Mike VanDenendDirector's Desk • Recommend Calvin -- today!
By Michael Van Denend '78

March is prime time admissions season. Prospective students and families have narrowed their college choices and are receiving financial aid information. It is this month and the next that really determine the final enrollment for most institutions.

It is time, alumni and friends, to “Recommend Calvin.”

The alumni association is partnering with the admissions office on a special “Recommend Calvin” campaign, rallying Calvin Nation to talk to a high school senior over the next couple of months (see page 46 in your magazine). The idea is to give at least one young person you know—in your extended family, church, school community, neighborhood—a compelling personal appeal to make Calvin their college.

We hear time and time again that it is a Calvin community member—alum, parent, current student, donor, friend—whose encouragement and personal recommendation of Calvin made a crucial difference in the college decision-making process. This new campaign is simply a new nudge to do just that: Recommend Calvin.

Go to www.calvin.edu/go/recommend today and see the details. Record your conversation with a prospective student on the Web form. In gratitude, there are some great Calvin perks to be had.

But I trust it is not the little incentives that will compel you to recommend Calvin. Rather, it is a heartfelt personal story to tell, a desire to see Calvin thrive and an eagerness to have another generation of young people experience this special place.

The time is now! Unfurl your Calvin flag and tell your Calvin story today.

A prayer for Haiti

Our home life changed on Jan. 12. The 7.0-magnitude earthquake that devastated Haiti hit our house as well. In the past year or so, my wife Loni and I had been to Port-au-Prince a few times through a small, plucky nonprofit organization, working in schools and orphanages.

So much changed that day. When you’ve begun to make personal connections, a tragedy such as this is not about “that poor country” or “those unfortunate families.” No, it is about Gertrude and Rosie, TiJean and Frentz, Kelencia and Wilbertson, Michelange and Patrick, and on and on and on. God knows them all by name.

Calvin alumni were in Haiti at the time of the earthquake, being about (as they are in so many corners of the kingdom) “God’s work in God’s world.” Others were immediately connected to the disaster because they were making peace where there was little peace through scores of creative ministries. Some were in the adoption process. Phanuelle Duchatelier, a Calvin sophomore and Heyns Hall R.A., prayed for the safety of her parents.

We’re collecting their stories for the next edition of Spark. If you know a story, tell us at spark@calvin.edu. Please keep praying for Haiti, just a 90-minute plane ride from Miami, but a world away. May the distance decrease.


Michael J. Van Denend
Executive Editor, Spark