Wherever you come from, whatever your race is, there is a home for you on the Grassroots floor. We explore the ways multiple aspects of our identities interact, as we create a thriving Christian community. You will find justice, equity, and antiracism are part of the conversation in the floor class and in the conversation by the fireplace. On this floor, you will learn about others’ stories, grow in your ability to engage and facilitate difficult conversations, participate in service-learning and activism, and take a floor class focused on diversity and inequality in the United States.

This floor is rooted in the mission of Calvin residence life in that it is a place where we offer students the opportunity for intellectual, spiritual, emotional and relational growth.

Grassroots floor at Rangeela   Grassroots floor

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  • Floor Activities
    1. Weekly Floor Meetings: Students have the opportunity to share their stories with one another and facilitate dialogue and engagement around identity and justice topics that are most important to them.
    2. Floor Class: In their first year on the floor, all students take a class together focused on diversity and inequality in the United States, analyzing the social meanings of our various identities (i.e. race-ethnicity, class, and gender). This class may also be used to fulfill your core graduation requirements.
    3. Organic and Intentional Community: Students engage in fun and meaningful conversations together by living in community, sitting around the floor lounge fireplace, sharing food unique to their cultures, and participating in programming specifically designed for the floor.
    4. Service-Learning and Activism: Students will engage in service-learning activities, partnering with local organizations to contribute to their work and learn firsthand by participating in justice-driven work.
    1. To think deeply as a community about issues of identity, diversity, inequality, and justice.
    2. To act justly in our floor, campus, city, and global communities through improving skills in communication, service, and activism.
    3. To live wholeheartedly in genuine community, where Christ’s love and compassion is shown toward one another in all aspects of life, whether in the classroom or in everyday living on the floor.
  • Outcomes

    Students will be able to

    • Think, work and move across boundaries in diverse environments with a range of people.
    • Develop and implement skills for communicating across conflicts and divides (social, cultural, and political).
    • Seek out multiple perspectives on a variety of issues, both those that are familiar and unfamiliar.
    • Link theory and practice through students’ experience both as citizens and in professions.
    • Improve anti-racism and anti-bias practices.
    • Build deep relationships with a diverse group of friends and enjoy a supportive multicultural Christian community.
  • Admissions

    If you are an incoming student, indicate your interest on your housing application and complete the supplemental questions. Placements will be made starting May 1st and on a rolling basis thereafter if there is space available on the floor. A waiting list will be created when there is no longer room on the floor and students.

    If you are a current or returning student, contact the Area Coordinator for Kalsbeek-Huizenga-van Reken to express your interest and complete a separate application.

  • Expectations
    • Participate in weekly floor meetings on Sunday nights from 6-7 p.m.
    • First-year students participate in the same section the floor class (the floor class for 2021-2022 is to be determined). Students returning to the floor for a second year are not required to take this class.
    • Participate in the fall weekend floor retreat (date determined by floor leadership at the start of the semester).
    • Participate in additional floor related/sponsored activities (e.g. readings, discussions, on/off campus events, floor meetings, service-learning, group reflection).
    • Engage in developing organic community through shared meals, spending time in the floor lobby, and intentionally building relationships with fellow residents.
  • The Class

    The Grassroots floor class for 2021-2022 is to be determined. Information for the floor class for 2020-2021 is listed below.

    Meets every other week and is only open to residents of the floor.

    IDIS 190—Contextual Diversity Studies

    Course Description:
    The Grassroots Living-Learning Community is intended to deal specifically with the issue of race, racism and reconciliation in the United States. In order to do so, the course will also include an examination of the cultural and ethnic identities of the participants and what it means for life in the Grassroots Community, Calvin University and beyond. Although students living in the Grassroots Community represent a variety of cultural backgrounds, IDIS 190 is not intended to simply be a celebration of cultures but a time to engage the difficult questions of race, racism, reconciliation and biblical justice.

    Participation in the Grassroots Community has both an experiential and academic component. IDIS 190 is the academic component and is intended to enhance the experience in the living community. Students living in the Grassroots Community will participate in seminars, learning events and a variety of assignments to supplement and enrich the experience of living and learning in this community. Students will develop a common language to enlighten their study of historic and current racism in the United States, and will begin to apply this to their experiences and learning within the Calvin University community and beyond. This course satisfies the Cross-Cultural core requirement.

    Course Learning Outcomes:
    Over the course of a year, students—with respect to the goals of living and learning within the Grassroots Community—should develop a deeper understanding of the learning outcomes listed below:

    Knowledge/content oriented (Think Deeply)

    • Understand the historical, cultural, economic and political forces that shape society and explain their own situation in this context.
    • Understand the relationship of power and language, and how language interacts with culture. Understand how language frames thinking and perspectives; “the language you speak creates the box in which you think.”
    • Understand the connections between power, knowledge, privilege, race/ethnicity, gender and class (locally and globally).
    • Recognize how stereotypes develop and where they come from.

    Skills (Act Justly)

    • Think, work and move across boundaries in diverse environments with a range of people.
    • Develop and use skills in conflict resolution.
    • Improve anti-racism and anti-bias practices.
    • Develop and use communication skills AND intercultural communication skills.
    • Link theory and practice through their own experience both as citizens and in professions.
    • Seek out multiple perspectives—inside perspectives as well as outside ones.

    Attitudinal/mode of being (Live Wholeheartedly)

    • Develop a sense of perspective and social responsibility (Agents of Renewal).
    • Appreciate difference; value and acknowledge other cultures as legitimate.
    • Improve cultural self-awareness and understanding of one’s self in the global context (one’s own place and connections). And recognize, explore and articulate one’s own racial/ ethnic identity.
    • Develop a biblical understanding of kingdom values, of difference, unity and Shalom.