Living on campus is an integral part of the Calvin educational experience. The learning that takes place within communities of residents is a catalyst for social, spiritual, moral, and intellectual development. The seven traditional residence halls, with rooms configured in suites of two rooms and one bathroom (two students per room), and the eleven apartment-style buildings (four or five students per apartment) are all located within short walking distance of academic buildings and parking. Within the residence halls and apartments, there are opportunities for deeper learning through a number of optional living-learning or "themed" clusters, including topics such as environmental stewardship, understanding race and anti-racism, faith and athletics, language apartments, and an honors community.
All residence halls are staffed by full-time, masters-level staff members who supervise various student leadership groups and ensure a safe, healthy, and developmental environment for all residents. All student rooms are furnished and have internet and campus cable access. Storage and quiet study rooms are available in hall basements, laundry facilities are free, and meal plans provide a wide variety of food options at every meal.
- From the Calvin College Catalog, 2010
Calvin requires all first and second year students to live on campus, and encourages continued on-campus housing for students beyond their first two years when it is no longer a requirement. Exceptions to the residency requirement are granted only for students commuting from their parents’ place of residence, students who are married, part-time, or 21 years or older, or students who are two years beyond their high school graduation date.
As partners in enacting the mission of Calvin College, the Residence Life Department is dedicated to the learning experience of students through on-campus living. We challenge and support students in their development as whole persons, responsible participants in their communities, and faithful citizens of God's kingdom. Through vibrant experiences and opportunities we strive to connect students' hearts to God's heart in all things.
By the end of residents' time living in the halls, residents will have the opportunity to grow in personal responsibility, purpose & congruence, just relationships, compassion, and discipline, all within the context of a Christian community. The five themes provide the foundation for all Residence Life programming and initiatives.
To effectively promote student learning and the Christian character of our communities the Residence Life Department is committed to the following goals:
Christian community depends on you as a resident of your hall or apartment building. It is not a set of rules, though rules are needed at times for the orderly operation of any community. Nor is it the presence of Bible studies, prayer groups, or opportunities for worship, though you’ll find those here. Instead, it’s the character of the people who live in the community–their desire to actively live as Christians. All of us become leaders in this, as we all have a role in the community. What’s your role going to be? To prepare for living in with one another, please consider the following biblical exhortations that serve as our guiding principles for Christian community.
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, but in humility consider others better than yourselves. Each of you should look not only to your own interests but also to the interests of others.”
~Philippians 2:3-4 (NIV)
This passage is our guiding principle for how we treat one another—from roommates to suitemates to people on our floors or in our buildings. As Christians, our lives are not our own. We live for others, just as Jesus did. Our actions and decisions affect others, and this influence calls us toward care, sensitivity, and responsibility for the way we live in community.
“…grow in the grace and knowledge of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ.”
~ II Peter 3:18 (NIV)
The overall goal of Residence Life is student learning—intellectual, social, and spiritual—through the varied experiences of life on-campus. All of this learning is done in the context of faith, so that we understand more fully how we relate to each other and to our God. What is the implication for our life together? We strive to learn and grow personally, actively encourage this growth in others, and avoid becoming stumbling blocks to those around us.
“I have a quiet, private place to study; living on campus has allowed me to enjoy many documentaries, lectures, film, and other activities that I likely would have skipped if I’d lived at home.”
95% of residents agree that our community offers a positive Christian atmosphere. (Fall 2009 survey)
“If a fellow believer hurts you, go and tell him—work it out between the two of you. If he listens, you’ve made a friend. If he won’t listen, take one or two others along so that the presence of witnesses will keep things honest, and try again. If he still won’t listen, tell the church.”
~Matthew 18:15-17 (Message)
We are bound to hurt, anger, or frustrate each other at times, often without knowing it. We avoid gossip and resentment by talking with the person who hurts us, directly and honestly. If someone confronts us, we are gracious in listening, honest in taking responsibility, and eager to make things right. When we are able to speak, listen, confront, and forgive, we grow as a community. Residence Life staff are equipped to assist navigating conflict if individual conversations do not resolve the issue.