December 2012

Last month our volleyball and men's cross country teams took Calvin College fans to soaring heights as both teams nearly won national championships in the same weekend. Both teams competed with heart and passion but were edged out by excellent teams. The competition left us breathless, and the outpouring of Calvin support at both NCAA events inspired me, as the women’s national championship match broke a national attendance record for Division III volleyball.

Moments such as these serve to unite the college community and give us an outlet for fun as we enjoy the athletic talent before us. I will remember last month for years to come. On Monday, after the eventful weekend, fans and athletes returned to the classroom ready to finish the fall semester.

Here are a few things that are happening as we approach the Advent season.

Academics

Calvin faculty and students are busy developing new and collaborative approaches to teaching and learning.

  • Students in French 301, “Advanced Conversation,” researched the sustainability issues of various French-speaking countries of the world and presented bilingual posters on their findings at the annual Calvin Environmental Assessment Program poster session, held Dec. 6, 2012, in the Chapel Undercroft. The project highlighted Calvin’s emphasis on teaching language within a cultural context.
  • Since Fall 2011, computer science professors Victor Norman, Joel Adams and Keith VanderLinden have been running TeCreate Computing Clubs at local middle schools and high schools and on the Calvin campus. These clubs encourage students to explore the joy of programming by creating games, stories and art using tools like Scratch, Alice, AppInventor and Processing.
  • Calvin is also exploring fresh approaches to studying off campus. The new Rehoboth Bridge Semester, debuting in the fall of 2013 in Rehoboth, N.M., is designed for students who want to have a gap-year experience (between high school and college) without postponing their freshman year. The Rehoboth Semester allows incoming students to spend their first Calvin semester (or the first semester of their sophomore year) learning about vocation, leadership and service in the Four Corners region of the U.S. while also earning 12 to 14 college credits.

Student Life

As Christmas approaches, students are celebrating, giving back and looking ahead.

  • This fall, staff of the student newspaper, Chimes, launched a re-envisioned online version of the paper, which now updates stories three times a week. To date, online Chimes has received more than 8,000 unique visitors and averages 500 visitors per day. The print edition of Chimes is also available weekly.
  • The Community Care Fund is a pool of money donated by members of the Calvin community to help students undergoing a medical or other crisis. Over the years, the fund has paid for plane tickets for bereaved students, housing and expenses for visiting families, surgery for a seeing-eye dog and other needs. Giving to the Calvin Community Care Fund is a great way to give back to Calvin at Christmastime.

Community

As we celebrate Christmas, Calvin students, faculty and staff are looking forward to the events of the new year.

  • Various residence halls found ways to celebrate the holiday with their community partners. Students from Beets-Veenstra held a Christmas party with Horizons, a non-profit organization for developmentally disabled adults. Students from Kalsbeek-Huizenga-van Reken helped out with the Christmas event at the free-meal program Supper House.
  • The January Series, Calvin’s nationally acclaimed lecture series, kicks off on Thursday, Jan. 3, and runs through Wednesday, Jan. 23. Journalist Cokie Roberts, gospel artist Robert Robinson and immigration advocate Jenny Yang are a few of the speakers featured in the 2013 edition of the series, described as “15 days of liberal arts education.” If you can’t make it to the January Series on campus, you can watch the series online or at one of 38 remote locations in the U.S., Canada and overseas.

Alumni and Parents

We’re always looking for new ways to connect with alumni and friends of Calvin.

  • The C Club is a recent innovation of the Calvin Alumni Association. The club encourages alumni varsity letterwinners to reconnect with each other and to support Calvin’s burgeoning sports programs. Already, the C Club is an eager cheering section at all sporting events.
  • More cheerleaders are needed: The Calvin men’s basketball team will play at Elmhurst College (Ill.) on Dec. 28 and 29. The women’s team will play at Colorado College (Colorado Springs) on the same dates. There will be alumni-and-friends receptions at both locations. If you live in these areas, come out and support the Knights!

International

With the turn of the semester, one group of students returns from study abroad, and another prepares to set out.

  • In recent years, Calvin faculty members have created opportunities for their students to perform service-learning in their host countries. The 10 students who studied during fall semester with Spanish professor Dianne Zandstra in Arequipa, Peru, conducted ethnographic studies at local institutions: a medical clinic, two schools, an NGO that works in the city’s squatter communities and another that serves mentally challenged children and young people.
  • Students are also returning this month from Hungary, Ghana, Honduras and China, where they served and learned with schools, micro-lenders, fair-trade coffee farmers, NGOS that combat child slavery and many other organizations.

Enrollment

The enrollment division is enlisting every willing ambassador to tell prospective students about Calvin.

  • This fall, Calvin admissions counselors crisscrossed the globe, telling Calvin’s story to hundreds of prospective students at 239 college fairs and in 489 high schools spanning 11 countries, 25 states and two provinces. At the same time, 40-plus current students burned up the phone lines in the November Blitz calling campaign, encouraging more than 6,000 prospective students to apply.
  • You can help the enrollment effort by joining our ReCommend ONE campaign today. Tell us about a student at www.calvin.edu/go/recommend, and we’ll send you a Calvin T-shirt. Already joined? There are several ways to go on connecting with your “ONE.” Encourage her/him to apply—and visit—soon! Send a link that speaks to your ONE’s interests, such as student blogs, sports scores or student clubs.

Resources

As we come to the close of the year, we are amazed and blessed by the generosity of our donors.

  • Recognizing that women are underrepresented in the field of engineering—and that well-rounded engineers improve the profession—Paul J. Rozeboom and Sue A. Jager Rozeboom (alumni of the Calvin engineering and music departments, respectively) recently established the Forte Scholarship. The award, named for the musical term, is designed for female engineering students who demonstrate an interest in the arts and humanities.
  • Similar stories of a donor’s passion and the persons they wish to honor lie behind many of Calvin’s named scholarships. Calvin currently offers 700 named scholarships among its list of 1,637 financial awards. During the 2012–2013 academic year, 1,480 students received one or more scholarships from Calvin: a total of $3,812,240 awarded this year.
  • As the calendar-year end approaches, please consider making a gift to support the good work that is happening in the world through Calvin College. Calvin development staff can assist you with an array of specialty gifts, from stock transfers to charitable gift annuities to gifts through your IRA to bequests and more. Calvin staff members stay well-informed on pertinent legislation regarding gift planning so that your hard-earned dollars can be most effective.

Athletics

The Calvin Knight nation will remember the fall of 2012 for reaching heights in its athletic programs.

This stage of the semester tends to be characterized by feelings of deep yearning for our students. I spoke with a senior today who can’t wait for graduation. A freshman told me she felt homesick and was trying to stay focused on her academic work, but just had this unsettled feeling in the pit of her stomach. She was looking forward to going home for the Christmas break. Both of these students love their Calvin College experience but these students were expressing their advent sentiments—that is, the feeling of expectation and yearning to be made whole.

I usually make the mistake of thinking this yearning will be fulfilled by a milepost on my calendar, some accomplishment on my task list or a chocolate chip cookie, but the yearning returns because it is connected to a deeper yearning. I am reminded of these feelings in this Advent season when I remember Simeon who was righteous and devout, “waiting for the consolation of Israel.” God had promised Simeon that he would not die until he saw the Lord’s Christ.

If his imagination was like mine, Simeon likely envisioned meeting a warrior, a ruler or a high priest, but instead he met a baby. This is the unexpected way that God moves in the world, and the righteous and devout Simeon met this salvation surprise with a song. May it be so for us as well.

Michael

 

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