As a sophomore at Calvin, Ruth Kamp Baas ’79 served as a resident assistant in the Noordewier-VanderWerp (NVW) residence hall. Twenty-eight years later, her daughter Amy Baas ’08 moved into the dorm as a freshman. This spring, Ruth’s and Amy’s names appear together in the NVW lobby as a testament to their support of the current generation of Calvin students.
The pair is featured on the NVW Living Legacies display, one of nine such displays on campus—one in each of the seven residence halls on campus, one in the Knollcrest East apartment building Theta-Epsilon and one in Johnny’s Café. Each display lists the names of donors to the Calvin Annual Fund who lived in the residence hall where the display is located, or in the Knollcrest East apartment community. The exception is the display in Johnny’s, which features commuter and Franklin campus alumni.
Eric Kamstra, manager of annual fund special programs at Calvin, realizes there is something special about a student’s dorm experience. “There’s a lot of dorm affinity and a lot of history with dorms,” he said. “I think it means a lot to the students to know that people who went before them are giving back.”
Both Ruth and Amy consider NVW a place they built lifelong friendships. Said Ruth: “I enjoyed so many late-night talks and hours spent laughing with dear friends as we shared our hearts together in the community of the college dorm.”
Amy added: “Whether it was pulling pranks, talking about boys, playing Mario Kart, staying up way too late watching movies, singing along to songs at the top of our lungs, or even doing homework together, the best times were times spent with others.”
Ruth and Amy became living legacies themselves because they view financial support as a tangible form of gratitude for their time at Calvin. “I choose to support Calvin because I believe in the power of the education I received there,” Amy shared. “The relationships I had with professors, staff and other students at Calvin were invaluable to my educational experience, and I believe the size and intentionality of the Calvin experience were vital to those relationships.”
Amy said that having parents, sisters, uncles, aunts and cousins who are also Calvin alumni has brought her family even closer: “There are certain jokes and stories that would not be understood without the Calvin legacy in the family. We all understand what ‘The Cheese’ is. We know where the Sem Pond is and what it means to take a ‘Calvin walk’ around it. We all know the Messiah much better than we used to, since many of us sang with the Oratorio Society.”
Ruth agrees that the Calvin experience has been enriching—both through shared and individual experiences. “God, as our covenant God, is faithful to His promises,” she reflected. “It brings me joy that my family members are walking in God’s ways and learning to live out their faith in the supportive environment of a Christian college like Calvin.”
For Ruth and Amy, the best reward for giving financially to Calvin is not recognition, but knowing they are making a difference. Just five years out of Calvin, Amy has a strong sense of her effect on current students: “I want other students to be able to have the same great experience that I had at Calvin.”