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Calvin Wire - March 1, 2008 -- Volume 8, No. 5

The Calvin Wire newsletter is a bulletin of the Calvin Alumni Association sent to alumni and friends of Calvin College to inform them of the latest news from campus.

In This Issue:


FEN Symposium on Race Spotlights Racial Identity

Dr. Michelle Loyd-Paige, Dean of Multicultural AffairsTwo speakers, Dr. John Palmer and Dr. Kristal Zook, will address some provocative themes of multiculturalism at the 2nd-annual FEN Symposium on Race, held March 5-6, 2008 at Calvin College. The symposium, an effort of Calvin's office of multicultural affairs, takes its name from From Every Nation (FEN), Calvin's multicultural statement of mission. The broad themes of FEN, as it is familiarly called, also supply the themes of each year's symposium. "This year, we are really addressing the theme of multicultural citizenship," said Michelle Loyd-Paige, Calvin's dean of multicultural affairs. "It's about how we think about who we are, how we engage with others and how we get beyond the stereotypes. We're really excited that these two speakers will expand our understanding of diversity." The event is free and open to the public. Read more.


Gender Studies Celebrates Women's History Month

Simona GoiIn March and April, the gender studies department at Calvin College will recognize Women's History Month with a diverse schedule of activities: everything from a feminist reevaluation of the wedding ceremony to a discussion of intersexuality. Calvin's Women's History Month events—which take place March 4 through April 3—are less a celebration of the milestones of women's history than an exploration of gender issues, said Simona Goi, the director of the gender studies minor who is coordinating the events. "I've sort of made it into 'gender history month' because all of us—men and women—deal with gender issues throughout our lives, and this is an opportunity to stop and reflect on these issues," Goi said. "I also think it's important to celebrate the accomplishments of women and to acknowledge the challenges that women face." Read more.


Featured Web Site: Campus Safety

Calvin's Campus Safety Web siteThe Campus Safety Department coordinates all campus safety operations on campus. The Campus Safety Department consists of a director, an associate director for technical services, an operations manager, four patrol supervisors, office staff, and approximately 50 student employees who fill the roles of Campus Safety officers, Building Security officers, Escort Drivers and Dispatchers. The Campus Safety Web site features several online resources including:
•  Calvin's emergency response plans
•  weekly crime and incident reports
•  safety tips
•  Clery Act statistics
•  parking /driving regulations
•  online vehicle registration


Professor Miller awarded NSF grant to study language acquisition

Karen MillerA Calvin College professor of Spanish has earned a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) to study language acquisition in Chile and Mexico City. "The ability to acquire language is innate and specific to humans, and we know that the language children acquire is based on the language that they hear around them," said Karen Miller, a Calvin professor of Spanish, who will use the three-year $166, 217 NSF grant to study how children native to those two places learn and incorporate plural morphology in Spanish. "What I am interested in is how different types of variation in the language children hear affects the type of language they initially acquire." Miller's specific focus is the plural marker, which in Spanish, as in English, is the "s" sound. Yet while children in Mexico City regularly hear their parents using the "s" to make one perro (dog) into two perros (dogs), children in Chile hear their parents adding the "s" with less constancy; instead, it is sometimes produced by adults and sometimes omitted in plural noun phrases. Read more.


Calvin students to participate in spring break service-learning trips

Students painting houseEvery year when spring break rolls around, a sizeable contingent of Calvin College students bypasses the conventional trek to the beach for a chance to work in some less relaxing locales. From Saturday to Saturday, March 8 through 15, 110 students-double last year's total-and eight mentors will participate in Calvin's service-learning spring break trips. The groups will travel to eight sites around the country to serve alongside worthy non-profit organizations and to learn about cultures other than their own. Calvin students and mentors will spend spring break doing everything from urban ministry to hurricane relief. Three of this year’s trips represent a growing partnership between Calvin and several Louisiana communities to help these towns recover from the one-two punch of hurricanes Katrina and Rita in 2005. "It's the reciprocal relationship of coming alongside an agency for a week so that we can learn, and they can get extra help," said Lori Gesink, a Calvin associate director of service-learning and the coordinator of the trips. "Our students get much more than they give." Read more.


Calvin Orchestra to tour northeastern U.S. during spring break

The Calvin Orchestra, under the direction of Robert Nordling, will tour northeastern U.S. states during spring break with performances in Northville MI, Hoboken NJ, Wykoff NJ, Whitinsville MA, Worchester MA, Stony Brook NY, and Washington D.C. Visit the Music Department Web site for more details about the Calvin Orchestra's spring tour itinerary. Spring break begins on Friday, March 7. Although campus housing and student dining facilities are closed most college offices and departments will remain open during the break. The Calvin Orchestra, under the direction of Robert Nordling, will tour northeastern U.S. states during spring break with performances in Northville MI, Hoboken NJ, Wykoff NJ, Whitinsville MA, Worchester MA, Stony Brook NY, and Washington D.C. Visit the Music Department Web site for more details about the Calvin Orchestra's spring tour itinerary.


Nagel Grant for HIV/AIDS in Liberia

A Calvin College professor of nursing has earned a grant from the Nagel Institute for the Study of World Christianity to research the role of faith communities in HIV/AIDS prevention in Liberia. Dianne Slager, a nurse practitioner who has taught at Calvin for three years, will use the Nagel funds to travel to Liberia in late May of 2008 to assess knowledge and attitudes about HIV/AIDS among church leaders and to evaluate the HIV/AIDS information programs they offer.A Calvin College professor of nursing has earned a grant from the Nagel Institute for the Study of World Christianity to research the role of faith communities in HIV/AIDS prevention in Liberia. Dianne Slager, a nurse practitioner who has taught at Calvin for three years, will use the Nagel funds to travel to Liberia in late May of 2008 to assess knowledge and attitudes about HIV/AIDS among church leaders and to evaluate the HIV/AIDS information programs they offer. "There's a great denial in West Africa of the significance of HIV/AIDS," Slager said. "Even now, people in Liberia will say HIV/AIDS is not a big problem there, but World Health Organization statistics contradict that." Slager will work through the Christian Education Foundation of Liberia (CEFL), an organization that offers training to 600 pastors from more than 200 denominations. In addition to assessing the programs which exist, she will also develop educational approaches to HIV/AIDS for pastors to use with their congregations. Read more.


Alumni & Public Relations Office moves across campus

The Youngsma Center, located on the east side of campus at 1580 East Beltline, is the former home to Heartwell Mortgage. This two-story building, adjacent to Calvin's 90-acre Eco-System Preserve and directly north of the student parking-lot, was purchased by Calvin last fall and is currently being renovated. The Alumni & Public Relations Office will be relocating across campus to the recently acquired Youngsma Advancement Center on Monday, March 10. The Youngsma Center, located on the east side of campus at 1580 East Beltline, is the former home to Heartwell Mortgage. This two-story building, adjacent to Calvin's 90-acre Eco-System Preserve and directly north of the student parking-lot, was purchased by Calvin last fall and is currently being renovated. The Youngsma Center will also be the headquarters for the college's 55-person advancement division, human resources office, and the Calvin Academy for Lifelong Learning (CALL). Because the majority of the people who will work in the building have communications and fund-raising as an integral part of their work, the building is named in memory of Sydney Youngsma, an advancement division stalwart who worked at Calvin in the 1950s, 60s and 70s as the college's first full-time fund-raiser and publicist. Calvin's advancement division includes development, alumni and public relations, community relations, parent relations, and communications and marketing. Some members of the division have already moved into the building; the rest of the division will complete the move this spring and summer. Read more.


Unborn Week: February 25-29

In March and April, the gender studies department at Calvin College will recognize Women's History Month with a diverse schedule of activities: everything from a feminist reevaluation of the wedding ceremony to a discussion of intersexuality. This past week, from February 25 through 29, Calvin College hosted Unborn Week, five days of events celebrating the sanctity of human life. Unborn Week is sponsored by the Calvin College Republicans (CCR). "The issue of life has been put on the back burner at Calvin," said Jared Rispens, a CCR chair and coordinator of the event. "We talk so much about global warming and Focus the Nation, and that's important. But there's a fundamental issue we forget about: the slaughter of human life-millions each year." The student organizers said that the title "Unborn Week" was inspired by "Unlearn Week," Calvin's annual exploration of anti-racism and diversity issues. "We thought it had a nice tone and buzz to it," Rispens complimented the original title. Alhough Unborn Week is sponsored by the Calvin College Republicans, that group is emphatic that it has not been planned as a partisan event. "All Christians should be able to say, 'Yes, I'm pro-life,'" said Rispens. Read more.


Bob Crow inducted into Grove City College's Hall of Fame

Bob Crow, dean of student development at Calvin, is a 1983 graduate of Grove City College in his native Pennsylvania, and he is described on the Grove City Hall of Fame Web site as "undoubtedly Grove City College's most heralded men's basketball player in recent decades."A Calvin College staff member was inducted last month into his alma mater's athletic hall of fame. Bob Crow, dean of student development at Calvin, is a 1983 graduate of Grove City College in his native Pennsylvania, and he is described on the Grove City Hall of Fame Web site as "undoubtedly Grove City College's most heralded men's basketball player in recent decades." For his part Crow is humble about the praise headed his way, but also honored. "In some ways my career at Grove City seems like a long time ago," he says. "But there is no doubt that playing intercollegiate athletics at Grove City was a formative experience for me. I learned a lot in the classroom certainly, but also learned a lot playing basketball, and made a lot of good friends. It will be fun to return to the campus this weekend to catch up with old faces." The second all-time leading scorer in Grove City history with 1,450 points, Crow twice led the Wolverines in scoring and averaged 18 points per game as a senior. Read more.


Students organize Rock, Paper, Scissors tournament

A Calvin student organization is sponsoring the college's first-ever official Rock, Paper, Scissors tournament. The event is taking place from Monday, February 18 through Thursday, March 27, 2008.A Calvin student organization is sponsoring the college's first-ever official Rock, Paper, Scissors tournament. The event is taking place from Monday, February 18 through Thursday, March 27, 2008. "We first planned on doing arm wrestling, but that's a pretty select group of people who would do that," said Kristin Crawford, a first-year student and member of the Calvin Video Network (CVN), which is hosting the event. "Rock, Paper, Scissors is easy for anyone to play." The tournament is organized as a residence hall contest. Participants from each of the seven Calvin residence halls and the Knollcrest East Apartments (plus off-campus students) are competing on their designated evenings. The final two contestants from each dorm will throw down-literally-in the finale on Thursday, March 27, 2008. The entire shebang, complete with emcees and referees, will be filmed by CVN to create a program suitable for showing on Calvin’s Channel 4. The student videographers hope to mimic the format of the World Series of Poker or other tournament shows for the format of their program. Read more.


Students build relationships while hosting conference guests

Ross AchesonThe night before the Faith and International Development Conference (FIDC) began at Calvin College, Brian Miller chose to attend when a few people from his university dropped out of the group. "I jumped in their spot and came," said Miller, a sociology major at Mount Vernon Nazarene University in Ohio. "I enjoyed the conference a lot, and it was refreshing to be around people who shared similar passions for living out their deeply held faith in Jesus Christ." Miller was one of three guests hosted by Ross Acheson, a Calvin junior majoring in International Development Studies and a resident assistant in VanderWerp residence hall. The four attended the conference with the theme “Sustainability: Fruit That Lasts." Acheson enjoyed hosting his three guests for the weekend. "I had my welcome-sign up, and I wrote a little map-way to my bathroom which is around the corner and wrote 'Welcome' on the sign a couple more times. I tried to make them feel at home," he said. "I appreciated the hospitality, period," Miller said in retrospect. "One thing that stuck out more is that he hosted three guests; that, combined with the fact that I signed up at midnight. That Calvin College was able to find me a place on that short of notice was impressive." Read more.


Calvin Distinctive #4: Promising Futures

A Calvin education is the foundation for a successful life calling. Through the development of essential character, knowledge and skills, Calvin helps students understand God's world, discover their unique gifts and excel in vocations of meaning and purpose. Calvin provides an excellent foundation for students to pursue graduate studies. A study of the number of scholars earning doctoral degrees reveals that Calvin ranks first in the nation among master's degree-granting institutions for total amount of graduates receiving doctoral degrees, and 22nd when compared with over 1,000 similar private colleges. For more information visit the Calvin Distinctives Web site.


The Calvin Wire newsletter is a bulletin of the Calvin Alumni Association sent to alumni and friends of Calvin College to inform them of the latest news from campus.