This year, Dordt is ranked third in the Midwest by US News & World Report. An improvement over last year's ignominious 4th-place tie with our good friends down the road in Orange City, I feel the result demonstrates real effort that went into improving things around here. It seemed like the students' voices were heard more than in previous years. The general atmosphere on campus was one of excitement and optimism despite economic hardships. There was unity, and the freshman class energized the rest of us like we hadn't experienced in the two previous years.
Last night was the first (annual, hopefully) campus-wide slip'n'slide. I am not sure how this got approved– liability and all– but it was an incredible experience. I guess about 400 students showed up. The rain held off just long enough and everyone I talked to was having a great time.
It's the kind of thing that makes Dordt great. Sure, maybe other colleges have a sanctioned slip'n'slide. But do they also have three fully optional corporate worship opportunities a week? Do they have 80% of students residing on campus, with the camaraderie* that it brings? What about a professional residence life staff that will show up to a slip-n-slide and abandon dignity to have some fun and talk to students? These things make the institution seem less like a business that rakes in money and hands out degrees and more like a special community. One in which I'm heavily invested at this point.
With momentum like this, I'm looking forward to what could be an outstanding semester. It's probably my last one here, and I hope to make it mine. To own the semester is what I want; to be able to say I'm proud of what I did here before I left. Here goes something!
*camaraderie: mutual trust and friendship among people who are stuck together in close quarters.