Summer Bridge

The Summer Bridge Program was more than arriving at Hope two/three weeks earlier than my
peers; but was a program that has supported me throughout my college career by giving me all
the resources I didn’t know I needed to thrive at Hope College. Like many others, the excitement
of meeting other first-year students, earning college credit, and becoming familiar with campus
life drew me to the program. However, in completing the program, I understood what life at
Hope could be like if I utilized the incredible resources Hope has to offer and understood the
importance of connections. As one of the 2022 Summer Bridge Directors, I can confidently say
the Bridge program was one of the best opportunities I took advantage of in my time at Hope.
Even now, as a rising Senior, the Bridge community has encouraged me to value my identity,
grow in my leadership skills and be an agent of change every day.

My most extensive advice to the incoming Bridge students is to be kind, pursue your potential,
and always have a curiosity to learn, whether it be from the classroom or others. To the
incoming Summer Bridge students — the Summer Bridge staff can not wait to walk alongside
you during this foundational experience. We are so glad you chose Bridge to welcome you to the
next exciting chapter of your life!

Generosity at Hope

A message from Josh Abbas,

As Vice President of Student Congress, I have had the opportunity to see the many things
students involve themselves in. With 50+ student organizations and 20+ sports teams, the student
body is filled with diverse experiences, ideas, and identities. With so many opportunities to
choose from, it is easy for students to feel like they are running a four-year marathon, competing
to see who can fit the most into their college experience. Some (myself included) sprint early and
burn out quickly, while others jog comfortably, knowing when to slow down and take a breather.
One thing I’ve noticed from those who set their rhythm well is the practice of living generously.
As a student, generosity can be a loaded word. No, I’m not asking you to get out your wallet, nor
am I asking you to “be generous with your time” and start saying yes to everything that comes
your way. Instead, be generous to your time. One thing a busy schedule doesn’t make room for
is the capacity to be present and available. Joyful opportunities like coffee with a professor or
going to a last-minute concert with a friend are always out of reach when my schedule looks like
Van Gogh’s next piece. A planner packed with to-dos left no space to be generous with anything.
One way to live generously is to set a rhythm that gives space for generosity to fall into place.
Other than time, students also have a lot to give! Students are extraordinary and have a wealth of
strengths to invest in a whole new environment. Whether it’s giving a TEDx talk, conducting
research, serving food, gardening, or winning a national championship, I’ve seen countless
incredible things students are capable of. Be generous with your gifts, and you’ll find that
there’s plenty you can do.
Finally, accept the generosity of others. As you begin your college career, others will want to
invest in you. Orientation leaders, RA’s, professors, chaplains, and more. These leaders have a
lot to say and much to give (maybe even free coffee). Their part in my life made college more
than a place to get an education. It was also where I could learn how to be a good human. So
reach out, or take hold of the opportunity to accept someone’s generosity, and then remember to
be generous with what you’ve learned to those that come after you.
Generosity is a trademark of Hope and one that I am sure you will find. The pace of college life
doesn’t slow down, but amidst this culture of busyness, generosity can ground us and make it

Getting Involved & S2S

Hello, class of 2026! My name is Carole Chee and I am beyond excited to welcome you to campus in just a few short months. Along with Amadu Bah, I am coordinating the Step2Success (S2S) program, which is an invitation-only, pre-orientation program designed for students from diverse and minoritized backgrounds. Students and their families move to campus one day early with plenty of helping hands, learn about the resources available to them, and participate in fun, community-building activities like dinner and a trip to the beach. If you qualify for this program, which runs from August 25th-26th, you have likely been in contact with one of us or will be soon! 

I am a rising junior double majoring in English Literature and Women’s & Gender Studies with a minor in Sociology. I like to call this my study in stories—a focused, intentional analysis of the voices that too often go unheard and unvalued. Though I currently call Grand Rapids, MI home, I’m a Third Culture Kid (TCK) and have lived in China, Malaysia, and varying parts of the United States. On campus, I’m involved in the Asian Student Union (ASU), Hope’s Adoptee Organization, and am a former Phelps Scholar! I also run the Theatre Department props shop, work behind the Van Wylen Library’s research help desk, and edit for the Anchor Student Newspaper.  If any of these are areas that you are interested in, please reach out to me! Email me at and I would love to talk to you—as an introvert, I highly value and look forward to learning from meaningful, one-on-one conversations. In sum, I want to talk to you!

I’ve been asked to give a few pieces of advice, so from my limited experience what I have to offer are these conflicting recommendations: get involved, but not too much. One of the biggest lessons you will undoubtedly learn, in life as much as throughout college, is about balance. Through the S2S program, students are presented with a plethora of resources, each matched with a friendly face and inviting welcome. There is nothing wrong with this! Our goal is surely to acquaint you with everything Hope offers, from the Boerigter Center for Calling and Career to the many Multicultural Student Organizations (MSOs) you can join. Please take advantage of these wonderful opportunities that seek to understand and uplift you. 

That being said, be sure to practice caution. I’m really not one to talk, but avoid filling up your schedule to a dangerous extent. To engage in a well-rounded college experience, as our liberal arts curriculum encourages, a vital and undervalued commitment is free time. Cushion your schedule with time to nap, to meet with a friend, or take yourself out to coffee—whatever you need to stay refreshed, healthy, and sane. That could look like anything from scrolling on your phone to pulling out your yoga mat. Don’t push yourself to move from one event to another in mere minutes. Breathe—and focus on you for a moment, no matter how brief it may be. 

As you navigate this tricky time of meeting people, finding your passions, and nurturing yourself, never be afraid to Ask for Help. As a Step2Success coordinator—and more importantly, as a student and a human being—this is my favorite of Orientation’s core messages. There are an incredible amount of resources available to you simply by virtue of being enrolled at Hope College. One of these is the Center for Diversity and Inclusion (CDI), which is currently housed on 8th Street at the Keppel House. For many students, Keppel House is their strongest support system; every single day, it is overflowing with community, ranging from the Hope Advocates for Invisible Conditions to the Women of Color United. These are just two of the organizations, programming, and supports that want to welcome YOU to campus with open arms. 

To get connected, follow CDI on Instagram (@hopecollegecdi), email us at, or stop by Keppel House! Great connections are also Jevon Willis, the director of CDI (, Dina Martinez-Matchinsky, the assistant director of CDI (, and Margo Walters, the program coordinator, office manager, and our saving grace ( They are always willing and eager to connect with students! Check out the CDI website to learn even more. 

Another great way to get connected is through our aforementioned MSOs: the Asian Student Union, Black Student Union, Hope Advocates for Invisible Conditions, Latino Student Organization, Pan-African Student Association, Prism, and Women of Color United). 

These are all resources that we stress and highlight throughout Step2Success because they are vital to finding and developing community on campus. Getting involved, meeting new people, and building a support system along the way are exactly the steps that we want to help you take! If this is something that interests you, please take advantage of these amazing opportunities throughout your entire time at Hope College. If you’ve been invited to S2S, we strongly suggest that you register! Even if you aren’t able to, we look forward to meeting you and hearing your powerful, unique stories on campus. To echo the extraordinary activist Brené Brown, “No one belongs here more than you.” 

Value Differences

A message from Student Congress President Helen Weston,

Class of 2026, I am so happy that you are here! Your long awaited transition into independence and adulthood begins here, but it does not mean that you are alone! Hope College and your peers within the class of 2026 come from all walks of life, all new to college, all a bit unsure of what the next four years will entail. But take a deep breath! As incoming new students, you are all here for the same thing: to learn, grow, and prepare yourself for a fruitful future–though expressed in beautifully different ways! I hope this level of equality brings you some type of peace and allows you to value the differences in all of us.

The value of our differences is found in the fact that we are all beloved children of God yet He has made each of us profoundly different and unique; we are irreplicable while all being made in the likeness of Christ. When we are able to acknowledge our unity while celebrating our uniqueness is when the value of our differences flourishes. 

So how do we do that? How can I value our differences when their life looks so different from mine? Great question! You may never fully know what your peer has or is going through, but the action of listening, reflecting, and loving without judgment will take you pretty close to it. So, when you encounter someone who thinks, looks, or lives differently than you (and you surely will) find the ways in which you are similar, we are much more similar than we first assume. We are all students motivated by the things that make us feel safe and understood and that fill us with passion and excitement. With this acknowledgement of similarities, lean into the ways that set you apart. We can do this by listening to each other with a thoughtful and conscious heart. When we do so, we extend grace and let our peers know that they are heard and understood. This extension of grace might go further than we think it does, we all want to be heard and understood. With this posture of listening and doing our best to understand, we have a lot to learn from each other. As you enter college and meet a wide range of people, I challenge you to especially listen to the people who think, look, and live differently than you. My greatest learning moments in college thus far have been when I listened and tried my best to understand someone I disagreed with rather than tuning them out because they weren’t affirming what I believed. If we enter each encounter with the understanding that we are much more similar than we think and with the grace to listen something new, the beauty of our differences can reach their full potential. 

The action of valuing differences is a worthwhile lifelong commitment. When we do so, we are exposed to the goodness and glory of God in that He would create us all in His image yet love us so tenderly that He would make all of us irreplaceably unique. I hope that as you transition into a new season at Hope College that you extend the grace you are so freely given to everyone else and know that your differences–the things that make you, you–are valued, loved, and cherished here. 

Life at Hope from a Faithful Perspective

A message from Senior Tim Wageman,

As the I walked up the stairs to Dimnent Chapel, I was greeted with “we’re glad you’re here” and high fives. The great wooden doors opened to reveal that Dimnent was just as beautiful inside as the outside. Scurrying along to find my seat in the packed Friday chapel, it was a different atmosphere. The sun peeked through the beautiful stain glassed windows illuminating the room. Immediately, I knew this space and these people were special. 

The last three years have been nothing short of miraculous. There was not a lack of difficulties or challenges. However, the gift of having someone walk alongside you is unparalleled. That is one of the greatest treasures of the Campus Ministries team. In my experience, it was a lot of sitting with me through questioning and learning – as I’m sure there are several you in that same spot. They are ready to sit with you in the heartache and celebrate you in your accomplishments. I have had the privilege of being involved with small groups, an immersion trip, and the worship team. All three are some of my favorite outlets at Hope. Small groups provided me with a space in which my story was known, and I was able to meet some of my closest friends to this day. The immersion trip allowed me to serve my brothers and sisters. The worship team gave me space to make joyful noises that please God.

Our own President Scogin said, “the only appropriate response to grace is gratitude.” I am grateful. I am grateful that Hope has been a place where I get to wrestle with the big questions of life and faith. I am grateful that the academic sphere has given me the opportunity to reflect on how my work and beliefs interact with one another. I am grateful for God’s grace.

In addition to sharing stories of Hope, I want to pass along some practical advice about what I wish someone would have given to me before I started my freshman year:

  • Work a 9:00-5:00 day. In college, you spend a lot less time in class. A tip that helped me was every weekday from 9:00am to 5:00pm was my workday. I would attend class, work, and get schoolwork done in the time frame. That freed me up to have stress free nights of playing IMs, going on donut runs, and hanging out at coffee house.
  • Eat your vegetables. I get it, we have an ice cream machine, and you should eat lots of it (I apologize to all my lactose intolerant friends). However, it’s important to remember take care of your physical and mental health. Schedule time to be physically active. Take study breaks. And eat your vegetables.
  • Use a planner. I was anti-planner for all of high school, and that changed almost immediately upon arriving at Hope. Whether it is using Google Calendar, a physical planner, or hundreds of sticky notes, find a system that works for you. This will alleviate the pains of forgetting assignments and overcommitting yourself.
  • Ask good questions. There are so many smart people at Hope. Smart professors, smart classmates, a smart president. Ask them questions! It doesn’t even have to be directly related to their area of expertise. My friend’s favorite question to ask is, “what brings you joy?”
  • Attend Chapel and The Gathering. You will never have class during Chapel, and The Gathering is a great way to launch into your week on Sunday night. Plus, in my opinion, Dimnent Chapel is the most beautiful building on campus. 
  • You are worthy, and I am proud of you. This is a hard transition and Hope has an incredible community that just wants to walk with you (our orientation team is the quintessential example of that). 

I will leave you with the words from the Apostle Paul to the church in Philippi.

“Therefore, my brothers and sisters, you whom I love and long for, my joy and crown, stand firm in the Lord in this way, dear friends!”

Philippians 4:1

Go in peace. 

The College Transition during a Global Pandemic

Welcome back to the Orientation blog! Today, Assistant Director Sarah Gruchow shares some of her thoughts after her experience this past year at Hope as a freshman. We know that new students are transitioning to college during a weird time, so we hope that her advice inspires you:

Graduating during a pandemic was quite the surprise and I can recall the day that school got canceled like it was yesterday. I felt an immense amount of shock and disbelief and had no idea what to expect and boy did I not expect the cards that were dealt. Not getting those last few months of high school was hard and the transition to college seemed extremely difficult and although it was a windy and long road we got through it. But hey, I did it and boy was it something. I had no idea what to expect coming to college during a global pandemic and it was hard, but at the same time it was filled with so many incredible memories.

I’ve learned through all of this that we have to make the most of what we are given no matter the circumstances. We have the ability to make any situation the best we can and I strived to do just that. At Hope I met some of the best friends I could have ever asked for and I am very lucky to be able to say that. I know it can be hard to make friends at college and even harder when we are told to basically stay away from each other. By putting yourself out there, easier said than done I know, you can meet some incredible people and Hope college is filled with those. Knock on your neighbor’s door, ask to go to dinner with strangers, go to all your dorm activities and introduce yourself to others, try your best to join clubs or go to activities around campus. There are so many ways to meet people!

This transition is hard and during a pandemic it’s even harder, but we’ve done it once and we can do it again. Persevere, my friends, and good things are bound to come your way. And during these hard times it’s easy to make bad things worse, but try the hard thing and make the most of it. Go on adventures, laugh with friends, and live it up! 🙂

Sarah Gruchow is a rising sophomore from Grand Rapids, MI, studying Environmental Science with a Biology Concentration.

Words of Wisdom on the 5 Messages: Be a Good Human

Welcome back to the Orientation Blog! Today, Assistant Director Haley is giving some Words of Wisdom on the 4th message of Orientation, Be a Good Human:

Being a good human means living in a way that shows care and love for the people and the planet around you. It can be easy at college to put the emphasis on school. While classes are important and a big reason why you’re at Hope, I encourage you to also put effort into being intentional in the ways you interact with those around you. 

At Hope, I have experienced the unique love and light from so many good friends, classmates, and professors. I learned from my religion professor that being a good human means being patient and being willing to have difficult conversations. I learned from the TEDx speakers that being a good human means standing up for what you believe in. I learned from a close friend that being a good human means extending a hand and simply sitting with people in tough times. I have discovered that in my life, being a good human means taking care of the planet and doing what I can to make sustainable choices. 

Whether this looks like inviting a classmate to sit with you at lunch, asking your neighbor in your residence hall if they want to go to chapel, or simply letting a friend know you are thinking of them through a stressful week, it is crucial to be kind to the people around you. It is also important to show humility and learn from the people around you. My faith is very important to me, and I think that being a good human has a lot to do with living a life like Jesus. Being a good human is rooted in action, so be bold and brave in the way you love those around you!

Haley Katenin is a rising senior from Quincy, Illinois studying Biomedical Engineering with an Electrical emphasis with a Neuroscience Minor.

Words of Wisdom on the 5 Messages: Ask For Help

Welcome back to the Orientation Blog! Today, Assistant Director James is giving some wisdom on one of our five messages of Orientation: Ask For Help.

ASK FOR HELP! Easier said than done, right? As an incoming college student, you are faced with what feels like an infinite number of new opportunities, but unfortunately, along with some of these new adventures come new difficulties. You might feel anxious about being away from your family for the first time, or perhaps your Intro to Biology course was not as easy as it was in high school. Regardless, Hope College has a wide variety of resources for students to take advantage of at no cost to them. Hope College students can apply for tutors, get counseling, work with peers in study groups and so much more. The best thing about all of these options is all you have to do is ask for help!

My entire life, I always struggled with asking for help. To me, asking for help showed vulnerability and weakness, it was admitting I wasn’t quite good enough. A simple fact of life is that this is just not the case. It wasn’t until a mentor of mine at Hope sat down with me and had a conversation on the subject matter. In our conversation, he gave me a quote that helped change my college experience and I think might be extraordinarily helpful to incoming students experiencing similar things to what I did. The quote he shared stated, “Asking for help doesn’t make you weak – it reveals strength, even when you don’t feel strong.”

“Asking for help doesn’t make you weak – it reveals strength, even when you don’t feel strong.”

In my opinion, there is a lot of power in this quote and remembering and practicing life with these words can make a big difference as I know it has in my life. College is an amazing place to be with so many amazing opportunities, but struggles are an inevitable part of life. So, remember, when these moments of need come about, don’t be afraid to ASK FOR HELP!!! 🙂

James Bird is a rising Senior from Rockford, MI studying Biochemistry and Molecular Biology.

Words of Wisdom on the 5 Messages: Value Differences

Welcome back to the Orientation blog! Today, an Assistant Director, Abigail Pineda, is sharing some words of wisdom on one of our five messages: Value Differences.

Let me be one other person out of many to welcome you to one of the most exciting seasons of your life. Your time at Hope College will be unlike anybody else’s experience and there’s something really cool about that. Yet, you should know that you do not walk alone because we are all in the same place at the same time. With this in mind, our Orientation community encourages you to value the differences you will undoubtedly be a witness to. 

I have always appreciated the use of mnemonic devices because of the practicality they provide. For this reason, I wanted to share my Three L’s to Valuing Differences.   

The first L is for ‘Listen more’. Meeting people where they are with a listening ear often will make a greater impact than you can imagine. Showing genuine interest for the stories of others is such a compassionate way of honoring everyone’s differences. To listen more in a way that is meaningful, it is incredibly helpful to invite people in that space with vulnerability, when appropriate. Many of my favorite memories that these last three years have gifted me with include just that; opening up to people and having the opportunity to walk alongside each other. All someone ever wants is to be seen and heard. Give others that same gift whenever possible. 

Another L that I think is also imperative to valuing differences is to ‘Learn always’. Having the ability to seek understanding and knowledge to empower others is such a privilege. Learning can look more than one way and guess what, it’ll take time and effort but it is beyond worth it. Read that book. Engage with that podcast episode. Seek to know more and be a part of something bigger than yourself. Participate in the student organization or group that challenges you in efforts to educate yourself.   

Finally, the third L is for ‘Lean in’. It is perfectly okay to admit that you will never fully know or understand what it is like to be in someone else’s place. Sometimes, that is more than enough and just the right thing someone needs to hear. If this is the case, still pursue with validation and affirmation. Valuing differences is an active journey without a destination. And one that is not always easy. When it gets uncomfortable, lean in even more. 

Valuing differences is an active journey without a destination.

Abby Pineda

Along with the other five core messages you will be exposed to during Orientation, I hope these Three L’s to Valuing Differences have served you well. Orientation is just the start to what I hope will be the most incredible and blessed chapter of your life. 

Abigail Pineda is a rising Senior from Texas studying for a Business Major with a Communications Minor.

Words of Wisdom on The 5 Messages: Mindset Matters

Welcome back to the Orientation blog! Today, an Assistant Director, Kylie Galloway, is sharing some words of wisdom on the first of our five messages: Mindset Matters.

When I arrived on campus in August of 2018, I found myself far away from home and did not know anyone at Hope. In fact, barely any friends or family thought I would leave Minnesota for college because I was a homebody who didn’t even like sleepovers when I was younger!

It’s safe to say I was quite overwhelmed as I moved into Dykstra Hall and Orientation began. I remember my first O-Team meeting clearly. A few freshmen in the group were confident and chatting with our Orientation Assistants, but I remember looking around at several shy, intimidated faces, much like I imagine my own.

My mom and I on move-in day, August 2018

One of the first things we talked about was the five messages of Orientation: Mindset Matters, Believe in Yourself, Value Differences, Ask for Help, and Be a Good Human.

I needed to hear those messages; they shifted my mindset that first evening. I realized we were all new to Hope and this whole college thing; I wasn’t experiencing this alone. From then on, my mindset shaped how the highs and lows affected me. It wasn’t so much a timid attitude anymore. I was resilient in each opportunity.

Reminiscing on those first few weeks at Hope, the phrase “mindset matters” got me through the great days and the tough days, the days when I was super homesick and the days when I felt like Hope was becoming home. Going into my senior year, I realize that the phrase “mindset matters” has actually affected my entire college experience. 

First day of college

In hindsight, I wish I began shaping my mindset before I arrived on campus. Don’t get me wrong, I definitely arrived hopeful and full of excitement, but it was certainly a hard transition. Knowing how much the phrase “Mindset Matters” has impacted my personal experience, I challenge you to begin shaping your mindset before you arrive on campus. Why not start before your college experience even begins?! 

Mindset is described as the lens through which we process the events of our lives and, therefore, it shapes our experiences.  I like to think of mindset as the lens on a telescope. It helps us examine different parts of our lives and gives us a greater understanding of those experiences, much like a telescope helps us see different parts of the world around us.

Professors often talk about having a “growth mindset,” but that mindset goes beyond the classroom. If growth isn’t top of mind, we are stagnant. As college students, growth opportunities are at every turn. Whether it be a new topic in class, a leadership opportunity, or simply life experience, growth is inevitable. A growth mindset takes every twist and turn life gives us and turns them into learning experiences, changing us for the better.

When I say college is a rollercoaster, it is. From incredible opportunities and amazing friendships to a year filled with mask-wearing and physical distancing, there have been many highs and lows in my personal experience. But, I’ve realized that mindset has the power to stabilize the rollercoaster. It’s easy to get caught up in the great and, some days, in the not-so-great, but a growth-centered mindset gives us the ability to turn the ups and downs into learning opportunities for the future. 

But, I’ve realized that mindset has the power to stabilize the rollercoaster.

Kylie Galloway

Mindset matters because it frames the way we experience each day, not only during Orientation, but during our entire lives. Before you arrive on campus in about a month and a half, take a moment and think about your mindset as you begin the next chapter of life. And remember, we’re all here to walk alongside you through it! You’re not alone, we’ve been there too. 

Kylie Galloway is a rising senior from Minnesota studying Communication with a Spanish and History Minor.