Calvin’s newest residence hall wing, van Reken Hall, is home to three distinct and intentional living-learning floors - Outdoor Recreation / Creation Care (exploring environmental sustainability and recreational leisure responsibility), Grassroots (exploring race and ethnicity in ourselves and more broadly in North America), and Honors. Each floor is architecturally arranged to facilitate strong co-ed communities as well as to deepen the learning that happens there. Through learning events and community practices, students are invited to think and act more intentionally in relation to the theme of their particular floor.
Van Reken is open primarily to first and second year students, with two resident assistants serving a floor community of 40 students. Faculty mentors partner with each floor in an effort to help students foster deep learning. Space is limited, and an additional application is required.
On the Outdoor Recreation/ Creation Care (ORCC) floor residents live and learn in a community committed to exploring sustainable and recreational appreciation of Creation through the eyes of the Christian faith. From tapping Sugar Maples around campus to kayaking in Lake Michigan to serving the Grand Rapids community through volunteerism at the nearby watershed, residents of ORCC strive to actively engage and understand their role as God’s people living, working and playing in Creation. As a living-learning community, residents strive to share, teach, and learn new ways to live out their faith through interactions with creation with each other. With the aid and involvement of faculty mentors, residents work to bring positive change and learning within Residence Life and the greater Calvin community. The goal of the ORCC floor is for residents to take away from the floor new techniques, experiences, and Christian views on outdoor recreation and environmental stewardship.
The floor of 40 is made up of both men and women (on separate halves of the floor), with the common lounge in the middle serving as a place of discussion, learning, fellowship, and fun. Students interested in taking an additional step of engagement in the their housing options should consider applying.
This floor provides a place for highly motivated students to build friendships with peers, strive for deeper learning, and create new links between their experiences inside and outside of the classroom. Through social events, a floor seminar, and avenues for leadership, students engage with each other and with the Honors Program in a community focused way.
Students applying to live on this floor should normally meet honors eligibility standards: a Calvin GPA of at least 3.3 and involvement in at least one honors course or contract per year.
Residents of the floor commit to the following:
The Honors Program is having a growing impact on campus life at Calvin, providing students with opportunities to engage their academic work more deeply and develop strong relationships with peers and faculty members inside the classroom and beyond. Honors students can register for clustered honors courses in their first semester, or for designated honors sections of core courses at any time; they can contract for honors credit in any regular course, and at the junior and senior level they often conduct research with faculty mentors in their major -- sometimes they even co-author publications or make presentations with the faculty.
The Honors community in van Reken has room for approximately 20 men and 20 women, selected from interested applicants. This unique housing opportunity for motivated students, primarily in their first or second year at Calvin, is intended to build a stronger sense of community among honors students and create new links between their experience inside and outside of the classroom.
The leaders of Calvin's Honors Program (classics Prof. Ken Bratt and English Prof. Jennifer Holberg) work with residence life leaders to integrate a series of special events into the regular routine of life together on a floor. Events may include a retreat, service projects, field trips, movie nights, conversations with faculty members or visiting lecturers, and social activities. The floor could also host events for other honors students on campus, or collaborate with other living-learning communities in van Reken. The wing was designed with this in mind, including program and study spaces in the basement of Kalsbeek-Huizenga, and reception lounges on each floor featuring fireplaces, tables and chairs, and soft seating.
This floor is a place where students can encourage each other as they seek for deeper learning, enjoying a distinctive experience in living with other motivated students. The intent is to develop a vibrant place of community.
For twelve years, Calvin sponsored the Mosaic Community--a place where students have lived and learned together around issues of culture and race. As the original and only Living-Learning community in the residence halls, it stood alone as a place for any student who wanted to take a step of engagement in learning while living together in a vibrant community. Students applied to be part of the program, attended seminars and learning events together, and received academic credit for their involvement. That same spirit now transitions into this re-visioned and refreshed living-learning community as we enter year #3 of the Grassroots Community. Grassroots is open to ALL students interested and passionate about the topics, though space is limited and specific application materials must be submitted.
As a community of students,
We confess the brokenness of our world and the sin of racism which has infected our world on a personal, institutional and cultural level. We confess that cultural superiority and internalized victimization have damaged our relationships with one another, creating social tensions. We confess that we often submit to the world's definition of who we are while failing to "ungrasp" those identities in exchange for one rooted in the image of God.
Illuminated by God's grace and wisdom, we commit to:
Reflecting the kingdom of God in how we interact with one another Restoring and redefining our ethnic identities by exploring race relations in the context of the United States, IDIS 190. Sharing our living and learning together through communal meals and activities.
If so, this could be the place for you. Change happens in our own lives first, at the grassroots level. Set your roots, and grow with us.