Carcinogens in the environment, a children’s village in Rwanda, the art and architecture of sacred spaces, wolves in Michigan, the Macatawa Watershed and Greek drama in the Americas will all be featured during the annual Hope College Winter Happening on Saturday, Jan. 25.

Winter Happening will feature multiple seminars in two blocks in the morning, a special luncheon program highlighting 47 years of photos and story by retired Hope publicist Tom Renner, and a home men’s basketball game with Kalamazoo College. Open to the general public, the event is sponsored by the college’s office of public and community relations.

Admission to the seminars is free.  There is an admission charge for the luncheon and the basketball game.

The morning will feature six seminars, three at 9:30 a.m. and three at 11 a.m.  The 9:30 a.m. seminars are “Greek Drama in the Americas,” “Public Perceptions of Wolves and Their Return to the Great Lakes State” and “Carcinogens in the Environment: Separating Fact from Fiction.”  The 11 a.m. seminars are “Evolution of a Scientist: Lake Macatawa’s Project Clarity,” “The Splendid Table: The Altar and its Decoration in the Middle Ages” and “Behope: Nibakure Children’s Village, Kigale, Rwanda.”

“Greek Drama in the Americas” will focus on modern plays that stage or adapt the classical works of Aeschylus, Euripedes and Sophocles.  Examples from classical drama are “Oedipus the King,” “Antigone” and “The Seven Against Thebes.”  Modern adaptations in North America include college productions of Euripedes’s “Medea” and “Iphigenia Among the Taurians.”  Examples from South America show the syncretic nature of the adaptations, the ways that modern audiences consume ancient wisdom.  The seminar will be presented by Dr. Patrice Rankine, who is dean for the arts and humanities and a professor of Classics and co-editor of the book “Greek Drama in the Americas.”

“Public Perceptions of Wolves and Their Return to the Great Lakes State” will consider how wolves have been recovered after near total extirpation from the continental United States.  The presentation will discuss efforts to recover wolves and Michiganders’ views of wolves and their return to the Great Lakes State, and will include a survey of those attending on their attitudes about wolves and how the state should manage them in the future.  The seminar will be presented by Dr. Roger Nemeth, professor of sociology.

“Carcinogens in the Environment: Separating Fact from Fiction” will include examples representative of issues in which perceived risk versus reality are at odds with one another relative to human exposures to environmental agents.  The presentation will seek to help provide a better understanding of the balance between reality versus perception relative to chemicals present in foods and the environment.  The seminar will be presented by Dr. James Gentile, who is the dean for the natural and applied sciences and a professor of biology.

“Evolution of a Scientist: Lake Macatawa’s Project Clarity” will focus on recent research results from Dr. Graham Peaslee’s water quality study of Lake Macatawa and “Project Clarity,” an approximately $12 million collaboration to clean up the lake and its watershed.  The seminar will be presented by Peaslee, who is the Elmer E. Hartgerink Professor of Chemistry and a professor of geology/environmental science, who has been conducting research on the watershed, working collaboratively with Hope undergraduates, since 1998.

 “The Splendid Table: The Altar and its Decoration in the Middle Ages” will consider the significance of the altar in Christianity as the theological, liturgical and visual focus of communal worship, noting that art of all media—painting, sculpture, metalwork and textile—was not only meant to decorate, honor and give altars visual interest, but also to create perceptions about the nature of the Divine and the meaning of the Eucharist.  The focus will be on medieval altar decoration of the 13th through 16th centuries.  The seminar will be presented by Dr. Anne Heath, associate professor of art and art history.

“Behope: Nibakure Children’s Village, Kigale, Rwanda” will focus on a student-led initiative on behalf of an orphanage in Rwanda that both cares for 19 orphaned children and supports education of 11 children in the local community.  The program seeks to empower orphans and widows in Rwanda while providing Hope students, faculty and staff with opportunities to live, study, work and learn in a vibrant developing country overseas.  The seminar will be presented by Alfredo Gonzales, who is associate provost and dean for international and multicultural education; Daniel Owens, a 2013 Hope graduate who is based in Holland as administrative director of the village with responsibility for U.S. operations; and Arnaud Muhimpundu, a Hope senior from East Lansing who is the current Behope co-director along with senior Kaitlin Goodman of East Lansing.

The luncheon begins at 12:30 p.m. at the Haworth Inn and Conference Center ballroom, and costs $12 per person.   The featured speaker will be Tom Renner, who retired at the end of December as associate vice president for public and community relations after 47 years at Hope and will present “Through the Lens: Highlights of My 47 Years at Hope,” which will share memorable photographs and highlights from across his years at the college.   During the luncheon, Renner will also receive the “Hope for Humanity Award” from the college’s Alumni H-Club in recognition of his service to Hope.

The men’s basketball team will host Kalamazoo College at 3 p.m. at the DeVos Fieldhouse.  Tickets are $7, and a limited number of general admission tickets will be available for persons attending other Winter Happening events.

In addition to being required for the luncheon, advance registration is recommended for the seminars. Additional information may be obtained by calling the college’s office of public and community relations at (616) 395-7860 or online at

Registration during the morning of the event will be from 9 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Haworth Inn and Conference Center, located facing College Avenue between Ninth and 10th streets.