K Tour Guides Offer 4 Tips for College Visits

Several Kalamazoo College students with local ties are helping prospective students and their families learn about the school, the campus and the city this summer through the Admission Center. Madelyn Betts ’19, Leah Todd ’20 and Faruq Schieber ’20—all of Kalamazoo—are among the campus tour guides, and they say summer is an excellent time to visit.

Leah Todd among tour guides at Hicks Center
Leah Todd ’20 is one of several tour guides serving Kalamazoo College this summer.

“Summer gives you an opportunity to see things when they’re at their best,” on campus and in the City of Kalamazoo, said Schieber, an international area studies major. “Everything is in bloom and it’s quiet without the hustle and bustle on campus.”

As members of the Holistic Inclusive Visitor Experience (HIVE) team, these three also fulfill roles as communicators and hosts to prospective students and their families. Each is an excellent source of information on the K-Plan, Kalamazoo College’s distinctive approach to academics in the liberal arts and sciences, and what you can see and do when you visit. Here are four of their tips for college visits.

Have Questions for Your Tour Guides

Betts, who studies German and business with a concentration in film and media studies, advises prospective students and families to develop a list of important questions to ask when they’re on campus. She said she commonly answers questions ranging from whether first-year students can have cars on campus to inquiries about academic support and leadership opportunities.

“Everyone is here to help you get everything you want out of your visit,” Betts said, adding it’s also a good idea to ask about activities on campus.

Madelyn Betts Works as one of several Tour Guides
Madelyn Betts ’19 is a member of the Holistic Inclusive Visitor Experience (HIVE) team. Her duties include serving as one of several tour guides on campus this summer.

“There’s so much going on each term you don’t hear about ahead of time, you’ll think, ‘If I only had more time,’ ” said Betts, who is the president of K’s student Swing Dance Club and Film Club, and a member of Cirque du K, a student circus troupe.

The practice of asking questions will also benefit students when they’re attending K. Todd, for example, said when she needed advice about a class, several people responded to a single email, including volleyball Head Coach Jeanne Hess, even though Todd no longer plays volleyball.

“A teacher, a dean, my study abroad adviser and my academic adviser all responded about this one class, even Coach (Hess),” Todd said. “She’s always reaching out, trying to make sure there’s a connection. We have nice people here. I enjoy meeting people from all over the world.”

Reach Out

Schieber said it can be intimidating for high school students to plan campus visits, especially if they’re uncertain about what college they want to attend. The solution for easing that intimidation is to connect with Admission in advance.

“Make a phone call to us before you come and point out your interests to us,” he said. “You can even request an interview with an admission counselor. That call can help us as guides and counselors get more of an idea of what you would like access to so we can show you a good fit.”

Faruq Schieber among Tour Guides
Faruq Schieber ’20 is among the Kalamazoo College tour guides who suggests visiting the College and the city over the summer.

As a prospective student a few years ago, Schieber said that fit involved study abroad opportunities and the easy access to professors he wouldn’t have gotten at a larger school.

“This is an environment where professors care about your success—you matter,” said Schieber, who will study abroad in Ecuador this fall.

Prepare for the Weather

Regardless of the season in which you visit, it’s a good idea to prepare for the weather. Check the forecast for Kalamazoo in advance and dress appropriately for being outside, Todd said. Also, notify Admission if you’re running late for your tour. Calling ahead ensures tour guides are at your service when you arrive.

Picture it

Betts advises that students take pictures of the campuses they visit, especially when they visit schools far from home, to ensure they remember which is which.

“I heard a horror story once about a student who visited a campus and loved it,” Betts said. “She applied to what she thought was that college, was accepted and registered for classes, only to find when she arrived on campus she had applied to the wrong college.”

Our virtual tour, equipped with pictures and video, offers a preview of our campus, although we recommend seeing it yourself. Learn more about your options for visiting, plan your individual visit or contact Admissions today at 269-337-7166.

K Athlete Flexes Liberal Arts Muscle in NBA Internship

For Amanda Moss ’19, the route to her prestigious internship this summer at National Basketball Association (NBA) headquarters in New York City began, improbably, with getting kicked out of a gym.

Amanda Moss Attending NBA Draft through her NBA Internship
Economics and business major Amanda Moss applied for a highly competitive NBA internship and was one of 50 students chosen from a pool of 6,000.

She says that while she was a basketball player in high school, she went to the community gym in her Detroit suburb daily during the summer to practice her jump shot. One day, however, an employee of the Detroit Pistons NBA team told her she would have to leave because the courts were reserved for a team-run youth basketball program.

“I started to pack up but then I looked around and saw they were way understaffed for the event they were going to hold,” she recalls. “So I went back up to the guy and I offered my assistance. He took me up on the offer and I helped set up chairs, run the scoreboard, that sort of thing, and helped to clean up when it was over.”

After the event, she says, the employee chatted with her and ended up offering her a summer job at the Pistons’ youth basketball camp.

Amanda Moss Playing Basketball NBA Internship
Amanda Moss, who plays on Kalamazoo College’s women’s basketball team, is working in an NBA internship this summer.

“I did that every summer for four years,” says Moss, who plays women’s basketball and lacrosse and was just named to the Jewish Sports Review Women’s College Lacrosse All-America Team for the second year in a row.

Along the way, she got to meet Pistons players including Andre Drummond and Reggie Jackson and people in the team’s corporate office. So when it came time to seek an internship in summer 2017, she was well-situated to apply to the Pistons. She worked in community relations and marketing for the team, conceiving a career forum for girls 9 to 16 and then running every aspect of the event, which included presenting a panel of college basketball players and women business leaders.

That, in turn, set her up for this summer’s internship. With the help of K’s Center for Career and Professional Development and with advice from her professors, the economics and business major applied for the highly competitive program and was one of 50 students chosen from a pool of 6,000. She’s working in the retail division of the NBA’s Global Partnerships Department, which manages all aspects of the league’s relationship with companies including Nike, New Era, Foot Locker and Amazon.

That relationship includes activities such as licensing the sale of NBA-branded merchandise, arranging for advertising on NBA TV, approving the use of the NBA logo in social media messages and arranging player appearances at partner businesses, she says. Her role has been mainly in research. One assignment tasked her with finding out everything she could about how the NBA could work with Target Corp., and she says she discovered a natural fit in both organizations’ emphasis on supporting community voluntarism—a synergy around which her boss now is building a partnership program.

She says her K education has given her a real advantage in her role, especially a business research methods course that prepares students for their Senior Individualized Project (SIP). Business and economics professor Timothy Moffit ’80 put a heavy emphasis on identifying information sources in research papers, so in a PowerPoint presentation to NBA professionals, she says, she included a final slide listing all of her sources—about 30, and many of them recognizable names.

She says it helped cement the credibility and validity of her proposal. “They were really impressed. It’s not something that they were expecting.”

A Chinese minor who studied abroad in China during the 2017-18 school year, Moss also has had a chance to use her language skills, aiding her boss in a conference call with the NBA office in China, she says. And content- and video-editing skills she learned in a documentary filmmaking course have turned out to be in high demand, as well.

“Every day is a new day at the league,” she says. “You have to be very multidimensional. Part of the Kalamazoo College liberal arts experience is being able to study multiple subjects because the K-Plan is so flexible.”

With the experience gained in her internships, and a planned SIP contrasting consumer perceptions of professional sports in the United States and China, she hopes to land a corporate job in international sports after graduation. Her ultimate goal—“really just a dream” at this point, she says—would be to start a nonprofit venture that uses sports to connect with and empower Chinese girls.

“I was adopted from China, and when I went to my study abroad in China, I got to volunteer coach in some of the schools, and there was a huge absence of girls in all of the basketball programs,” she says, adding that Chinese girls get little encouragement to participate in team sports in general.

In another effort to help people achieve their goals, she is teaming with fellow Kalamazoo College athletes Alex Dupree ’21 and Jordan Wiley ’19 to form a sports business club for K students that will aid them in charting their way to careers in sports-oriented businesses and link them with alumni in the field.

Her effort to create what she calls “new channels and opportunities” for her classmates echoes what she says is her goal on the lacrosse field and basketball court: “to play for my teammates and make great memories.”

Moss’ enthusiasm and cooperative yet competitive spirit wins high praise from K physical education professor and coach Jeanne Hess.

“Amanda is one of the most committed players and teammates I’ve seen come through Kalamazoo College,” Hess says. “She plays with passion and ferocity and she’s fun to watch. She’s going to do great things.”

Choral Concert Centers Around Love Affairs, Obsessions

The College Singers, a 24-voice choral ensemble that specializes in social justice-themed programming, will perform its concert titled “EXCESS: Shadows of Pleasure and Power” in two free, public performances in Kalamazoo. The first will take place at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, May 30, at First Congregational Church and the second at 3 p.m. Sunday, June 3, in the Dalton Theater of the Light Fine Arts Building at Kalamazoo College.

College Singers in concert
The College Singers will perform its concert titled “EXCESS: Shadows of Pleasure and Power” in two free, public performances May 30 and June 3 at First Congregational Church and the Dalton Theater at Kalamazoo College respectively.

In the wake of an epidemic-level crisis around opioid abuse in the United States, the program explores genres from Broadway to folk, and from Renaissance songs to vocal jazz, each touching on those experiences that can enhance life in moderate quantities, but which quickly become destructive when taken to extremes. Chris Ludwa, director of the College Singers, described it as entertaining and educational, suggesting that audience members will experience a range of emotions as the concepts of indulgence, self-control and balance are explored as part of the human condition.

The program will touch on the love affair people tend to have with caffeine, alcohol, sex, power and relationships. There will be music from the musicals “Wicked” and “Chicago,” madrigals of Monteverdi, soul music by Sam Cooke, and more.

Both concerts are supported by a free-will offering to work toward the goal of local and Midwest touring to share these social justice concerts with an ever-increasing audience.

The College Singers includes music majors and non-music majors, offering a different approach to choral singing. Ludwa calls it “singing with a higher purpose,” a hallmark for which he is well known in the Midwest.

For more information on the concerts, contact Ludwa at cludwa@kzoo.edu or 231-225-8877.

Student Music Experiences on Display in Free Concerts

Two free concerts this week in the Dalton Theater at the Light Fine Arts Building will demonstrate the breadth of student music experiences at Kalamazoo College. Both concerts feature groups directed by Music Professor Thomas Evans.

Student Music Experiences Spring Concerts
The Kalamazoo College Jazz Band will be one of two groups performing in free concerts this week that will demonstrate the breadth of student music experiences on campus.

The Academy Street Winds, formerly known as the Kalamazoo College Symphonic Band, will perform from 8 to 10 p.m. Friday. The group is a beloved creative outlet for woodwind, brass and percussion students. Community musicians joined the ensemble in winter 2016 to expand the group’s sound and capabilities.

The group performs one concert each term, playing exciting arrays of challenging band music. The band is a great favorite for its members and its audiences as the programs are coordinated around diverse themes, which allow for performances of much-loved pieces, both classic and new. The theme for this concert is “Channel Surfing.”

Then, enjoy K’s Jazz Band from 8 to 10 p.m. Saturday. The group is known for its eclectic collections of contemporary and classic jazz arrangements that provide the students participating and the audience members an electric experience. The concert is titled “Everything in its Right Place.”

For more information, contact Susan Lawrence in the Music Department at 269-337-7070 or Susan.Lawrence@kzoo.edu.

Cirque du K Performs Friday and Saturday

Cirque du K, the official circus club for students at Kalamazoo College, will conduct its annual spring performances at 7:30 p.m. Friday and Saturday in the Dalton Theater at Light Fine Arts.

The organization launched in 2006 as a few friends playing together with circus equipment and has grown and evolved each year along with the new and improving skill sets of each member. Cirque du K aims to:

  • educate students in a distinctive art form, providing a practical outlet where participants learn and develop skills in a safe environment;
  • entertain, enrich, and engage communities on and off campus with a multitude of interesting skills and techniques;
  • aid students who want to continue pursuing circus arts through education, outreach and fund raising.

Both performances are free to attend and the public is welcome.

Students and prospective students may find information on more than 70 student organizations available at Kalamazoo College, including Cirque du K, through the Office of Student Involvement.

Asia Fest Set for Saturday

Kalamazoo College’s rich diversity will be on display Saturday, Feb. 10, as the Asian Pacific Islander Student Association and KDesi join forces to stage their award-winning annual Asia Fest.

Asia Fest
The Asian Pacific Islander Student Association and KDesi will team up Saturday to stage Asia Fest.

In an “Asia’s Got Talent” showcase at Dalton Theatre, students from the two groups will perform music and dances representing their cultures. Judges will choose the winning act. The students will also stage a fashion show.

Everyone is invited. Asia Fest director Li Li Huynh says doors open at 7:30 p.m. and the show gets underway at 8 p.m. Food will be provided.

The two groups received the College’s 2016-2017 Black and Orange Leadership Award for Best Collaborative Initiative for last year’s show.

K Student Group Aids Refugees

As refugees face ostracism and persecution in fleeing from natural disasters, violence, war and other hardships, a Kalamazoo College student organization is reaching out with a helping hand.

K Student Group Supports Refugees
Refugee Outreach Kalamazoo (ROK) raises awareness of refugees and their struggles, while connecting volunteers with nonprofit organizations that offer displaced people the resources they need. Emily Worline (left) is the group’s founder.

Refugee Outreach Kalamazoo (ROK) raises awareness of refugees and their struggles, while connecting volunteers with nonprofit organizations that offer displaced people the resources they need. Many Americans might envision refugees as people who live in camps thousands of miles away. But this organization of proactive students sees the needs of local families, and sparks change in Kalamazoo.

The organization has been so well received outside the college that Western Michigan University and Michigan State University have established their own chapters of ROK, with a University of Michigan chapter a possibility. Each chapter cooperates with community and government organizations to accomplish its mission of connecting the community to the global migrant disaster to benefit those displaced. Through education, building relationships and fundraising, they aim to bridge the gap between displaced populations and communities. ​

Katryn Walsh ‘19 is the president of ROK at K, leading a small-but-determined group of about seven regular Kalamazoo College members, while planning for growth.

“The process of relocating is often times an extremely difficult, disheartening, and tiring process so our hopes are to be supportive and positive for families that have moved to an unfamiliar community,” Walsh said. “As for the volunteers, I believe it is important to raise awareness and educate everyone about refugees and the current refugee crisis in our world right now.”

Cecilia De Boeck ’17, a Kalamazoo College student from Iowa City, Iowa, and an international and area studies major, preceded Walsh as ROK at K’s president. She first was inspired to work with refugees during an internship in the summer of 2015 in Minneapolis. There, she worked at the International Institute of Minnesota, an organization that helps refugees apply for green cards.

“I think this is important because we’re creating a bridge between the displaced population and Kalamazoo,” De Boeck said. “Some cities have done pretty well welcoming refugees, but we’re making sure they’re welcome here.”

De Boeck added she’s looking into one day working as a paralegal, hoping she can do pro bono work for immigrants, refugees and vulnerable populations.

“We’re working to put a face to the refugee crisis by creating a platform for their voices to be heard,” says ROK’s founder Emily Worline, while mentioning her organization’s effort this year to donate furniture through Samaritas, a social ministry of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in America (ELCA) in Kalamazoo. “This is an issue that is not going away.”

Such civic engagement is a vital tenet of the K-Plan, Kalamazoo College’s approach to experiential education. What opportunities will you find when you research our student organizations? Learn more about groups such as Refugee Outreach Kalamazoo today.

Leaders off to Leadership Conference

Leaders off to Leadership ConferenceMalak Ghazal ’19 (left), Ian Freshwater ’19 and Jazzilyn Dubois ’17 are pictured on the plane en route to attend the annual Student Government Institute hosted by the National Association for Campus Activities.  This year’s conference will be held at the University of Oregon, and these three Hornets will join students from around the country to hone their leadership skills and learn strategies to effectively manage student government and represent student needs.  Ghazal, Freshwater, and Dubois all served on the Interim Body of Student Representatives during the 2015-16 academic year, and are involved in ongoing work to redefine student government at Kalamazoo College in an effort to best meet needs of the current student body.