The 1st Day of Gracious Living
The Twister of 1980On Tuesday May 13th, 1980, a massive tornado struck the city of Kalamazoo viciously and suddenly during the middle of the day. The twister traveled almost directly down W. Main st. into downtown, destroying houses, cars, businesses and anything else in its path. After the devastation, several people lost their lives, and damaged totaled more than $50 million to the city.
Kalamazoo College was lucky enough only to sustain minor damages -- the tornado clipped the tennis courts and damaged only a few cars, luckily there were no injuries to students here. However in the wake of the disaster, many Kalamazoo College students decided to graciously weather the storm. Students formed groups and toured the local community for damage, helping residents and businesses clean up the debris and damage. In this way students spent their Day of Gracious Living giving back to the community, with much praise and thanks from local residents.
DOGL TodayToday, the tradition continues. Now fully behind the Day of Gracious Living, the Student Commission President chooses the day off, with no one knowing the date except for him or her and the administration. Students continue to make the trek to the beach, with Student Commission providing free transportation to South Haven.
In 2005, Jeanne Hess' Mind and Body II class decided to do something a bit different to celebrate the day. In the spirit of living graciously, they handed out water, vitamins and suntan lotion to students in celebration of the day, reminding them to stay healthy even while relaxing on the beach. As well, students filled out "thank yous" to other students and faculty, as well as facilities management and to those who provide food service to the school.
Kalamazoo College would like everyone to continue living graciously, keeping in the spirit of the 1980 cleanup where so many students helped in support of their local community.