Humanity loves tradition. We find solace in the comfort of what is known, having set expectations that we trust will be fulfilled. This comfort is not unnatural—a desire for consistency is part of what defines this age of civilization.
But we are not solely creatures of habit. There is another constant in our lives, one that tears at our preconceived notions and dismantles repetition. It pushes us out of our nest of ritual, and we are forced to either adjust or fall to our demise. Change does not care if we learn how to fly. Change decides it is time to go, for better or worse.
Hope College is teetering on a precipice. We’ve perched ourselves nicely at the side of our nest, viewing the world below with little intention of taking the dive. We love our traditions. We love to speak of change. We love to feel cutting-edge, plowing ahead of the world in our innovation and understanding of the world. In a way similar to other institutions of its kind, Hope still reveres the sense of stability that comes with stagnation.
This comfort in custom, of course, is partially the nature of higher education. Colleges and universities take pride in the legacy of their foundation and revel in the power of well-established roots. There is honor in this, of course, but there is always the potential of getting snagged in the past.
How does Hope, as an institution, honor its past while maintaining forward momentum? How much change is too much, and how do we know when we’re ready to leave the nest? While Hope can attempt to create a universal understanding of our relationship with change, there will always be diversity in opinion and desire throughout those who call this community home.
In the coming weeks, I will be examining various perspectives on change at Hope College. I hope to interview faculty, student leaders, administrators, and alumni to explore their perception of how Hope has changed in the past and in what direction they desire it to move. The number of change-makers on Hope’s campus is astounding, each with a unique understanding of the way that Hope College navigates transitions and transformations of various calibers.
What is Hope’s capacity for change? Are we falling prey to the rut of structural sluggishness, or are we jumping off the edge to pursue new and mysterious paths of development? Consider this question in the following weeks with some of Hope’s bright minds from every corner of campus.