As returning and new students settle in for the academic year, a new member of Resident Life staff is also assimilating. Dana Van Ostrand is back for at Northwestern as the Resident Director of Hospers Hall. After graduating from Northwestern in 2020, Van Ostrand worked as an Admissions Counselor for the 2020-2021 academic year until he moved to Jacksonville, Florida in the summer of 2021 shortly after marrying his wife, Amber.
During his time in Florida, Dana worked at two churches as a youth ministry director. He also worked at a local golf course as a golf caddie, a job he appreciated for the change of pace. While in Jacksonville, Dana enjoyed going to live concerts with Amber, playing recreational sports with friends such as basketball and spike ball, and playing golf at the course he worked at. In his free time Dana is found reading and sharing ideas with others, but deeply values engaging with people and socializing.
Dana, though relished city life, had a desire to come back to Northwestern and work. Michael Simmelink, former Hospers RD and friend of Van Ostrand, informed him of the job opening in January of 2023. After applying, interviewing, and receiving the job offer, Dana was ready to come back to NWC and take up the torch as Hospers’ new Resident Director.
While transitioning into his new role at Northwestern, Dana has been secure. As a former Resident Assistant of North Suites, he knew what to expect coming in as an RD. Current RA’s of Hospers Owen Kolste (basement) and Collin Verschoor (third floor), described Van Ostrand’s transition as “smooth”. Verschoor acknowledged how a position like Dana’s is built off of the shoulders of those that went before, and believes he has done that successfully. “It’s a testament to Dana and Simm’s work,” Verschoor said. Verschoor also is excited to see Dana continue to thrive as Hospers RD. As he put it, “It’s amazing to see how he relates to guys, walks into rooms and watches games with the guys.” Kolste chimed in, “Dana is so personal and he cares.”
Dana Van Ostrand’s main goal this year is to steward the strong culture Hospers has already developed. “I want people to feel known and connected,” Van Ostrand put it. “I want to be a bridge for that in some capacity.” A valued phrase in Hospers that resonates with Dana is ‘you belong because you exist’. As Dana expressed, the phrase “is foundational and should be in every Christian space.”
As the semester carries on, students should feel free to introduce themselves to Dana and get to know him. “He’s such an easy person to connect with,” Verschoor said. “He wants to connect with people even if you’re not a Hospers guy.”
Van Ostrand loves how NW students are able to jump into activities. “Students want to support other students in their endeavers, not necessarily out of their own interest in the activity, buttheir interest and care for the people involved,” Van Ostrand said in his staff bio.
“Dana is great at encouraging students all around campus – not just to the Hosper’s residents,” Verschoor said.
While on his new adventure as RD, Van Ostrand looks back on his NW days as a first-year student. “I will never forget how quickly anxiety about living in the dorm dissapated during those first few weeks of on campus,” Van Ostrand’s bio states. “I felt incredibly welcomed by everyone – including my RD, RA and the seniors living in the hall – and it moved me to really value my residence.”