Blog

Live Where You Learn

By Kristyn Bochniak, Associate Dean for Residential Life and Education

Picture it: You are a high school graduate ready to make “the big move” to become a college student with a college life, on a college campus, in college housing. You are ready to start a new chapter where independence and learning are your new way of life. You are ready! And you know what? We are ready for you, too!

Living in the same campus environment where you learn makes your Hope education as complete as it can be.

Living on Hope’s beautiful, 150-acre campus is an integral part of every Hope student’s experience. When you live in any one of our 11 residence halls, 13 apartment buildings, or 75 cottages, you are residing in the same campus environment in which you learn, making your Hope education as complete as it can be. You will be immersed in a social AND intellectual community, one that is both friendly and challenging. And that’s the point: a Hope education is a holistic education that includes residential life.

Imagine beyond your first year

Example of Vorhees Hall room
Large windows and abundant natural lighting are a bonus in many of our residence halls.

Imagine your life at Hope long-term, not just one term! We encourage our students think beyond a first-year mindset and have a four-year perspective when it comes to housing because what makes living on campus at Hope so unique is your living experiences grow as you grow.

As you make connections and build relationships in residence halls during freshmen and sophomore years, you’ll be meeting people with whom you’ll want to share cottages and apartments with as juniors and seniors. Usually by third or fourth year, you’ll be ready for a more independent environment yet you’ll still receive support from residential life, maintenance, and campus safety staff who are all committed to making your housing experience enjoyable.

Unique options for all

Kitchen in a Hope College cottage.
Example of a Hope cottage kitchen.
Dining room inside a Hope College cottage.
Dining room inside a cottage at Hope.

At Hope, our college-owned cottages and apartments are distinctive and varied. Some are larger. Some are smaller. Some apartments are downtown above local shops. Some cottages are historic homes. Some are themed for students who speak Spanish or French; for students involved in Campus Ministries or International Education; for Greek life; and, for students who participate in Emmaus Scholars, Phelps Scholars and Day1.

As for residence halls, some rooms are doubles, some are triples, and some are suites. Most halls have a community kitchen, computer labs and a common living area.

Whatever space you live in though, it is yours to personalize and call home. Our Hope RAs (resident assistants) are also there to give 24/7 care and support because they are Hope students, too, living right where you live. They’re there to ensure all our residents feel safe, included and respected in their campus home.

Steps ahead

Phelps Hall room at Hope CollegeDeposit-paid incoming freshman will receive housing information in late May.  Roommate requests can be accommodated, but it’s usually not necessary to request a roommate. Our team works diligently  with great care and attention to hand-match roommates from the information they provide on housing questionnaire cards. There is no random placement.

A Hope education is a holistic education and that most certainly includes residential life.

Still have questions? We have answers and are glad to help. Please ask us at housing@hope.edu. We want to make your move to Home Sweet Hope an enjoyable and memorable one.

A Liberal Arts Education

By: Monica Teuthorn

Going into the college search, there were a lot of things I didn’t know. There seemed to be a whole new vocabulary of words and terms that applied to college that I didn’t have prior knowledge of. One of those terms was liberal arts. From the word itself and how it was used I began to build my own understanding of it, but it wasn’t until I was at Hope experiencing Liberal Arts for myself that I began to really understand and appreciate a Liberal Arts education.

I was always told that liberal arts was essentially a school were you had to take classes that weren’t for your major. That is all I really understood though. It didn’t make sense to me why anyone would choose to take classes that weren’t for their major or why someone would choose to go to a school that required them to do that. I remember talking to many friends who all had different views on liberal arts schools. Some preferred them, and some were avoiding them. This all just made me more confused though and harder to make up my own mind. I ended up deciding on Hope with that still confused idea of what a Liberal Arts education was.

Specifically, for me as a psych major, I feel that the way the Liberal Arts education has benefited me the most is through allowing me to explore a little to see what it is I am passionate about. I came in as a Psych major thinking I wanted to get into child psychology. I began to hear more about Social Work though and became really interested in it. I took a few Social Work classes but in the end, I decided that Psych was still a better fit for me, and I wasn’t even setback for having tried those classes. I was very conflicted before I took the classes though, and I think that, had I not been given the chance to explore, I would have continued my major with doubts about whether or not I was in the right place. Thankfully, a Liberal Arts education has allowed me to be confident in my decisions.

I’ve been at Hope for two years now, and it has become a lot clearer to me what a liberal arts education is and how it can benefit me. A Liberal Arts education primarily works at giving me a well-rounded education. I feel more confident in my abilities in all different areas and disciplines and not just in my major. A Liberal Arts education has shown me the connections between different disciplines helping me to get a broader and more creative view of my own major while also helping me to understand others and what they are working towards in their majors. I am grateful for having fallen in love with a liberal arts college even though I didn’t know what that meant at the time. I am only half way through, and I already see the rewards from my decision.

A Texan’s Experience in the Mitten State

I constantly receive questions about how and why I ended up in Michigan all the way from Texas. People always ask how I am adjusting to the winter, how I heard about Hope or what made it stand out.

Hope is a special place with kind people. There is no perfect college, but there are some non-negotiables when it came to picking a college. I wanted a small school with a vibrant community. I wanted a place where I could be pushed to grow. I wanted a school that could fulfill my academic goals, spiritual needs, and lifelong friends.

I always knew I wanted to go far away from home for college. Why not? If you have the opportunity to go somewhere completely different for a few years, take it. Don’t get me wrong, there are wonderful reasons to stay near home — home cooked meals and free laundry can come in handy, but If I could go back in time and look back at my college decision process, I’d still pick Hope College.

The first time I visited Hope was right about now in my senior year and I quickly learned that winter in the Midwest means heaps of snow, frosty temperatures, and many excuses for hot cocoa. With that being said, here are some other lessons I’ve learned being 1,200 miles from home — outside of the importance of warm layers.

  1. Homesickness is a real thing

Unfortunately, homesickness is a real thing. Whether you miss the tacos like I do or you miss your pets, you are bound to feel homesick. However, you shouldn’t be afraid of it. Change can be hard and scary, but there is so much growth that comes from it. The first time I got homesick, I thought I was the only one feeling this way. This is not true – it’s normal. So many of my friends struggled with it in our first semester. It’s important to acknowledge those tough feelings and talk through them. I remember talking about homesickness with one of my professors and after I let those confusing feelings out, I felt much more at peace being at Hope.

  1. Get ready for the layers

The feeling when you walk into a warm building after being outside for an extended period of time is indescribable. I love being right on Lake Michigan – even in the winter when you can walk out and see the frozen waves. I used to think anything below 50 degrees was cold, but like I said earlier, there’s nothing a few layers can’t fix.  Be prepared to layer up and down multiple times a day — in every season! It may be a hassle at first, but you’ll get used to it. I actually enjoyed the process of buying all of my winter attire and everyone was so willing to help. Who knew there are so many options and features in parkas and snow boots?

  1. You will find a community

I was incredibly nervous coming into Hope because I didn’t know anyone here. I was nervous about the shorter breaks and what I would find myself doing since I wouldn’t be able to go home. I was nervous about finding a church that I connected with. I was nervous about getting to the grocery store and the list goes on and on. If this sounds anything like you, you will find a community and be more than okay.  It may take some time, but you’ll have more than one offer of where to go to Thanksgiving dinner. People will text you to check in on you. I receive texts from staff and professors asking if I need anything because they know I may need the extra encouragement. As I spend more time here, Holland has felt more and more like home. You will be taken care of.

If you’re looking at Hope from a Texas or a few thousand miles away, I strongly recommend a Fly-In weekend! Getting to be on campus and catch a glimpse of what your life could look like, despite being so far from home, is such an important step in this process. Hope College is worth it and it may be the school that stands out makes you feel like home despite the distance. It’s normal to have worries, fears, and uncertainties. It’s healthy. Hope College has challenged me in so many ways. Like I said, if I could go back to my college decision process, I would pick Hope College over and over again.

 

“Have to” to “Get to”

By: Rourke Mullins

“If you want something you have never had, you must be willing to do something you have never done”.

These words sit closely to me in this season of life. The time is coming that I walk across the stage and receive my diploma and start a new stage of life after college, a season called adulting. It is incredibly exciting but also extraordinarily frightening. You might feel the same way as this season of change is quickly approaching you also. I remember the thought of college being exhilarating while also crippling when thinking of leaving home, friends, and family. So how do we work through this? How do we embrace this change and excel through this season?

I have always been one to dislike change. When I was in your shoes I wasn’t even able to see the excitement of going to college. When I was in your shoes, I was so scared of what was to come even though at the end of the day I knew I could do it. Many of you might feel this same way with being frightened by the idea of change but knowing very well inside you that you have what it takes.

When I was in your shoes feeling this way of only seeing the negative in change, I was lucky enough to have someone step into my life and share a few words of wisdom. They told me, “Rourke, you don’t have to deal with change, you get to!” At first, I thought the person who shared this with me was crazy but after some time I realized how true that statement was!

Let me first say every single one of you are capable of working through this change. Every single one of you who are worried and scared by change are already more than prepared to handle this next stage of life, believe in yourself! Second, let’s change our mindset from “have to” to “get to”. We get to experience these changes, myself included with this change into post grad/adult life. It is an opportunity that we have to expand and challenge ourselves in new ways. We GET to change.

Lastly, don’t forget that you are not alone in this. Reach out through the platforms that have been given to you to connect with other students and you will find that you are not alone in these worries!

Coming to Hope was my version of doing something that I have never done and it has taken me to new places and grown me in ways that I never could have imagined. I promise, this is challenge worth facing with rewards that are never ending.

As always, Go Hope!

#ThrowWhatYouKnow (Everything You Want to Know About Greek Life and More)

 

To rush or not to rush?

A brilliant question that inevitably crosses the mind of many soon-to-be-freshman. And with great reason. It’s a big decision!

Greek Life, no matter where you are in the country, comes with its own unique set of myths, stereotypes, and hesitations. I’m sure you know someone whose Instagram caption is forever “#throwwhatyouknow”. Annnnd then I’m sure you know someone else who always insisting that Greeks “buy their friends”.

I’m not here to sway you one way or another, I’m here to share with you my experience and give our future freshman a view into the process.

TERMS

First of all, let’s start by breaking down some very important terms. If we are going to have an open conversation about Greek Life, then it’s vital you know what it all means! And quite frankly, Greek Life is a language all of its own so I’m sure you’ll find having some clear definitions will be very helpful. (Enter cheesy dad joke something along the lines of “it’s all Greek to me”)

  • Organization – A broad term to describe any fraternity or sorority
  • Actives – Current members of an organization
  • Rush – The process one goes through to join an organization (participants are known as rushees)
  • Open Event – a rush event that anyone can attend
  • Closed Event – a rush event that one must be invited to
  • Bid – What one will receive when an organization is interested in taking a rushee
  • G.O. – This stands for Greek Orientation. This is a Hope College exclusive term. It refers to the 3-week orientation process all new actives go through after choosing an organization
  • Pledge Class – The actives who rushed the same year as oneself
  • Philanthropy – This is the non-profit cause that each organization supports throughout the year via fundraisers and activities
  • “Finding Your Home” – This is a colloquial saying conveying the message that there is a perfect place for every rushee

 

HOPE COLLEGE STATISTICS AND BACKGROUND

Now that you have all of the terms under your belt, we can move into more specifics!

Hope College has 7 sororities and 8 fraternities. About 20% of the Hope College student body participates in Greek Life. Most of Hope’s organizations are local with the exception of one fraternity (Phi Sigma Kappa) that is national. The difference between local and national organizations are laws that each must follow and the dues that must be paid. Contrary to many schools, Hope students rush second-semester allowing room for the incoming freshman to informally meet people in every organization without any pressure to make decisions. Additionally, rush is about 2 and a half weeks long giving rushees plenty of time to actually know the actives. There are currently 704 active members of Hope’s Greek Life and it’s always growing with room for you to find your home!

RUSH

Just to be clear, rush is very different for guys and girls. I will explain each, but I’m sorry guys, I just don’t have the same expertise and experience rushing frats. I’ll do my best, but maybe someday one of you can come and tell me more about it.

GUYS

Guys rush is rather informal. Events will consist of pizza, pool, laser tag, dodgeball and all of sorts of ‘manly’ activities. All events are open until the very last event which is closed and readily known as an informal. If you are invited to an informal, you will ask a date to attend the event with you. An informal invitation is usually followed by a bid, but you do not need to be invited to an informal to receive a bid.

GIRLS

Girls rush is a little more structured than guys rush. There will typically be an open event followed by a closed event. This pattern will repeat about four times over two weeks. The events will range from lip sync battles to bowling to dodgeball (yes apparently, dodgeball is loved by guys and girls alike). The rush season is closed with preference in which the rushees write down their top 3 preferences for an organization. Bids are handed out that night by representatives of the sorority.

MY PERSONAL EXPERIENCE

So now that you’ve heard basically every fact you need to understand Hope’s Greek system, I’ll give you a real student’s experience and perspective of Greek Life. First of all, I’m a Del Phi (aka a Delta Phi) and I couldn’t ask for anything more! I absolutely adore it and I’m incredibly thankful for the people I’ve met through Hope’s Greek Life – it’s brought some of my best friends into my life!

That being said, I didn’t always think I was going to rush. In fact, as I came into college, I was rather against the idea. I didn’t want a huge sorority house experience in which I only talked to Greek Life people and that’s it. I wanted to make sure I had friends in lots of areas and I had the freedom to explore whatever I felt called to.

After stepping onto campus, I quickly discovered that Hope’s Greek system is not at all an exclusive group. At Hope, everyone in Greek Life is highly involved on campus with loads of other interests, clubs, sports, and activities. And that really caught my eye. I quickly made friends who were in Greek Life without even realizing it. This was the first time I experienced one of the things I still so highly respect about Hope’s Greek Life: it’s not a bubble.

Greek Life students have friends all over campus. In fact, students all over campus have friends all over campus. I think this is more of a Hope-culture-thing than a Greek-Life-culture-thing, but it’s so pervasive that you can experience throughout every organization – Greek or not. I fell in love with this aspect of Hope’s Greek Life and soon after I decided to rush. I quickly decided to go Del Phi and it was one of the easiest decisions I ever made! I FOUND MY HOME AND I HOPE YOU DO TOO!

Once you’re all done with rush and G.O. then you are ~activated~ and that is when some seriously fun stuff starts! We do all sorts of great events and fundraisers! Some of my personal faves are…

Dance Marathon (a 24-hour dance party fundraiser for Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital)

Canoe (a canoeing day trip you take with all your sistaaas… or brothers)

Pink Day (a bake sale that the Del Phi’s put on to fundraise for breast cancer research, our philanthropy)

And, of course, there so many fun reasons to get all dressed up like FORMAL!!

FUN FACTS

I’ll leave you with a couple of fun facts that help paint an even broader, fuller picture. I hope this blog helped you clarify your thoughts on Hope Greek Life and maybe even settle some nerves about rushing!

  • A majority Hope College Greek Organizations aren’t referred to by their letters. Some common names you’ll hear are Dorians, Cosmos, Emersonians, and many more.
  • Every Hope College Greek Organization has an elected position that organizes bible studies and prayer requests, known as the Chaplin.
  • Not everyone in an organization lives in the organization’s house (or cottage as we call them). Each Greek cottage holds about 10 people.
  • Here is the website if you’re interested in learning more! https://hope.edu/offices/student-life/greek-life/

A Message of Encouragement: A Senior Witness from a Friend

Everyone has a story. But it is usually not the one that they are telling.

These words were spoken by a good friend, in chapel this past Wednesday.

It was something that I needed to hear. Something the people of Hope College probably needed to hear too.

I’m a junior at Hope. And I by no means have things figured out. But I’m starting to realize that my friend was right. We usually aren’t telling the story we’re living. But why…?

Most often, there is one thing that holds us back from who we’re made to be. I tend to think that thing is fear.

Fear.

Fear of not fitting in.

Fear of being vulnerable.

Fear of not having a good story to tell.

These are all legit fears.

But let me tell you what else my friend told us at chapel on Wednesday…

“God didn’t create you to be like somebody else. He created you uniquely in his image.”  

The point here is not if you believe in God or not. The point is that you are unique. You have gifts, talents, humor, and so much more. So, let me tell you, you were never made to fit in. You were made to stand out!

“I used to feel like I had to be perfect… Becoming vulnerable with others has given me freedom from that.”

I’ll be honest. Being vulnerable with people is hard. Especially those close to you.

I’ve found it easy to be “good.” This is much easier than, “You know, I’m not having a great day,” or “I’m really struggling with this…” Now I’m not saying we should go around telling people all of our struggles and be Debbie downers. I’m all about positivity and the more we can have in this world the better. It is in sharing with those we are close to that is important. It will give you a sense of freedom. Your relationships will be strengthened. And you will have overcome a legitimate fear.

“Don’t ever underestimate the impact you can have on someone else’s life.”

 We tend to believe our influence and story we tell with our life is not good enough. Here me out on this… You are making an impact. Whether you know it or not. You are.

If you don’t think you have a good story to tell, experiment with the following: Walk down the street and give someone a warm smile. Maybe a friendly “hello.” If they don’t smile back, I’ll take the blame! What I’m trying to say is that making an impact is so simple! Often, we think we have to do big things to tell a good story. I’m learning it’s the little things that make the story good.

Most the time we don’t tell our actual story. We let fear win. But fear doesn’t have to win! Remember: You are unique. You are made to be vulnerable. You are making an impact. The way we live our life is the story we tell. So, let me ask you… What story are you currently telling?

The Philosophical Space

There are many spots on campus to study, hangout with friends, or simply be by yourself when you need to focus for an exam coming up.  Students at Hope are usually very good at being able to find their “spot” within the first few weeks of being on campus.  For me, there is one place that I am able to be social, studious, or alone if I wanted – Lubbers Hall.

Lubbers Hall is home to the humanities and being a philosophy major,  I was exposed to Lubbers as soon I got to campus.  During my first year at Hope, most of my classes were in Lubbers Hall and since I spent so much time there I even found hidden rooms most students aren’t aware exist.

Inside Lubbers Hall there is a lounge specifically for Philosophy students.  The room has a small couch, two comfortable armchairs, a small table, and a library shelf with books written by the best philosophers.  It is the perfect set-up for group work, individual studying, or some leisure reading. The room was big enough for us to have multiple study sessions in there and we would we able to have a good time whenever we needed a break – ordering food on a particularly late night study session started to become the norm. We began to spend so much time there that we even befriended the campus safety officers who would come and unlock the door for us – if you’ve been on campus, you realize how just about everyone on campus is overly friendly or willing to help.

Hope has a place for everything. Whether you want to strictly study (places like the library), do group work (anywhere on campus), or socialize (again, anywhere on campus), there will always be a spot for you to go to. You might also find that spot that you can have all three and that’s when you know you’ve found a home.