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Roommates, plus everything you need to survive your first week at college p. 6–9, 16–18





During January, hundreds of Calvin students travel around the world to study business in Germany, art in London, development in Cambodia and even serve at a medical mission in Mexico. We asked them to submit their best pictures from their experiences. Visit to see all the breathtaking submissions.

VERGE Vol. 4.2

A Calvin College publication for prospective students and parents

6 Roommate matching

Verge—the edge, rim or margin; the brink. The point beyond which an act, state or condition is likely to start or happen—as in “on the verge.” The verge is a place where you’re finally able to see everything that’s in front of you. A place where you can say, “I can get there from here.” At Calvin, you’ll find yourself on the verge of more than you can imagine. New ideas, unexpected opportunities, new territory in your life, your studies and your faith. From the verge, you’ll catch a vision of how to live. And Calvin will take you there.

in 12 Majoring community

16 First-week survival guide

Contact To submit a question or a letter: To change your address:


The First-Year Experience


Learning + Unlearning

Production VERGE is produced two times a year by Calvin’s admissions and financial aid office.


Faculty Profile: James Vanden Bosch


Faculty Q&A: How to Pass my Class


GR Late Nights


ROTC + Calvin

Editorial and creative team: Allison Graff ’07, head writer Jeanne Nienhuis ’80, editor Joy’l Ver Heul ’04, creative director Nate Hibma ’04, web rockstar


Athletic Successes


Say What? Languages at Calvin


From Calvin to Hollywood

Contributing writers: Abby Zwart ’13 Beth Heinen Bell ’03 Calvin News & Stories Molly Monet ’15


Internship X 5

Contributing photographers: Addison Sung ’15 Dan Vos ’94 Jill DeVries ’08 James Richard Fry Hand lettering: Bethany Paquette ’16

friendships Campus Security and Personal Safety Calvin College is committed to assisting all members of the Calvin community in providing for their own safety and security. The annual Clery security and fire safety compliance document is available on the Campus Safety website at If you would like to receive a paper copy of the combined Annual Security and Fire Safety Report, which contains this information, you can stop by the Calvin College Campus Safety Department in the Mail and Print Services Building at 3230 Lake Drive SE, Grand Rapids, MI 49546, or you can request a copy be mailed to you by calling 616-526-6751. The website and booklet contain information regarding campus security and personal safety including topics such as: crime prevention, fire safety, college security law enforcement authority, crime reporting policies, disciplinary procedures and other matters of importance related to security and safety on campus. Calvin College admits students of any race, color and national or ethnic origin.


ripple 32 The effect of Calvin

Join Calvin’s Class of

2018 community on Facebook!

HOW TO JOIN After you’re admitted to Calvin, watch your email for an invitation to join. Or visit to sign up for the Facebook community.

More than 600 future Calvin students have joined Calvin’s Class of 2018 group on Facebook, an invite-only community. Here’s how you can make the most of this social community: • Meet other students coming to Calvin in the fall—maybe you’ll even meet your new roommate! • Find out about meetups with other future Calvin students in your area. • Chat with current students to get advice about majors, ways to get involved and residence hall living. • Learn more about sports and campus ministries. • Win prizes like Amazon gift cards, Calvin gear or a free semester of textbooks!




EXPERIENCE: One student's schedule MONDAY 6:00AM




As a member of Calvin’s Perkins Leadership Fellows program, Kurt is no stranger to responsibility and the motivation it takes to balance academics and other social and athletic activities. Below is Kurt’s schedule for the fall of his freshman year. Check out how he managed to tackle a heavy course load in the sciences, train on Calvin’s swimming and diving team and still find time to spend with God through nightly devotions.



































































Kurt Delos-Trino ’17 Hometown: Castle Rock, Colo. Major: Nursing Minor: Youth ministry

I love Friday chapel because we sing and praise God for the world he's given us! Grilled cheese Wednesday at Uppercrust for lunch is the best! Perkins Fellows. I like having a class that helps us learn about John Perkins and the work he has done even after all the suffering he has been through. I love how he turned to God through the good things and the bad things in life.

4:00PM 5:00PM Get ready! While you’ll definitely have lots of fun on the weekends, expect some serious study time, too.

8:00PM 9:00PM 10:00PM 11:00PM









I think sometimes we need to have study groups to fully understand cells. It was helpful to get other people’s perspectives as they keep us in check with what we learned and what we’ve forgotten.


Looking for both an adventure and a challenge after graduation? Spend your first Calvin semester living, studying, playing and serving in the diverse setting of Rehoboth, New Mexico.




Through outdoor education, service-learning opportunities and program excursions, we’ll give you space to grow into college and explore what life may have in store for you—and earn up to 14 core credits while you’re doing so. When the semester ends, we’ll help you find your right fit, whether you return to campus for classes or take a gap semester before returning in the fall. Either way, you’ll have a wealth of hands-on learning under your belt, perfectly preparing you for whatever comes next.

new mexico

Apply by May 1



Calvin offers several adventure trips as a way to fulfill your Passport orientation requirement. Enroll at Calvin soon to secure your spot in one of these popular trips. Join the Calvin Class of 2018 on Facebook to be entered to win a free trip! • • • • • •

Algonquin Back Country Paddle (July 18–24) Rocky Mountain Backpacking (July 18–27) North Channel Kayaking & Climbing (July 18–24 and Aug. 17–24) Red River Gorge Rock Climbing (Aug. 17–24) Lake Superior Provincial Park Backpacking (Aug. 17–24) Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore Cycle Tour (Aug. 17–24) Apply at


By Molly Monet ’15

MATES With the excitement of starting college comes the anxiety of moving into the residence halls—and for many students, moving in with a roommate for the first time. While some students choose to live with an existing friend, approximately two-thirds of first-year students leave the matching to Calvin and move in with someone who was selected for them by Calvin’s specialized roommate matching process.

Step 1: The technical match Calvin uses a special software program that generates ideal pairs based on your responses on the housing application. After analyzing lifestyle aspects such as musical tastes, sleep preferences and cleanliness, the software matches you to another person with complementary preferences and habits.

Step 2: The human touch The computer-generated match is just the first step in the matching process. After the program has created a potential roommate match, the Calvin residence life staff reviews every pair by hand. During this stage, residence life is able to address all sorts of specific details. For example, if you indicated a nut allergy in the comments section of your housing application, you will be placed on a nut-free floor. If you are interested in the outdoors or athletics, residence life will work hard to place you with someone who shares these passions, rather than someone who prefers indoor activities. While the goal of this roommate matching system is to create a pair that lives well together, many of the matches are so successful that deep friendships form, and people end up living together throughout college.

In the end, it all depends on you While residence life has an amazing record of producing successful roommate pairs, they rely on the honesty and accuracy of the information you provide on your housing application. When you are filling out your housing form, give as much specific information as possible to ensure that the process is as beneficial to you as it can be. Complete your housing application today!


Once you’ve arrived at Calvin it’s up to you to make the most of your new living situation. Talk about your preferences regarding sleep, study habits and having friends over—then record your decisions in a roommate contract. Whether you’re new or lifelong friends, being a good roommate takes work, communication and compromise.

Daniel Michael

Secondary education (English) Hudsonville, Mich.

Media production Blacksburg, Va.

Michael and Daniel decided to create an ugly sweater Christmas card to send to the guys on their floor as a

Matched by video games and musical tastes What they were worried about: “The only thing I worried about, and probably what most other kids worried about, was that I might not get along with my roommate.” —Daniel

At Calvin: “We have shared interests in video games and shows and stuff, but the main thing that’s made it easy for us to live together is being willing to show interest in what the other guy is into.” —Michael “We actually just talk a lot. I think we’ve become more able to just talk about anything that friends would talk about. We like a lot of the same bands, movies and TV shows, so it was

When you disagree: “We don’t disagree on much (other than whether we should go to Commons or Knollcrest for dinner). We know when to give a little and to take a little back.” —Daniel

Advice to new students: “Calvin does a good job of matching people, so there’s not much to worry about. It was almost eerie in our case. We’ve been asked a lot if we knew each other before coming to Calvin. The answer is no, but by now it’s hard to imagine a time when we didn’t know each other.” —Michael

really easy to relate to each other right off the bat.” —Daniel


Before Calvin: “Since we live pretty close to each other, we met at a Panera midway between our homes and talked about our families, friends, interests and how we wanted to decorate our room! It was a great way to break the ice and find some common ground.” —Macy

Filling out the housing application: “It’s a good idea to have someone who knows you well (like a parent or best friend) look over your responses to the survey, because they will call you out if you sugarcoated anything. The form takes only a brief amount of time, but it’s so important! Take your time and be honest. Every detail threads your form one strand closer to your ideal match.”—Kelly

Kelly Strategic communications Grand Rapids, Mich.

Advice to new students: “Enter your rooming situation with a positive attitude, and be sure to look for the best in your roommate! There are a lot of adjustments and quirks you all have to adjust to, and that’s natural, because you’re learning how to live with someone you aren’t too familiar with.” —Kelly “Cohabitation doesn’t necessarily mean sharing everything, but opening up does tend to make the roommate situation easier. You tend to see your roommate a lot (read: at least every night), so it’s a lot more fun to bond over the similarities than to dwell on the ways you’re different. Find your roommate’s strengths and really appreciate them!” —Macy

Honest answers = the ideal match 8

Macy Psychology (emphasis on special-needs children) Jenison, Mich.

BFFs since kindergarten What they were worried about: “Before college, a lot of people would make foreboding remarks about us jeopardizing our friendship by living together, but I still felt like I was making the right decision for me. Because I already know and love Sarah, it is a lot easier to understand her habits and forgive minor things. We talked a lot about it, and always came to the same conclusion: that as long as we were both willing to make it work, it would work.” —Caitlin

Sarah Digital communications Castleton, Ont.

Caitlin Strategic communications Brighton, Ont.

At Calvin: “We’re both really active and artsy, so we have a lot of the same hobbies. We’ve started rock climbing, and we both love the challenge in it. Going into college with a roommate I already knew didn’t mean I couldn’t make new friends. In fact, it has been a blessing having a surefire friend, especially in the beginning when everyone is scrambling for a friend group.” —Caitlin

Things they disagree on: “Our key to maintaining a relationship is being flexible and humble, ready and willing to admit fault, but also able to hold the other person to a standard of honesty and trust.” —Caitlin

Advice to new students: “Be patient with a new roommate. Not everything is going to be perfect within the first month or so, so you need to give time for yourself and your roommate to adjust and get used to living with someone else.” —Sarah

See more roommate pairs and photos online at




Ever wish you could “unlearn” something? An attitude that you just can’t seem to shake? Or maybe you want to learn more about different people, places and cultures? Either way, at Calvin you can be part of a really big project—helping to make God’s vision for a healthy multicultural community a reality. Here are just a few ways you can get involved in multicultural activities at Calvin:

• UNLEARN WEEK – a week of activities that help the Calvin community examine and unlearn stereotypes and assumptions about race, prejudice and privilege • POETRY JAM – an evening of spoken word, music and visual art • INTERNATIONAL TREASURE – an exploration of cultural food, dress and traditions • RANGEELA – this international talent show is an 18-year Calvin tradition • STUDENT ORGANIZATIONS – African Student Association, Chinese Student Association, Korean Student Association, Middle East Club, Mu Kappa, National Society of Black Engineers, South East Asia Club, Voice for Missions • LEADERSHIP – in the Multicultural Student Development Office (MSDO) and the International


+ UNLEARNING Web exclusive: Watch videos from Calvin’s Multicultural Student Office at​


Majoring in Michael Kelly

Major: Writing and Psychology

editor of Dialogue Writers Retreat

The art of risk-taking When Michael Kelly arrived at the English department’s annual Writers Retreat as a sophomore, he didn’t know a single person there. In fact, he wasn’t even a writing major. Michael decided to take a risk. He’d started doing some creative writing for Calvin’s literary magazine, Dialogue, and wanted to find out if he should add a writing major to his major in psychology. Stuck in the woods of northern Michigan with 40 writing students and professors, the Writers Retreat was a sink-or-swim scenario for Michael. For an entire weekend, he participated


in haiku contests, group feedback sessions and the scariest thing of all: reading his writing in front of a small group of experienced writing majors. The verdict: swim. Two years later, Michael is a double major in writing and psychology, the editor in chief of Dialogue and a student volunteer for Calvin’s Festival of Faith and Writing. But as a writer, Michael wouldn’t want you to think the road from scared sophomore to thriving senior was an easy one. That would make for a boring story. Like any good hero in a story, he had to overcome some obstacles first.

Obstacle No. 1:

The intimidation factor Take, for example, how he felt about joining an established group of English majors for classes and social activities: “I was a bit intimidated by my late start in English and the really smart community filled with analytical people who really think deeply about things.” His remedy for the intimidation factor? Dive right in and don’t look back. “People are people and we’re all looking for community in college. I got beyond my initial intimidation by having classes with some of those [smart] people. For me it was time in my life to make a new set of friends.”

community By Allison R. Graff ’07

Psychology major

Soup Mondays

There are plenty of ways to find your place at Calvin: on your residence hall floor, in athletics or student organizations, and in study-abroad trips. Another place to build community is in the academic department that hosts your major or program. There are few better examples of this at Calvin than in the English department, where senior Michael Kelly found his place.

So he started showing up at the English department’s myriad activities: an Edgar Allen Poe-themed Halloween party, dinners at professors’ homes and the Writers Retreat.

aren’t comfortable with—like going out in front of people and reading what you wrote, even if it’s personal to you, or you don’t have a bunch of confidence yet.”

“At a department event, you’ve got to sit with somebody, so you just sort of sit down and start talking.”

Take, for example, the time when Michael had to read an essay aloud in his “Creative Non-Fiction” course. As a new writing major, he overestimated the rhetorical impact his reading was having on his audience. Caught up in the moment, he charged ahead to his closing statement—the “funniest joke” in the whole essay—and instead of nailing it, he stumbled over it.

Obstacle No. 2:

Learning from mistakes For Michael, the social events for English majors aren’t just about having fun and hanging out with people who love words in ways most other majors don’t understand. They’re about using the power of community to become a sharper writer and a better person. “Oftentimes they’ll ask us to do things we

Embarrassing as the experience may have been, it just meant that the next time Michael shared his work with others, he practiced and practiced

until he was sure that he would nail it. “Every time you step out of your comfort zone, you’ll have a story to tell about it. Either it’ll work out or it won’t, but you’ll learn from it and do better next time.”

Obstacle No. 3:

Too many professors from which to choose Ultimately, the community that Michael has embraced as a writing major is cultivated by Calvin’s English professors, who create the environment where so many students find their niche. He has a hard time choosing a favorite prof: “I feel like everyone needs to take classes with all of them.”


Get involved, in any major At Calvin, professors like their students so much, they create opportunities outside the classroom to enhance the major experience and build community. Here are a few fun activities from various departments on campus.

Soup Mondays (English): Professors provide homemade soup, bread and treats each Monday during the month of January. Come early to get in line!

Media Showcase (film and media): Part film festival, part

Kaffeestunde (German):

award ceremony, this special night celebrates the hard work of film students.

Join German students and professors for coffee, treats and informal conversation in German.

Abstraction (computer science): Use your computer skills in a service project each year. A recent project saw students refurbishing computers for students in Nicaragua.

Pizza and a Prof (physics): A physics professor is on the hot seat for student questions about his or her life, hobbies and opinions about … anything!

Chili Cookoff (chemistry): Professors use their chemical/culinary expertise to craft the perfect pot of chili, as judged by chemistry students. Students compete in the habaneroeating contest to earn a spot in the Habanero Club.

ATTEND THE FESTIVAL OF FAITH AND WRITING You can jumpstart your writing career at Calvin by attending the April 2014 Festival of Faith and Writing, sponsored by the Calvin English department.


Email us at and we can arrange for you to get a free registration to the FFW in conjunction with a Fridays at Calvin visit.


After some thought, Michael settles on writing professor Gary Schmidt, who is known for taking students to Thoreau’s Walden Pond each January in the New England Saints interim course and participating in epic snowball fights at the Writers Retreat. Even more so, he’s known for his unique way of teaching.

lot and determine where he’s headed with his life. After graduation, he plans to get a PhD in educational psychology, where he feels called to use his writing skills to translate important research findings for people who don’t necessarily speak “psychology lingo.” This calling finds its origins in a Christian community that has sharpened him and made him sensitive to the needs of others.

“Usually you have your PowerPoint and your lecture, but this man just has a huge stockpile of stories, and as “You can’t have English soon as he starts telling without community. one, time freezes and you It’s about language and just listen.” communication and Michael also talks about interpretation and all writing professor Debra sorts of things that require Rienstra, who, at the end a community of people.” of her class, invited the And without the quirky, students to come to her word-loving community home for their final “exam.” of writing majors at “We went to her house and Calvin, there would be discussed some of the more no haiku contest in which philosophical things about to claim victory. Which writing over vegetarian chili Michael did at the 2013 and other delicious things. Writers Retreat with this You got to sit in a comfy poem: chair and pet a dog—a On an ashen post home away from home A gayly flapping flannel for a minute.” Still can scare the crows And in settings like that, real friendship is forged. “You need dinner at a prof ’s house with a small group of people to have deeper discussions and really start to know people.”

The outcome:

A true winner

Now Michael says he has a “big group of friends” from the English department at Calvin. It’s a group he credits with helping him “grow up” a

You might need a dictionary to read this profile, but to its subject, Professor James Vanden Bosch, that would be a good thing. Teacher of literature, grammar and linguistics, Professor Vanden Bosch is a polymath. That is, he’s a person with lots of knowledge in many subjects. He could tell you that its etymology is from the Greek polu, or “much,” and the Greek manthanein, or “learn.” And he’d tell you that in passing—you know, off the top of his head. He’s just that kind of guy.

His lectures are stories, meandering their way to a destination and never afraid to stop by interesting side streets. They sound rehearsed, like he’s been giving them for years, but in reality he’s always adapting them to student questions or curiosities. Stop by his office after grammar class and he’ll delight in re-explaining the “absolute phrase.” Or maybe he’ll offer to lend you a book of essays about Cormac McCarthy, one of his favorite authors.

Taking a class with Professor Vanden Bosch is like listening to an audiobook. Whether it’s a discussion of Dante’s Inferno or an exercise indentifying verbs in the future perfect tense, Vanden Bosch is a master of the lecture. Those who consider this form of teaching old-fashioned or ineffective have never listened to Vanden Bosch.

In his free time, you might find him on the racquetball court, shoveling his always pristine driveway (quite a feat during Michigan winters) or teaching English grammar classes in Russia over the summer. Oh, and you’ll also want to sign up for his interim class, “English Grammar”. While it might sound like a dull way to spend your January at Calvin, it’s anything but. In fact, because of Professor Vanden Bosch’s reputation as an amazing teacher, it’s one of Calvin’s most popular courses. You’ll start with nouns and verbs and move to elliptical phrases, beginning each morning with a language-centered devotion and a “low-impact verbal calisthenic”—Vanden Bosch’s phrase for puns, Tom Swifties and other language play.

KING OF GRAMMAR Faculty Profile: James Vanden Bosch

By Abby Zwart ’13

English Professor James Vanden Bosch teaches the popular “English Grammar” interim course.







Fish food:

Hand sanitizer:

Dry-erase markers:

Get all the dirt from your first StreetFest off your hands.

Gaming controllers: Dominate your first all-night “Super Smash Bros.” tournament.

Textbooks: Classes. Yes, you have to go to these.


Feed your new pet, Nemo.

Leave messages on your new dorm friends’ doors.

CUPPS mug: Don’t leave for your 8 a.m. class without this reusable coffee mug.

Concert tickets: Enjoy a free concert before classes start!

Top Ramen:


Bring some Ramen and a hot pot from home to make your very first study snack.

You will probably need to study, even during your first week of college.

The Rapid discount card:

Lanyard, room key and ID card:

Ride Grand Rapids' bus system at a discount— just two quarters per ride.

Put your favorite local pizza place on speed dial.

Because Calvin hasn’t purchased a fingerprint security system yet, you’ll need to keep your room key and Calvin ID handy at all times.

Face paint:

Guitar pick:


To create the fiercest possible look for Chaos Day.

For serenading outside your sister dorm’s windows.

Orientation schedule:

Water bottle:

Keep this nifty pocket guide close as you run from one orientation activity to the next during Quest.

Since you’ll be doing a lot of running around, you’ll want to keep a means of hydration nearby.

Picnic blanket and Frisbee:


Plan to spend lots of time on the Commons lawn, eating lunch, hanging out, studying and playing Frisbee.

Kleenex: Don't forget to call mom.

Even if you don’t end up using it after the first week, you had good intentions, right?

T-shirts: The heaviest concentration of free T-shirts you will get while a college student is during the first week.







Learn people, not just textbooks. It will be May

before you know it because freshman year will go by in a flash. Make time to hang out with friends, and treasure those late nights at Steak ’n Shake (a 24hour restaurant). Don’t get so caught up in your studies that you forget college is just as much about learning to engage other people as it is about learning to engage your textbooks.


Love the liberal arts.


Don’t worry about choosing your major. Since

But whether or not you like calculus, try to appreciate the beauty of the diversity of a liberal arts education. Who knows, core might give you a class that you actually learn to love or introduce you to a cool professor that you might never have met otherwise.

you have to take so much core anyway, don’t worry about your major quite yet. Many people switch majors multiple times while at Calvin. In fact, none of us are graduating with the degrees we thought we would four years ago.

Calvin admissions staff can give you advice about college until we’re blue in the face, but we know that the advice you crave is from real Calvin students. Here's what staff members from Chimes, Calvin's student newspaper, suggest for you:

4 5 6

Check out textbook options. Speaking of

textbooks, the Campus Store is here to serve you, but make sure to check out first. Although, at the end of the day, an $80 calculus textbook is just as painful as a $30 calculus textbook.

Prepare for winter. Invest in a good winter coat. Trust us, it might be 88 degrees (31 degrees celsius) and sunny when you get here, but it could easily snow tomorrow. Expect snow from October to April, and maybe even May.

7 8

Friends come and go.

But that isn’t the only thing that hasn’t worked out the way we planned. Friend groups fluctuate; don’t be afraid if your friends change dramatically. None of our friend groups are the same as when we came in. And don’t worry if a friend group doesn’t magically appear your first month at Calvin, or if old friends seem to be drifting away.


Try something a little different. Be sure to talk

with people who look different than you, think differently than you and believe different things than you. Your liberal arts education doesn’t stop at the classroom door. Becoming a well-rounded person involves more than being forced to take an arts class—who we interact with shapes who we are.

Don’t let romance take over your life. One

relationship many students spend a great deal of time thinking about is a romantic one. Being a whole person does not require a significant other. So while it’s great to find someone you care about, make sure finding a significant other doesn’t get in the way of having a life.

Find the best food on campus. Some of our

favorite options are the pasta bar at Commons, UpperCrust and Taste of India at Knollcrest. Also, don’t forget about the sack lunch program in case you are stuck in class through lunch.

Reprinted from Chimes


Hand lettering: Bethany Paquette ’16 Major: Graphic design Learn more about Calvin's new graphic design major at



with classics

Professor Young Kim

How to transition from high school to college learning

How will your college classroom be different from my high school classes? I don’t use a narrative textbook in my courses, but instead depend heavily on reading original sources carefully and critically. While I lecture regularly in class, I also provide many opportunities for students to talk to each other and sometimes debate their ideas and interpretation.

What is grading like in college classes? Since most of my courses are either in history or in classics, many of the assignments I give are written papers. I grade every assignment, write comments and provide feedback with the aim of steady improvement over the course of a semester. Professors love to see students grow and develop over time, and we certainly take this into consideration when grading.

What can I do to be successful in your courses? First of all, come to class! Be diligent … and set aside time each day for the course, rather than try to cram everything before exams or due


dates. Students should also finish their reading assignments before each class session, which will ensure that they can follow along with the lectures and discussions.

If I’m struggling with the material in one of your classes, what should I do? Come to my office hours! Whenever I’m on campus, my door is almost always open, and I love meeting with students individually to discuss the course material and assignments. Students should not be afraid of their professors … we’re really very nice!

How many hours of homework should I expect for each class session? The reading loads vary from week to week, but students should expect several hours of work outside of class. I can’t give a definite number because each student has a different pace and learning style.

What should I call you? How about “Professor Kim?”

I’ve heard a lot about “grading on a curve” in college. What is it, and do you use this grading system? Well, none of my courses include a curved grading scale. Every student is assessed according to her or his own work, so maximum individual effort is expected of all!

What am I going to love about college learning at Calvin? Calvin professors are passionate about teaching and research, and we are all actively engaged in our respective academic disciplines, as we consistently read, publish and converse with other scholars in our fields. Remember, dedicated researchers make better teachers! All Calvin courses are taught by professors and not graduate students, and we were trained at some of the best universities in the country. We bring together a good balance of compassionate, nurturing teaching styles with high expectations and excellence.


Experience the famous Yesterdog— winner of the Townie’s “Best Hot Dog” Award. Open until 2:30 a.m. Monday-Saturday!

LANTERN COFFEE Grab a warm mug of chai or a steaming latte at this urban basement turned


Celebrate your curfew-free life in a city that was named the




Go stargazing

A great alternative

Less than a mile

and look out over

to Applebee’s. $4

from campus,

campus on the

appetizers after 9

catch a movie

observation deck on

p.m. If you go with

for only $5.

the top floor of the

a group, split the

Science Building.

Ultimate Sugar



A downtown


concert venue that

Students can get


has hosted artists

$5 tickets for

This historic theater

like Ben Rector,

special events

features different

Gungor, Fun.

and a classy night

entertainment every

and Manchester

out on the town.

week, including


2014 U.S. travel destination by Lonely Planet! Here are a few after-hours activities recommended by Calvin students.

improv shows with Calvin alumni, dance festivals, and award-winning films.

NITELIFE EVENTS AT CALVIN Created by students, these cheap events have included a Great Gatsby-themed formal, dodgeball tournaments, service nights, a performance by an illusionist and student talent shows.

AVENUE OF THE ARTS The first Friday of every month,



Are you ready to excel? By Beth Heinen Bell ’03

Brigman Rees ’15 Hometown: Kittery, Maine Majors: history, philosophy; oral communication/ rhetoric minor


Brigman Rees always knew he wanted to be in the military. While he was in high school, at age 17, he enlisted in the National Guard. But when the time came for him to graduate and determine life’s next steps, he wanted to throw a Christian, liberal arts college education into the mix. And his search led him to Calvin, where he could take classes from a Christian perspective, run track and enroll in the military’s Reserve Officer Training Corps—or ROTC, as it’s better known. Didn’t know Calvin offered an ROTC program? Neither do a lot of people. Brigman hopes to change that. “It’s a challenge to do both [college and ROTC], but I love ROTC and I encourage people to give it a try—it has so much to offer,” Brigman

says.“The program is primarily class-based learning, but also gives you people skills and physical training. It’s a good test to see how you can handle yourself during stressful times.” As a member of the Army ROTC at Calvin, Brigman is dually enrolled at Western Michigan University, which serves as the parent school for the military program. There, all cadets in the “Bronco Battalion” take leadership classes—one per semester—led by active Army instructors from all over the country. Each semester, they spend one weekend at historic Fort Custer for field training. Other weekends often involve volunteering for ROTC events or optional tactical training. And at least three times a week, the Calvin cadets meet at 6 a.m. for an hour of physical training. That’s on top of the work that Brigman and the other cadets put in as full-time students. But the academic excellence at Calvin makes it worth it, he says. “I could have gone anywhere [for college], but I wanted the perspective of Christian thought displayed through history and philosophy, the two areas of study that I was interested in. And I was blown away by the quality of faculty in each department here. “You have to know someone

who can help you be the best, and my professors have definitely done that.” A junior this year, Brigman has worked his way up to the rank of platoon sergeant in the Bronco Battalion. This means he now leads the morning physical training sessions and watches out for the 21 other cadets at Calvin—a role he takes very seriously. “We’re a support structure— we take care of each other,” he says. “I came out here with no friends, so I understand what it’s like to be alone. So I make sure my door is always open to all the new freshmen.” That sense of community is one big benefit that Brigman has come to appreciate about his ROTC experience. Another benefit is the program’s financial aid, which will enable him to complete his education at Calvin. ROTC offers scholarships, monthly stipends, and other forms of tuition assistance to those who are contracted with the program. A contract involves an eight-year minimum commitment to some form of military service, which could deter some students who might otherwise benefit from the program. But Brigman is quick to point out that the contract doesn’t need to be signed on the first day—or even during the first year. “A lot of people write [ROTC] off as ‘not for me,’” Brigman

says,“but don’t count it out. You have options, and you have time to make the big decisions. I would not have had the same experiences or learned the same lessons without this program.” And that military commitment doesn’t have to be a full-time, active-duty role, either. After graduating from Calvin, Brigman plans to be commissioned as an officer in the Army National Guard, where he’ll work one weekend per month and two weeks every summer for the National Guard, for the remainder of his commitment period. Doing this will enable him to pursue what he’d like to do for a career: working with children at a nonprofit like the Boys and Girls Club— “encouraging kids to BE someone.” It will mean a few years of working two jobs—but that’s what his dual enrollment during college has prepared him to do. “ROTC is supposed to teach you ways to adapt, and that’s the key to college. If you don’t adapt, you can’t survive. I was just an average high school student, but at Calvin I was encouraged to stay on top of my grades. I’ve been able to do that as a result of the discipline that both ROTC and Calvin have given me. I was able to not only adapt, but excel.”

Program highlights • Earn 18 credits (translates to a waived kinesiology requirement plus some general electives) • Monthly stipend of up to $500* • ROTC scholarship covers 100 percent of tuition* (competitive and based on high school GPA/test scores, but 80 percent of Calvin cadets receive a scholarship) • GI Bill/military tuition assistance* (varies by student) • Optional summer opportunities including Airborne School and study abroad in the Cultural Understanding and Language Proficiency program • Graduating seniors commissioned as a lieutenant in the U.S. Army, Army Reserve or the Army National Guard *most financial benefits are only available once a student is contracted (enlisted)

Web exclusives: Learn more at Register for ROTC visit day on April 25 23

Award-winning volleyball coach uses technology to create champions

By Abby Zwart ’13

Coach and professor Amber Warners knows the meaning of pressure more than most people in the Calvin community. This award-winning volleyball coach has led her team to two NCAA national championship titles in the past four years—and both final games were won point by point. With her PhD in psychology and sociology of sport from Michigan State University, Warners teaches the team to work together and keep focused during high-pressure situations like championship games.

Getting into their heads Recently, Warners has developed a technology to help players improve their ability to make decisions during a game. “For setters, one of the really important things to teach is decision-making— where to set the ball. I couldn’t get our setter to do what I wanted her to do, 24

so I started to think about how I could get in her head.” That’s when Warners remembered a three-way push-to-talk microphone system soccer referees use to communicate across the long field during games.

The technology is so cutting-edge that Coach Warners is pitching its use to Olympic gold-medalist Karch Kiraly, coach of the U.S. national women’s volleyball team. She will spend two weeks with sixteen women who hope to make the 2016 Olympic team, piloting the technology to help make them even stronger players. If the pilot is successful, Coach Warners could return to work with the top-level Olympic team in June.

“I strapped the thing on [the setter’s] back, and I had her talk to me about what she was thinking between points. And then after that I started to talk to her during play. I said, ‘I’m going to “This is limitless,” she says. “This tell you things that I see and we’re could be used on a soccer team, going to go on from there.’” in basketball practice, put it on a pitcher and a catcher and talk to Warners’ focus on the psychology of them in practice about what pitches the team and this innovative use of to call. ... I’m excited about all of the technology clearly paid off. Calvin’s things we’re going to learn. It could volleyball team won the NCAA not only help our team, but it has Division III national championship the potential to change something in November. I love—the sport of volleyball.”

Training Olympians

From there, the path was clear: expand use to all members of the volleyball team using an 8-way wireless microphone system.

Coach and professor Amber Warners has a message for students eager to play college sports but unwilling to sacrifice everything—studies, social life, faith—for the game: If you come to Calvin, you get to have it all. “We have women [on the volleyball team] who have turned down athletic scholarships to great schools,” says Warners, the American Volleyball Coaches Association 2013 Division III coach of the year. “They want to be able to get a Christian education while still playing at a high level in their sport.”

Swimming and diving success The Calvin men’s and women’s swimming and diving teams wrapped up a historic season of competition at the MIAA Championships in February inside the Venema Aquatic Center as both teams captured league titles. The Calvin women’s team captured its 10th consecutive MIAA title— matching the longest championship streak in MIAA women’s swimming and diving history while the Calvin men’s team captured its first-ever league title. Part of the swimming and diving teams’ success has to do with a special training trip they took to Puerto Rico during Christmas break this year. Swimmer Alex Bauman ’14 said this in a blog post about the trip: “After a brief time on the beach, it was back to business. We returned to the pool for our evening session. Practice was successful on both ends of the pool and everyone could walk out with their heads held high.”


Calvin's volleyball team was down by two sets before clinching the national championship 3-2.


NCAA Division III championships won by Calvin athletic teams.


Say What? ¿Qué? Calvin offers one of the most extensive foreign language programs among Christian colleges, with world-class opportunities to develop your language and cultural engagement skills. Depending on your proficiency, there are several ways to make the most of our world language offerings, whether you just want to get the requirement “out of the way,” or if you want to add a major or minor to complement career plans in business or engineering.

taken some language in Q. I’ve high school; was it enough?

A. Students who have taken at least four years of one foreign language (with a grade of C or better for each term) are exempt from Calvin’s language requirement. If you speak a second language fluently you may also be exempt. If you’ve taken less than four years in high school, you should take a language placement test to determine how many semesters of college-level foreign language will be required. If you’ve already taken French, Spanish or German, complete the World Language Assessment online at before you come to PASSPORT orientation. If you’ve taken another language, you may take a placement test during PASSPORT.

I’m not good at languages Q. Help! and want to complete my language requirement as quickly as possible.

A. Talk with your adviser about the language options that might work best for you. There are several ways to fulfill the requirement, from fast-tracking to a more leisurely pace. When you start classes, sign up for a language tutor (free!) and you’ll get through it! 26















Semester in Grenoble Interim in Quebec





Interim in Germany




Interim in Greece Semester in Japan Interim in Japan










STUDY-ABROAD Semester in Beijing Interim in China Interim in the Netherlands


Interims in Italy and Turkey


Semesters in Spain, Honduras and Peru Interims in Mexico, Spain

Note: Though not a major, Korean proficiency courses are also offered.


Studying a foreign language offers a new way of thinking and being. • Proficiency in another language gives you an edge when applying for internships or jobs. • It enhances your understanding of different cultures and communities. • It encourages respect for others. • It helps you contribute to making the world a better place. • It equips you to negotiate an increasingly global economy.

I want to learn a language that will boost my résumé and career options.

A. Good thinking! Consider these options, and talk with your adviser during registration: • Taking German gives engineering majors an option to do a summer internship in Germany. • Consider Chinese or Japanese if you’re looking at a business major. • Spanish and French are often good choices for careers in diplomacy or international development. • Undecided? Take a language that interests you!

the major I’ve chosen, Q. With I’m not sure I’ll have time to take a language.

A. There are five programs—engineering, accounting, nursing, fine arts and recreation—that have a modified language requirement. If you’ve taken at least two years of high school foreign language (with a grade of C or better), you will be exempt from the language requirement in these five programs. 27


1 Send in your enrollment deposit

This holds your seat in the incoming class. It’s due May 1 for U.S. citizens and June 1 for everybody else.

2 Complete your housing application

This helps us pick the right roommate for you, so be frank about your likes and dislikes! Be sure to consider applying for a spot in one of Calvin’s Living-Learning communities. Choose from the Creation Care/Outdoor Recreation floor or the Grassroots (multicultural-themed) floor. Learn more at

COMPLETE THESE STEPS BY MAY 1 June 1 for international students

3 Sign up for orientation and academic advising

Option 1: PASSPORT Choose one of three on-campus sessions. Non-Canadian international students must attend International PASSPORT Option 2: Wilderness Choose from some great outdoor adventure programs. (This includes a shortened on-campus PASSPORT session for you and your parents.)


Need to set up your Calvin account? You’ll need your 7-digit Calvin ID (it’s on your admissions folder).




By Beth Heinen Bell ’03

“Flexible and diverse” could describe Kiff’s Calvin education, too. As a student, he took full advantage of Calvin’s liberal arts curriculum, in part because he wasn’t sure where he was headed. He took acting classes, learned videography, joined the improv team —and yes, struggled through his core classes, too— all in search of a future career. His professors and advisers, however, made sure Kiff never got too far off track.

You can hear Kiff VandenHeuvel’s voice in TV commercials and video games like “Star Wars: The Old Republic.” You can see him in the Michael Douglas/Matt Damon film Behind the Candelabra or the NBC sitcom Parks and Recreation. And on weekends you can find him on Buena Vista Street at Disneyland’s California Adventure—he’ll be the one in the “Calvin the Cop” costume.


“This profession is a challenging one,” says Kiff ’92, a professional actor since 2000, “but it’s one that I have found I’m pretty good at, I think—in no small part due to the fact that I’ve focused on keeping myself flexible and diverse.”

“I was not an ideal student,” he admits. “I bounced around a lot in terms of what I wanted to get out of college. However, that four-year span at Calvin was a perfect model for the kind of life that I’d be able to have in the future. And [professor] Quentin Schultze made it all possible by nurturing relationships to provide me with my first production job on a TV show, Christy, some 19-odd years ago.” Now, in his day-to-day life, Kiff narrates audiobooks, directs sketch comedy shows, teaches improv and voice acting classes, and performs both on camera and behind the microphone—a job every bit as varied as his Calvin career. “Calvin College gave me the tools and freedom to explore what my work life could be. And for that, I am eternally grateful.”

CALVIN GRADS have skills to advance & adapt

8 out of 10 (82%*)

had at least one internship at Calvin *compared to a national average of 55%



How Calvin prepared Alicia Davids ’13 to work for Southwest, Disney Cruise Lines and more By Beth Heinen Bell ’03 Think one college internship is enough? Talk to Alicia Davids. She landed four different internships during her time at Calvin, including one with Southwest Airlines. She graduated from Calvin in December with a double major in strategic communication and Spanish, but wasn’t ready to stop learning. That led her to Disney Cruise Lines (DCL) in Florida, where she’s currently working as the public relations intern—her fifth internship. At DCL, Alicia is the first point of contact for media inquiries. She also updates the company’s news website, creates reports on media coverage and coordinates media cruise ship tours. Alicia answers our questions about her amazing internships and how Calvin prepared her for them.

Why so many internships? Strategic communication is such a broad degree, and there are countless career opportunities available with it. My internships helped me identify my skills and determine which particular area of communications interests me most. My coursework prepared me for my internships, but my time at Calvin would not have been complete without my professional experience outside the classroom.

I love the opportunity to work with a small team within such a large organization. DCL is a smaller component of Disney, so I’m able to learn a lot about that area while gaining exposure to a global brand. Disney is one of the most beloved brands in the world, so it’s great to learn firsthand what communication tactics help make them so successful. I feel like I’m learning from the best!

How did Calvin prepare you for work in PR?

What advice would you give other students?

The strategic communication program at Calvin helped me learn how to identify a key audience and determine effective communication methods in order to successfully convey a message. And the critical thinking, writing and speaking skills I learned will be useful in any role and career that I choose.


What is the best part of your job?

Take advantage of every opportunity that comes your way, whether that is a leadership position, an internship or a study-abroad experience. Even if it may not seem to directly impact your career, you’ll learn more about yourself and gain skills that will help you in the future. For example, my study-abroad experiences taught me to be open to change. I learned to be flexible, and that has been an extremely important skill in my internships.

COMING SOON! Your financial aid awards STEP

Review your financial aid awards


Your customized award notice outlines the scholarships, grants and loans for which you qualify, based on the information you submitted on your financial aid forms.



Beginning in mid-March, Calvin will start sending financial aid packages to new students. You will receive your award notice by mail and email. Once you receive your financial aid award letter, here are some steps to take:

If you’d like help understanding your awards, please contact Calvin Financial Aid at (800) 688-0122, (616) 526-6134 or, and a financial aid counselor will be happy to help.

Let us know After you review your financial aid package, log in to this secure website to accept or reduce any loans that may be part of your awards. International students complete the Financial Verification Form.

Consider a campus job Students can earn up to $2,300 working 10-12 hours per week. Learn more...

Payment options Billing statements will be sent to you electronically. You will receive an email when payments are due—typically six times per year.

Parents and finances Due to privacy laws, parents or guardians need permission to receive student billing statements. You can set up permissions through Calvin’s E-Statement Subscription service at


LIBBY DEKRAKER ’13 Hometown: Kalamazoo, Mich. Major: Kinesiology; pre-PT Next steps: “Decide between several grad school offers to doctoral



Major: Communications

Kinesiology professor

Libby says:

and pre-physical therapy

“We met on Calvin’s


Semester in York

How they met: Wrote grad

program. Now we

school recommendations

share a house.”

for Libby. “She is always

Dana’s next steps: Do

there to help me figure

programs in PT.”

out my life.”

CATHERINE KRAMER ’14 Major: English Libby says: “We took a women’s self-defense class together; now we live in a house together!” Catherine’s next steps: Work in publishing.

BREANNA “BRE” VERKAIK ’15 Major: Nursing Libby says: “Bre and her roommate Autumn became our adoptive suitemates. We cheer for Bre at every basketball game!”


Bre’s next steps: Finish strong at Calvin!



Major: Sport

Major: Psychology


How they met: Libby

Libby says:

and Leigh met during

“I met Anna in a

the semester in York,



fitness leadership

Leigh’s next steps:

class. While we were

Pursue a PhD in

spinning together,

clinical psychology

we both realized that

with an emphasis

we were going on the

on sport psychology.

same study abroad

BUILDING A CALVIN NETWORK Throw a pebble in a pond and watch the ripples grow from it. That’s a great picture of what your friendships at Calvin will be like.

KALEE RITSEMA ’14 Major: Math Libby says: “Freshman year we lived across the hall from each other on 3rd Heyns; we became roommates sophomore year and lived together in Knollcrest East apartments junior year.” Kalee’s next steps: Apply

PROF. BRIAN BOLT Kinesiology professor Libby says: “I studied abroad with Dr. Bolt and his family. After our first meeting I knew that he was cool…one of Dr. Bolt’s hidden talents is that he can dance! He does so many things: teaches education classes, coaches golf and is a great mentor. He is

Take Libby DeKraker, for instance. Libby arrived at Calvin with a few high school friends, but she made an important decision and stuck to it: “I decided to really put myself out there to develop friendships.” That turned out to be a lot easier than she expected. “It was really easy to make friends in the dorms. Facebook friends increased exponentially during my freshman year at Calvin because I met so many people in my dorm and through my classes.” Dorm banquets, Chaos Day, late night conversations, class projects, Instagram photos and basketball games—these were the building blocks for her many friendships. Floormates became roommates, classmates became study partners, workout buddies turned into traveling companions, professors turned into mentors.

more than biking through a strange city or attending a Manchester United game? Returning to Calvin, Libby’s circle of friends just kept growing. These connections morphed into new activities and even jobs working in the fitness center and becoming a personal trainer in Calvin’s Healthy Habits program. Her relationships with professors deepened, too. “Dr. Walton was my advisor from day one and has helped with everything from thinking about what classes to take to what jobs to pursue and finally what PT schools to apply to. I remember at first feeling really intimidated by Dr. Walton—she is so accomplished. Now I feel like I can talk to her about anything.” Thanks to friends who encouraged her and professors who wrote outstanding recommendations for her grad school applications, Libby is now deciding which offer to accept to complete her doctorate in physical therapy.

“When I went to [the semester program in] York, I didn’t think I’d find anyone that I'd get much closer to. I was wrong! The friends I met from Calvin while in York have become the best of friends.” Professor Brian Bolt was pretty intentional about helping the Calvin group connect while they traveled around Britain, taking in sporting events from football (aka, soccer) to rugby and cricket. And what helps a group bond

super approachable.”


Office of Admissions and Financial Aid 3201 Burton St. SE Grand Rapids, MI 49546-4388



You care about pop culture. So do we.

2013–2014 CONCERT LINEUP The Soil and the Sun Over the Rhine Peter Rollins and David Bazan Kishi Bashi Switchfoot All Sons and Daughters Needtobreathe Shad Miracles of Modern Science Diego Garcia The Head and the Heart The National Julianna Barwick The Lone Bellow S. Carey The Milk Carton Kids Lily & Madeleine

Regina Spektor, October 15, 2012

USE BY 12/31/2014

TICKET VOUCHER $5 toward any Calvin College event

You must present your valid Calvin student ID to use this voucher. This voucher has no cash value and must be surrendered at time of use.

Verge 4.2  

A Calvin College publication for prospective students and parents.

Verge 4.2  

A Calvin College publication for prospective students and parents.