Rumors of Rangeela cut unfounded

Photo+by+Michael+Hsu.

Photo by Michael Hsu.

The past year’s frequent cuts and buyouts have left the Calvin rumor mill quick to fear the worst for any program. Rangeela, however, according to Jane Bruin, assistant dean of international students, is safe for the foreseeable future, though the showcase will return to its roots as a student organization next year instead of being a program of the international student development office (ISDO).

According to Bruin, Rangeela began 21 years ago as a student organization. Five years ago, when Esther Kwak came to the ISDO as programmer, the office “put [its] administrative support behind the student org, so now it was no longer a student org but an administratively run program,” explained Bruin.

This year, instead of 80–100 international students enrolling at Calvin, around 140 came to campus. Bruin explained this increase in students also means an increase in academic need, a need the ISDO doesn’t have unlimited time to meet.

“500 hours is probably a conservative estimate about what we spend in terms of Rangeela,” Bruin said. “500 hours is 500 student meetings we could have that we’re not having.”

Because of this, the ISDO decided to return Rangeela to being a student org.

“It’s not like, ‘Oh, Rangeela is too expensive to run; we’re cutting it because of the budget,’” said Bruin. “It’s more nuanced than that. We have to look at what our priorities are and who we service and how we service them. And then we say, ‘Okay, we still want Rangeela to happen, but we think students can handle that.’”

This structure will allow the ISDO, according to Bruin, to “focus on student need and student support, because we’re already up 50 percent in admits for next year, too.”

“We don’t want people to come here and flunk out their first semester,” she said, “and while Rangeela has a beautiful purpose and a place, our job in this office is to support students in more of their everyday life situations.”

Bruin said that since Rangeela is largely student-run already, the production will not change much. The program 21 years ago, she said, was similar overall to shows of recent years, though perhaps not as professionally polished. The shows were held in the CFAC and had MCs and around 10–12 acts, standard for recent years.

Rangeela will continue to have a student-led committee in the student org structure. Its funding will transfer from the ISDO to campus involvement and leadership, where all the student org budgets are housed.

Bruin explained that each year Rangeela costs around $5,000–$6,000 and brings in about twice that amount. Any additional revenue beyond covering costs goes into Calvin’s general budget rather than staying with Rangeela.

Both the international development office and the Calvin community value Rangeela, according to Bruin. “That’s not the issue. It’s how do we best serve international students and how do we best, with our resources that we need to be more stewardly with now, how do we best do that.”

The program remains an important representation and reminder of culture for those who participate. “Students spend hours on Rangeela,” Bruin said, “because they want to share their culture and they want their culture to be valued.”

Being able to share with different people the “pride of their own culture” in such a way is important, according to Bruin, because it brings recognition of how “There’s other cultures and there’s other beauty from different places, and God’s kingdom is reflected differently from different cultures.”