April 23, 2024 | Matt Kucinski

A student stands in a greenhouse smiling.

In 2022, Jack Klop moved from Los Angeles, California to Grand Rapids, Michigan.

“It was a big jump to come across the country,” said Klop.

Now Klop is finishing up his sophomore year. While Calvin’s great engineering program drew him to Calvin, he says “I stayed because of all the opportunities that are available here.”

Opportunities everywhere

From working at the climbing wall to directing the university’s bike co-op program, from working in the service-learning center to being a sustainability coordinator in his residence hall, Klop is making the most of his college experience.

“I didn’t know coming to Calvin that I would be opening myself up to so many amazing opportunities,” said Klop.

Many of these opportunities revolve around a passion of Klop’s: sustainability. And while he has already dove deeper into this interest outside of the classroom, he also sees sustainability seamlessly integrated into his coursework.

“One of the most amazing things about the engineering program is talking with profs and learning more about sustainability through some of my courses,” said Klop. In fact, Calvin has an engineering concentration focused on energy, environment, and sustainability and offers students the ability to add a sustainability designation to their degree.

Core to Calvin

Klop has seen that caring for creation is a core value that is woven throughout all the disciplines.

“Even starting with our core classes, we are having discussions about how we are to be stewards of the Earth and also thinking about social sustainability and how the choices we make have impact on other people and what ways we can try to be more conscious about our impact,” said Klop.

He says that caring for creation is core to Calvin because it’s leaning into our calling to take seriously the Biblical mandate to be stewards of God’s good earth.

Creating solutions

And for Klop he’s grateful for the opportunities to be a leader in this work. He’s helped start a compost program in the dorms, led campus-wide events like the Earth Day fair earlier this week and a farmer’s market this past fall. And through the Calvin Energy Recovery Fund, Klop and other student leaders are creating tangible solutions to reduce energy consumption on campus.

“This past week we had approval from the Environmental Energy and Sustainability Committee board to move forward with a lighting project in a lecture hall in the Science Building,” said Klop. “We installed LED lights in there over spring break and we are monitoring that to see how much energy we can reduce.”

While the tangible projects he’s worked on are important, it’s having a seat and voice at the table that has meant the most to him.

A valued voice

“Being able to be part of conversations with the larger campus and being in the EESC meetings with professors has sparked more of that passion,” said Klop. Seeing that this is something I can have an impact on even as a student on my campus and then to be able to share that opportunity with other students has been really meaningful for me.”

While Klop has two more years to figure out what’s next for him after college, he’s so excited by what he’s experienced in just two years.

“Saying yes to things has opened so many doors,” said Klop, “and I am incredibly grateful to the professors and students who make that possible, to feel like I am able to thrive in a space and grow in a lot of ways because of these new opportunities.”

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