Campus veterans welcome first-year class

Hope College Orientation Week breeds excitement for not only the incoming freshmen, new international students and transfer students, but for current students who delight at the thought of seeing new faces on campus.

As Friday, Aug. 25 approached and new students gathered to endure hours of tours, ice-breakers and people, the Orientation Team practically screamed upon their arrival. This enthusiasm matched the many students who were asked to contribute to this piece with advice and wise words for the newcomers.

The arrival was planned out for months by 2017 Orientation Directors Alison DeVries (’18) and Jackie Schwark (’18), their assistants and the many orientation leaders. The motivation for such hard work varies for each volunteer. “I love the energy and excitement new students bring to campus” Schwark shared.

Polished and prepped team members greeted new students with a spirit that would encourage a desire to take full advantage of every opportunity Hope has to offer.

Embodied in the words of Mackenzie Mitchell (’18), one of the Orientation Assistant Directors, “Take a step back and be intentional with your time here at Hope.”

This was an encouragement that traveled outside of orientation and into the buzz of the activities fair and the first week of classes. With so much knowledge to accumulate and dates to remember, many current students advised new students to take a few moments in the midst of the rush and find brain space to slow down and cherish the craziness.

Another common trend of knowledge that upperclassmen wanted to share lied less in specific actions and more in encouragement to simply be. As Orientation Group Leader, Ani Weiss (’20) advised, “Go out of your comfort zone as much as possible and don’t be afraid to talk to new people and be weird.”

Sophia Vander Kooy ('20) is a political science and international studies major with an unofficial passion for taking creative writing classes. She was the Production Manager at the Anchor during the spring semester of 2020, and previously served as the Editor-in-Chief. She is also a member of the Women's Track and Cross Country teams at Hope, the STEP Community Outreach Student Director and the Co-President of Hope Yoga. Sophia loves writing, being outside, cooking, running and connecting with all kinds of people. She has found the space to be herself at The Anchor and knows that she is not alone in that.

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