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Student Life

Host Family Program

Bethel recognizes the importance of matching students with a family with whom they are comfortable. The Host family program plays a significant role in the lives of students at Bethel College. One of the major challenges we are facing with the onset of COVID-19 is how to maintain the program and keep the health and safety of students and host families a priority.

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The following safety practices and procedures are mandatory on Bethel’s campus: 

  • Wash hands frequently
  • Maintain physical distancing
  • Wear a mask at all times
  • Log symptoms daily using the #Campus Clear app before engaging with others 

While we require strict adherence to guidelines on campus, we recognize that a key element for host families to develop a relationship with students is to share activities together. Some, not all, activities occur in the home for a meal or just an opportunity to get away from campus. Others have been to attend cultural or sporting events, picnics and celebrate holidays.

Interactions with your host student

Student Life feels strongly about supporting the Host Family program by providing some alternative ways to interact that are safe and healthy during the COVID-19 pandemic. Please review the information below and follow the alternative recommendations as you support your host student this year.

Interested in having a Host Family? 

Many students develop relationships with their host families that last for years after they graduate. Please complete the student application.

Become a Host Family

Host families are not required to offer home stays; students arrange their own housing. However, families often provide transportation to and from joint activities, since many students do not have their own vehicles. Host families are not to assume any responsibility for financial, immigration, academic, employment, health or serious adjustment problems – staff in the Office of Student Life handle these issues.

If you are interested in becoming a host family for a Bethel College student of color, international student or student whose home is outside of Kansas, email the student life office at studentlife@bethelks.edu or call 316-284-5324 for more information. You can also complete the Host Family Application online.

Bethel College is implementing background checks as a part of the Host Family program this year and we wanted to share as much information as possible with you. There is no cost to you. Bethel pays for this service. Each host family would complete a background check authorization form, physically sign and turn it into the Student Life Office at Bethel. 

The results take 2-5 days to return and they include the following information: 

  • County Criminal (includes counties that the individual has lived in for the past 5 years).
  • Nationwide Record Indicator with SOI (nationwide database used to identify potential search locations at the county level or within the National Sex Offender Registry).
  • Residency History (current and previous residencies).

You may download the form here.

Bethel College affirms its commitment to the promotion of fairness and equity in all aspects of the educational enterprise. Harassment and discrimination—including sex/gender discrimination, sexual harassment, sexual misconduct, gender-based violence, dating violence, domestic violence, stalking, and retaliation —not only disrupt this commitment, but may also violate College policy and federal, state, and/or local law.  Bethel strongly affirms a zero tolerance approach for any infraction of sexual harassment and discrimination.

Bethel College prohibits harassment and discrimination and addresses reported incidents through the Equal Opportunity, Harassment, & Non-Discrimination Policy and Procedures, and, if desired by the individual who has experienced or is experiencing such behavior, through assistance in pursuing the criminal investigation and prosecution of alleged offenders (as applicable).

Should a student confide in you, as their host family, that they have experienced or are experiencing behavior that is coercive, discriminatory, harassing, and/or sexually violent in nature, or if you or someone you know has questions about their rights and options regarding such behavior, you are encouraged to contact:

  • Jacob Gunden, Dir. of Human Resources & Compliance, Title IX Coordinator: (316) 284-5248 (ext. 248), titleixcoordinator@bethelks.edu.
  • North Newton Police Department – Emergency – 9-1-1, Non-Emergency – (316) 283-3191, 2601 N. Main, North Newton, KS 67117, nnpd@northnewton.org, 24/7.

Should a student confide in you their desire to discuss such matters confidentially, you are invited to share the resources below. These resources are confidential and exempted from mandatory reporting obligations to the Title IX Coordinator. The resources are free and include both internal and external options.

  • Jill Hoopes, Director of Student Wellness: (316) 284-5326, jhoopes@bethelks.edu (for students)
  • Michael Unruh, Campus Pastor: (316) 284-5318 munruh@bethelks.edu (for students)
  • Safehope 24-hour hotline: (316) 283-0350 (for students and community members)
  • Prairie View Mental Health 24-hour hotline: 1-800-362-0180 (for students and community members)
  • The National Sexual Assault Hotline--24-hour hotline: (800) 656-HOPE (4673) or visit at online.rainn.org (for students and community members)

A PDF version of the sexual harassment policy is available here.

About Bethel

As the first Mennonite college founded in North America, Bethel College celebrates a tradition of progressive Christian liberal arts education, diversity within community, and lifelong learning.