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Calvin-Parents E-Newsletter: April 13, 2010

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Student life division announces new off-campus housing policy

Calvin parents, the student life division leadership wrote to many of you in December 2009 about the Board of Trustees' instruction to make changes to the college's off-campus housing policies in light of overcrowding and housing violations.  Neighbors to Calvin lobbied the City of Grand Rapids to enforce the local ordinance of "no more than four (4) unrelated persons living in the same residence."  Numerous Calvin students were affected.

College administrators worked with students and other community members for six months, and this work has culminated in a statement on off-campus living endorsed by Faculty Senate. This revised policy was shared in a letter to students [PDF] last week. Student Senate, while wishing fines weren't necessary, supports this soft approach in year one with a stronger approach in year two.

The new initiative underscores the virtues that are stated in Calvin's core curriculum document (honesty, courage, empathy, humility, compassion, justice and faith).  It is the college's position that these virtues must be evident in decisions related to off-campus housing choices and conduct, as well as in behaviors on the Calvin campus.

In addition, the college plans to work with the City of Grand Rapids to pursue some different zoning arrangements--perhaps education zones or square-footage rules instead of the current "only four residents regardless of house size" approach.  That process is in the city's hands and will be a longer process.

"Thank you for your support," says vice president for student life Shirley Hoogstra.  "Please continue to pray for our student, faculty, staff and neighborhoods as we bring about change."

Matt    DeVlieger with Andy Roddick

Inspirational videos, interesting stories of students

Much of the Calvin community knows of the horrible scuba diving accident that happened to junior Matt DeVlieger last year, an accident that left him paralyzed from the chest down. Read more about his progress, which includes a link to a video that shows him raising his leg!  He's pictured at left with Andy Roddick.

Rebecca Ferris is a client at Calvin College's Stroke Rehabilitation Clinic. This video shows Rebecca's story and how the Calvin Clinic and her student clinicians have helped her.

Student hosts at this year's Festival of Faith and Writing will uphold the longstanding festival tradition of taking care of the talent.  Read more about FFW 2010 below.
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Academic advising (dates corrected)

On April 27-28 (please note date correction), Calvin schedules two days of academic advising recess.  This is a time when classes are not in session so that faculty can meet with their advisees.  Students are instructed to meet with their advisor during this time (per faculty schedule) and prepare for registration.  In fact, students must meet with their assigned advisor in order to be cleared  for KnightVision registration.  Please do all you can to encourage your student to take full advantage of academic advising.  In addition to meeting with an advisor, academic advising recess is a good time to get caught up on reading assignments and writing papers.  It should not be a time to leave campus for a long weekend getaway.

Here's more information about academic advising services.

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Student health insurance (slightly) updated announcement

Each spring, returning students are asked to submit information about their current health insurance coverage through an online waiver system available through their KnightVision account.  This information must be received by April 15, 2010.  Please check with your student to make sure he or she has submitted their health insurance information if they do not wish to be enrolled in the KnightCare student health insurance plan for the 2010-2011 academic year.
Insurance information can be obtained one of three ways:
1. Your student can log-in at and complete an enrollment or waiver form online.
2. Paper versions of the enrollment and waiver forms are available for download at and may be submitted to health services. 
3. A photocopy of the front and back of a current health insurance card can be e-mailed ( or faxed (616-526-6548) to health services.
Students who enroll in the student health insurance plan and students who do not fill out a waiver form by April 15th will have the KnightCare premium posted to their miscellaneous account in June. Plan coverage begins August 15, 2010 and expires on August 15, 2011.
For additional information about student health insurance, students and parents can visit the health services Web site at 
For questions or concerns, please contact:
Kelly Moore or Jamie Klop
Health Services
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Spring Exam Treat

Help your hard-working student jump-start spring exams with confidence. The Spring Exam Treat ($20) features a reusable tote box filled with study snacks and treats (popcorn, candy, granola bars, etc.). The order deadline for this treat is Tuesday, May 4; the treat will be delivered to students on Monday, May 10. Remember that you can also surprise your student with the popular "Pizza and a Movie" treat, which can be ordered anytime and often! This treat features a certificate for a large two-topping pizza, a bag of popcorn, and a Blockbuster® gift card.

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Calvin safety update on explosive devices

There was an event on campus last weekend which generated responses from campus safety and local police and fire.  This is a summary of what did (and did not) happen.

Last Friday night a few students in one of the residence halls created homemade "bombs" from empty two-liter pop bottles and dry ice, and threw them into their residence hall "V" (the area behind the residence hall) from a second-floor coffee kitchen. Contrary to some rumors, the devices were NOT thrown into any rooms or offices of staff and were not planted around campus. Because some of the bottles had not exploded, campus safety staff followed their protocol and contacted local police to assist with a safe disposal. When the police (and fire department) arrived, they asked students whose rooms face the "V" to move into the hallway or to friends' rooms across the hall for safety. The bottles were disarmed, and the area was cleared. In addition, the students who made the devices admitted their involvement and cooperated with the police-initiated investigation; three students were arrested.

Although intended as a fun experiment/prank and not intended to harm anyone, these bottles can be extremely dangerous, and construction of explosive devices such as these is considered a felony in the state of Michigan. In addition, devices such as these bottles, fireworks and similar items are not permitted on campus. If you have questions or concerns about this incident please feel free to contact John Witte, the dean of residence life at or 616-526-6546.

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FFW 2010 this week

The Festival of Faith & Writing (FFW) will take place at Calvin from April 15 to 17, 2010. Presenters will include Eugene Peterson, Mary Karr, Wally Lamb, Kate DiCamillo, Richard Rodriguez, Stephanie Kallos, Parker Palmer, Luci Shaw, and Stephen Carter, among many others. Even though conference registration is closed, many events will be open to the public. Tickets for these events may be purchased through the Calvin College Box Office.   If you want to read some of the books from presenters who will be at FFW, visit the Festival Favorites page.  There is also a Recommended Reading page with a list of recommended books from all the presenters.

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Honors Convocation - April 21, 2010

Calvin College will hold its 56th annual Honors Convocation at 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 21 in the Calvin College Chapel.The event recognizes not only the students who will graduate with honors in one or more subjects, but the Dean's List honorees, many of whom have been on the list every year of their Calvin careers. Honors graduates will receive gold honors medallions and Dean's List honorees from all classes will receive certificates. Families are welcome; tickets not required.

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Calvin Spring Classic run/walk

Everyone can get in on the fun when the 20th annual Calvin 5k Run/Walk and the Karen Muyskens Family Fun Run hits campus on April 24, 2010.  There will be a new USAT&F-approved course with start and finish lines near the new Spoelhof Fieldhouse Complex. The Grand Rapids and Lakeshore area alumni chapters of the Calvin Alumni Association host this race. Because of our generous corporate partners, all entry fees go toward student scholarships!  Sign up today [online registration].

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Keep "ReCommending" Calvin

Alumni, it's your turn! You are our best ambassadors. Help us recruit students to the school you love.

Talk to high school students, parents, guidance counselors, pastors—even students already admitted to Calvin. Tell your Calvin story, and let us know who you're talking to!  After your conversation with that student or students, please fill out a brief form that summarizes the conversation and you will get a coffee card for a free latte the next time you are on campus.  But you need to do this by April 15, 2010, to be eligible for the free coffee and also to be registered for a drawing for Calvin books, tickets and clothing. 

Here's another idea.  Why not bring a student to a Calvin event?

Check the Parent Calendar for important dates

Bookmark the Parent Calendar page to keep track of important dates throughout the year, including:

Apr. 20: Tuition, room & board payment due
Apr. 21: Honors Convocation 7:30 p.m.
Apr. 27-28: Academic Advising (no classes scheduled)
Apr. 29: Registration for Fall 2010 begins
Apr. 30: Last day to drop second-half semester courses; last day to change second-half semester courses from credit to audit


College Events: You Are Invited!

Mar. 29 - Apr. 24: Center Art Gallery exhibition: "The Unguarded Moment" (read more below)
Apr. 15: Noontime Series: Festival of Faith and Writing - Scott Cairns
Apr. 15-17: Festival of Faith & Writing (read more below)
Apr. 15-17, 22-24: Calvin Theatre Company: Backborn
Apr. 17&18: Calvin Alumni Orchestra concerts
Apr. 19 & 20: Nagel Institute spring lectures with Dr. Lian Xi
Apr. 23: Women's Chorale with Hope Women's Chamber Choir in Holland, Mich.
Apr. 24: Calvin 5k Spring Classic and Karen Muyskens Family Fun Run (read more below)
Apr. 24: Women's Chorale in Troy, Mich.
Apr. 24: River City Improv performing at Ladies Literary Club in Grand Rapids, Mich.

News & Stories from campus

Read News & Stories from campus.  Parent relations director Mike Van Denend recently visited Haiti and shared some reflections on hope in that earthquake-devastated country.


Calvin Sports: This week's athletic events

Calvin KnightsFor information about athletic events visit the redesigned Sports Information Web site. Need Calvin sports results fast? Call the Calvin sports hotline at 616-526-6522 for current sports updates. You can also sign up for the Calvin Sports-Report, a free e-mail bulletin notifying Calvin sports fans of current sports news.

Other Helpful Links:
Parent & Family Resources
Parent Calendar
Worship & Discipleship
Campus News
Daily Sports Update
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