Good things are happening here

This past summer got off to a tumultuous start for those of us following Calvin news. In the middle of a presidential transition and other changes, the Christian Reformed Church’s general meeting voted on campus to elevate the denomination’s stance on same-sex relationships to confessional status, a significant change with huge potential to impact Calvin’s student body, faculty and staff, as well as the university’s reputation. Conclusive determinations of what it means for Calvin have yet to materialize.

Even before Synod met, the issue was straining Calvin’s seams with anger, frustration and fear coming from all sides. That tension hasn’t gone away.

It is in this season of unknowns and disagreement that I begin my senior year and my term as editor-in-chief of Chimes. Maybe it’s your last year at Calvin, too. Maybe it’s your first. Maybe you’re a faculty or staff member who has been here for decades. Maybe you’re an alum or community member watching from afar.

Reporting on Calvin news this past year has been stressful. For many of you, I imagine it’s been stressful to read, too. At times, it may have been downright painful. I feel that, too. But, whoever you are, I want you to know that the messy, divisive, sad news is not all that’s going on here.

Plaster Creek Stewards, a Calvin program focused on restoring a local watershed, was awarded a $1 million grant from the State of Michigan this summer. Pine Rest Christian Mental Health Services partnered with Calvin’s School of Health to fund a massive new scholarship opportunity for nursing students. Chief Financial Officer Tim Fennema signed an agreement with Sun FundED to start work towards a sustainable energy transition.

And that’s just the big headline stuff. More importantly, Calvin staff and faculty are undaunted in their commitment to mentoring, advising, teaching, supporting and providing opportunities for students. I know this from firsthand experience — from my mentor who talked me through big questions over Peet’s coffee, from the staff at Uppercrust who made my day a little brighter every time I worked there, from my economics professor who patiently explained what I should have learned in class during office hours, from an administrative assistant who always remembers my name, and from jobs, internships, conferences and research opportunities that faculty and staff from across campus have helped me get access to.

I also know that Calvin students are not ones to take easy routes. We’re going to stay in the hard conversations for as long as it takes, and this process of figuring out how to live with deep disagreement is going to shape us into exceptional people.

Chimes is going to keep covering the hard stuff. We’re also going to cover the good stuff. This isn’t a new strategy — it’s what Chimes staff have been doing for years, and what has earned Chimes distinctions like being named the best weekly newspaper in division two by the Michigan Press Association, receiving a Mark of Excellence Award from the Society of Professional Journalists and being a top-five national finalist for the College Media Association’s Pinnacle Award.

We’re going to keep doing what we do best — reporting the news, good or bad. Please read and engage with both.