It's time once again for the Official Calvin College Rumor Control Ombudsperson to spring or fall into action-the landscape is currently littered with all sorts of beliefs, assertions and claims about Calvin College, and not all of them are true. In following the pattern of my previous Rumor Control columns, I'll start with the most distressing rumors and move on to the less consequential.
Rumor No. 1: Grand Rapids is a cool city.
Michiganders have been hearing quite a bit about the "Cool Cities Initiative" promulgated for the last few years by Gov. Granholm and her administration, and there's a lot to say in favor of this initiative. If Michigan hopes to be competitive in the newer world economies, it will have to attract and keep the kinds of workers who can contribute to innovative enterprises and become the core of an economic renaissance in this state.
Part of the effort to do this attracting and keeping is an emphasis on Michigan cities that would be a magnet for such workers-cool cites, to coin a phrase. And Grand Rapids has, clearly, stepped up and done its part to be such a cool city by attracting the young, the talented and the beautiful-Calvin students, to be brutally direct. Such cities need to attract these kinds of people-youth is not enough. Cool cities are those that can find, nurture and maintain certain kinds of people: artists, musicians, doctors, lawyers, entrepreneurs, and what are referred to as "knowledge workers" and members of the "creative class." If you have any doubt about the existence of these people, look around you-not just in Michigan, but in the pages of this magazine. Of course, what Calvin College values in these characteristics may not be exactly what the state of Michigan is pursuing, but there may be some strategic overlaps between the state and the college. Time will tell, and Kingdom vision.
So, to sum up, although Grand Rapids is certainly a cold city for many months of the year, it is already a cool city year-round somewhere in the 49546 ZIP code.
Rumor No. 2: Calvin College has not been seeing to it that its students are up to speed concerning the phenomenon called outsourcing.
It may be true that students don't learn about outsourcing in every class, in every major and in every program, but it would in fact be the unusual Calvin grad who has no awareness at all of this world-changing phenomenon. They already know at least a little about globalization and off-shoring, even if they don't necessarily believe that the world is flat; outsourcing is clearly part of the world they live in today-and it's almost certain to be a part of their future, as well.
As you would expect, some folks at Calvin have been engaged in innovative applications of outsourcing. What used to be called, pejoratively, plagiarism is now much more positively seen as outsourced research and writing. For those who are not creativity-enhanced, it's a common practice to hang out with those who truly are creative and to bask in the favor and approval that attend such people. Here's a brief listing of words whose meanings are changing because of innovative applications of outsourcing:
Early next year, a college task force on the virtues will be presenting a revised version of how to think about the virtues in a context in which outsourcing has changed almost everything. The work of the task force has been outsourced, too, to knowledge workers and members of the creative class.
Meanwhile, here's a little exercise to keep you busy during those moments when you are distracted by rumors or distressed by endless political campaigning. Sometimes thinking about politics can make a person melancholy. But it may be the case that we need to see these political parties in the new light of outsourcing. Complete an item or two in the following chart, supplying answers that instruct and improve. If Mike Van Denend gets really good answers, he may choose to have them printed in some future issue:
Canadian grads can select any of the 15 parties listed below and thereby help to inform and educate the Calvin grads who live in the United States.
Do you have a question to "Ask Anonymous"? Send it to firstname.lastname@example.org, and if we can find the elusive Bosch, we'll give him your query.
Giving to Calvin
Majors & Minors
People at Calvin