Many institutions have mission statements. Mission statements provide a guiding light, providing direction and purpose for that institution. Hope College is no different. What makes Hope unique is what is illustrated in the mission itself. Take a gander:
The mission of Hope College is to educate students for lives of leadership and service in a global society through academic and co-curricular programs of recognized excellence in the liberal arts and in the context of the historic Christian faith.
Seeing as I only have one semester left in my undergraduate career, I wanted to take the time to portray how the The Mission that Guides Hope has impacted the past 4 incredible years of my life, and how I have lived this mission throughout my undergraduate career.
In the beginning, the Mission reads “…to educate studies for lives of leadership and service…” Let me tell you, Hope offers its students so many opportunities for leadership and service. The only catch is that YOU have to pursue them. It will not be handed to you. Many students get into this right away, but for others, that is not the case. Regardless, students will be involved!
Throughout my years at Hope, I have seized opportunities to take roles in leadership whether that is in the classroom, clubs, immersion trips, or student organizations, like SAC! Being a student leader has taught me immensely about myself, and with this knowledge, I am successful in not only in my organization, but also in the classroom. And what’s integrated in leadership opportunities is the service that comes along. I am amazed at how many students contribute to the Hope and Holland community, as well as communities throughout the United States and around the world!
My sophomore year, I had the privilege of leading an immersion trip to Washington D.C. where my group learned about racial injustice in the incarceration system. Not only did we serve the D.C. community by learning about this social issue, but we served our very own college campus by educating our peers about this issue. To be a part of a college that sees the “bigger picture” allows me to look at that bigger picture.
The second part of the Mission reads, “…in a global society through academic and co-cirrcular programs of recognized excellence in the liberal arts…” At Hope, an understanding of a global society and academics are crucial. Hope offers many opportunities to study abroad, whether that’s a semester-long program, or if its just for a few months. This way, students learn first-hand about various cultures that provide an understanding of a global society.
For example, I had the opportunity to study abroad in Vienna, Austria this past summer for 2 months. There, I learned so much about Viennese and European cultures and how their norms came to be. Coming back to the United States, I was able to understand this and it has changed my outlook on the world. Not only does Hope offer such opportunities abroad, but students can get an understanding of a global society at Hope! There are so many international students to learn from about their culture. It’s a pretty neat learning process.
With regard to academia, Hope synthesizes successful students because of its utmost importance, especially through the implementation of a liberal arts education. People always ask, “why liberal arts?” My response is that it permits a larger scope of perspective. With the exposure of many disciplines, students are well-rounded which is beneficial in our world today. But, school can be difficult, so Hope provides its students with many resources to attain academic success. Other ways to get help include studying with friends (which I do all the time) and meeting with professors 1-on-1 (which I also do all the time)! Your professors want you to be successful, so use them to help you! Without these resources, I don’t know if would be where I am today.
Lastly, co-cirrculars. These are huge at Hope. From sports, to organizations, and clubs, there are so many ways to get involved. Although a big aspect of college is that academia part, socialization among peers and in organizations is as important. The social and leadership skills learned will allow one to be successful in the workplace and world today. I know that the skills I have learned through SAC are priceless, and I won’t be able to get those skills through studying them. They must be learned and implemented!
And lastly, “…and in the context of the historic Christian faith…” is a phrase that has been engraved in my head since my freshman year. This is foundational in Hope’s mission. The incorporation of the historic Christian faith in academics and co-cirrculars has helped me form a better understanding of my vocation and my faith. The best part is that although incorporated in the college experience, it is NEVER shoved down “your throat.” Hope offers so many resources to get into faith as well. These vary from chapel on Monday, Wednesday, Friday, the Gathering on Sundays, immersion trips, small Bible study groups, and mentors. On top of these resources available, one facet I love about Hope is how easy it is to have a conversation about faith. This is rare in today’s world, and to have that be readily available is special.
These past four years have been years that will be hard to forget. As I approach my last semester of my undergraduate career, it will be important to finish strong. With a mission like Hope’s, I know it will be attainable. I have been equipped with the necessary tools that sets me apart from others and will make me successful in the world out there. Hope College, I am forever thankful.