Campus News: year in review

Photo by Hayley Cox
Photo by Hayley Cox

It has really been an exciting and eventful year.  We’ve brought you the latest reports and breaking news about the many administrative changes, developments regarding core and strategic plan, new student organizations, and so much more.  So we’ve collected our top picks of campus news stories for the 2013-14 academic year.

We would like to thank you all for reading campus news this year. It has been our pleasure to deliver the latest in on-campus happenings here at Calvin. Until next fall!

Visualized: the decade in Calvin enrollment

Chimes’ very own John Muyskens, science and technology editor, developed an aesthetically elegant and user-friendly series of statistical charts and graphs about the past decade in student enrollment.

The charts and graphs are interactive, allowing users to see the breakdown of student body statistics regarding religious affiliation, majors and concentrations, citizenship, minorities and other categories.

The interactive visuals were well-received, and even attracted notice from Neil Carlson, director of Calvin’s Center for Social Research, who is interested in partnering with Chimes next year to create more online charts and graphs.

Volleyball Coach Warners to work with US national coach

Coach Amber Warners who earlier in the year led the women’s volleyball team to win the national title once again, made headlines in the Calvin community as she was set to work with the legendary Karch Kiraly.

Kiraly, who is the current head coach of the U.S. national women’s volleyball team for the 2016 Olympics, was impressed by Warners’ invention of a sophisticated wireless microphone system to allow players and coaches to communicate through earpieces during practice.

This provided Warners the opportunity to work with 16 women who are aiming to make the Olympic team, including the 2013 player of the year and several Division I All-Americans. Her work will be part of a pilot study to understand the potential of her device.

Woman drives car off ledge near DeVos Communications Center

For the first time in the history of Calvin College, a woman drove a car off a ledge near Calvin’s DeVos Communications Center. The woman, who intended to hit the brakes, unwittingly hit the accelerator, causing her vehicle to plummet 21 feet through the air.

Providentially, firefighters were already near the area because of a training exercise, so they arrived at the scene shortly. The woman endured very minor injuries.

The many faces of Calvin College

This year Campus News featured a number of students who have been fulfilling Calvin’s mission to be agents of renewal in God’s world.

These included Carlos Erazo, a senior at Calvin who combined a lifelong interest in video creation and editing with a growing desire to connect spiritually with Spanish-speaking friends and family in his home country of El Salvador. Erazo has over 62,000 active followers on his YouTube channel, “Proyecto GTG,” meaning Project Glory to God.

We also featured Calvin student and para-athlete Nydia Langill who was was born nine weeks premature and was diagnosed at 18 months with a mild form of cerebral palsy due to bleeding in her brain. In her first few years of life, she underwent multiple surgeries to correct various bones and muscles that were affected by her condition.

Langill has achieved the 12th fastest 200 IM time in the world in her ability category, with her goal being to reach the top eight and compete in the PanPacific Championships this summer, and hopefully the 2016 Paralympics in Rio.

A senior profile we did last week featured two actively involved students at Calvin: student body president David Kuenzi and weekend programming intern Nicole Wilson, both of whom have made an impact in student life on campus.

And students weren’t the only people profiled.  We also featured Commons Dining Hall employee Sebiha Valjevac who came to Grand Rapids from war-torn Bosnia at the end of the 1990s.

Calvin yearbook Prism returns after four year absence

After a three year hiatus, Calvin’s yearbook is returning — in a manner of speaking. Rather than make a yearbook for the class of 2014, the new editors of Prism are working on belated yearbook editions for the classes of 2010-13 before resuming present-day yearbooks.

The editors plan to produce one of the 2010-13 yearbooks per semester, which means that Prism will recalibrate with the present graduating class in a couple of years.

Beloved Professor Joel Navarro leaves Calvin College

After 12 years of serving as a professor and conductor at Calvin College, Joel Navarro is set to begin a new chapter of his life working at the Singapore Bible College (SBC). Navarro will develop and lead the Master in Church Music program in Choral Conducting at SBC.

He will also serve as a thesis adviser and mentor to at least eight graduate students in conducting. Navarro admits the decision was not easy. “I really wanted to retire here in Calvin, but the Lord has other plans and I can only follow his voice,” Navarro said.

“This decision came as the result of at least two years of prayer, discernment and consultation. I have been pushing the idea out of my radar for too long.” Navarro could also be asked to travel throughout Southeast Asia to do missionary work in the region.

LOFT ends 15-year-old ‘Grow in Grace’ tradition

There’s no more “growing in grace” at LOFT. For more than a decade and a half, Calvin’s Sunday night LOFT services ended with “My Friends, May You Grow in Grace.” But that all changed on one fateful night last semester (Sunday, September 8), when it was announced that the song would be discontinued.

The reason? Because it had spread in popularity to other campus ministries and youth groups, so it was no longer “unique” to LOFT. That rationalization didn’t go over too well with many students who were upset about the abrupt and unexpected change. But despite the widespread discontent and disappointment, the change was not reversed.

Residence Life to launch new ‘wellness’ floor

A floor dedicated to sleeping was the first impulse students had when it came to the upcoming wellness floor launched by Residence Life. However, in a clarification to students, Brandon Jacob described the floor as a living-learning floor focused on students living towards wellness which would include “helping students sleep well, learn the benefits of rest and sleep and focus on things like nutrition and exercise.”

Students living on the floor will be expected to incorporate a Sabbath orientation into daily living, abide by extended quiet hours and establish goals for themselves in areas including the amount of physical activity they do and the food they eat.

This year in student senate

This year student senate has moved to bring a fresh and new image to the face of the organization. From pushing for extended Easter and Thanksgiving breaks, hosting a town hall with President Le Roy and working to represent students in governance committees, senate has given a voice to the student body.

While the recent senate elections were plagued with technical failures leading to all first year students being unable to vote, they brought forth a successful debate and attracted a wider range of competition in senators and executive teams compared to the previous year.

New student organizations make a difference

A range of new student organizations was started this year including the Food Recovery Network and Calvin College Students for Life. The former was started by first year student Cameron Kritikos who looked to collect leftover food twice a week in both dining halls.

According to Kritikos the food will be donated to the Supper House, which Kalsbeek-Huizenga-van Reken (KHvR) has a partnership with.

Another initiative started by Sarah Weiss was the Calvin College Students for Life. The group aimed to “make sure that people on our campus are aware of current medical practices pertaining to abortion and aware of their options and resources on and off-campus should they find themselves or a friend in an unexpected pregnancy situation, and able to speak confidently about why they believe what they believe concerning the value of life at all its stages.”

This year we also featured the Knights Investment Management which received $1 million from the Calvin Endowment Fund to invest as they see fit under the guidance of the club’s advisor, business professor Leonard Van Drunen. The group is not able to trade or buy anything without his approval.

According to Chief Operating Officer Miles Kuperus, the students involved undergo a rigorous training session and conduct extensive research on different sectors.

Chimes humiliates senate in dual sporting events

In the wake of a victory against the faculty football team, the Chimes staff proceeded to take on and defeat the student senators in an intense game of soccer. The staff celebrated a strong victory over student senate, winning 4-2 on a beautiful Saturday afternoon.

If that wasn’t enough, a game of dodgeball was organized by student senate to attempt to prove to the student body that student senate was in fact capable of playing a sport.

Unfortunately their attempt proved futile as the Chimes staff once again demonstrated their athletic prowess as student senate lost all three games it played against Chimes. However with a brand new team set for the new year, the senators may be able to once again prove to the student body that sports will never be their forte.

Big changes for Calvin College

Landmark decisions and changes were seen this year at the “big picture” level of Calvin College. On the administrative side, a new provost was hired: Cheryl Brandsen, who currently serves as an academic dean.

After much collaboration and consideration, the college approved a strategic plan and committed to extensive cuts across departments as part of the prioritization process.

Let’s also not forget the push that was made earlier this year to open the library on Sundays, a move unanimously agreed on by the Hekman Library committee.

The decision is still under review on the administrative level. The news was missing from President Le Roy’s “Every Square Inch” newsletter to parents and donors.

About the Authors

Connor Sterchi

My name is Connor Sterchi and I’ll be one of the campus news editors for the 2013-14 school year. I’m from Crystal Lake, Ill. This is my senior year at Calvin and I’m planning to graduate with a major in writing and a minor in journalism. Writing is my passion and calling, which I hope to fulfill as a journalist and author.

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Alden Hartopo

Alden Hartopo is the Chimes campus news co-editor for the 2013-14 school year. He is a junior from Jakarta, Indonesia studying International Relations and Economics. He believes that all forms of journalism function as an indispensable third party to facilitate communication, transparency and dialogue for students, faculty and staff.

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