjoy.

Your student can now schedule an appointment on Handshake. Learn more about everything Handshake has to offer.

Daniel Osterbaan, a new member of the team, has some great tips for parents in his blog: Jerry Maguire’s Tips for Parents.

What do seniors need to know? Dale Austin gives great advice in his note to seniors.

Boerigter Center for Calling and Career Staff

Helping Your Student Navigate Homesickness

It’s October! The first month of college and classes has ended, and we are moving toward midterm exams. As the director of Hope’s Counseling and Psychological Services, I wanted to take a minute of your time to address the concern of homesickness and adjusting to college. Most of our students have settled into their rooms and connected with roommates, classmates and other students around them. For some, the pull of home and the not-yet-secure connections here will make adjusting to college a little more difficult during this first month or so of college (and no, this is not just for first semester students either!).

What can you, as families, do to best support your student? I’d like to suggest that you begin by taking a deep breath (or two, or three) and remember that your student is experiencing normal and expected grief and loss of no longer being at home. They will eventually connect with people and classes and student organizations, they will find a job on or near campus, they will even find their new favorite food in Phelps! Once they begin to connect at Hope, they will be less sad about not being home. We can all encourage students who are experiencing homesickness to be brave and take small steps to talk with other people here at Hope. Perhaps your student can set up a time to speak with their academic advisor to talk about classes? Perhaps your student could find a student club to join? Or, perhaps your student could make a coffee date with their RA?

If you search online for “homesickness and college students” you will most likely read that students who are homesick must not go home to visit. Well, I happen to disagree with that as a blanket statement. Some students actually do much better after a short weekend trip home. It can be as if seeing that home is still there makes it easier to make the move to college. And, if other high school classmates are also in college and gone, the pull to home may not be a strong as they seemed those first weeks on campus.

Kristen Gray, Associate Dean for Health and Counseling

If homesickness is making it difficult to sleep or eat or attend classes, then your student might benefit from speaking with a counselor or a chaplain. We have excellent and caring people with experience navigating the complexity of moving from home to Hope. Let us partner with your student to make good choices about how to best manage this time of transition.

Learn more at

From Our Hope Family to Yours

Dear Hope Families,

Welcome to the 2019-20 academic year! Later this month, I will be meeting many of you as you help your student move into their campus home — some of you for the first time, others for the last time. Whether your child is entering their freshman year or their senior year, this is a special time filled with great anticipation for families and students alike.

This is a special time for me, too. Just a few weeks ago, I began my first year as president of Hope College. In late June, my family — my wife, Sarah (whom I met while we were students at Hope), and our three children, Sophie, Lucy and Oliver — left our home in New York City and made the road trip to Holland, Michigan. We quickly settled into the President’s House, and have been waiting with great excitement to greet our new neighbors — Hope students!

Sarah and I are delighted to be living right in the heart of campus, where we always will be close to your sons and daughters.

It is hard to believe that, 21 years ago this summer, I arrived on Hope’s campus as a freshman. Little did I know that Hope would transform my life. I never imagined how I would be mentored by caring professors, how I would be given opportunities to study and work off campus, how I would engage in graduate-style research, how I would prepare for a career in business and government . . . and importantly, how I would develop a relationship with God. Two decades later, Hope continues to transform students’ lives in ways that no other institution in the world does. I am so proud to lead this institution, and I am especially proud to be working for, and alongside, your students.

Thank you for entrusting your student to Hope College. May this year be a year of growth as they rise to meet the challenges and celebrate the achievements along the way. I look forward to seeing you very soon!

Transformed by Hope,
Matthew A. Scogin

Get Oriented! Five Reminders for First-Year Families

Hello New Hope Families!

This is the week we’ve been waiting for all summer — Orientation is almost here, and we are excited to share these five reminders for all participating families:

1. Next Friday is the day! Move-in Day is Friday, August 23 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Orientation Assistants (“OAs”) will be at every residence hall to welcome you and your student.

No need to think that moving all of this stuff into your student’s dorm room is overwhelming! Hope students are here to help!

We’re here for you… and your heavy items! The Orientation team is ready to help in any way — and that includes carrying your boxes, bins and heavy items. All 180 students volunteer their time because they love Hope College and want to ensure that you and your student have a smooth transition to “Home Sweet Hope.”

Pro Tip: Use blue tape to mark your belongings with your student’s name and room number before you arrive!

Which way do you go? Hope Campus Safety and our Orientation Assistants will help show you the way.

3. Unload, then park. Campus Safety officers and Orientation Assistants will be managing traffic and pointing you in the right direction. Parking near residence halls is reserved specifically for those who are unloading their cars. Once you are done unloading, you can park in any Hope parking lot throughout Orientation weekend — no permit required.

4. Step in and step up. We know that every family’s story is unique, and we’ve worked to build a variety of experiences that will meet a variety of needs. So, make yourself at home and dive into the family sessions. The more you participate throughout the weekend, the more you will get out of it.

5. Ask for help! There are no silly questions or unimportant concerns. Stop by the Orientation Station in the Bultman Student Center and ask the Orientation staff anything. Members of the Parents’ Council will be at Hydration Stations throughout camps. If they don’t know the answer, they’ll track it down for you!

Good luck with all your last-minute packing and preparations. We can’t wait to welcome you to Hope in person!

Sara Arnquist, Kayla Lang and Caleb Miller
2019 Orientation Directors

Fall Update from Student Development

Dear Hope Families,

Richard A. Frost, Vice President for Student Development and Dean of Students

I hope you are enjoying the summer with your loved ones. Here at Hope College, we are busy preparing for the arrival of our students. Our campus community is eager to greet all our students — both new and returning students — in person.

One of the best parts of the new academic year is having new opportunities to learn each student’s unique story. You have been an important part of your student’s story, and I want to thank you for all you have done to pave the way to this moment, whether your student is entering their first year or their last semester at Hope. The familiarity of the high school years is behind them, and soon they will be engaged in the learning culture of Hope College. Your student will experience academic rigor, develop new and different relationships, and engage in meaningful activities.

Before the fall semester begins, I encourage you to create some special time to talk with your student about their Hope journey. As the father of three college graduates, I know it can be difficult to start and have these conversations. Need some help? The following questions may prompt good discussion with your student:

  • What are you most looking forward to this year? What are two or three questions that you hope to answer this year?
  • When it comes to managing your time, what will be the biggest challenge? How do you plan to deal with that challenge?
  • What are you most anxious or nervous about? Classes, roommate, exams, internships, graduation, being away from family?
  • What are one or two ways that we, as a family, can support you?

With just a few until the start of the 2019-20 academic year, you and your student probably have a lot yet to do! It’s a busy time for all of us, but at Hope, we are always here to answer your questions. Please feel free to contact me at 616-395-7800 or email

Thank you for being a part of the Hope family!


Richard A. Frost
Vice President for Student Development
Dean of Students