Keeping Hope in the time of COVID-19

#KeepingHope in the Time of COVID-19

A community is hard to keep together when it’s not.

Removed from Hope’s campus and from each other when the college went to remote operations after March 11 due to the global COVID-19 pandemic, people of Hope quickly resolved to do one common thing from their various points of distant teaching, working and learning. Though separated, the campus community was determined to stay together by keeping hope.

And because they did, #KeepingHope, a campaign both in mindset and action, became a thing, a rallying cry to maintain the very identity and culture of Hope while displaying the virtue that the world urgently needed and for which the college is thankfully named. Hope. It would be what the college community would give.

How? By keeping Hope’s academics, traditions and ethos intact.

As more than 300 professors transitioned approximately 900 in-person classes to online formats (read more here), other campus entities made sure distinctively Hope events happened. Campus Ministries delivered virtual Chapel three times a week and the Gathering on Sunday; the annual Celebration of Undergraduate Research and Creative Activity (CURCA), usually held in the DeVos Fieldhouse to accommodate hundreds of student researchers, took up residence in Zoom rooms to deliver newly-discovered findings; the HOPEYs, the athletic department’s annual awards that honor achievement and spirit across the program, went from a one-night event to a week’s worth of presentations via videos on social media; and, spring room draw for campus housing, usually an in-person operation, became a well-orchestrated online event, too.

Then, there were selfless acts of service both on and off campus. Sophomore Jaclyn Klinger embedded at a retirement facility, rather than stay at home during remote learning, to serve and keep safe older residents in her hometown of Noblesville, Indiana; junior Annie Kopp from Lancaster, New Hampshire, coordinated pairing Hope students with K-12 children from Holland Public Schools (who were also learning from home) for virtual tutoring; and, Joseph Hajin Jang served weekly at a community kitchen at his home church in Thailand.

At Hope, a #KeepingHope food pantry for the 50-plus students who remained on campus during the summer was inundated with donations from Hope and Holland community members; early in the outbreak, science faculty donated dozens of cases of PPE from various Hope labs to local hospitals; Dr. Deborah Van Duinen of the education department started an online national book club for fourth through sixth graders; Professor Michelle Bombe of the theatre department organized play-reading nights every Monday for a myriad of faculty and staff to join in regardless of discipline or theatrical talent; and, other faculty and staff rose to the occasion by working above-and-beyond in too many ways to recount.

Every hope-filled effort, attitude, and state of faith and grace declared this unspoken but essential credo in a time of crisis: While we can’t do everything, we can do some things. That was and is the #KeepingHope way.

To learn more about these topics and other stories,
please visit the Keeping Hope blog