Fire Trucks at the Dow: What REALLY Happened?

*Please note that this article is part of the Ranchor (the Anchor’s satirical edition)!

On Tuesday, Sept. 19, around noon, students may have heard the familiar sound of sirens floating across campus. If one was close enough they would have noticed that the trucks congregated around the Hope College Dow Center, three trucks to be exact. Anyone who has been on campus for at least 3 weeks of their lifetime knows that the sound of sirens, being such a common occurrence, is really no concern. Unless of course, you are Gilmore Hall (see Inflation Prices Inflame Students and Fabric Alike: An Ongoing Investigation into the Gilmore Fire).

While students paid very little attention to the sirens, some still wondered what may have happened. Seeing as how Yik Yak can be only so informative, students received an email at 2:04 pm from Hope College Campus Safety. The email stated that Campus Safety was notified of “smoke and fumes in the north end of the gym” and that the Dow was closed until further notice. However, less than 3 hours later another email was received by the students that the Dow Center would reopen the very next day. The whole issue was brushed over swiftly, keeping students in the dark about what had really happened.

In light of the ongoing investigation, there has been speculation into what exactly caused this event and if it was as accidental as the Hope administration claims it to be. Some students believe the event to be a direct consequence of the self-titled student organization “Hope Develops,” a rogue group committed to the improvement of Hope College campus facilities, often through questionable and extreme measures. The events at the Dow have led students to believe that the so-called “smoke and fumes” could have been a failed attempt of Hope Develops to force the school to update the facilities.

None really know the inner workings of the said student group, as it was established independently after Hope College denied the group official titlement claiming that the group “casts a bad light on the institution and what it stands for.” Clearly, free speech is not a priority in higher education. Though many students had not even heard of the organization, some upperclassmen seemed to be a little more informed.

Ruth Heisngburg (24’) shed light on what she knew. “I’ve heard whispers about Hope Develops, but no one really knows how it runs. Or even if there is a so-called president. They keep themselves in the shadows. Sometimes they’ll leave messages on chalkboards.”

Ruth was kind enough to share photos of a chalkboard message she had stumbled on one night in Lubbers Hall. The letters on the board read “E P S”, which Ruth theorized meant “Expand Phelps Seating.” After the photo circulated on Yik Yak, some students claimed to see security camera installation increase around Phelps Hall, perhaps a warning from the Hope College to Hope Develops.

Reflecting back on April 2023, some may wonder if the incidents of Gilmore Hall were another strike of Hope Develops. The fire of Gilmore Hall led to the renovation of Gilmore’s basement. Could this have been a successful manipulation by Hope Develops?

There are theories that the administration may fear Hope Develops and the possibilities of their achievements, which could be an explanation for why the Dow Center incident was so quickly swept under the rug. This incident also has students pondering what other important issues the administration may be keeping a secret from the Hope Community.

Evan Fitzmakburg (26’) demands answers as he states, “I mean who are we putting our trust in? I pay $40,000 a year to be here, I absolutely have the right to know the decisions Hope College makes and why they are made.” Evan was quoted soon after Chapel Dean, Trygve Johnson, ‘left’ his position. This disappearance is still under investigation.

Though Hope College chooses to ignore the existence of Hope Develops, students find themselves restless. Who is this group? What other actions have they committed on campus?

In an exclusive interview, your Ranchor writers were given the opportunity to speak with an individual who seems to know just a bit more than the average individual on campus. No name is given for this individual’s protection.

“We exist for the betterment of Hope College. We desire to be a voice and a hand of the people. Why Hope College would want to shut that down, I’m not sure.”

Why would they indeed?


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