2024 Creation Care Summer Book Read

Dr. Debra Rienstra’s book Refugia Faith

6/18, 7/16, and 8/20
Light Refreshments Provided.

Discussion Leaders:
6/18 – Dr. Thomas Boogaart, Western Theological Seminary, Emeritus
Intro and Chapters 1-2

7/16 – Dr. Steven Bouma-Prediger, Hope College, Faculty
Chapters 3-5

8/20 – Dr. Debra Rienstra, Refugia Faith Author and Calvin University, Faculty
Chapters 6-7 

2024 Sustainability Research Projects

In Holland, we believe that in order to become a vibrant, world-class community we must look at all aspects of our community.  This includes the “Triple Bottom Line” and the economic, social, and environmental impacts we all have. Our City of Holland Sustainability Committee created a seven-pillar framework with “lenses” to help us evaluate and make more sustainable choices. We have used this framework model as a way to identify the 2024 Hope College Sustainability Research Projects.

The Sustainability Institute would like to formally recognize the following projects that presented during the 2024 Celebration of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity (CURCA) on Friday, April 12.  


Framework Categories:








For more information about the Annual Celebration visit:


The students and their projects represented all of the college’s academic divisions — the arts, humanities, social sciences, and natural and applied science.

The research and performance celebration, first presented in 2001, is designed to spotlight the quality and importance of student-faculty collaborative research at Hope. Undergraduate research is a hallmark experience for many Hope students and has been a teaching model used at the college for more than seven decades. Mentored collaborative research happens year-round, with approximately 300 students conducting faculty-supervised independent research during the academic year and 200 doing research over the summer, making Hope’s summer research program among the largest in the nation at a liberal arts college. Since faculty are active in scholarship year-round, many more students engage in research during the academic year.

Research has a long and storied history at Hope College. More than 100 years ago, biologist Dr. Samuel O. Mast designed research laboratory space for the college’s Van Raalte Hall, which opened in 1903. The late Dr. Gerrit Van Zyl, who taught chemistry at the college from 1923 to 1964, is widely recognized for developing research-based learning at Hope in its modern sense.

Earth Month Can Drive

Friday, April 12 and Friday, April 19 the Hope Advocates for Sustainability will be hosting an Earth Month Can Drive to raise money for the Green Revolving Fund, which helps support sustainable projects on campus. Please consider donating your returnable cans or bottles to the bins located at the Physical Plant driveway that faces 10th street. The bins will be open for donation from 7 am to 4 pm on both Fridays. 

Feel free to contact sustainability@hope.edu if you have any questions about donating or need assistance with picking up returnables.

Happy Earth Month!

Hope Celebrates Women Transforming the World Through Sustainability

By Carly Ervin and Lily Shergill – Hope Advocates for Sustainability

Marking National Women’s History Month in March, Hope Advocates for Sustainability is taking time to celebrate a few women who have contributed to the work of environmental activism across the globe, including Wangari Maathai, Rachel Carson, Vandana Shiva, and Autumn Peltier. 

For the rest of us, whether in high school, retired or anywhere in between, these women are examples of the difference that action and commitment at the grassroots level can make.

Wangari Maathai, of Kenya, who died in 2011, founded an organization that focuses on planting trees. The Green Belt Movement is responsible for reforestation and biodiversity protection, as well as for collaborating with other organizations, such as Ecosia, which has planted over 4 million trees in Kenya to date. 

The vastness of Maathai’s contribution to environmental activism can be seen through her achievement in 2004 of being the first African woman to win the Nobel Peace Prize.

Taking a different approach to activism was Rachel Carson, an American marine biologist and author who, before her death in 1964, dedicated her time to advancing marine biology in a sustainable way. 

Through numerous books, including “Silent Spring” and “The Sea Around Us,” she informed and invited humanity to understand the world and what people can do to be better stewards of the earth. The Environmental Defense Fund was founded as a result of her accomplishments.

Vandana Shiva, an Indian scholar, focuses on the importance of food sovereignty, which is about farmers and food producers having the ability to save, grow, and sell their own products. Based in Delhi, she has written more than 20 books and is associated with the anti-GMO (genetically modified organisms) movement.

 Autumn Peltier is an Anishinaabe Indigenous-rights advocate who was named the chief water commissioner for the Anishinabek Nation in 2019 at the young age of 14 years old. She was nominated for the International Children’s Peace Prize four years in a row for her work to provide everyone with safe, clean drinking water.

 These pivotal women are being featured on Hope Advocates for Sustainability’s FacebookInstagram, and Twitter/X  each week from March 6 through March 27 in a series called “Sustainable Women Wednesdays.” More information about each of them and their work is also available online through a variety of websites. 

Carly Ervin, a sophomore business major at Hope College, is a marketing and communications intern for Hope Advocates for Sustainability. Lily Shergill, a senior religion major at Hope College, is an environmental justice intern for Hope Advocates for Sustainability.

Documentary Film Screening “The Erie Situation” Monday, March 18 7:30pm


Conservation Competition: Hope vs. Calvin

Have you ever wanted to help win a competition against Calvin? Now is your chance! Hope Advocates for Sustainability has entered into an electricity and water conservation competition with Calvin. Click here to learn more and help us Kill-a-Watt! 

January 16th-February 3rd

We’d love to highlight ways different departments/groups are helping to reduce water/electricity usage, email sustainability@hope.edu and one of our students will connect with you.

Go Hope! Beat Calvin!

Hope College Takes Action Against Plastic Pollution: Transforming Trash into Art

Envision walking along the beach at Holland State Park. You wind through the beach path and around the dunes. You look down, what do you see? Small pieces of plastic.

Beaches all around the globe are rife with plastic pollution, and West Michigan is no exception. Students at Hope College have decided to do something about it. Every year, Hope Advocates for Sustainability, a student-led team that works to promote and practice sustainable actions on campus and in the Holland community, organizes beach clean-ups as a part of the Lakeshore Cleanup Coalition. 

These beach clean-ups call students from all across campus to take ownership of our community’s natural resources. Hope Advocates for Sustainability hosts two cleanups each semester, and they’re always among the group’s most popular events–even when the weather doesn’t cooperate.  Most recently, on Saturday, Oct. 21, during what turned out to be a rainy morning, Hope students visited the State Park to clean and remove as much trash as possible.  In less than an hour, the team collected more than 12 pounds of trash, mostly snack wrappers and small broken pieces of plastic.  Plastic is especially a problem, because unlike many materials, really never decomposes.

Clean-ups like this help to remove pollution from the beach, but also help to show that all things end up somewhere, whether it is in a landfill or the environment. This year, the clean-up took on a special meaning as the trash became part of an art project. Hope Advocates for Sustainability, together with the college’s Kruizenga Art Museum, hosted a found-art collaborative art event as an additional way of showing that the plastic and trash we throw away or litter can end up on our beautiful West Michigan beaches.

Found-object art focuses on using upcycled materials, meaning re-used instead of recycled, to create an art piece with meaning. Gathered at the museum, Hope students had the chance to decorate a tile with pieces of recovered trash from the beach clean-up event. They were encouraged to get their creative juices flowing and decorate the tiles in any way they saw fit.

Throughout the day, more than 50 students participated in the collaboration. The tiles were then put together to create a large-scale abstract art piece. The piece will be on display in the Jim and Martie Bultman Student Center in the center of campus to remind students, staff, and faculty that the waste we put in our landfills and environment has a life long after we throw it away. It is time we start thinking about the waste we produce and where it ends up because some of it might just end up in a sand dune at Holland State Park.

About Author: Devin White is a senior at Hope College studying biology and a co-president of Hope Advocates for Sustainability