About StreetFest

StreetFest is an annual event that takes place during new student orientation, now on its 31st year! During this day, incoming students, faculty, and staff venture off of Calvin's campus into the surrounding community to both serve and learn with over 40 community organizations and churches in Grand Rapids. As students spend time serving and learning, they learn about the needs of the city through the lens of the organizations with which they are serving, growing familiar with the community they are joining through conversation and action. 

It is our hope that StreetFest will introduce students to the city of Grand Rapids, to the concept of service-learning, ignite their passion for service and justice, and motivate them to engage in service-learning opportunities and the local community through their time at Calvin and beyond. 

Date: Saturday August 26, 2023 

Time: 9am – 1 pm 

    • Interested in hosting a StreetFest group, click here or please email slc@calvin.edu! 
    • Use this form to sign up to be a faculty/staff mentor!

StreetFest 2023

Listening to our Community • Joining in Renewal

Artist: Alynn Guerra

Coordinators: Blessing Amoah & Kate Witvliet

LISTENING TO OUR COMMUNITY, JOINING IN RENEWAL” describes the posture we hope students will adopt for their StreetFest experience and service-learning, but also throughout their time at Calvin and beyond. It is motivated by a deep care for the place we live: its people, creation, and communities. Intentional presence in place begins with listening to our community, getting to know our neighbors, and joining the work that they are doing.  

Listening requires an active and intentional posture of humility, openness, and empathy. We want our incoming class to pay attention to the strengths, challenges, injustices, needs, and hopes of our community. We want to intentionally reflect on how history has shaped who we are and who our neighbors are. We hope students notice the strengths of the community and celebrate them. We hope students notice the injustices in our community and lament them.  Through listening and reflection, students will gain understanding, insights, and a new capacity for empathy. By actively listening, we can better understand the diverse needs and aspirations of our community members. Good listening is always necessary to pave the way for informed decision-making, inclusive spaces, and equitable solutions. 

Listening both motivates and informs action. We want students to pay attention to the work of renewal that is already being done in our community. How are community members, local churches, and organizations pursuing justice and renewal in their community? How can we join this work of renewal?  

Joining in renewal can mean actively participating in service-learning opportunities, advocating for social justice, and fostering collaboration with community leaders and organizations. We strive to build strong partnerships and meaningful, reciprocal relationships with local organizations, churches, and community members who are doing incredible work. We hope our students can join in collaboration, as well as amplify the voices of our neighbors by sharing the stories we learn. We aspire to move beyond a passive surface level engagement, but to have active, long-term investment in our partners. We aspire to partner in pursuit of shalom, collaborating as agents of renewal.  

Joining in renewal reflects Calvin University's mission to cultivate graduates who are agents of renewal in their communities and the world. It also aligns with the Service-Learning Center's mission of pursuing justice, vibrancy, and shalom in Grand Rapids and the world. Our hope is to equip students to be present in place and seek justice and renewal on the day of StreetFest, during their four years at Calvin and in Grand Rapids, and beyond as they are sent out into the world after graduation. Let us listen, join hands, and work together to create vibrant, inclusive, and renewed communities where everyone's voice is valued, and justice and peace prevail.