As I write this I am wrapping up a visit with 15 Calvin students in Tegucigalpa, Honduras, where they are studying Spanish, living with families and developing their intercultural competence. Spring break allowed me to spend time with students in non-traditional learning environments, and I was blessed to journey to Honduras, one of 11 study abroad programs offered at Calvin.
Upon arrival the students and faculty members Maria Rodriguez and Kurt Ver Beek whisked me off to a maquiladora, a factory producing dress shirts for many brands you would recognize. Company managers described the work and conditions of the factory and answered student questions. Students walked the production line, observed the quick work of Hondurans and asked workers about wages and working conditions. Students spoke, listened and learned in Spanish, and they demonstrated their commitment to truth and grace in their questions.
Later that day the students described ethnographic study projects that have enabled them to observe workplace culture in hospitals, schools and non-profit organizations. As I listened to their stories I was reminded again of how these experiences motivate and inspire students in ways that are hard to match in the traditional classroom.
Through our learning we equip our students to think deeply, to act justly and to live wholeheartedly as Christ’s agents of renewal in the world.
Calvin seeks to make a difference in God’s world both close to home and at locales around the globe.
In Christian learning and life, mutuality in service of God and our neighbor is the means as well as the end.
We challenge and support students as they seek meaning in their college experiences.
We are building our endowment, prioritizing support of programs and facilities, re-imagining information and communications systems and promoting ecological responsibility on our campus, all with an emphasis on long-term sustainability. Together we will strengthen Calvin’s financial foundation for future generations.
Alumni and parents
Loyal ever to the faith of old; forever faithful to maroon and gold.
It’s yield season in enrollment management, the time when admitted students are weighing their college options and deciding where they will enroll. I’ve been privileged to be part of several yield events and wanted to offer a snapshot of recent events hosted by the enrollment division:
At such events, Calvin faculty and staff remark on the wide range of highly qualified students who are seriously considering Calvin and whose gifts and talents would enrich this community. I, too, am delighted and humbled by the caliber and character of these potential students and hope that each one will choose Calvin.
Being a Calvin Ambassador isn’t just a job for the president. Please consider how you, through a quiet word of encouragement or by hosting an event, can help promote Calvin’s education of the heart and mind.
As spring sports begin, we have launched a new sports website, www.calvinknights.com, filled with interesting stories, updated stats, standings, schedules, rosters and more.
Prior to becoming an administrator I taught international relations and political economy, focusing on Latin America. Of all the countries I studied during this period of my career, Honduras left me with the least hope. Corruption, the ineffectiveness of the education system and increasing violence were among the many factors that perpetuated poverty and injustice for generations.
Around the time I began my studies in Central America, Calvin alumni and faculty members Kurt Ver Beek and Jo Ann Van Engen, along with a few Honduran friends, founded an organization called the Association for a More Just Society (AJS) in Honduras. Kurt and Jo Ann, along with a brave and committed staff, have worked tirelessly to make Honduras’ systems of laws and government work for the poorest and most vulnerable.
At times the work has been dangerous (several years ago one of the organization’s lawyers was assassinated), but after toiling now for more than 15 years, the organization has begun to see powerful results. AJS’s work has exposed corruption in the education system and held the government accountable for ensuring that every child has access to 200 days of school (the average over the past decade was only 125 days). The 80 courageous Hondurans who now work for AJS were also recognized recently in a New York Times article for their work to bring justice to victims of crime in the Nueva Suyapa neighborhood. This year the new president of Honduras signed a commitment to give AJS unprecedented access to information in five ministries where corruption is particularly acute.
At Calvin we believe we are equipping our graduates to be Christ’s agents of renewal in a broken world. Kurt and Jo Ann are two examples of the “practical hope” we have in the renewing power of Jesus Christ. Witnessing this courageous renewal work in Honduras inspires and moves me as we prepare to celebrate the resurrection. May you also experience the joy of the resurrection as Christ continues His renewing work in and through you.
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