A documentary by two Hope College students has won first place from among all college and university entries in the 2016 Michigan Student Broadcast Awards sponsored by the Michigan Association of Broadcasters Foundation.
The documentary “Shaped by Flames,” directed by senior Noah Jurik of Mesick and edited by senior Tony (Robert) Byrne of Big Rapids, focuses on the pre-dawn fire that destroyed the college’s Van Raalte Hall administrative building on April 28, 1980, and the event’s impact on campus. It won in the Mini-Documentary category, the only category for documentaries.
The awards program honors high school television, high school radio, college television and college radio broadcasts, in multiple categories that also include Hard News, News Feature, Talk Show/Scripted Show and Digital Media Experience, among others. The awards will be presented on Tuesday, May 3, during the main luncheon at the Great Lakes Broadcasting Conference and Expo at the Lansing Center.
Byrne is majoring in Japanese studies and philosophy, and minoring in Asian studies, and Jurik is majoring in communication and minoring in English writing. They developed “Shaped by Flames” in the fall of 2015 for a class at Hope taught by Dr. Choonghee Han, associate professor of communication.
Van Raalte Hall was dedicated in September 1903, named for the Rev. Albertus C. Van Raalte, who had co-founded the college with Hope’s first president, the Rev. Philip Phelps. It had stood in the central campus, immediately east of Dimnent Memorial Chapel between College and Columbia avenues along the former 12th Street. Van Raalte had originally served as a classroom building, and had also formerly housed the college’s bookstore and Kletz snack bar, but by 1980 contained only administrative offices.
The 40-minute documentary surveys the history of the building; discusses the fire, which because of its timing happened when the building was unoccupied; explores how the college recovered and preserved records that had been in the building; and considers how campus development was affected, including the subsequent closing of 12th Street between College and Columbia and creation of a central commons where the building had stood.
“Shaped by Flames” includes interviews with several current and former members of the administration and faculty who were at Hope at the time, including Dr. Stephen Hemenway, professor of English; Jon Huisken, dean for academic services and registrar emeritus; Tom Renner, retired as associate vice president of public and community relations; Dr. Gordon Van Wylen, who was president from 1972 to 1987; Dawn Van Ark, who is an acquisitions associate with the Van Wylen Library; and Dr. Kathleen Verduin, professor of English.
It will also be presented during the college’s Celebration of Undergraduate Research and Creative Performance, which will take place on Friday, April 15, from 2:30 p.m. to 5:30 p.m. at the Richard and Helen DeVos Fieldhouse.