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Finding Purpose: Four Practices for Empowering Students to Let Their Lives Speak

Important Question ExploredWhat are four programs and practices that help students to develop lives of purpose? 

Aaron-Einfeld-150x150.jpgAfter completing a bachelor’s degree in music and psychology, Aaron Einfield completed his master’s degree in student affairs and higher education at Indiana State University. While at ISU, Aaron served as a service-learning coordinator while also completing research on the impacts of service-learning on various student outcomes. Currently, Aaron works in residence life at Calvin College where he enjoys fostering learning through on-campus living experiences.


Kyle-Heys--150x150.jpgAfter a few years as a high school teacher, Kyle Heys learned he loved the learning that happens in a variety of traditional and non-traditional contexts.  This realization led to grad school in student affairs at Michigan State and positions at Michigan State, Calvin College, and the National Outdoor Leadership School. Kyle currently serves as a Resident Director at Calvin College.



Annie-Mas-Smith--150x150.jpgDuring her junior year at Calvin College, Annie Mas-Smith discovered her passion for student affairs after attending a NODA conference as a student leader. Following graduation she took a job working in New Student Orientation and now serves as a resident director. She is currently finishing up her master’s degree in student affairs at Grand Valley State University.



Rooted in a Christian faith commitment, fostering benevolent purpose is at the core of Calvin College’s mission.  This presentation lays out Calvin’s context, the interaction of faith and purpose at the school, relevant theories to our practice, and four practices including a year off campus living community, mentoring communities in the residence halls, a scholarship program for students of color, and a staff training session designed to empower students for lives of purpose.  Each practice is replicable in a variety of institutional settings.

Session Experience: Participants can learn about four programs and practices that help students develop lives of purpose and the theories that address purposeful contexts in which students can grow.  Student quotes and photos enliven the presentation along with times to ask questions and discuss other effective practices.

Extending the Experience:  After the session, participants will . . . . . . be able to take with them  information about  programs and practices that they can integrate into their home contexts as well as a staff training handout to use with the staff members or students with whom they work.