Last spring, the end of my freshman year, I dedicated a page in my journal to all my favorite things about Hope College. I’d only been a part of this place for a number of months and yet I loved it deeply. Going home for the summer and catching up with high school friends, I found that loving my college was not the norm. Many of these friends had very different experiences than mine– making it clear that the things I love most about Hope are not things every school offers. I can’t enumerate all I love about this place, but here are five aspects I want to share– things I truly adore about Hope College.
1: Academic Atmosphere
I love the academic atmosphere at Hope. Every professor I’ve had the privilege to cross paths with has made an effort to learn my name and know me as more than just a number. They are quick to answer questions, ask how they can pray for me, and invite me and my classmates into their lives. I’ve met faculty’s children, spouses, and dogs. I am checked in on and deeply engaged with. This level of investment is such a blessing.
2: Physical Atmosphere
The physical atmosphere of Hope College, Holland, and Lake Michigan are all things I love about this place I call home. Our campus is stunning in every season. In fall, Hope transforms into a cozy, colorful, perfect place to study. In winter, Dimnent Chapel is covered with a glistening blanket of snow. In spring, tulips bud just in time for Holland’s annual Tulip Time festival. In summer, hammockers take the Pine Grove by storm, and the grass is greener than you ever thought possible last December. I love watching these changes unfold.
3: President Scogin
In my leadership class, we’re learning that effective leaders genuinely engage with their followers. President Scogin does exactly this– even at similar small colleges, it’s rare to have a president that lives on campus with his family, knows many of his students’ names, and eats in the dining hall with everyone else. Last Halloween, all of campus was even invited to Trick or Treat at Scogin’s house. I love that we have a president who cares.
I also love the community here at Hope. No matter what you’re interested in, you can find people here who love the same things. There’s a jazz band, a Lego Club, and an annual Tug-of-War Contest; truly something for everyone. I found my best friends at Hope, and each semester I meet even more people who make an imprint on me.
5. Campus Ministries
I found my community primarily through Campus Ministries at Hope, and it’s one of my favorite things about being a student here. The Campus Ministries building itself is a wonderful study space budding with community and chaplains who want to get to know students, answer questions, and engage in conversation. Campus Ministries organizes Bible Studies, Spring Break Immersion Trips, chapels, and the Gathering (Sunday night services). All of these experiences have been integral parts of my experience at Hope and I’m so grateful for all God has brought into my life through Campus Ministries.
Wrapping it Up:
Some of my classmates have known their whole lives they would go to Hope. Others, like myself, approached the college decision with much less confidence. Do I want to attend a public school, or a private one? Big or small? Liberal arts or not? These questions rolled through my mind until spring break of my senior year. Maybe that’s you too… you, or your son, or your daughter. I was there not so long ago. But now, I’m in a new place completely. I’m at a school I can say I love. I’m surrounded by people– professors, a president, a community and chaplains– who love me. I couldn’t be more grateful.