Hope College isn’t just a place; it’s a community. A regular feature within “Stories of Hope,” People of Hope explores what that means by highlighting some of the students, faculty and staff who help make the campus family what it is.
Senior, Bloomington, Indiana
Co-Director, 2023 New Student Orientation
Junior, Minneapolis, Minnesota
Co-Director, 2023 New Student Orientation
Clara Voskuil found Hope College through her parents’ history as students. “Hope College has always been near and dear to my family. My parents both attended Hope, and I grew up visiting family in Holland, attending different Hope camps in the summer months.”
Elsie Craig found Hope College through her desire for a liberal arts education in a specific location. “When looking at colleges, I looked at a lot of liberal arts schools. I am from Minnesota – and while I love Minnesota, I wanted to live in a different part of the Midwest.”
Both found a similar reason to say yes to Hope. During an independent tour of campus, Elsie encountered a few students sitting in the Pine Grove located in the center of campus. “I remember talking to them for probably an hour. They were generous in their time and shared their experiences at Hope,” Craig said. “Those two students framed the culture of Hope College for me.” Similarly, Voskuil remarked, “When I realized that Hope could offer me not only the classes and degrees that I wanted in a four-year college, but also a close-knit community dedicated to progress and student relations, I was excited to call Hope my home.”
When they arrived at Hope as freshmen they participated in New Student Orientation, a multi-day introduction to Hope and college life organized and led by students. And it was because of their experiences with New Student Orientation that they are now co-directors. “The ultimate goal of orientation is not necessarily to overwhelm students with information about Hope College and what to expect the next several years; rather, our team is working to ensure both students and families the smoothest transition possible in what can be an incredibly formative period in an individual’s life,” Voskuil said.
“The ultimate goal of orientation is not necessarily to overwhelm students with information about Hope College and what to expect the next several years; rather, our team is working to ensure both students and families the smoothest transition possible in what can be an incredibly formative period in an individual’s life.”Clara Voskuil
“Orientation creates space for students to transition into a new phase of their lives and the orientation staff is prepared to support the new students and represent the culture of Hope College,” agreed Craig.
It’s clear that Elsie and Clara are grateful to have a partner in their role as directors. “I think I lucked out with the best co-director, Clara Voskuil. Before orientation, we did not know each other, but this summer we have become really close friends and I am very grateful for her. She leads with empathy and compassion and deeply cares about other people and orientation,” Craig said.
“Orientation creates space for students to transition into a new phase of their lives and the Orientation staff is prepared to support the new students and represent the culture of Hope College.”Elsie Craig
“Working alongside Elsie has also been just an absolute joy and privilege for me personally. I have never laughed or learned more while still managing to get a job done. It’s amazing what riding a tandem bike with another person for an entire summer will do for team bonding,” Voskuil said. “I believe that both Elsie and the larger Student Life staff perfectly symbolize Hope College as a whole: generous, involved, honest, and FUN!”
And generous and involved are perfect ways to describe both Clara’s and Elsie’s perspectives of life after college. “I am still not quite sure what I want to do for my career,” Craig said. “It is really important to me that I have a job where I can lead well and continue to learn and grow. This summer has also taught me that I want a role where I can laugh with others and have authentic relationships.”
“Due to varying opportunities like engineering research, math classes, and work as orientation director, I feel consequently drawn to varying career paths, such as engineering professor, high school math teacher, or some position in higher ed,” Voskuil said. “I’m currently giving some thought to going to grad school for engineering education centered around diversity, equity and inclusion in the engineering workplace, but we’ll see what happens!”