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Student Profile: Nate Vande Guchte ’08

When Nate Vande Guchte visited Hope in high school, he instantly noticed the welcoming atmosphere. “Walking through the campus, people that I didn’t even know where all saying ‘hi,’ and were always smiling,” he says.

That’s one of the things that he enjoys most about the college. “You get to know the people that you’re with and you actually get to see them again.”

Nate has found many ways to become active on campus, ranging from competing on the varsity track team to enjoying the many events scheduled throughout the school year. He has made service in particular a major theme of his college experience.

“Hope just has so many opportunities in so many different ways for people to get involved; that’s what makes it fun,” he says. “I like just being able to help out other people and giving back.”

He has been especially motivated by the student-organized Dance Marathon, which raises funds for DeVos Children’s Hospital. His own experiences have made him personally committed to helping children with health needs. “That’s really important to me because two of my friends have died of cancer,” he says.

His service has also included a mission trip to Mississippi and Hope’s “Time to Serve” program, through which students volunteer throughout the community.

He has worked on behalf of new students at Hope through his involvement in Orientation. “It was fun giving back from what people the grade above me gave--giving the time, energy, and making it fun for the new freshmen coming in,” he says.
Nate’s priorities, of course, include academics. He plans to go into teaching, specifically special education. “It’s definitely rewarding,” he says of his work in the department, which has already included field placements with first and second graders. “The field placements teach you a lot,” he emphasizes, because they directly apply the information students learn in the classroom.

He continues to gain experience throughout the summer as well, and he greatly enjoyed his work at Camp Sunshine, a two-week summer program for youth with special needs. His passion began with one of his best friends in high school who had special needs. “That friendship,” Nate says, “had a huge impact on my life.”

Nate has found emphasis on service consistent throughout the Hope community. “For the professors, it’s not really about the money,” says Nate. “It’s more about seeing students succeed, and I think that giving back is a lot of what I see in Hope. A lot of people want to give back from the experiences and the fun that they’ve had.”

This profile was written by Bethany A. Katerberg, a Hope College senior from Grand Rapids, Mich., for the 2006-07 Hope College Catalog.

Hope People - Learn about the experiences of some of the people connected with Hope College.