Calvin students take Hope banner hostage during rivalry game


Photo courtesy Jon Lensing.

Updated: Thursday, January 17, 6:21 p.m. 

Campus safety said that the banner has been returned to Hope and the students involved may face disciplinary action. Read the full story here.

Updated: Thursday, January 17, 12:43 a.m.

The students reported that campus safety stopped by the dorm room to confiscate the banner around 12:20 a.m. Thursday morning.

This original story was published Wednesday, January 16, at 11:39 p.m.

For two Calvin freshmen, a 26-point men’s basketball victory wasn’t enough.

Joe Vroom and Jon Lensing were sitting in the Calvin student section during halftime Wednesday night, when they had an idea.

“We said, if the opportunity presents itself, we should take that banner,” said Vroom, who is studying music performance, pointing at a large blue banner with the orange words “GO HOPE” on it.

“We went between the student section and the backside of the court, and we found it about five feet under the bleachers,” explained Lensing, a pre-med student.

The only thing standing in their way was Hope’s cheerleading squad.

“If any of those male cheerleaders had seen us, we probably would have been dead,” said Lensing. “They probably could have beat the crap out of us.”

So the two waited patiently until a media timeout with 7:42 left to play in the game.

“We wanted to wait for the male cheerleaders to go out on the court,” said Vroom. “When they finally did, I ran underneath the bleachers and grabbed the flag.”

One Hope student saw the pair and yelled, but it was too late. The two took off back to their dorm rooms in Boer-Bennink.

“We went into a sprint and never looked back,” said Lensing. “We got to our dorm huffing and puffing.”

“I was thinking two things: this is awesome and I’m really out of shape,” said Vroom.

The two quickly posted a photo of their plunder on the popular Facebook group Overheard at Calvin.

So what do the two plan to do with the banner? They haven’t decided yet, but for now, it hangs in Vroom’s dorm room.

“I stapled it to my ceiling so it’s over the light,” Vroom said. “It’s big as the whole ceiling. It’s sweet.”