Leighton VanDerMooi-Staff Writer
Dordt College students are again unsurprised by the number of engagements accumulating at this educational institution. Even the Wall Street Journal noticed thought enough to rank Dordt as number one in the nation for student engagement.
To cope with the intense concentration of engagements, Dordt Student Services hired Eric Geels as a full-time marriage counselor. Geels, a recent social work graduate from Dordt College, has worked alongside Jessica Hulst, Campus Health counselor, to assist the newly-engaged and newly-married couples.
“Even though this is my first year on the job, I witnessed this trend happen in the spring during my time at Dordt,” said Geels.
“Right after spring break, my office flooded with appointments.”
Clubs such as PLIA, the spring break service project at Dordt, have contributed to the pairing up of couples since its creation, over 30 years ago. This years’ club co-chairs, senior Kevin Steiger senior Anya Kalsbeek, decided to truly “put love into action” by expressing their own fondness for each other. Then, this past week, Steiger proposed to Kalsbeek in the PLIA committee meeting room.
“This is something I have been looking forward to since freshman year,” Kalsbeek said. “It’s the real reason I came to Dordt – to get engaged.”
Steiger said he had been planning the proposal for the past few weeks and knew that the room they first met in would be the perfect place to pop the question.
“We weren’t actually dating, but we know each other and we are both single, so I thought ‘what the heck?’ We should just get married,” said Steiger.
“You know, #seniorscramble and all that.”
Kalsbeek was recently accepted into medical school in San Antonio, Texas, so Steiger will be following her to become a house husband. You can join in on their engagement journey using the hashtag #StickingwithSteiger4lyfe.
This isn’t the first time Dordt has witnessed an engagement occur as the byproduct of a backup plan. Madi Van Soelen and Marcus De Weerd made a pact in their freshman year of college that if they did not meet anyone in college and were still single by spring break of their senior year, they would get married.
Now, almost four years later, the childhood friends are ready for the next step.
“I knew that I wanted to find a husband during college,” said Van Soelen, “it just turns out that some things take a little more planning than expected.”
Surrounded by friends, De Weerd proposed to Van Soelen under the clock tower on the evening of Monday, March 27.
“It was the most beautiful thing I have ever seen,” said Rachelle Riezebos, a friend of the couple. “There was not a dry eye on campus.”
Dordt’s administration is not oblivious to the reputation the college has for producing relationships. In order to best support potential marriage relationships, Dordt offers pre-engagement and pre-marital counseling via Aaron Baart. In the past, this has been so well attended that the administration has had to offer extra sessions to accommodate the additional couples.
However, the work schedule for a full-time marriage counselor remains busy, though Geels feels that he will be able to adequately encourage engaged students to keep their actions within the realm of socially acceptable physicality. In fact, Geels created a chart of “do’s” and “don’ts” for the couples, the list of “don’ts” including “Do not transfer chewing gum lip-to-lip in public,” and “Do not place your hand in your partner’s back pants pocket when walking to class.
Dordt understands this may not be the most orthodox approach to working in students’ lives, but they believe this is the best way to embrace their mission to impact “every square inch” of their student’s lives.
Editor’s Note: All Zircon articles are the Dordt Diamond’s semi-annual homage to the time-honored, First Amendment-protected, great American tradition of satire. The literal truths of these articles are not to be taken at face value, but we hope the hidden truths allude to the absurdities of some of the realities we face in society today.