Daniel Ketchelos—Staff Writer
For Christians, the Easter holiday remains an important, monumental day as they celebrate Jesus Christ’s conquering of the grave. Most Christian denominations, including Catholic, Lutheran, and Reformed traditions, observe Good Friday in remembrance of Christ’s death. For students at Dordt University, a change in the academic calendar canceled classes on Good Friday and the Monday after Easter.
This change had been scheduled to take effect in the spring of 2020, but the COVID-19 pandemic delayed Easter Break into the 2021-2022 academic year.
“Changing the academic calendar is a big deal,” said Jim Bos, registrar, and director of institutional research. “Now, we start the spring semester two days earlier, which gives us the two days to make an Easter break. We are bound by a length of time required for a legitimate semester.”
Many students took advantage of the four-day weekend by traveling off-campus to visit relatives and friends. Logan Posthumus, a sophomore, visited his home in Denver, Colo.
“Over Spring Break, a lot of people had [academic] trips, and PLIA programs that they had to do,” Posthumus said. “It’s nice to have a formal break where you actually can relax and aren’t pressured to do some sort of activity.”
Joseph Kamstra, a senior, traveled to Pella, Iowa.
“We went frisbee golfing, walked around the town, and hunkered down on Easter when it decided to snow,” Kamstra said. “This break allows time to reflect on spiritual life and the meaning of Easter and provides a time to step back and destress.”
Braden Wilgenburg, a junior, ventured off-campus with friends to visit relatives in Milwaukee Wisc., and take a trip to Chicago, Ill.
“I’m extremely grateful for the added break, and I feel really rested,” Wilgenburg said. “The trip was also super fun, it was my first time in Chicago, and I got to go to a Milwaukee Bucks game, and I feel much more productive after taking [Easter] break.”
Prior to 2019, the university did not provide students an Easter Break.
“In the tradition of Dordt, we are first and foremost Easter Christians, not Good Friday Christians, but some students come from other parts of the world where it is the tradition,” Bos said. “On campus, we had a worship service on Good Friday, but we stayed in class. Increasingly, students asked for more time off for reflection.”
Some staff questioned whether students used the break, intended for “reflection,” as a vacation.
“I never had a problem with Dordt having class on Good Friday, and I loved the hour-long chapel we’d have together as a community reflecting and remembering [the crucifixion].” Lisa Christians, academic records assistant, said. “I always wonder what kids do with the day off, if they intentionally take time to worship and remember, and we’re Easter people [compared to Good Friday people].”