Plastic Drive – Calling All Plastics!

Kara Brems | | Dance

Dearest Hope Faculty and Staff,

Do you have plastic trash at home that you don’t know what to do with? Plastic pieces that are not recyclable, but which you hate to throw away, knowing they will make their way into a landfill? We have a solution!

We are hoping you can help us with a collaborative project that centers on the challenges of plastic pollution, particularly in our Michigan waterways. Lisa Walcott’s sculpture students will be creating sculptures made of collected plastics, which will be displayed as part of the scenery for Kara Brems’ dance piece this spring in the Dance 49 faculty Dance Concert. We are partnering with the Office of Sustainability and also getting help from Dining Services and Physical Plant to organize a “plastic drive” on campus. In order to make this happen, we would love for you to donate your own clean plastics from home in the designated bins, which will be placed in the lobby of DePree from 9/16-9/30.

We will accept all plastics but would like to particularly focus on plastics that can not otherwise be recycled curbside (even if they have a recycling number on them). All donated items MUST be clean and free of any food particles. Below is a list of suggested items:

  • plastic bags of all types
  • plastic envelopes (like the kind your amazon purchases come in)
  • blister packaging
  • berry containers
  • styrofoam
  • plastic straws, plates, or flatware
  • film packaging (like the plastic that nearly everything you buy comes wrapped in – toothpaste containers, produce, pens, etc…)
  • bulky plastics such as 5-gallon buckets, broken lawn furniture, laundry baskets, milk crates, plastic toys or household items that are broken or not usable

Note: If any items are too big to fit into the provided bins, please talk with the student at the front desk or Nicole in the front office about an appropriate location to put these.

Thank you in advance for your help! We hope to post photos of the process and update you on how the sculptures turn out!


Kara Brems, Lisa Walcott, and the Office of Sustainability

Hope College Alumni Sustainability Affinity Group

We are very pleased and excited to announce the creation of the Hope College Alumni Sustainability Affinity Group (HC-ASAG).

Under the direction of its officers and Board of Directors, the HC-ASAG aims to channel the dedication and resources of its alumni to enhance the focus on Creation Care within the mission of Hope College. Group members pledge to foster lifelong relationships with each other and the College in assisting Hope to fulfill its overall mission and the strategic goals of the Office of Sustainability.

Through engagement in fundraising, in campus sustainability projects and events, and in community outreach, the Group seeks to provide focus and direction for the College’s sustainability goals, and to enhance Hope’s leadership in sustainability to the larger communities of Holland and Western Michigan.

Through the efforts of the HC-ASAG, Hope alumni will be actively engaged in learning about campus activities around sustainability, serve as an educational resource for faculty, students, and staff, and lend their expertise in shaping and supporting the College’s sustainability goals.

Are you a Hope College Alumni and work in a field of sustainability or are you personally interested in the topic? If so we’d love to hear from you! Please click here to subscribe to our quarterly newsletter or get involved in our group.

2022-2023 Sustainability Affinity Group Board Members:

  • Anne Deckard ’73 Hiskes Co-Chair
    • Retired Grand Valley State University – Dean, Brooks College of Interdisciplinary Studies and Emeritus Professor of Philosophy, The University of Connecticut
  • Kyle Funk ’18 Co-Chair
    • National League of Cities – Transportation and infrastructure Policy Specialist 
  • Kaila Robertson ’19 Bylsma Secretary
    • Meijer – Information Technology
  • Richard Hiskes ’73 Outreach and Engagement
    • Professor Emeritus, University of Connecticut, Political Science and Human Rights
  • David C. Beattie ’73
    • b.comm creative – Director, ESG branding/marketing
  • Nick Gibson ’17
    • Trane – Project Manager
  • Sarah Josuns ’02 Kessler
    • City of Clearwater, Florida – Lead Environmental Specialist
  • Junu Shrestha ’01
    • World Bank – Senior Environmental Specialist 
  • Jeffrey Vredenburg ’11
    • City of Sarasota, Florida – Sustainability Manager and Adjunct Professor, Ringling College of Art and Design
  • Dr. Steven Bouma-Prediger ’79 – Ex Officio Faculty Liaison
    • Hope College – Faculty, Religion Department and Green Team Chair
  • Nicholas Duthler ’09 – Ex Officio Staff Liaison
    • Hope College – Project Manager
  • Michelle Seppala Gibbs – Ex Officio Staff Liaison
    • Hope College – Director, Office of Sustainability

Dr. Christians and Dr. McMullen summer research – Green Fund and Campus Carbon Footprint

Photos from summer research with Dr. Christians and Dr. McMullen. Mark Krudy’s work focused on researching best practices for establishing a campus green fund. Gracie Hill and Bella Tafarello focused on analyzing the HVAC system in Hope’s Jack H. Miller Center for Musical Arts. Their analysis is helping the Hope Physical Plant better understand the real-world system performance of this LEED Silver building, helping to save Hope money and reduce our greenhouse gas emissions. #sustainablehope .

Dr. Philben’s summer research – Mechanisms of natural carbon sequestration in peat bogs

Photos from Dr. Philben’s summer research team! Their team is studying how the release of nutrients from organic matter will increase with warming due to climate change. This will determine if the bog will be able to sequester additional carbon due to faster plant growth. #sustainablehope

Lab group selfie from the Miner Lake Bog field site (L to R: Michael Philben, Rachel Shaw, Madeleine O’Donnell, Madison Smith, and Lauren Bryan).
Photo of Lauren Bryan installing “Plant Root Simulators” in Miner Lake Bog in Allegan County, near Fennville. These are plastic stakes that absorb available nutrients in the soil, giving them a measure of nutrient availability for plants growing in the bog.

Food Service Industry Protein Sustainability Scorecard

“Our food system has major impacts on the environment. Agriculture occupies half of all ice-free land on Earth, and the global food system is responsible for 20%-37% of all greenhouse gas emissions. Animal products have a much larger environmental footprint than plant-based foods, using more resources and causing more greenhouse gas emissions… A shift toward plant-based foods is the most impactful way food companies can reduce their carbon footprint, prevent deforestation, minimize demand for water and land resources, improve food security and preserve natural habitats.”

Thank you to Hope College Dining Services, Creative Dining for your efforts in this area, congratulations on your top 10 ranking!

Read the full article from the The Humane Society of the United States about “The Food Service Industry Protein Sustainability Scorecard.”

photo: Steven Seighman / For the HSUS

2022 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 2022 Hope College Sustainability Research Projects.

The Sustainability Institute would like to formally recognize the following projects that presented during the 2022 Celebration of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity (CURCA) on Friday, April 22.  

PDF Document:  2022 Sustainability Research Projects

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.

Anchor Article About Our Hope Advocates for Sustainability Fair Trade and Environmental Justice Event


Hope Advocates for Sustainability (HAS) is an organization that works to promote sustainability at Hope College. On Wednesday, April 20, HAS partnered with The Bridge, a local non-profit located in downtown Holland, for an educational event at Hope about environmental justice and fair trade. 

The Bridge is known for its fair trade gifts and crafts that represent over 35 countries. Fairtrade is about helping artisans in growing countries achieve sustainable and equitable trade relationships by valuing their rights and giving them fair pay for their work. Not only does it tremendously help the workers, but fair trade also guarantees high-quality and ethically sourced products for the shoppers.

Tsion Weldetsadik (‘24) recently became an intern for Hope Advocates for Sustainability. Weldetsadik is passionate about educating people about environmental justice and the issues that are happening around the world today. She hopes to teach people how to be more aware of environmental racism and the ways in which one can get more involved.

“I’ve always been interested in social issues and social justice and sustainability also intrigues me,” Weldetsadik said, “so when I came across this position, I was really excited to be a part of it.” 

Kate Martin, manager of The Bridge, came to speak about the ways in which students at Hope can become more conscientious about their purchases, specifically with the clothes they are wearing. Both passionate and knowledgeable, Martin proposed a challenge of not only being a conscious shopper but actually making the choice to purchase more sustainable and ethically sourced products. 

To read the full article follow the link below:

Donations of Hope 2022

Monday, April 25 – Thursday, April 28

In partnership with Heart to Heart Resale, we will be setting up move out collection stations in the lobbies of Kollen, Phelps, Cook, Gilmore, and Dykstra.

There will also be a station for students not living in those halls in the BSC inside the Student Life Office (open weekdays 10am-3pm).

Accepted items include:
mini fridge
small furniture pieces
small miscellaneous items
Unopened non-perishable food items can also be dropped off at the Student Life Office for the Hope Care Pantry.

Questions? Email

If you do not live in one of these residential halls or have larger items to donate, please click the link below for a list of other area locations to donate gently used items.

Earth Month 2022!

Hope Advocates for Sustainability student interns have put together an AMAZING series for you celebrate our Earth and put Creation Care into action.

Click this link to see ways you can participate and join in the fun!

Earth Week kicks off Tuesday, April 19 and even includes a cosponsored Earth Jam CoffeeHouse on Thursday, April 21.


NEW Environmental Internship Fund for Hope College Students

Are you considering pursuing an internship addressing environmental advocacy and/or education with a non-profit organization for this summer? If so, Hope College is offering a new funding source to support a low or non-paid role: the Environmental Internship Fund. This new fund will provide up to $4,000 to support a full-time summer internship addressing a pressing climate change issue. Apply through this link by Monday, March 21st.