Alliance housing promotes active community

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Isn’t Alliance housing just for jocks? While Alliance housing is one of the many places full-time Calvin students call home, most students assume that the rooms within are reserved for only student-athletes. However, the reality is that all upper-class students are welcome to participate in this living-learning community if they are willing to engage their personal wellness and others within the Alliance community.

“Students who are drawn to live in Alliance are those who care about being good students while also being active in their lifestyle,” stated Bob Crow, coordinator of the Alliance community for the past four years.

A quiet row of apartments, Alliance is located beside Calvin Seminary housing, just off Burton Street. On warm Sunday mornings, families of seminary students can be heard playing out in the parking lot, and bikes line the patios, ready to complete the short ride to central campus. Although the space feels serenely secluded from campus, it does follow Calvin College’s on-campus policies and receives the same security and maintenance as traditional housing options. Likewise, students are separated by sexgender into two buildings, Rho for males and Tau for females.

However, that is where the separation stops. Members of the community frequently support each other by attending games and gathering for a monthly meal and bible study. They are full of encouragement for each other, and their conversations are characterized by an awareness and enjoyment of group members and their lives.

The Alliance community celebrates unique traditions, like the bright red lobster that has circulated as a gift in the annual white elephant Christmas gift exchange for the past seven years.

Each member of the community has different reasons for joining or returning to Alliance. Klara Oh, senior and second-year participant in the Alliance community, explains why she chose to return to the Alliance community. “It’s nice not having to find friends to live with because I mostly interact with two social groups: swimming and nursing,” she said. “I like living with people that I don’t spend the rest of my life with and being with people from all different sports and majors. The small monthly meetings allow us to get to know each other really well.”

Others join the community to enjoy the calm, study-friendly space where study groups are hosted easily and housemates respect individual study time.

“My goal for living here is to develop meaningful friendships, focus on my schoolwork, and grow spiritually,” junior Hattie LaCroix, a first-time Alliance member, explained. The primary focus of students in Alliance housing is not to isolate themselves into an “athlete-only club” but rather to broaden their experience at Calvin and grow personally in a diverse community.

For many students, the ease of living close to campus and paying rent via their Calvin tuition accounts makes on-campus housing appealing. However, Alliance boasts an even greater appeal as a place to choose physical, mental and spiritual growth in an academic setting prone to stress, sleep deprivation and the temptation of spiritual apathy. The application process for the 2017–2018 academic year ends December 9, but those who will be returning juniors and seniors the following year should consider applying next year, whether a student athlete or not.