“Kudos to Pauline Rozeboom and Brad Bouwkamp who have kept CIT’s engine going throughout the current crisis. They have been in the office every day fielding questions and making remote learning seem technologically effortless. Brad has also made the mail run to the Holland post office daily which, in turn, makes Campus Mail and Print’s job a bit easier. Pauline and Brad represent the best of Hope College — the silent workers behind the scenes whose make being part of Hope College such a privilege. Thank you!”
While almost every Hope student went home to finish their classes via remote learning beginning in late March, some also began to engage in remote teaching, too.
Since April 1, 18 Hope students have volunteered to serve as tutors for children in the Holland area, helping K-12 youngsters navigate school work now entirely sent to and completed from home. The Hope students – from various majors and academic years — have met virtually with their tutees twice a week for a half hour for more than a month. And, some will continue tutoring to the conclusion of the scholastic school year which ends in June.
The idea to connect area children with home-bound Hope students came from more than 800 miles away from Holland, Michigan. Annie Kopp, a rising junior from Lancaster, New Hampshire, and an English and communication double major, had a yearning to help during the COVID-19 crisis. At first, she just wasn’t sure how, but she was determined to figure it out.
“When this pandemic hit, one of the first things in my mind was who’s going to need more help than I need? Because right now, I’m fine. So, who can I help with what I have?” she said. “Then, I went on a walk with my mom (who is a school teacher) and we talked about helping children learn remotely. That led me to write a one-page proposal to Jane Finn (chairperson of the department of education) basically telling her what I wanted to do.”
With Finn’s help and endorsement, Kopp became acquainted with the CASA, Step Up, and Upward Bound organizations on Hope’s campus, all of which provide academic, and normally in-person, support to “at-risk” children in the Holland community. Surveys were sent to parents of children in the three programs to see who was interested and able to receive tutoring via online platforms like Google Meet or Zoom. Hope students were then sent an appeal to sign up as tutors.
“Hope College students love to serve, and we know that they wanted to serve. And not just students in the education program but any student at Hope. This was one way for them to use their gifts.”
At first, 50 Hope students said they were interested in becoming tutors. Kopp eventually paired up 18 Hope students with Holland-area kids who raised their hands for help. And since day one, she has continued to provide support, communication and enthusiasm to all involved.
“There was a
yearning to give back and people did not know how at first,” and Finn. “Annie
helps us find that way. Hope College students love to serve, and we know that
they wanted to serve. And not just students in the education program but any student
at Hope. This was one way for them to use their gifts.”
As for working
with Kopp specifically, Finn has been impressed with the young woman’s fierce
desire to make a difference in her college’s hometown from several states away.
“I have appreciated Annie’s organization skills. She always on top of things,”
said Finn. “When she first emailed me, I told her it’s going take a good amount
of her time to do something like this. But she said, ‘That’s okay, I can do
this.’ And she has. She’s figured out different ways to navigate and negotiate
a new process. She really has been the spearhead.”
“I also think it’s good that Hope students realize that even when you are kind of in distress or don’t feel good, God always has a calling for you. There’s always someone else you can help. I think that’s important to remember.”
Kopp has a bigger hope for what she started beyond the time of
COVID-19. She sees broader benefits that are more than educational; she sees
them as emotional and spiritual as well.
“This could potentially bring Hope students to become regular
tutors during the regular school year. So, I think that’s exciting,” Kopp says.
“But I also think it’s good that Hope students realize that even when you are
kind of in distress or don’t feel good, God always has a calling for you.
There’s always someone else you can help. I think that’s important to remember.”
“I’m so proud of all of the helpers right now that are keeping Hope strong in this time of crisis. One person that is always at the top of my list, who probably will try his best to get out of being recognized so that others can be, is Carl Heideman. He has been working tirelessly to help keep everyone sane and focused, holding hands to guide everyone through these tough times. His capacity for empathy and reaching out seems to know no bounds, and he brings clarity of thought to every area he touches. I believe I speak on behalf of everyone at Hope when I say this: Thank you Carl, from the bottom of our hearts.”
— Eugene Kim, data warehouse and analytics architect, CIT
They have no props, or costumes, or scenery. But that’s a
not a problem and that’s not the point. What they do have is all that they
need: a play script, a Zoom room, and a gladness for a connection with friends
in the Hope community.
Every Monday night for the past three weeks, approximately 30 members of the Hope faculty have pulled up a chair in front of their home computers, opened the script of “Our Town” or “Shakespeare in Love” or “Borrowed Babies,” activated their creative juices, and collectively read aloud each play’s narrative while in character.
The idea for such a collaboration in this time of social
distancing came from Michelle
Bombe, professor of theatre and chairperson of the department.
“With theatre, when we are at our best, we give people ideas to think about and concepts to consider, but we also give them a little window into another world as a form of escape that people need, that people crave.”
“When Covid-19 first started, I thought, does what I do
matter? I wish I were a nurse. I wish I were doing something that was really of
help,” she said. “At some point, I thought, ‘No, I do have something.’ Theatre
can make a difference and satisfies my need to be of service in some way during
And as most things do in academia, it started with students
“Our (theatre) students are accustomed to having rehearsal
every night,” Bombe says. “And they are lost at sea right now with not having a
creative project, but also not having that creative community. It’s part of
what we do in theatre: create this sense of community by working on a piece of
So, since the spring production of “Twelfth Night” was cancelled
(postponed actually as it will be the opening production in the fall), every
Wednesday since late March, Bombe and her students have met to conduct play
readings. It’s been a release . . . and a revelation because she then thought,
why not do the same with her colleagues from across the Hope faculty? Perhaps
they are in need, and want, of a community to help them connect, process and
rethink their time physically away from each other, too?
“With theatre, when we are at our best, we give people ideas to think about and concepts to consider, but we also give them a little window into another world as a form of escape that people need, that people crave,” explains Bombe.
“But it’s also about the community around that escape. That’s what
the faculty have appreciated. Just the fact that they’re getting to see
everybody’s faces in a different way. I mean, it’s one thing to see each other
in a committee or department meeting on Zoom – and the faculty have been great
in those meetings to interject humor and not have it just be about business.
But it’s not the same thing as having a social time together. And that’s what
these play readings are doing for us.”
Dibble, associate professor of communication, concurs. As relational
communications specialist, he was drawn to the Monday night readings for their
connections that “transcend video screens and WiFi airwaves. Humans are social
creatures,” he says. “We find ways to connect even when we don’t have available
our preferred channels.”
His other rationale for taking a role in “Shakespeare in
Love”: He probably would have been watching a two-plus-hours movie anyway. “So
rather than watch a recording of drama,” he explains, “I could witness that
drama unfold live. And all this while getting a glimpse of my beloved Hope
Bombe chose “Our Town” for its meaning, “Shakespeare in
Love” for its fun, and “Borrowed Babies” for its message. “Our Town” in
particular was a crucial choice as the first play in the lineup. Launching the
project from good footing was a priority, and she found some of that strong
base when President
Matthew A. Scogin agreed to read the part of the Stage Manager, a role that
serves as a leader and spokesperson in the play to familiarize the audience
with various aspects of the town of Grover’s Corners.
“I have been so thankful to have Matt Scogin as our president as we go through this time,” she says, “because as a leader, he’s giving us direction and comfort with all kinds of things we need to hear as encouragement.”
“I also thought, we need something that’s going to help us
think about what we have, not what we lost,” Bombe explains. “That’s what I think ‘Our
Town’ is about. It helps us stop for a second and really look at our lives. And
that’s the gift, I think, that is coming out of this pause in our time of
hurry, hurry. Now we are forced to slow down.
“But I also feel incredibly guilty because I’m comfortable in my home,” she continues. “I have food and I have everything I need. And so many people don’t. So, I know it’s a double-edged sword here. But the gift that’s part of this is the fact that we’re all going to look at what we have and be so thankful. That’s what ‘Our Town’ means for me. It’s not the special things. It’s not the highlights. It’s the everyday part of life that matters.”
“I am very sad about the cancelled Hope Summer Repertory Theatre season, and this alleviates some of that sadness,” Joanne Stewart says.
Some colleagues like Dr. Joanne Stewart,
professor of chemistry, just drop in to listen and watch. Like Dibble, she is
gladdened by the community the readings provide as well as for their provision
for another purpose. “I am very sad about the cancelled Hope Summer Repertory Theatre season,
and this alleviates some of that sadness,” Stewart says.
Dibble has other takeaways, too, such as fond memories of “getting
to see more of some folks’ sense of play and lightheartedness. Realizing that
even if we’re physically separated, we can still create together. And we can
still laugh together.”
Oh, and this one last thing: “If you haven’t heard Sonja Trent-Brown’s cockney-accented nurse (for ‘Shakespeare in Love’), then you’re not living at all!”
“I want to note the wonderful contributions of (program manager) Laura McMullen and (associate provost) Dr. Gerald Griffin to our collective life as a campus and their tireless work on behalf of our students. The reimagining of the Celebration of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity (CURCA) as a remote event, with students giving verbal presentations in virtual rooms, was inspired. It was also executed beautifully. Our students, many who would have been also giving off-campus presentations this semester if it were not for the current health crisis, had the opportunity to showcase their excellent work. Friends and parents joined the rooms and learned from their research. Alumni, friends of the college, and academics from across the country and world joined to participate in this event; some of them were wanting to learn about whether they too could coordinate such an event. Laura provided training for the moderators, worked with CIT to ensure a workable system, set up all of the rooms, and provided wonderful communication and encouragement to students. I am so grateful!”
— Dr. Lindsey Root Luna, associate professor of psychology
“I nominate Dr. Donald A. Luidens, director of the Van Raalte Institute, for his efforts to create and maintain an esprit de corps of our small group of dedicated scholars. Four weeks ago today, he initiated a daily round robin conversation in place of our daily coffee time, when we normally share insights gained from our research, talk about local, national and international news, or reminisce about past experiences. He has creatively put forward conversation starters and thoughtful reflections on how to think theologically about the covid-19 pandemic. Two weeks ago, he added a weekly Zoom coffee hour, when we can all see each other on screen and converse with each other.”
— Jack Nyenhuis, Director Emeritus, Van Raalte Institute
When freshman Jaclyn Klinger returned home to Noblesville, Indiana, on March 12 for Hope’s spring break and online classes that were supposed to last only until April 13, she decided to make the most of the situation and head back to work at Northridge Gracious Retirement Living, her place of employment while in high school. She thought working odd shifts for a few weeks at the senior independent living center would give her extra spending money and some flexibility.
But when the COVID-19 pandemic caused Indiana to declare stay-at-home orders on March 23 and when Hope’s temporary move to remote classes became permanent until the end of the spring semester, Klinger made a somewhat long-term decision, too. Instead of just taking shifts here and there, and instead of going back and forth from her home to work them, she decided to stay put at Northridge 24/7.
Klinger has been living there since March 24.
“I didn’t think that [the national crisis] would really get
to the point where it is right now so quickly,” says Klinger. “One of my
coworkers told me that our boss asked her if she wanted to move in, because
it’s just easier and safer being in the building. I was like, ‘That’s an
“So, I talked to my parents about it, and my mom, who is a nurse, said, ‘It honestly might be a better idea if you’re at the building because if I picked something up at the hospital, and you went into work and passed on the virus to a resident, I’d feel awful.’ So, I just decided to move in.”
Klinger and her co-workers now help in a myriad of different
ways at Northridge — serving meals to the residents’ doors, taking out their
trash, offering snacks on a cart, walking their dogs. Their small acts of
service are a huge help to residents who must stay put.
“Right now, the current state is that the residents are not
really allowed to leave their rooms,” she says. “We currently don’t have any
[COVID-19] cases in the building, but there are few other retirement homes in
the area that do have cases. I think they’re really just trying to increase the
safety of the residents and keeping them from sharing anything.”
An instrumental music education major who specializes on French horn, Klinger also plays the piano. Since a baby grand is located in a Northridge common area, she uses it every morning to practice or take her remote keyboard class with Professor Linda Strouf. “Sometimes they are just hearing my random, weird assignments,” Klinger laughs, “but they enjoy hearing the music, I think. They say it sounds nice.”
“She comes to my class every day with her work done and a smile on her face from making a difference in the world in which she is currently living,” says Strouf.
“Being here, I feel thankful that I’m able to work and that I’m healthy, too. I’m glad I can give back to residents with music or chats. It’s a reminder to be thankful for the really small things that we take for granted in a normal-life situation.”
While in the past, Klinger worked solely in the facility’s dining room, now she sees residents a bit more in their living environments, but always from a safe, social distance. She found out that one resident couple loves swing dance and another Trivia Night. One woman enjoys oil painting and recently gave Klinger one of her works of art. “I had just stopped by to offer her a snack, and she said, ‘You see those paintings over there. I paint those. Pick one and it’s yours.’ So, I have a small painting of a mountain range. It was so sweet.”
Though she talks with her parents and sister almost every
day (and sees them occasionally when they drop off personal goods and laundry),
Klinger knows that living and working at Northridge during this crisis has
given her a new appreciation for both the generation she serves as well as her
“Their everyday life has changed so much. They miss their friends who live down the hall, just like I miss mine at Hope,” Klinger reflects. “But they’re super thankful that they’re still healthy, that they can still get up and walk around and take care of themselves.
“So, it’s nice to think about that when I feel bummed out
about not being back at Hope. That’s the hardest thing for me. I don’t get to
finish my semester. I felt like I was getting close to all these people I was
meeting. And now, it’s all cut off.
“But being here, I feel thankful that I’m able to work and that
I’m healthy, too. I’m glad I can give back to residents with music or chats. It’s
a reminder to be thankful for the really small things that we take for granted
in a normal-life situation.”
“My shout-out goes to Amy Otis (senior director) and the entire Center for Global Engagement team for their tireless work with international students and all students who were studying abroad this semester. They have all been going above and beyond, every day. Amy’s work on the coronavirus started back in January and she hasn’t stopped since. Thank you, Amy and team, for making sure that Hope students are well cared for. You are amazing!” — An appreciative, anonymous observer
With the global COVID-19 pandemic spreading across the U.S. in March, closing schools and prompting stay-home orders nationwide, literacy specialist Dr. Deborah Van Duinen, associate professor of English education, pondered how as an educator she could help the school-aged children being affected. As she connected online with colleagues around the country who were in her professional network, it turned out that many of them felt the same way.
The medium and their collective expertise combined to suggest a format. So was born the first National Online Book Club for Kids, an opportunity for 4th through 6th grade students to meet on Zoom to discuss a different selected book each week beginning on Thursday, April 2.
And as a bonus: The authors join them.
“In thinking about how I could respond to the COVID19 outbreak as a literacy professor, it seemed only fitting to explore the ways I could help people, in this case, 4th through 6th graders, come together through reading during this time of uncertainty,” said Van Duinen. “With schools and libraries currently closed, the idea of coming together virtually to talk about books, meet famous authors, and use these conversations to help us cope and respond to our new ‘normals’ seemed most fitting.”
Van Duinen has long been a book-club enthusiast. As a parent, she organizes in-person, mother-daughter and mother-son book clubs. She’s done the same on a grander scale since 2014 as founding director of the Big Read Lakeshore and Little Read Lakeshore, which are Hope-organized programs that each fall engage thousands of community residents in exploring a common text.
The month-long Big Read programs — which are built around books like To Kill a Mockingbird, the Vietnam War memoir The Things They Carried, and the post-apocalyptic novel Station Eleven — and the Little Read programs that feature children’s books emphasize not only the pleasure of reading but exploring the larger issues that the books raise. In the same way, the online club’s selections and discussions are considering themes like hope, grief, loss of control, and caring for and finding strength through connection to others.
“As the director of
the Big Read Lakeshore, I’ve seen firsthand the beautiful things that happen
when people come together around a common book,” Van Duinen said. “During this time of COVID19, we need more
spaces and places where community can be fostered. We also need good books to
speak into how we are feeling and making sense of what is happening around us.”
The club’s premiere on April 2, featuring author Ruth Vanderzee and her book Next Year: Hope in the Dust, gathered 100 participants. A week later, with Cece Bell and her book El Deafo, it was 200 children. And the numbers have continued to climb.
developing and running the online book club has very much been a team
effort. The organizers, all of whom are
volunteers, include about 10 educators, among them not only college faculty like
Van Duinen but elementary and high school librarians, teachers and counselors
from a mix of rural and urban systems. The
Big Read and Little Read programs always bring the books’ authors to Hope or
Holland, a model that’s continued virtually with each book club session.
“The authors are
valued partners in what we’re doing,” Van Duinen said. “They’ve all been enthusiastic about
participating and generous with their time.”
Each club meeting runs
an hour. Following a brief welcome and
introduction, the authors talk about their book and then participate in a
question-and-answer time with the children, after which everyone divides into
small-group breakout sessions with discussion questions based on the book. The discussions are guided, led by teachers,
professors and school counselors as well as Hope education students. The children then come back together for a
“As the director of the Big Read Lakeshore, I’ve seen firsthand the beautiful things that happen when people come together around a common book,” Van Duinen said. “During this time of COVID19, we need more spaces and places where community can be fostered. We also need good books to speak into how we are feeling and making sense of what is happening around us.”
Having promoted the online book club through their own social media and (socially distanced) word of mouth, the organizers weren’t sure what sort of turnout to expect, but the response has been gratifying. The club’s premiere on April 2, featuring author Ruth Vanderzee and her book Next Year: Hope in the Dust, gathered 100 participants. A week later, with Cece Bell and her book El Deafo, it was 200 children who Zoom-ed in from throughout the United States with interested participants from Puerto Rico, Canada and England. And the numbers have continued to climb, an enthusiastic response that has prompted the team to continue the club’s run well past the initial plan.
“It’s amazing how wide the reach has been. People none of us are connected with are finding out about it,” Van Duinen said. “We were just going to do it for a few weeks, but because of the positive responses that we’ve received from students, parents and authors, we’re going through the end of May.”
To learn more about the book club, and especially if you know a 4th-6th grader who would enjoy the club, please visit its website or find it on Instagram or Facebook. In addition to the April 2 and 9 events mentioned in the story, the books and authors currently scheduled are: Merci Suárez Changes Gears, with Meg Medina (April 16); Ms. Bixby’s Last Day, with John David Anderson (April 23); Bridge to Terabithia, with Katherine Patterson (April 30); Front Desk, with Kelly Yang (May 7); Superman Smashes the Klan, with Gene Leun Yang (May 14); and Refugee, with Alan Gratz (May 21).
The club meets at 5 p.m. EST (2 p.m. PST and 4pm CST). Advance registration is required.
“I want to give a shout out to the Dine At Hope leadership team, specifically Service Manager Liz Hinkley, who organized these cute Easter Bags for our students staying on campus. Students were quite surprised on Sunday morning to come in and have a bright colorful gift waiting for them along with their meal!”
— Bob VanHeukelom, Director of Hospitality Operations