One Big Weekend Recap

Campus was bustling on Oct. 13 and 14 to celebrate One Big Weekend — Hope College’s Homecoming and Family weekend. Alumni, families, friends and students all gathered together to enjoy the countless activities offered for this weekend. Hockey and football games, Hope’s annual Nykerk and Donut Run, food trucks in the heart of campus and a concert at Jack Miller were just some of the many events that took place on campus for the weekend. 

Over 700 people gathered to run at the annual Donut Run. This is a charity event that raises money for Dance Marathon — an organization that fundraises throughout the year to raise funds for Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital with a culminating 24 hour dance-a-thon fundraising event. The day included something for adults, students and children alike, even featuring a competition for the fastest stroller. Despite the rainy and cold weather, two-time Donut Runner Ellie Bonanni (’26) had a fantastic time running with her friends alongside her. “It was rainy, but I feel like the energy was still very high,” Bonanni said. “Everyone was super enthusiastic and had a lot of fun.”

Bonanni especially notes how the Donut Run demonstrates the community that Hope creates through events that come together for a common cause. “The Donut Run shows how many people here are willing to commit to the cause of raising money for kids at Helen DeVos Children’s Hospital,” Bonanni said. “It also shows that our community loves to pull together and celebrate as a group.”

Another event that the Hope community gathered together for was the Homecoming football game, which, despite the weather, garnered a crowd that packed the stands in orange and blue. Although Hope did not end the game with a win, the crowd and players were still filled with enthusiasm for the big game, according to offensive lineman Flannery Wayne (’27). “The game didn’t go the way we wanted it to, but we always appreciate the atmosphere of Ray & Sue Smith Stadium,” Wayne said. “A lot of people come and support us every weekend, especially Homecoming weekend. It’s another level of excitement added for players and students.”

Wayne extends a special thanks to the crowd who filled the stands and encouraged the players through the game. “The crowd always helps us bring the energy to be successful,” Wayne said. “Overall we are very appreciative to all our fans, families, and classmates that came to watch us perform.”

One Big Weekend wouldn’t be the same without the Hope College’s annual Nykerk competition — odd-year vs. even-year competition comprised of play, song and oration. The bleachers of DeVos Fieldhouse were lined with a students and families, enthusiastically supporting their respective years. Nykerk General Chair, Kathryn Kalthoff (’24), loved seeing this year’s performances come to life. “It was such a joy watching all of the participants share their talents, be themselves and bravely demonstrate the power of women when they take the stage,” Kalthoff said. “It felt like the culmination of a lot of hard work on the part of everyone involved.”

On top of making tickets free this year, which resulted in an even larger turnout than normal, both Pull teams also came to support the performers. “This year the presence of the Pull members from both years was so special,” Kalthoff said. “The Pull and Nykerk have always had a special relationship, and it is always a joy to see our fellow odd and even-year supporters. It really validated the work that the participants had done over the past week.”

Though all different and distinct, each event of the weekend shined Hope’s beautiful spirit, community and tradition. And that’s worth celebrating no matter the time of year!

Photo credit: Nico Kazlauskas

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