The Anchor: February 2024

Page 1

February 2024

Campus, p. 4-6

Empowering campus voices: Student Congress, Bell Tower, and TEDx


News, p. 7-9

Columbia forest fires, the Apple Vision Pro, and more

Hope College Student Newspaper

Arts, p. 10

Unpacking The Mannequins’ lore

Features, p. 12

Exploring the possibility of NIL for Division III athletes

Spera In Deo

Opinion, p. 14

The art of jumping... from a somewhat wise senior

1 Cover February.indd 1 2/19/2024 8:08:40 PM

Meet Your Staff

Kiera Savage

Lucy James

Macy Granville

Shane Pitcher

Sadie Quackenbush

Tacy Kratt

staff writEr staff writEr staff writEr staff writEr staff writEr staff writEr studEnt MEdia advisor

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Therese Joffre Opinions Editor Natalie Stringham Copy Editor Shane Pitcher Staff Writer Lucy James Staff Writer Tacy Kratt Staff Writer Hayley Kennedy Staff Writer Sadie Quackenbush Staff Writer Gabriel Wolthuis Staff Writer Kiera Savage Staff Writer Macy Granville Staff Writer Abigail Doonan Arts Editor Kate Lawrence Arts Editor Madeline Chrome Features Editor Claudia Hwang Production Manager Madeline Kenney Co-Editor-in-Chief Claire Dwyer Co-Editor-in-Chief Jonah Whalen Copy Editor Ellie DiLeonardi Campus Editor Nico Kazlauskas Photography Editor Belle Glover Business Manager Claire Dwyer Madeline Kenney Claudia Hwang Belle Glover ThereseJoffre Kate Lawrence Ellie DiLeonardi Editor-in-ChiEf Editor-in-ChiEf ProduCtion ManagEr BusinEss ManagEr oPinions Editor nEws Editor CaMPus Editor Abigail Doonan Madeline Chrome Nicolas Kazlauskas Natalie Stringham Jonah Whalen Hayley Kennedy Gabriel Wolthuis arts Editor fEaturEs Editor PhotograPhy Editor and MEdia ManagEr CoPy Editor CoPy Editor staff writEr staff writEr Our Mission: The Anchor strives to communicate campus events throughout Hope College and the Holland community. We hope to amplify awareness and promote dialogue through fair, objective journalism and a vibrant Voices section. Disclaimer: The Anchor is a product of student effort and is funded through the Hope College Student Activities Fund. The opinions expressed on
Michael Schanhals THEANCHOR 2 Meet the StaffFebruary.indd 1 2/19/2024 8:13:21 PM

Letter from the Editors


Over winter break, I started prepping for my upcoming graduate school applications. I continued updating my spreadsheet full of the schools I hope to apply to, purchasing GRE prep books, and editing my personal statements. Throughout this process, I sifted through many papers, essays, and notes from all over my Google Drive. I stumbled upon a document from my freshman year titled “Four Year Plan”. When I opened up the document, it was completely blank. I couldn’t help but laugh at the empty page with such a bold title. And I think that moment was representative of the past four years for myself and many of my peers.

A lot of the plans I thought I had turned out completely different in the end, and most of the time, the way things turned out was a lot better than what I had thought I wanted. Even my path of choosing to attend Hope was full of anxiety and indecision, and now I can’t envision life any other way. The past four years have flown by, and I am grateful for all of the unexpected moments and opportunities that have defined my Hope experience. As I look toward the future, I am trying my best to remember these lessons of the past four years and to focus on the journey ahead, rather than stress over rushing between stages of life.

We have been talking a lot in recent weeks about having a “journey culture” on the Anchor (partially inspired by Madeline’s wonderful TEDx Talk), both for the newspaper as well as us as individuals. It is something that I have tried to keep at the forefront of my mind as we draft and edit our print edition. The Anchor is more than just a newspaper for our campus community, it is a learning experience for all of us involved. We are all student journalists working to learn and grow together, all while producing quality journalism for the Hope community. The Anchor has taught me so much in these past four years, both in journalism skills and life lessons. I am thankful that I am a part of such

an inspiring and thoughtful team that teaches me so much, as well as to learn about what is important to the campus community. I am excited for the Anchor’s journey ahead, and I can’t wait to read and learn more about what matters to the Hope community.


This semester has already been filled with countless wonderful moments. From catching up with friends who had been studying abroad last semester to basking in the classes of my majors and minors to taking on new leadership roles, I have been grateful for all the opportunities and people I have learned from this semester.

One of the most rewarding experiences I had the privilege of participating in was TEDxHopeCollege. Since the fall, we had been preparing for our speaker event that occurred earlier this month. From the late night sparks of inspirations in writing to the daily recitation of my speech as I brushed my teeth each morning to the final week dress rehearsals accompanied by significant amounts of caffeine and every moment in between, I gained deep insight and growth throughout the process.

For me, this experience strengthened my conviction of which served as the foundation of my talk: seeing college through the lens of a journeyer. Along the way, I not only learned more about myself, but I also found profound goodness in all components involved in the event. As I heard the speeches of my peers, I was in awe of their own unique passions, triumphs, and tribulations. Witnessing the commitment and thoughtfulness of the executive team, I felt appreciation for the extensive energy and work that they poured into each of us and the event. Countless student volunteers offered their time and talents into the event as they managed critical operations. Even the enthusiasm of fellow peers who came to support the event reverberated throughout the theater. Now being on the other side of it, I look back with deep gratitude for the journey

reflected a culmination of dedication from all involved.

Similar to my experience with TEDxHopeCollege, I have deep admiration for the Anchor’s journey. This semester, we gained several new members of our team, who took on the rewarding challenges and joys of journalism. We also welcomed back several of our returning members, who continued to provide wisdom and mentorship to the team. Additionally, the Anchor even welcomed our new advisor, Mike Schanhals, who brings a background steeped in teaching the intricacies of journalism, writing, and editing. Together, we have captured the seemingly ordinary and extraordinary dimensions of Hope College that will serve as a journal of the campus community for years to come.

From late nights of editing and writing to weekly productions of the newsletter to collaborative team meetings and everything in between, we have grown and

and learned together. Grounded in diverse perspectives and skills, our team looks forward with excitement of innovative change while also honoring the Anchor’s over 135 years of tradition. This worthy mission would not be possible without all members of our team and the Anchor ancestors of the past! We are grateful for the opportunity to continue sharing the stories of Hope College and the community. To our readers, thank you for joining us on our journey!

Madeline Kenney Adam Vander Kooy Behind the scenes of TEDxHopeCollege on Feb. 10, 2024 at the Knickerbocker Theatre that Co-Editors-in-Chief, Madeline Kenney (’25), and Claire Dwyer (’24) ClaireDwyer
3 Letter from the EditorsFebruary.indd 1 2/19/2024 8:36:54 PM
Grateful for all of the spontaneous moments of the last four years


The endless potential of TEDxHope College

TEDxHopeCollege is a student-driven organization whose mission is to “spread ideas worth sharing” through live speeches prepared and delivered by Hope students.

The fourth annual TEDxHope College event took place this year on Saturday, Feb 10 at 7 p.m. in the Knickerbocker Theatre in downtown Holland. The night included a line-up of nine student speakers across all grade levels and a variety of disciplines, with topics as diverse as the current conversational environment in higher education, the impact of comics on culture, the unsettling similarities between screen time and cigarettes and more.

The Knickerbocker Theatre offered a comfortable experience for attendees of the event, complete with plush seats, professional lighting and concessions during intermission. The iconic red cubes and a circular red carpet sat on stage, while student volunteers handled admissions in the lobby area and handed out notebooks for guests. These complementary features were intentional, according to Andrew Haggerty, the Assistant Director of Student Life who served as the faculty advisor for the event. “The fact that we have notebooks is not random–it’s to give you an easy way to engage and to kind of jot notes down. The fact that we have an intermission, with free concessions, to get people out of their seats, isn’t random. It’s to kind of try to pull people out and into conversations,” stated Haggerty.

Lauren Tocco (’24), the student director of TEDxHopeCollege, shared some of the behind-thescenes work that she and her team invested during the past several months in preparation for the event. “My role as director involved working directly with Hope College Events and Conferences to coordinate the event space reservation, meeting with our advisor, Andrew, to make sure things like ticketing and budgeting were well planned and taken care of, and delegating tasks to my team among other things,” stated Tocco.

Both Tocco and Haggerty

named hearing the students’ finished speeches as their favorite part. Though Haggerty was part of the selection committee at the beginning of the year, he was less involved in the speech planning and revising process. “Some of the drafts I read, you know, had interesting ideas but definitely weren’t there in a coherent flow, and then next thing I know, I get to see it happen [during rehearsal]…and I’m like, ‘oh, that came a long way.’”

This was Haggerty’s first year serving as advisor for the TEDxHopeCollege event, but he was introduced to TEDx as a concept in college when his best friend delivered a talk at Michigan State. He shared more about his enthusiasm for TEDx as a program and the unique way it functions at undergraduate institutions like Hope. “In the broader TED landscape, as I think about the TED Talks that a lot of people have seen or that have really informed me, a lot of them are from older people that are experts in their fields that are giving a talk on something they’ve worked on for like 30 years,” said Haggerty. “Something that I think is really cool [at Hope] is that…we have chosen to narrow the focus to students. I think it really recognizes the expertise that students do have.”

He continued, “You don’t necessarily have to be working in a field for 30 years to have something to say. And so focusing on students as speakers gives them an opportunity to reflect on, recognize, own their ideas and their knowledge and their expertise.”

“You don’t necessarily have to be working in a field for 30 years to have something to say.”

TEDxHopeCollege began four years ago during the 2020-2021 school year by Lizzy Bassett (’23), who in turn urged Lauren Tocco to get involved. Tocco commented on the ways TEDxHopeCollege has evolved since its founding: “From starting at Jack Miller to moving to DeWitt Theater, then to the Knickerbocker Theater where we currently host our event, the team has gone through changes with each new executive team.” Despite the organization’s growth in the past few years, it remains “relatively unknown on campus.” Tocco expressed her hopes that the event continues to reach new students and that it eventually becomes “a beloved student organization.”

Haggerty echoed some of these aspirations, seeing the event’s potential to be “a catalyst for continued conversations” on campus. “I definitely have hopes and a pretty strong feeling… that those who do engage with TEDx keep talking in the future. That’s kind of the point–that it’s a starting point and not a conclusive event that ends when it’s over.”

The theme of this year’s event was “The Endless Journey,” an idea that corresponds both to the persisting nature of the TED Talks themselves and the personal “endless” journeys that

students experience in college. Tocco commented on the team’s rationale behind choosing this theme: “We constantly see things begin and end, but we wanted students to dig into the things they saw or experienced as ‘endless’ in their lives and reflect on how these things impacted them or the people around them.” Speakers took this overarching theme and explored some of the most enduring concepts, goals or problems they have encountered in their lives.

The TED talks themselves have the potential to continue to impact people for years to come because of the requirement that they be video recorded and posted on TED’s online platform. “TED as an organization has kind of a global culture and a global following,” stated Haggerty. “So, you never know, if Hope College’s TEDx program is going to land on someone’s radar, if you find the right topic where you kind of catch the right group…who knows the reach that is happening. It’s cool to know that that’s a possibility.”

Tocco shared an example of a past TEDxHope talk that has had an exceptional impact. “A really cool thing happened to our curator liaison and past speaker, Brooke [Bennett (’24)],” said Tocco. “She gave a talk two years ago about the price of insulin and how people with diabetes can no longer easily afford the very thing they need to survive. Her talk was viewed by over 67 thousand people and she was invited on a podcast to talk about her experiences.”

“It is so incredible to me that a talk from a small college like ours could impact so many people. And I know that our speakers this year will reach many people, just as Brooke did,” shared Tocco.

“It is so incredible to me that a talk from a small college like ours could impact so many people.”

All nine talks from this year’s TEDxHopeCollege event were live-streamed and released on YouTube by Hope. The individual talks will be processed by the TEDx organization and released later this year on the TEDx YouTube channel.

Tocco (’24) introducing the evening’s speakers TEDxHopeCollege Executive Team
4 Campus Page February.indd 1 2/19/2024 9:39:29 PM

Student Congress: Empowering campus voices

It is no secret that Hope College’s Student Congress is the backbone of productivity around campus, but many students do not realize just how much Student Congress has done to change campus for the better.

Student Congress is Hope’s student voice and representation. It allows students to share their opinions on issues and to find solutions. Hope’s Student Congress is composed of many different branches. The highest branch is the Executive Board, which consists of the President, Vice President, Chief of Staff, Controller, Chief of Assessments and Chief of Culture and Inclusion.

The Cabinet is another branch, and is the head of the General Congress. General Congress has 81 members in total. Other branches of Congress include the Academic Affairs Board, the Culture and Inclusion Committee, the Assessments Committee and the Appropriations Committee. Students who are members of Student Congress are also eligible to sit on campus governance boards. These boards are composed of mainly faculty but have a few student representatives. Together, these committees and boards strive to enrich life on campus and to find ways to meet every student’s needs.

Kate Kalthoff (’24) is the current President of Hope’s Student Congress. When explaining what she likes about Congress, she said, “I think as a Hope College student, it made me realize pretty quickly how unique Hope is in realizing that administration does care

and takes the word of students pretty seriously. I think far more seriously than even some other colleges from what I can tell.” Kate went on to explain that as President, she sits on Hope’s Board of Trustees. She is able to meet with the board and present to them as a representative of the student body.

Hope’s Student Congress has many plans to improve campus and student life. The Academic Affairs Board has been pushing for American Sign Language to count as a second language credit. They have met with staff and faculty to discuss the matter, and are working on a solution. Congress has also been busy trying to create a long-term and shortterm medical leave policy, due to the number of students who have had frustration with this issue. One of the more exciting things that Congress has been working on is an ice skating rink. They have been communicating with the city of Holland to provide a public ice skating rink that would be available for students to use.

Congress has been working hard to make things better for Hope students, and it has already accomplished many goals. An accomplishment for the Culture and Inclusion Committee this year was including Disability and Accessibility Resources (DAR) staff and faculty in its shared governance positions. This adjustment has allowed more students to be represented so that their needs can be met.

Other recent improvements from Congress include implementing a campus shuttle over the summer for students who stay at Hope during the summer season.

Congress has also been persistently working with administration to improve parking and dining experiences. After many discussions with faculty, a parking initiative was implemented, which allows students to park in staff and faculty parking lots overnight and on the weekends. One of Student Congress’ more visible accomplishments is the new furniture that has been placed near the Kletz.

Members of Student Congress strive to build relationships with students and faculty that they may not usually talk to. Sara Cerda (’24), Chief of Culture and Inclusion, said, “I would also say that because of Congress, you get a lot of networking opportunities, especially with people you thought you wouldn’t have a relationship with.” Ethan Adams (’26), a Sophomore Class Representative, expressed gratitude for his mentors who pushed him to do more than he ever would have.

Congress offers a variety of ways for students to voice their concerns. Throughout the school year, Congress has sent out many assessment surveys in order to hear about what needs to be improved on campus. Another way that students can get involved with Congress is by attending General Congress meetings. These meetings are open to all staff and students, and they are held on Monday nights from 8:15 p.m. to 9:15 p.m. in the President’s Room in Graves Hall. Student Congress hopes to see you there. For those who are unable to attend the General Congress meeting but would still like to voice their concerns, a form can be found on the Congress website where students can submit their

questions or concerns. Each hall and residential area also has a representative, and each class has at least one representative. Students are encouraged to reach out to their representatives if there is a matter they would like to bring to Congress.

Students can use office hours as well. Many of the top positions of Congress have hours where these members are available to talk to students about anything they may need. Eric Alsgaard (’25), the Chief of Assessment, said, “It has been really awesome to know where to refer people if they need information to things that I don’t immediately know. The informational network of Hope College is just groundbreaking, and being a student voice in that has just been so rewarding, to see change and to be able to help other students as well when they have questions.” Mariah Shaver (’24), the Chief of Staff, said, “Our favorite thing to say, which really encapsulates all of the General Congress functions, is that we’re a liaison between the students and the administration.” Hope’s Student Congress has a variety of ways for students to voice concerns because they truly care about what students want and need. When talking about her experience in Congress, Mariah said, “I think it’s kept me connected to the students here at Hope, and it’s taught me a lot about communication skills, organization skills, and how to reach people in potentially unseen places.”

Student Congress is starting an application cycle on March 1 for students interested in joining. Keep a lookout for an email with more information on the application process.

CAMPUS SPRING 2024 5 Campus Page February.indd 1 2/19/2024 9:42:00 PM
Student Congress gathers during the Christmas season Hope College Student Congress

Bell Tower contributors share insights & inspiration

Ithink…it’s an obligation and a form of worship to steward the gifts God has given us,” stated Kelsey Sivertson (’24) when asked about how faith relates to her academic pursuits. This was a relevant question, as it sums up the basic mission of The Bell Tower, Hope College’s student journal focused on the “intersection between faith and academia,” according to their website. Sivertson was one of three student contributors to The Bell Tower who spoke at the “Faith Informing the Mind” panel discussion on Jan. 22. Aidan Charron (’24), the Editor-in-Chief of The Bell Tower, served as the moderator for this event–the first of its kind for the student journal founded in 2021.

The panel showcased the pertinence of Christian thought in all areas of academia. The student panelists represented a diverse array of fields such as the arts, philosophy, politics, and psychology, and they shared insights informed by their own learning experiences. With questions on how to define the purpose of the state, how mental struggles can impact spirituality and how art can serve as a form of prayer, the discussion

was relevant to the current cultural and political moment.

“Faith basically undergirds everything I try to do in academics,” stated Benjamin Vogal (’25), a student studying political science and philosophy. He authored a piece in the upcoming edition of The Bell Tower that explores Aristotle’s ideas about the purpose of the state and how a “Christo-centric” perspective fits into this picture. Vogal pointed out that political science is “ultimately a study of how human society should operate.” He went on to say that because political science raises fundamental questions about who we are and what we are made for “...the beginning and end of politics has to do with God.”

Throughout the panel, Vogal emphasized the importance of engaging with others in a communal pursuit of the truth–both in academics and in broader society. When asked how a Christian can engage with various claims of truth, he highlighted the importance of small communities and the power of witness and testimony. “Don’t prioritize political factions or ideologies over treating people justly,” said Vogal. Instead, he says that the goal is to “create communities

Erin Moran’s (’24) work shares this goal of helping others and elevating the human person, but through a different route. A senior majoring in psychology with a minor in French, Moran has studied religious scrupulosity, a subset of Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD). Her research specifically examines how religious scrupulosity differs across cultures, using both quantitative and qualitative measures. Although research and numbers can “be super impersonal,” Moran shared that she realizes that the cultivation of research has the potential to help someone and that “God’s timing is not our own.”

During the discussion, Moran also commented on the relationship between spirituality and psychology, which is often overlooked. “Mental disorders can have an impact on the spiritual dimension of a person,” said Moran. “Prayer can be twisted by a mental disorder.” Through both the research she did this summer and the devotional she wrote for women struggling with OCD, Moran is confronting this problem and helping those who are suffering.

“I think that sometimes academia urges you to choose between being an intellectual and being a person of faith. And I don’t think you have to. In fact, I think they inform each other,” said Sivertson, who wrote a poem titled “Bone Collector” for the upcoming edition of The Bell Tower. For this piece, Sivertson was inspired by Gjertrud Schnackenberg, a current poet who integrates questions and thoughts on faith into her poetry.

During the panel, Sivertson also mentioned the responsibility of seeing how God can work through others’ art even when the artist does not realize it. She views writing and creating as a way to participate in God’s creation and reflect God to others. It is also a way to contribute “to the continuum of human dialogue.” The Bell Tower itself exemplifies this idea by providing a platform for students to publish thoughts on the intersections between Christian thought and academics.

Sivertson is an enthusiastic advocate for The Bell Tower’s mission and urges everyone to read it, if only for the “pleasure of seeing how Hope is cultivating amazingly bright individuals.” She went on to say, “...when [Ben and Erin] were talking about their scholarly research, I was thinking, ‘I cannot wait to read this.’”

“You should cultivate your mind, and you should cultivate your faith, and you should explore that intersection. I don’t think we should segment ourselves,” stated Sivertson. “Are you using the mind that God gave you, are you using intellect, are you using wisdom to connect the dots, are you using the beautiful things that academia gives you and are you combining it with an underpinning of faith to see things in a new way?...The Bell Tower argues that you do not need to choose between a life of the mind and a life of Christ. You can–and should–walk in both, because they both can inform the other.”

The edition of The Bell Tower that contains these students’ works and others will be released later this spring.

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The Bell Tower logo
6 Campus Page february.indd 1 2/19/2024 9:53:52 PM
The Bell Tower

Marathon world record athlete dead at 24

On Sunday, Feb. 11, 2024, around 11pm, Kelvin Kiptum and his coach, Gervais Hakizimana, passed away in a tragic car accident in Kaptagat, Kenya, a region known as a training haven for the world’s most renowned distance runners. Kiptum was 24 years old. Kiptum, who was driving the car, veered off the road into a ditch and hit a tree, killing himself and Hakizimana instantly.

Kiptum grew up in nearby Chepsamo, Kenya. He worked as a herder as a child and trained to become an electrician before pursuing a career in professional running. “I knew him when I was a little boy herding livestock barefoot,” Rwanadan coach Hakizimana told BBC. “It was in 2009 when I was training near his father’s farm, he’d come kicking at my heels, and I would chase him away.”

Kiptum became a household name in the running community in October after obliterating the previous marathon world record with his 2:00:35 run at the Chicago Marathon. For more specifics on the record please refer to The Anchor’s digital article, “Kelvin Kiptum smashes marathon world record.”

In a statement on X, Kenyan President William Ruto said, “He was only 24. Kiptum was our future. An extraordinary sportsman has left an extraordinary mark

“He was only 24. Kiptum was our future. An extraordinary sportsman has left an extraordinary mark in the globe.”

in the globe.” His death sparked many tributes across Kenya.

Kiptum was set to compete at the 2024 Rotterdam Marathon in April. “I am going to Rotterdam to run fast,” Kiptum had told reporters in December. “The course is good and the fans in the streets encourage you to run faster. I would like to be a part of the rich history of this marathon.” He was hoping to be the first person to organically break two hours in the marathon. He was also set to compete against

the legendary Eluid Kipchoge in the Paris Olympic Marathon. Kipchoge holds the previous world record and broke two on a heavily assisted course in 2019.

Kiptum joins an unfortunately long line of famous athletes whose lives were tragically taken before they could reach their fullest potentials. Others like him include:

Jose Fernandez (1992-2016)

Jose “Nino” Fernandez was a professional baseball pitcher from Santa Clara, Cuba. He was drafted 14th overall by the Miami Marlins in the 2011 draft and received Rookie of the Year and All-Star Honors in 2013. Fernandez was the youngest opening day pitcher in over 30 years when he started in 2014 at age 22. He was an All-Star again in 2016. On Sep. 25, 2016, he was found dead in a boating crash after hitting a rock in Miami Beach at 65 mph. The Coast Guard found him around 3 a.m, dead with cocaine and alcohol in his system.

Lou Gehrig (1903-1941)

Lou Gehrig was a Manhattan native who played 1st Base for 17 years for the New York Yankees. He was a seven time All-Star, six time World Series Champion, two time MVP, Triple Crown winner and American League Batting Champion. He once hit four home runs in one game, tied for the most ever. He was elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1939. Gehrig was diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS or Lou Gehrig’s disease) on his 36th birthday

at the Mayo Clinic. He announced his retirement two days later and the Yankees honored him on July 4, 1939 when he gave the famous “luckiest man on the face of the Earth” speech. He passed away in his Bronx home on June 2, 1941. ALS still has no cure and the MLB actively fights to help fight the disease though the Eleanor and Lou Gehrig ALS Center.

Dwayne Haskins (1997-2022)

Dwayne Haskins was a native of Highland Park, NJ, but grew up as a die-hard Ohio State Buckeyes fan. He attended the prestigious Bullis School where he passed for over 5,300 yards and 50 touchdown passes. The 6’4 quarterback was a Heisman Trophy finalist and went 13-1 during his senior season with 4,831 yards and 50 touchdowns. This was good enough to be drafted 15th overall by the Washington Redskins, now the Washington Commanders. He was 12-14 in two years there before being traded to the Pittsburgh Steelers. On April 9, 2022 he was struck and killed by a dump truck while crossing I-595 in Fort Lauderdale by foot. He had a BAC of 0.24 and had ketamine and norketamine in his system.

Paul McMullen (1972-2021)

A native of Cadillac, MI, Paul McMullen was a high school mile state champion and eight-time All-American at Eastern Michigan University. Following graduation he ran professionally for seven years with Asics and Saucony before enlisting in the United States

Coast Guard. He most recently ran under the four minute mile barrier at the age of 32, at the Prefontaine Classic. He retired from professional running after failing to qualify for the 2004 Olympics. Mcmullen still holds the record for the 1.5 mile run in the Coast Guard and multiple records at Eastern Michigan. He founded the local track club, Chariots of Fire, and coached there until his untimely death in a ski accident in 2021.

Tyler Skaggs (1991-2019)

Tyler Skaggs was a three sport standout athlete at Santa Monica High School before being drafted by the Los Angeles Angels in the first round of the 2009 MLB draft. Skaggs made his debut with the Arizona Diamondbacks on Aug. 22, 2012 and continued to succeed before being traded back to the Angels. His career then slowed due to injuries. On July 1, 2019, Skaggs was found dead in his Southlake, TX hotel room. He had received painkillers from an Angels staff member, and an autopsy revealed he had a mix of fentanyl, oxycodone and alcohol in his system. He died of asphyxia from aspirating his own vomit. Suicide and foul play were ruled out, and it was deemed an accidental death.

Sean Taylor (1937- 2007)

Sean Taylor was a Florida City Native who attended the nearby University of Miami. While there, he was a two-time all Big East, a unanimous All-American, and a National Champion, and he went all Big East in Track & Field. The Washington Redskins drafted him fifth overall, and he became a two time Pro Bowler and All-Pro Safety. On the night of Nov. 18, 2007, Taylor’s house was broken into, and he was shot in the leg while investigating noises downstairs. He was rushed to Jackson Memorial Hospital but died the next day of blood loss from a severed femoral artery. He was posthumously named to the Washington Ring of Honor, had his number retired and has a statue at FedEx Field.

Kiptum after winning Chicago Marathon Guinness Book of World Records
7 News page Februray copy.indd 1 2/19/2024 9:21:55 PM

Colombia declares emergency over forest fires

In the last month, Colombia has extinguished hundreds of fires, but 25 continue to burn, according to data from the National Disaster Risk Management Unit. This resulted in Bogotá, Colombia declaring a state of emergency in two regions, while the capital further became blanketed in smoke. Why is this disaster happening, and what is the impact on the people of Colombia? What is being done about it? Is there anything we can do to help?

87% of Colombia is now at maximum risk for its residents, which is causing a significant impact to their day-to-day lives. In addition, there has been a significant deterioration in air quality in the city of eight million people, according to the Institute of Hydrology, Meteorology and Environmental Studies. Pedestrians have recently been spotted wearing facemasks in response.

It is heartbreaking to witness such horrors taking place from afar, and that begs the question, is there anything that we can do to help? Dorothy Vanlwaarden (’27) expressed that “...this is an important issue that should be more widely addressed,” and, “If the fires are not only harming wildlife, but the lives of humans too, the situation should be considered very important and be spread to more people so something more can be done to help Colombia.”

An unquenchable firestorm bur-

ies the mountains to the west of the city, where wild animals have been forced to shield themselves in built-up areas. Authorities gave examples of these animals, which likely includes birds, porcupines, coatis and frogs.

Having awareness is one matter, but understanding the deeper causes of why this is happening is equally substantial. Climate change has already led to an increase in wildfire season devastation, wildfire frequency and burned area, according to UNGRD. Wildlife season has also lengthened in many areas due to factors including warmer temperatures in spring, longer summers, dry seasons, etc. This is relevant in Michigan, as residents have recently witnessed a recent flurry of snow. For more information on

“If the fires are not only harming wildlife, but the lives of humans too, the situation should be considered very important and be spread to more people so something more can be done to help Colombia.”

Michigan weather, see The Anchor’s recent article, “It’s not over yet.”

Steps should be taken, according to Scott Macaulay (University

of Strathclyde, ’19) who had a ‘Wizard-of-Oz moment’ when learning about how global warming and climate change is truly impacting us all. He also expressed that whether we like it or not, we need to start getting prepared for future work in a world of climate breakdown.

Climate education is expanding very rapidly, but within this there should be a deeper focus on the aspect of climate migration and poverty. This is creating awareness of the inequalities that rise because of climate change. Economists should be discussing the impacts of extreme weather events, such as what is taking place in Colombia, on national economies.

President Gustavo Petro announced that global warming

was the factor exacerbating the El Niño weather, which is the circumstance generally connected with increased temperatures worldwide. There have been droughts in a few parts of the world, and heavy rains in others.

Petro commented that “This may be the hottest year in the history of mankind,’ while also calling on “...every mayor, every governor and the national government to prioritize water supplies.” Nine towns in the center, north and east of Colombia reported record temperatures of 104 degrees Fahrenheit this past Tuesday.

These issues are still ongoing, so it is crucial to keep Colombia in our prayers and have hope they will make it through this disaster in one piece.

Fires spreading in Colombia Agence France-Presse (AFP) Agence France-Presse (AFP) Destruction from Colombia fires Firefighters cleaning up the hillside
8 News February copy.indd 1 2/19/2024 9:22:34 PM
Agence France-Presse (AFP)

Is Apple Vision Pro transforming technology?

Last Friday, the Apple Vision Pro was released in stores to the public, unleashing a distinctly unique gadget standard into the market. What will this mean for technology of our future? What makes this device so significant? Was this a powermove from Apple? Is it worth the price?

Variance Infotech Pvt Ltd released a pros and cons list of the Apple Vision Pro, claiming it to be a “rich person’s” toy. They also analyzed how the device offers “... immersive video watching, serious multitasking, lots of games and reimagined FaceTime calls.” However in order to justify the $3,500 price, it will need “...truly killer


On one hand, there are a number of noticeable positive factors that the Vision Pro put on the table, including the sleek design, customization of immersion, powerful M2 and R1 chips, super crisp micro-OLED displays and intuitive interface with eye tracking and hand gestures. Alem Kemal (’27) expressed “ and product wide it’s a smart move from Apple… it marks a place where people can start doing things they do on their phone while walking in public right in front of them.” He did admit that the “...price is expensive now but years to come it will drop and everyone will buy… it’s something to use in day to day life.” In his opinion it is the “ VR on the market right now.”

It is true that there are signifi-

cant beneficial features of the Apple Vision Pro, as it “...seamlessly blends digital content with your

“ and product wide it’s a smart move from Apple… it marks a place where people can start doing things they do on their phone while walking in public right in front of them.”

physical space,” in the words of Apple; but that is not to say it has only received positive feedback. In addition to its steep expense, many have expressed discomfort with the EyeSight feature. This feature comes into effect when entering close proximity to another person ahead of you. This triggers the device to allow the person wearing it to make their eyes visible, so when having a conversation, non-users will be able to look into the user’s eyes. Variance Infotech Pvt Ltd further indicated

that this can be quite creepy and may be an uncomfortable adjustment for all parties.

Another commonly discussed disappointment is with the battery life, which is shorter than expected, along with the external battery pack. For the price, many express that it is reasonable to have a much longer lasting battery life. However, this could be due to the fact that it is only an early model, and in fact, the final version might be modified to have improvements in this area. It is still in the early days of this gadget and there is surely a lot more to come, but despite these complaints, it is clear that the price is reflected in the uniqueness of this device.

Nevertheless, the industry is changing and expanding, and the Vision Pro feels like a breakthrough for spatial computing and amplified reality. Currently it seems to be targeted at a limited, niche audience but there is hope for future developments of the tech into something that will be accessible for all people in years to come.

HOPE HOPE is offering your order with your I.D. Only at 361 E 8th Street, diagonal from the soccer stadium
Example of VR experience Apple Man on a wearing reality headset Apple
9 News Feburary copy.indd 1 2/19/2024 10:11:16 PM


Do you rock with The Mannequins’ lore?

Grant McKenzie (’24) says, “All right, guys, let’s ROCK!” as he and the rest of The Mannequins [Carter Bulthuis (Previous Hope Student) and Michael Sherman (’24)] prepare for their daily jamming session. Sparks fly as McKenzie rips a sick riff, Bulthuis locks into the tightest of bass grooves and Sherman wails on the drums like his survival depends on channeling the spirit of Nirvana-era Dave Grohl. The whole room is awash in the sounds of this energetic band absolutely rocking out.

Or, at least, that is probably what would have happened if we had met in their jamming space. Instead, The Anchor met in a coffee shop with the band. Over the course of 45 minutes, this enigmatic band were kind enough to chat about their band’s history, future releases and what it is like being a part of the thriving indierock scene in Holland, MI.

It all started a few years ago when McKenzie and Bulthuis met… that was as far as the band was willing to elaborate. However, word on the street is that they discovered a lot of common music interests when deciding to meet up and jam one day. By all accounts, it was a rousing success, with a few songs they still play being written in that very session. McKenzie, Bulthuis and their original drummer, Davis Miller began to jam more. This original lineup were the creative forces behind “Blast Off For Kicksville,” their best-selling album to date.

A knowledgeable source claims that half of each practice was dedicated to inflicting grievous harm on the large assortment of mannequin heads just lying around McKenzie’s house. One of the few intact ones, who they named Jason, became the band’s symbol and is the face of their marketing. The band believes that Jason has ascended to a better place, having disappeared under mysterious circumstances despite being guarded under lock and key.

After about a year or two of being a band, Miller could no longer continue, leaving huge shoes to fill after making an indelible imprint on the band’s identity and sound

with his outstanding talent for percussion. However, Sherman managed to get in contact with McKenzie, and as soon as he showed up, it was clear that he was the new man for the job. Sherman brought an explosive energy to his drumming that proved to be the “secret sauce,” and from there it seemed like the band was on an upward trajectory yet again.

It was not too much longer before they started to play shows. Favoring house shows and small local venues, they brought the energy night after night, playing both the hits and the deep cuts from “Blast Off For Kicksville.” Playing live shows also gave them the opportunity to road test new material, some of which will probably find its way onto their upcoming album.

Speaking of which, they have a new album coming! They do not know when, but it is coming, and it is going to be awesome. McKenzie spoke about the rollout process: “A lot of the mastering and produc-

tion is being done by people who are great at what they do, and they are charging way less than they could be. We are incredibly grateful for their efforts because our music is going to sound as good as it possibly could for the budget we have as a small band. However, that means we and our fans need to be patient with the release timeline.”

The recording process itself was pretty incredible, with Sherman having less than two days to be present with them when they were doing a final rehearsal before recording the following week. Battling both nasal congestion and traffic congestion, Sherman made the odyssey from Detroit to Illinois, listening to the rhythms and drum fills that he was going to play on the way there. At many points during his drive, he was improving the music on the go, pulling over every now and then to make adjustments to his parts. When he finally arrived, Sherman propelled the fantastic new tunes with his drumming, possessing a level of determination that can only be obtained after a long drive, low sleep and lots of NyQuil. The songs were all recorded live in-studio, with the band giving it their best shot to translate the kinetic energy of their live shows into their new music. It is fair to say they are immensely proud of the results, and in lieu of new music, they are releasing a concert video within the next two weeks to give everyone a taste of that live energy.

If there is one thing that The Mannequins really wanted to articulate over the course of the interview, it is gratitude. They all absolutely love what they do, and getting to use their creativity to

express themselves and bring people together around their music is a dream come true. “The ability to play live shows, and the response to what we’ve been doing, especially at Hope, is amazing. It’s so loving and tremendous and impossible for me to understand (in a good way),” says McKenzie. Seeing friends, acquaintances and strangers alike singing along to their songs electrifies them, and the community response has empowered them to learn, grow and take new risks.

If you suddenly feel the urge to see one of their live shows, you are in luck. The Mannequins are going on a small run of shows this spring, and they would love to see you there. Seize the opportunity; you will not regret it. Details are below:

2/20: Park Theatre Open Mic in Holland, MI

2/24: Legion Hall in Saugatuck, MI

3/9: Cole’s Bar in Chicago, IL

3/21: Hope College Coffeehouse in Holland, MI

4/5: Park Theatre in Holland, MI

Upcoming and Recent Arts Events

Lucy James

Staff Writer

• Feb. 23: Concerto and Aria Concert at Jack H. Miller Center for Musical Arts

• Feb. 26: Hope College Chapel Choir and Eastern Michigan University Choir collaborate in a program of nature-related music and poetry

• Feb. 26-March 2 and March

4-9: Knickerbocker Film Series

• Feb. 29: Award-winning Galvin Cello Quartet comes to Jack Miller for the Great Performance Series

• March 22: “The Other Mozart,” a play highlighting the life of Nannerl Mozart, comes to the Knickerbocker Theater as part of the Great Performance Series

• March 23: SPERA and Friends Concert at Jack H. Miller

The Mannequins: Bulthuis, McKenzie, and Sherman. Adrian Van Stee Bulthuis and McKenzie at Mulligans in Grand Rapids. Adrian Van Stee
10 Arts Page February 2024.indd 1 2/19/2024 9:27:43 PM

The power of healing: “John Proctor is the Villain”

From Friday, Feb. 23 to Sunday, March 3, “John Proctor is the Villain” will be running in Hope College’s Dewitt Studio Theatre. This production, written by Kimberly Belflower and directed by Rhett Luedtke, is about a high school honors English class from rural Georgia, who navigate what it means to be a community whilst discussing their experience with topics such as sexual power struggles, rumors and struggling to discern who to believe all while studying “The Crucible” by Arthur Miller. Despite these heavy topics, this production is a comedic whirlwind that is entertaining and captivating.

The Anchor talked to cast members Kolton Muldowney (’27), Sofia Wake (’26), and Nadia Cuthrell

cause we get to do shows that make change.” Hope does a great job at producing plays that are worthwhile and meaningful. They often deal with difficult subjects that challenge the audience while simultaneously providing a fun experience. Another example of this is “By the Way, Meet Vera Stark” a script by Lynn Nottage which will be showing on the Dewitt Main Stage in April.

This script is particularly challenging due to its central theme of sexual power dynamics within the high school setting. Wake commented on this by saying, “[…] these are just kids. Like, [the hardships that they go through] shouldn’t happen, period, but that’s such a formative time and having to process that without the proper instructions… like, they’re not equipped. My character even

(’27) about their work on this production. For both Muldowney and Cuthrell, this is their first Hope Theatre production. Both have been highly involved with theatre in the past and discussed what their experience with the department has been like thus far. Muldowney said this about the cast of “John Proctor”: “This cast is a wonderful group of people. I didn’t do [“The Addams Family”] so I felt like I had a little late start with everyone, but I feel like I was incorporated so quickly and everyone is so thoughtful, all the stage managers, everyone. It’s a great group of people.” Just like the rest of the Hope community, Hope’s Department of Theatre is truly a family that is supportive and builds each other up.

Cuthrell added, “I really like Hope’s theatre department be-

ther see things in a new light or their worldview is influenced and you get an inside view of these deeper discussions and processing together.”

Cuthrell added onto this by discussing the process of de-roling, which she uses to work through the emotions that her character faces mentally. “De-roling is kind of where you remind yourself that you’re not your character. You can

do that a lot of different ways. Personally, after rehearsal, I like to check in with myself and remind myself that I’m not my character, the emotions that I felt were her emotions not mine even though I’m having physical reactions to her emotions, that’s not coming from my circumstances. I think that this is really important with some of the tougher characters in this show.” Playing a role that requires a lot of emotional energy can be draining. Many of the characters in this show go on emotional rollercoasters of fun mixed with hardship, so taking the time to debrief after rehearsals is important.

says that she feels that she is not equipped to start this journey of healing. They’re just kids.” The process of healing as a community is an integral element in this play. One of the main aspects of the plot is the student’s Feminist Club that meets up to discuss their support of the #MeToo Movement as well as everyday issues that women face. This translates to the students being able to process their emotions in a healthy way through the friendships that are created.

Through the process of healing and learning, many of the kids experience changes in their opinions on certain topics. Wake said, “A lot of the characters have an arc throughout the show where they start off thinking and believing one thing and by the end of the play, the events that have occurred influence them to where they ei-

This is especially true with contemporary plays that are realistic fiction. Wake discussed the realistic qualities of “John Proctor is the Villain”, stating, “It’s kind of like a slice of life play, like an inside view of a normal classroom in rural Georgia, dealing with the aftermath of an act of harm within their community, and seeing how a community is formed out of that and how people stand up for each other […] It’s a great show for building empathy, because a lot of the time, people just need someone to listen to their story.” This play resounds into the audience, speaking loudly without fear of its authenticity.

Beware: every single person that experiences the art that is “John Proctor is the Villain” will be changed for the better, learning through a lens that they have only experienced when they themselves were 16 years old, while also, of course, laughing hysterically. Muldowney finished his interview, adding to this word of caution: “Be ready for anything. This play goes in so many different directions.”

Showtimes are Feb. 23, 24, and Feb. 29-March 2 at 7:30 p.m. and Feb. 25 and March 2-3 at 2 p.m. The cast includes: Elliana Johnson (’26), Ruby Hlathein (’26), Jacqueline Schatz (’27), Nadia Cuthrell (’27), Sofia Wake (’26), Meg Voetberg (’26), Kolton Muldowney (’27), Christopher Laubach (’26) and Kyle Spiegel (’27). Go support these talented actors as well as the crew that make this show glitter... high school style.

ARTS Spring 2024
The cast of “John Proctor is the Villain.” Ava Bell Luedtke and Wake in rehearsal. Lydia Konings
11 Arts Page February 2024.indd 1 2/19/2024 9:29:28 PM
Arts Editor


Exploring the possibility of NIL for Division III Athletes

With 53.7 seconds remaining in the second half of the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Championship game, the cameras are not fixed on the soon-towin Louisiana State University basketball players, but on the disappointed face of Iowa Hawkeyes’ Caitlin Clark (’24), who had been named the Associated Press’s Player of the Year just three days prior.

According to ESPN Press, there was a record high of 6.5 million viewers in person and behind screens who tuned into ABC that day for the game, all watching as the 6’0” phenom lit up the court. Although the Iowa Hawkeyes did not end up with a ring that night, Clark sure won the long game. Since the championship game went down in 2023, the basketball star has earned roughly $818,000, according to On3Sports.

“Scholarships... enable a broader range of students from various socioeconomic backgrounds to pursue higher education.”

The Name, Image and Likeness (NIL) rule, put into effect by the NCAA in the summer of 2021, ensures the right of collegiate athletes within the association to make financial profit. The top NIL earners make upwards of seven figures in advertising deals. Bronny James (’27), a basketball player at the University of Southern California who is the son of Lebron James, has been reported to have made $5.8M from deals so far, and he is only a freshman!

Though these profits are substantial, not every college athlete is as lucky. Many collegiate athletes have smaller brand deals with local companies. Regardless of the dollar amount, the opportunity NIL provides is critical for the wellbeing of athletes across the country. Any income has the

potential to change the lives of student athletes who have minimal time to work outside their strict athletic and academic schedules.

A common misconception regarding collegiate athletes is that they all have their college paid for by scholarships attributed to their athletic participation. But according to Forbes, only 1% of collegiate athletes have full athletic scholarships. The other 99% make the most of their budgets by offering partial scholarships to meet any additional academic or miscellaneous scholarships students receive.

Accessibility to athletic scholarships also depends on the division the school is in. For example, there are 74,243 athletic scholarships given between the 350 NCAA

Division I colleges, according to NSCA College Recruiting. In comparison, there is a grand total of zero combined scholarships from the 438 schools in Division III. Division III colleges and universities tend to focus more on academic over athletic success.

Scholarships enable a broader range of students from various socioeconomic backgrounds to pursue higher education. But without financial aid from the athletic department, student athletes must look to different sources for financial support. Whether it be federal aid, academic scholarships or a part-time job, figuring out how to pay for college can be tricky.

NIL proposes a new avenue to rethink Division III athletics. What if these athletic departments did not increase their budgets, but rather increased their focus on obtaining business deals for their student athletes?

Some may believe that brand deals at lower-level schools are unrealistic, but with schools that have high numbers of donors and interactive alumni, this could be a real possibility. Any company, if compliant with NIL policy, can compensate a college athlete. According to Icon Source, “...autograph signings, product endorsements, [and] social media posts” are just a few examples of NIL in action.

One of the roles that Kevin Wolma, the Assistant Athletic Director of Wellness and Compliance at Hope College, serves is to make sure that Hope is in compliance with the rules and regulations of the NCAA. In reference to Hope’s

practices in NIL, Wolma confirmed that “currently we have a handful of student athletes who are a part of an NIL club

“NIL proposes a new avenue to rethink Divison III athletics.”

while a few others are doing service for products.” According to, NIL clubs are online “athlete-operated fan (communities),” that in exchange for a monthly subscription, fans are able to “gain access to exclusive content throughout the year.”

Wolma admitted that these clubs and product services do not generate much income for the players. He said that although “the average NIL deal for Division 3 athletes that have an NIL deal is less than $100.00 per year,” he is intrigued about its future. “As the NIL landscape continues to change it will be interesting to see this evolve in our community and the support we receive.”

The NIL policy has the capacity to benefit athletes from big and small schools alike, and should be talked about more in the athletic departments of smaller schools like Hope. Though local companies and businesses are not likely to provide the superstar level of compensation that Clark or James receive, any deal has the potential to positively impact a student athlete’s life.

Sports equipment on a table Nico Kazlauskas
12 Features Page Feb 2024.indd 1 2/19/2024 9:32:18 PM
Hope Athletics logo Hope College

AI is here: Addressing the controversies and future

The emergence of Artificial Intelligence (AI) has been at the center of many nuanced conversations of 2024.

Open AI’s ChatGPT and DALL·E 3 software has created many new opportunities for users to explore all that AI has to offer. However, as the line between AI as an academic tool and AI as an academic crutch becomes blurred, many new questions arise. How should colleges tackle this new tool?

What is the future for computer science and math? How do the rising controversies surrounding AI affect our work and humanity?

In response to the first question, many academic institutions, including Hope College are using AI to their benefit. An article written in the summer of 2023 by Josh Bishop titled, “AI and Liberal Arts: Embracing the Power, Preserving Humanity,” discusses this point further. “To ask how AI might be used at Hope would be something of a misnomer, because the technology is already being used on campus,” Bishop asserts in his article. “It’s editing images and graphics, generating content, refining emails, and cleaning up computer code. And in an ironic twist, faculty members are using AI to catch students who try to cheat by turning in AI-generated assignments.”

Further in his article, Bishop sheds light on the gray area that the emergence of AI has brought into academic spaces: the issue of academic integrity. “The curious element of using AI-generated papers is that it isn’t, strictly speaking, plagiarism: the AI generator isn’t copying text that already exists but actively generating original content.” However, Dr. Griffin, Hope’s Provost, also provided clarity on this issue. In Bishop’s article, Dr. Griffin states, “We already are interpreting our policy to say that generative AI is a breach of academic integrity . . . Without a proper citation or permission of the instructor, if you put in a prompt, take from a produced essay, and put your name on it, you’ve misrepresented work that you’ve not done.” While this affirmation of plagiarism is important to keep in mind, the tools that AI can offer before crossing this line are also im-

portant to understand as this new technology continually develops.

To gather more information about these tools, The Anchor emailed Wesley Stewart (’25), a computer science major at Hope. We discussed some of the emerging questions about AI and its relation to the computer science field. Stewart was asked to provide a general overview of computer science, so we could better understand how AI factors into this field of study. “Hope’s Computer Science program is a general introduction to all sides of software development,” Stewart said. “From a diverse portfolio of learned languages to intense study of the very basics of what makes computers tick, we do it all.”

Next, we asked Stewart about how AI specifically aids in the field of computer science. “AI in coding is a really interesting case where, while generative language models can be helpful for tips and tricks or debugging simple coding issues, they aren’t super useful at doing projects for you like they can in other fields,” Stewart noted. “Computer science requires critical thinking and context knowledge that generative AI can’t have in its current state.”

We also asked Stewart about where he thinks AI oversteps important boundaries. “I think that the biggest overreach that generative AI has done so far is the massive amount of non-consensual, non-compensated works that have been stolen and used as test data to train these algorithms.”

Following this, we inquired about another controversy: AI’s prevalence within the workplace. According to an article from CNBC, “More than one-third (37%) of business leaders say AI replaced workers in 2023…” (Curry). Stewart asserted that he does not think

AI poses much of a threat for the field of computer science. “If you tried to replace an actual software engineer with GPT4 in its current state, you officially have traded a software engineer for a glorified search engine,” he said. “Almost all of what generative AI pulls from to give you in terms of coding advice are from publicly accessible books and forums. It also is not guaranteed to be right.” Stewart paralleled this issue with the emergence of the internet: “Generative AI is such a controversial thing right now in a very similar way to the internet twenty years ago but in different areas of study. Where the internet streamlined research and information processing in a way never before seen, generative AI streamlines any sort of text generation... people will find ways to work around generative AI and incorporate it into learning similar to how the internet has been incorporated into learning today… [However,] when you’re mining one or the other for quotes/ideas to simply copy-paste into your assignment and not truly learning... it has officially become a crutch.”

Dr. Stephen Devereux, a professor in the Mathematics and Statistics Department at Hope, shared caution about this nuanced risk. “One of the worst decisions to make as a student is to cheat. The danger there is that a student who is stressed is more likely to use a more powerful tool in a way that doesn’t aid their education. Instead of correcting your mistakes or pointing out your flaws, you’re using it to create something, and I think it costs you as a student.” In light of this, Dr. Devereux shared optimism about how AI has positively affected the math field. “I want AI to become a part of math education,” Devereux stated. “I’ve read about systems in AI that

check if a mathematical proof is correct. It’s heading in a direction where students are going to be able to check the logical accuracy of their work in a way they’ve never been able to do before.” This answer paved the way for our next question, which concerned the future of AI. Dr. Devereux articulated how his curiosity about the possibilities of AI is ever-increasing. “There are some big questions we have in math – things that a few years ago I would have said ‘I don’t expect those to be solved in my lifetime,’ and now I don’t know.”

Addressing another less common controversy, we asked Dr. Devereux about how humanism clashes with AI: Does AI take away the humanistic aspect of mathematics and cloud math’s creativity with convenience? Devereux told us that “...part of the beauty of mathematics is that people are coming up with some pretty amazing ideas and making connections that feel so new, and different. And I don’t think AI is yet at the place to challenge that. If it ever does, then at least right now, I still see it as a tool made by humans to do so – I think there’s still humanity in that.”

“While it can be argued that there is still humanity and creativity left untouched by AI, the growing number of jobs it is replacing may thwart this optimism.”

Just like many new emerging technologies, AI brings an array of nuanced questions to the table. While it does provide users with a host of useful tools in many different areas, it also doesn’t guarantee accurate information and discounts the authorship and artistry of many of its source materials. While it can be argued that there is still humanity and creativity left untouched by AI, the growing number of jobs it is replacing may thwart this optimism. Perhaps the future of AI will mimic that momentous emergence of the internet in history and pave the way for new technological advancements.

Features | Spring 2024
A student using Chat GPT to complete his homework Nico Kazlauskas
13 Features Page Feb 2024.indd 1 2/19/2024 9:34:12 PM

The art of jumping...from a somewhat wise senior

This year is full of lasts. It is my last semester at Hope College, and this is one of my last print edition issues of The Anchor. I am taking my last courses, and I am enjoying my last breaths of this simulated world we call college.

I say “simulated world” because at college we do not live as functioning adults. Many students are still relying on their families for support—monetarily, emotionally and physically— and most of us do not work a 9-5.

We walk through college with some goal in mind so that we can leave home, or for some people, help support our homes. I believe that higher education is a place to nurture and grow our own passions, interests and skills ranging from the natural sciences to the arts. However, through this journey, we have to develop some goal; or else, we are just wandering through life with little purpose. Now that does not sound very good.

Whether this goal is an occupation, a deeper understanding of a particular subject, a stepping stone towards another higher degree or even to find the love of your life—these are all admirable goals to discover at college.

I entered college with a very concrete goal: to become the best surgeon I could possibly be. About 3% inspired by “Grey’s Anatomy,” I learned as much as I could about surgery, the different paths it could bring me down and even learned how to suture early on in high school. However, once I finished my first year, where I was exposed to the vastness of a liberal arts education, I changed my mind. I chose to explore my other interests that bled over from high school. As a result, I jumped paths. I decided that I did not want to become a doctor, and instead, directed my attention to something else: chemistry research. I started researching organic chemistry here at Hope the summer before my freshman year, and I fell in love with it. I continued to deepen that love by researching at multiple institutions all around the United States.

This jump was uncomfortable, but I persevered through that bit of discomfort. What discomfort you may ask? Imagine you have been working toward one goal for many years, making decisions in regard to that single goal, then that goal just vanishes. Wouldn’t that make you uncomfortable? I had pictured myself as a surgeon for years, making many decisions based on that goal. It was hard to let go of something so ambitious and renowned as becoming a doctor.

Although this jump shook some future plans, I rebounded and directed my energies toward becoming the best research chemist. Even though I had research as my priority, I did not stop exploring all my random and widespread interests. I attended conferences where I sat with others late into the night discussing ideological dilemmas. I helped found a TEDx organization at Hope. I marched on the streets of D.C. for something I vehemently believe in.

As I moved through college, my non-science passions and interests started to shine through. I became involved here at The Anchor. I was published for the first time in the Wall Street Journal. I joined politically active clubs and became involved with deepthinking organizations like the Intercollegiate Studies Institute. I fell in love with the constant excitement of working within journalism and politics. Political theory fascinates me. Campaigns excite me. Articulating my opinion

for the world to read brings me joy.

But even with all of these feelings, I still had one goal in mind going into my study abroad semester—chemistry research. But here is the catch: in London, there was no chemistry research to be conducted. Instead, I could only deepen my passion for journalism and politics.

So, once again, I jumped paths. Now do not get me wrong, I still love chemistry and the impact I could make while researching. But in my heart, I know that what excites every atom of my being lies with politics and journalism. It is hard to give up something that you’ve been working on for the last three years, but in the end, you have to make choices in life.

To throw one more curveball, I’ve decided to join the Peace Corps with my boyfriend and move to Liberia for the next two years. This was not in my plan, but I jumped. The Peace Corps is something that I have always thought was admirable; however, I thought it would be outrageous for me to actually do it. As I discerned this decision, I realized that this is the perfect time to make a jump. This jump did not make me uncomfortable or leave any uncertainty. It felt like the norm because I have walked through college normalizing resonating goals.

My point is not to narrate all of my life choices for you, but rather to say that it is okay to figure out your goals as you walk through college and life. This is the time to

jump from one passion to another and explore your compatibility with something or even someone else. When you were growing up, your parents likely told you to try many things. This could be sports, theater, dance or really anything. So why do we discard this adventurous spirit once we go to college? Some of the greatest leaders in our world are the most multifaceted people where it is hard to describe what exactly they do. Names that come to mind are Steve Jobs, Elon Musk and Joe Rogan. They have dipped their toes in so many areas affecting our world, and you can too.

You have to be comfortable with making uncomfortable choices. You may be the only one who is studying physics while also writing poetry on the side—but that’s okay. You have to be flexible with your own future. I was the person to write out my four-year college plan the summer before my freshman year. Now look at me! I’ve changed my life goals multiple times in just the span of a few years. And it is because I took time during college to lean into all of my interests instead of secluding myself to one discipline.

I am graduating this May with a chemistry degree, with hopes to become a political commentator, with a Peace Corps position waiting for me in Liberia. How confusing is that? I have jumped from path to path, and I could not be happier with my choices. Each experience has shaped me into the person I am today. I have learned what I love.

Once you decide that it is okay to change your goals in accordance with your passions, then you can have the freedom to do whatever you want. Life does not have to be one linear path, we don’t just get to have one vocation. Instead, our paths can zigzag along, going from one thing to the next. We have the freedom in America to pursue, at least, most of the things that we find inspiring in the world.

I’ve put my foot into so many doors these past four years, and I urge you to do the same. This leaves only one question: which door should you first enter and close behind you?

14 Opinion Page February.indd 1 2/19/2024 8:50:06 PM
Student Bridget Kenny, (27’) contemplating which path to choose. Nico Kazlauskas

Mental health days: Coping strategy or cop-out?

The term “mental health day” is a relatively new concept that has become increasingly common in recent years, particularly amongst younger generations of students and workers. It is generally defined as a break from work or other responsibilities and commitments, intended to reduce stress or feelings of burnout. Although many people advocate for mental health days as a necessity in modern society, I would argue that mental health days are actually rarely, if ever, justified. Many individuals have become far too comfortable with using poor mental health as an excuse to avoid their responsibilities, which can harm both themselves and those around them.

“Although many people advocate for mental health days as a necessity in modern society, I would argue that mental health days are actually rarely, if ever, justified.”

The very nature of mental health days indicates a huge inherent problem: in order to take one, you have to avoid your responsibilities and commitments. Taking a mental health day does not make any problems go away;

it either makes them worse by giving them time to accumulate or forces someone else to deal with them to compensate for the person who is not completing their fair share. You are therefore making your life easier at the expense of making someone else’s life harder. Feeling overwhelmed or unmotivated doesn’t excuse you from the responsibility you incurred when you decided to take on a job, project or degree program. In the workforce, most jobs rely on an interconnected network of employees who are expected to complete their work in a timely manner. An important professional skill is being able to compartmentalize outside thoughts and feelings that are irrelevant to the task at hand, including a lack of motivation or interest.

Even if your absence during a mental health day does not appear to affect anyone but yourself, the fact that it affects you should be reason enough to reconsider taking one. For example, if you skip a day of classes you might think that no one else will be bothered. After all, you are the one paying for your tuition. However, by deciding not to follow through on the commitments you made, you are missing valuable opportunities to develop good habits for coping with pressure. College is a time for shaping your professional identity, which should include learning how to deal with difficult situations such as working under stress, or working when you lack motivation. Life does not get any

easier. Once the constant stress of college has passed, there will always be new things to worry about. However, you will get better at handling stress if you allow yourself to embrace the challenges

If you don’t try to test your limits, you will be missing out on opportunities for growth and will never know your true potential or capabilities.

now and work through discomfort.

If you don’t try to test your limits, you will be missing out on opportunities for growth and will never know your true potential or capabilities. Taking ownership of your life and mental health rather than letting your emotions control you will foster resilience. Furthermore, becoming accustomed to taking a mental health day when you do not feel like working can lead to increased dependence on this option, and therefore increased frequency of days off. People can begin using their mental health as an excuse to avoid responsibility, and might crumble under pressure later when demands become even higher because they never practiced pushing through the day when stressed or overwhelmed. For example, students taking mental health days in college might develop unrealistic expectations for what is acceptable in the workforce, as most employers don’t recognize taking a mental health day as a legitimate excuse for absence. Although you could certainly use a sick day if you don’t feel mentally capable of performing your duties, you are not incapacitated or contagious the way you might be if you were actually sick. It therefore seems harder to justify using those days for mental health concerns.

I’m not saying you can never rest. On the contrary, quality rest is important for living a balanced and enjoyable life as well as for maintaining productivity. I firmly believe that weekends and holidays already exist for a reason: to rest, recover and prepare for

the coming week. To incorporate balance into your regular, everyday schedule, you could wake up a little earlier and take some time in the morning to mentally prepare for the day. Or, wait until evening when classes or work end to take an hour to yourself. If your stress accumulates so much that you have to take a mental health day, it is a sign that the stress was poorly managed in the first place.

I am not saying that mental illness isn’t a legitimate concern. It is, and mental disorders should be taken seriously and treated accordingly. However, I do not personally know of any mental illnesses that can be cured by skipping work for a day to sleep in and scroll mindlessly through social media. It is unclear what is supposed to be mentally beneficial about a mental health day. You are technically avoiding stress, but that is an illusion. Wallowing in negative emotions by sitting at home just puts you further behind on tasks and compounds feelings of inadequacy. Don’t put your life on hold just because living it can sometimes be uncomfortable.

Instead of relying on mental health days as a life preserver, the goal should be to create a sustainable lifestyle from which you do not feel a constant need to escape. Stop procrastinating and do not say yes to every opportunity.

Know yourself and your limits, and have a clear idea of your goals. If you are someone that needs hours to decompress and process your emotions outside of work or school hours, do not sign up for extracurricular events that are going to interfere with that need. You will only be setting yourself up for failure. You should also have realistic expectations for any jobs you’re applying to or degrees you’re pursuing. Recognize that sometimes things will be hard, and that is okay. If stress and burnout are a constant element in your life, maybe it is a sign that you are putting time and energy into a path that is not meant for you. Progressing towards your goals and fulfilling responsibilities is not always about motivation or mental stability; sometimes it is just about discipline.

Student, Aleya Bierma, (27’) taking a “mental health day” from school. Nico Kazlauskas
15 Opinion Page November.indd 1 2/19/2024 8:47:32 PM
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