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Life is about the moments that matter

I figured out a while ago that I should spend my life solving problems and so I’m pursuing engineering. While engineering isn’t easy, many pursue it in hopes of entering their field of work right after college.

That was me, for like the first week of my freshman year. I quickly figured out, though, that I wanted to pursue engineering in a different way when I joined the Hope Entrepreneurial Institute (HEI) mentorship program.

I always thought that the “entrepreneur” label was only reserved for those who could sell a revolutionary new product, but it’s not. It’s for everyone that believes they can provide something better, faster, cheaper, or all of the above. I found myself fitting into this community because as an engineer, I strive to create solutions for a world in need.

I always thought that the “entrepreneur” label was only reserved for those who could sell a revolutionary new product, but it’s not.

Student looking at computer. Going into my junior year, I have completed both my mathematics minor and my Spanish minor.  With the time I have remaining to finish my Biomedical Mechanical Engineering major, I have also decided to pursue problems not only as an engineer, but also as a Hope Entrepreneurial Institute Fellow to solve problems in a more immediate way.

We have meetings with our HEI mentor, Matt Gira, a 2016 Hope grad, from Fathom every other Wednesday at Start Garden in Grand Rapids. All HEI teams come together there so that we can go through team-by-team to see how every team is doing, what needs improvement, and what every team would need to grow. I believe that the mentorship aspect of HEI is most definitely a key asset to what makes this program incredibly successful. It allows mentors to guide newcomers along a proven path, saving time and money by avoiding common mistakes.

My close friend, Timothy Doorenbos,Graphic explaining how Honey Batcher software works. and I have spent the last few months at Start Garden developing and refining a software we’ve developed called Honey Batcher, a computer program specifically created to save precious time in postproduction for event and wedding photographers. As the user experience (UX) designer, my role is to dissect the modern photographer’s workflow to make improvements for the future. This includes conducting in-person and online interviews with our target market in order to solve their problems and fulfill their needs. Timothy is the temporary lead developer who handles coding and debugging within Java.

David Wang and Timothy Doorenbos receive check from MWest Challenge.We obtained our workspace at Start Garden in April 2018 at the MWest Challenge, a local pitch competition sponsored by West Michigan Colleges and Universities Group with the goal of promoting entrepreneurship and venture creation at the collegiate level. We were awarded first place and received a $5,000 grant and six months of unlimited access to a work space at Start Garden. Red Bull has also been an influence in our space, from providing free product to getting us connected with their local interior designer to help us optimize our workspace. This workspace is also home to two other teams from Hope College that competed in the MWest Challenge.

Student is coding software.Neither Timothy or myself are native entrepreneurs. But with my engineering major and Timothy’s computer science minor, we’ve both been able to use what we learned in our respective fields to put together what is called a “minimum viable product” — that is, we’ve been able to develop a solution-based product that is sufficient enough for early adopters. From here, we can continue to work and refine, or outsource labor if time demands it.

I’m an engineer first, but I believe that being an entrepreneur helps me be a better engineer because I feel that I can solve problems in a much more immediate way…

So, now what? Do I drop everything as an engineer and become an entrepreneur? Not quite. I’m an engineer first, but I believe that being an entrepreneur helps me be a better engineer because I feel that I can solve problems in a much more immediate way in a startup model rather than jumping on the corporate conveyer belt. But, I’ll be honest with you and myself: I’ll be jumping on the corporate conveyer belt sooner or later.  Wherever I go, I’m sure I’ll find myself at the doorstep of another problem in need of solving.

If you’d like to learn more about Honey Batcher or see how Honey Batcher can help speed up your photography workflow, go to gethoneybatcher.com for more details.

Campus in a Summer State of Mind

hope hat and water bottle in foreground, shadow of big red lighthouse in background

When your parents first drop you off at Hope, it is hard to imagine that you might not want to go back to “home sweet home” next summer. Holland is an enjoyable city to be in from Fall to Spring, but summertime is prime time for this beach town. Locals will tell you that Hope students are truly missing out when they pack their bags for summer, only to return when classes start up for fall.

Finding Friends

What is stopping people from staying around in the summer? Most often it is the misconception that campus is dead. That is farthest from the truth. Hope has a variety of activities and programs that keep the campus full of life all summer long. Events and Conferences host dozens of camps that bring in new groups from all over the country weekly. And, while it’s definitely not the same vibe as during the school year, there are plenty of Hope students who stick around campus in the summer that it’s no trouble finding friends to hang out with. I used to be skeptical about staying in Holland over a break until one Easter I wasn’t able to make it home. Turns out, there were so many others that I would not have gotten to know and love if I had not stayed on campus.

Working on Campus

Student workers for physical plant driving a utility vehicle. Nearly every office on campus hires students to help them out during the summer. You learn so much and gain respect for the way that our staff and faculty spend all summer bettering the campus so that everything runs smoothly when students return in the fall.  Student workers help with everything from landscaping with Physical Plant, researching with their professors, giving campus tours with the Admissions office, and more! All of these options are valuable experiences and opportunities that are still relaxed enough to give you plenty of play time outside of the office.

Living in a Beach Town

The Holland area is a vacation destination for thousands of people every summer which makes staying here over the summer the perfect balance between work and vacation. I have been to the beach and out for ice cream nearly every day and it never gets old. If you are down for an adventure, there are plenty of day trip options to nearby state parks or other beach towns like Saugatuck or Grand Haven. Or relax by taking advantage of the Pine Grove, beach volleyball courts, or strolling beautiful downtown Holland. With all this to do, my friends and I haven’t had a dull moment on campus this summer.

Staying at Hope in the summer is experiencing the same friendly and loving community except with a summer state of mind. Most of the same resources you use during the academic year such as the Bultman Student Center, the Dow, and the library are still available. Plus staff and faculty love to see students around in the summer, and often times, they are even more willing to meet with you if you need advising or just a chat. You are guaranteed to meet new people and have fun experiences you would not have during the school year. Turns out, in college, staying at school over the summer is actually really fun!

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/