Senior staff reflect, say farewell

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Photography Editor Tavyon Richardson (‘18)

My college experience has forever changed me. I am not only glad to have this opportunity, but I am also glad to have made a positive impact on so many people. I have also been through many hardships in Alma pertaining to my racial identity, but I am still here.

I am still here because I know I can do better with my life. The perseverance I have shown through these hardships have made me a stronger person in the long run. The people who have talked down to me I now realize are stuck in their ways. And as they stay in their place I continue to thrive and move forward. Many students have a certain image of who they think I am, producing stereotypes from those assumptions. I encourage you to look pass these assumptions and see me for who I actually am.

I grew up through the blight of Detroit, and I have had to create a façade to survive in the city during my childhood.

I am not a talkative person because of this, nor do I show many emotions. In Detroit, was taught to not talk or express my emotions because doing these things is a good way to get caught up in bad situations. Coming to Alma, I learned that it’s okay to show your emotions and express your opinions. I have opened up myself over these four years. I know that I have more opening up to do, but without Alma I would not have grown up at all.

Many of my friends have helped me out of my cocoon of silence. Kappa Iota has helped me understand regardless of who you are, you will always have someone to support you.

My time at the Almanian has also turned me into a much better photographer than my freshman year. With my new skills, I hope to transfer what I have learned to future photographers interested in working for the Almanian next year.

I have had my ups and downs with Alma College. From good times of making new friends, to the bad times of racial tension. I don’t regret going through these instances, because they have made me a better person and I am still here. But it is now time to move on to better things that will also make me a better person.

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Thoughts Writer Samantha Anteau (‘18)

Though I have only worked at The Almanian for a short time, I really valued the time that I spent here and the work that I did. After spending all four years of high school working on my school paper, I decided to take a break from journalism for a while. However, after my short time working at the Almanian, I really regret that decision.

Writing opinion pieces for the paper has helped me become a stronger writer and affords me an opportunity to talk about and share the things I love with the campus community. The Almanian provides a platform for people to not only improve their writing abilities, but also to work with some of the most passionate people I’ve met in my time at Alma.

While I worked under Jelly Gilmore as Editor-in-Chief, she encouraged us to be a better staff and worked tirelessly to make the paper as excellent as it had the potential to be. Working with people who clearly care a lot about something is an incredible source of inspiration, and I found that while at The Almanian. Joining the writing staff was one of the best decisions that I made while at Alma, and I would encourage others to do the same.

My advice to current and future students can be boiled down to one of my favorite quotes from my boy, F. Scott Fitzgerald: “For what it’s worth, it’s never too late to be whoever you want to be.” If you want to be a writer, then write. If you want to be a painter, then paint. If you want to be the kind of person that people look up to, be the kind of person you would want to look up to.

Do the things that make you feel the most you, even if they’re scary, and you may find that, in time, you turn into the person you always wanted to be.

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Web Editor and Staff Writer Monica Kunovsky (‘18)

Coming to Alma, I thought I wanted to get into journalism and make a career out of it. While my path towards a career has changed, and I’ve learned that writing can be skillfully woven into any plethora of careers, my time working for the Almanian has been one that I wouldn’t trade for the world.

Where else would I be able to write zodiacs and get PAID to do that? It’s a platform that I have been able to use to exercise creative energy, as well as learn about professionalism and work on my communication skills (I may be majoring in Communication, but you can never learn TOO MUCH about how to properly interact with others).

I still remember writing my first article, I spent all week interviewing, nervously tweaking the article—worried that it wouldn’t be up to standards and that I would be fired instantly. I stayed up working on it, until the last possible moment before begrudgingly sending it in, feeling as if my fate was sealed and I would never work for a newspaper organization in my life.

As we can see now, that moment was three years ago, and in that time I’ve been lucky and fortunate to not only be a writer for the Almanian, but the web editor as well. It’s been a learning curve to say the least, just because of how thrown into the position I was. There was never too much guidance or much of a manual given to how to properly execute this position, and there still is a lot of improvement that could be made to the online presence of the Almanian.

Overall though we have come leaps and bounds from where we started, and my time has web editor has shown that I do enjoy partaking in the online realm of branding, making media, and interacting with the monthly trolls or bitcoin bots (you’d be surprised how many messages the Almanian gets asking if we’d like to invest in bitcoin and if we’ve heard of this, ‘cool new currency’).

My advice to those students is to keep going, and to trek it out. Life is going to be messy and filled with agonizing moments where you feel stuck. It’s all in good nature to help build you up and make you solid enough to think quick on your feet when it comes time to graduate from Alma. Don’t take anything too seriously either, life’s meant to be enjoyed and if you get too wrapped up in the logistics of it then you’re wasting time!

Fall sports spring into the offseason

By Hank Wickley

Sports Writer

Spring has arrived. The clocks have all changed, the snow is finally beginning to melt, and the fall sports are in the midst of spring ball.

Football, volleyball and men’s and women’s soccer are all undergoing their offseason tradition of spring ball. This time consists of practices, work in the weight room and scrimmages.

For football, this time of year is crucial.

“I think Spring ball is very important to get athletes fired up for the fall,” said head coach Jason Couch.

“It also allows for more interaction between players and coaches,” added Couch. “I have been very pleased with the effort our athletes have shown.”

Brenden Newvine (‘20), said that spring ball consists of “making the adjustments in terms of the schemes.”

Along with these adjustments, Newvine said, “also coming together as a team and trying to create a process to be our best everyday.”

“I think anytime you get a chance to come together on the field and work on fundamentals,” Newvine said, “it is going to do nothing but better you as a team.”

This time of development is sure to help the football team achieve its goals for next season, Newvine said.

As for volleyball, the plan is similar.

“Our Spring season consists of multiple individualized and/or position specific practices,” said Coach Alex Leja, “as well as a two hour team practice to finish out each day.”

“We wrap up our Spring season with a single day tournament and individual meetings,” said Leja.

Coach Leja said that in those individual meetings, the coaches and players watch film and prepare for next fall.

“Spring ball is extremely important for team development,” said Haley Novak (‘20), “there is always room for corrections and growth throughout the program in preparation for next fall.”

“It is a ton of hard work, but it is definitely worth it for matches to come,” said Novak.

Men’s soccer also has high expectations for its spring ball growth.

“We train about 3-4 days per week, and the sessions are based on three important factors we need to improve,” said head coach Josh Oakley.

Coach Oakley said that spring ball is “absolutely important.”

“Mostly because of the massive player pool we return for 2018,” said Oakley, “we only graduate two seniors, so 10 starters and a huge roster is still here.”

For the players, this spring is equally as valuable.

“We are hoping that each day out on the pitch we can take a step in the right direction,” said Garrison Mast (‘20).

“Simply put, this spring season is huge for our team,” said Mast.

For women’s soccer, the goal is to grow on the field and in the weight room.

“The team trains 15 sessions in a timespan of 5 weeks concluding with one game day which will be Sunday April 8 on campus,” said head coach Meghan Gorsuch.

“The girls are in the weight room with their strength and conditioning coach 3 times a week,” said Gorsuch, “working toward the complete package of becoming bigger, faster and stronger.”

Madi Ferry (‘19) said, “we are all excited to work with our new head coach and work on building team chemistry for the fall.”

“People can step up into new roles and try out new positions that are needed.” said Ferry.

Students take on March Madness

By Joelle Fisher

Sports Writer

All sports fanatics’ favorite time of year, the infamous month of upsets and ruined brackets, has crept upon us. March Madness is now in full swing for Division I NCAA basketball teams and their fans.

Although watching the games on television is entertaining on its own, a few of our students and faculty were able to experience it live by volunteering at the games that took place in Detroit, Michigan this past weekend.

“P.J Gradowski, director of athletic communications for Detroit Mercy which was the host institution for the weekend, reached out to a number of schools in the area for volunteer help because there were so many jobs to fill,” said Zach Russo, assistant sports information director.

“When you see an email like that in your inbox, you don’t wait to say you’re able and willing to help in any capacity,” added Russo.

Kaitlyn Neiswender (‘18), Harrison Lalone (‘18), and Emily Jodway (‘19) were all selected to join Russo at the event based on their current jobs within the athletic department. Due to other responsibilities, Jodway was not able to join the group in volunteering.

“Before this event, I had never worked in a D1 environment and I quickly found that it is a completely different experience than the DIII environment that I am used to,” said Neiswender.

“I am still not entirely sure if I want to work in a D1 or DII type environment, but experiences like this help me to figure out what type of athletic organization I work best in.”

Teams such as Syracuse University, Michigan State University, Butler University, Bucknell University and Arizona State University all competed for their NCAA opening round games at the Palace of Auburn Hills.

“I loved being in such a fast-paced environment and seeing how much work goes on behind the scenes to put on such a large athletic event,” said Neiswender.

“Compared to a DIII environment where each person does a wide range of jobs, during this event everyone had a very specific and important role,” added Neiswender.

A typical day for the crew began around 10 am and did not conclude until midnight. Neiswender and Lalone shared the responsibility as Press Row Manager in which they were required to deliver box scores, play by plays, and starting lineups to various organizations. Russo worked as the Upper Media Manager to ensure all media members had the information they needed to do their job correctly.

“There’s so much going on and so many people to tend to that it’s important to remember your purpose for being at the event and the expectations of the event itself,” added Lalone.

The group came back from an exhausting weekend with many lessons learned and memories made.

“We all volunteered for this; we weren’t paid, just given a few mementos and the experience of having done it when it was all over,” said Russo.

“You never stop learning, and most learning isn’t done in the classroom, so it’s important to get out and experience different things, especially things most people don’t get to experience,” said Russo.

The athletic department hopes that its students and faculty can continue to have unique and rewarding experiences such as this in the future.

“Being able to say that we have worked for the NCAA Division-I National Championship tournament is something that some long-time professionals cannot say,” said Lalone.

“I couldn’t be more grateful for the opportunities that Alma’s athletic department gives me.”

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It’s time to take video games seriously

By Samantha Anteau

Staff Writer

When I first started playing video games in earnest,  my mother was completely perplexed. Her perplexity grew as I continued to spend hours and hours of my life on one game, Mass Effect.  

“I don’t know how you can sit around just shooting people for hours,” she’d say. This is a fairly typical response for me when people who don’t play video games hear that I do. 

I’m pretty comfortable with this reaction. I don’t often feel the need to defend myself or other gamers from the stereotype that pervades: the overweight dude in his mom’s basement, sitting in the dark while surrounded by Doritos and Mountain Dew.  

Video games have become so wide-spread and popular in recent years that they have moved beyond that stereotype. 

However, what does frustrate me is the lack of acknowledgement of video games as a storytelling platform. For a long time, people outside of the gaming world have really undervalued the narrative potential of video games.  

Frankly, I can’t pretend like I wasn’t one of those people for a long time; aside from my love affair with FIFA and the occasional Batman game, I thought pretty much every video game was just about shooting and beating people up. I had watched plenty of videos of people playing Grand Theft Auto to cultivate such an opinion. 

At least, that was the case until I played my first story/character-heavy game, Bioware’s Mass Effect 2. It took me that game to realize that I had been missing something.  

Mass Effect offered a wonderful story with lovable side characters, endearing romance, and compelling villains. It made me feel as much as any great book, television show, or movie ever has.  

Were there still a bunch of bad guys to shoot? Yes, of course, but there was also a valuable story with a lot of heart. I still maintain that it is one of the best sci-fi properties to be released in the last fifty years.  

All that gushing aside, Mass Effect isn’t the only game with an interesting story, nor is sci-fi the only genre to explore. There are compelling horror games, like Silent Hill 2 and The Walking Dead, and fantasy games, like Dragon Age and The Witcher. But if science fiction is your thing, Bioshock and Half-Life both offer a really interesting plot alongside their action. 

The point is that, just like movies and television, video games offer something to everyone. Whether it be action or suspense, fantasy or romance, there is a video game that plays to those desires.  

While gaming is so often boxed in as simply mind-numbing violence to those who aren’t in the community, games offer so much more than that. 

I’m not saying that all video games offer compelling stories along with their action. There are plenty of games simply about causing chaos and shooting as many people as possible. This is fine; not every game need be a deep narrative experience. 

But video games shouldn’t be written off as mindless entertainment. They offer an interactive platform in which players can immerse themselves in a story where their decisions could impact the ending. 

Video games are the current height of immersive storytelling in a way that movies and television can’t capture.  

Even if you don’t end up playing video games, or only have one or two that you stick to, at least acknowledging the fact that they offer something unique and special is definitely a step in the right direction.  

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Musgraves, Morris realize country’s potential

By Paige Daniel

Thoughts Editor

Up-and-coming country artists are often overlooked because of the stark divide between fans of country and fans of, well, every other genre of music. 

Two country artists, Kacey Musgraves and Maren Morris, exemplify the arguably necessary shift in country music toward pop, while also underscoring its potential for crossover appeal.  

I am no expert on country music and am only familiar with certain artists within its reaches, but its commercial iteration is easy to spot.  

Commercial country’s lyrical tropes, predictable soundscape, and the cultural situations it is frequently concerned with are hard to relate to, as a general fan of pop music. 

This is not to say there aren’t lovable artists; Miranda Lambert, commercial country’s unexpected secret weapon, makes a case against those who flippantly say they hate country music, along with Musgraves and Morris.   

Commercial country is different from so-called classic country and folk music, in that it creates an ever-shifting template for popularity just as commercial pop does.  

Musgraves and Morris seem to acknowledge that commercial country’s backbone is in pop song structures, as they redefine and rejuvenate its stale constructions.  

Kacey Musgraves 

Musgraves was said to represent a shift in country music by hopeful critics looking for change in the industry when she released her first album, “Same Trailer Different Park,” in 2013.  

Her socially-conscious lyrics signaled a new kind of voice in country, one that didn’t shy away from cultural critique in its most basic elements: tradition is questioned intentionally, and playfully.  

Musgraves took intense care rendering her southern community through both personal narrative and wider social commentary on “Merry Go Round.”  

Her open support of gay relationships on “Follow Your Arrow” caused some conversation, underscoring Musgraves’ relatively progressive sensibilities as they stood out against country’s pretty conservative backdrop.  

On her second album, “Pageant Material” (2015), Musgraves continued to tackle social issues while still writing a solid pack of love songs.  

She confronted issues of femininity through a narrower personal lens, including beauty standards (“Pageant Material”) and the “good old boys club” (on the song of the same name), with a healthy dose of the snarky, smart songwriting that is characteristic of Musgraves (an exceptionally well-written song in the pop vein is “Die Fun”).  

Musgraves’ instrumental constructions have always been inoffensive but never exceedingly boring or dull – there hasn’t been much risk-taking on behalf of her sound besides the lyrics. That was until she released the singles for her album “The Golden Hour,” out this week.  

After proving herself as a songwriter who could puncture polarizing topics with wit on her previous work, she is now exploring a softer side with just as much lyrical punch.  

Single “Space Cowboy” is a gorgeous addition to her catalogue, depicting a relationship with familiar clichés that are turned on their head. Soaked in reverb, the song’s sound appropriately matches the open space Musgraves sings about in the lyrics.  

But the real surprise of the batch is “High Horse,” a disco-tinged, poppy song with the kind of assertive bass that accompanies dance tracks.  

Maren Morris 

I know a good song when I hear one, and “Once” is in that category. From Morris’ debut album “Hero” (2017), “Once” and other standout tracks really hemmed in my distaste for commercial country. 

Morris, like Musgraves, is not so much a good country artist but a good songwriter, and that label transcends genre.  

As Musgraves goes pop, Morris blurs the lines between country and pop with songs like “I Could Use a Love Song” and “80s Mercedes.” Those tracks prioritize strong melodic and lyrical elements over surface-level signifiers of country.  

This blurring she partakes in was furthered when she collaborated with EDM artists Zedd and Grey for the EDM single “The Middle,” in which no traces of country influence are found.  

She also collaborated with former One Direction member Niall Horan for a soft rock duet (“Seeing Blind”), showing that she can lend herself to pop seamlessly.  

Whereas other country artists who “crossover” to pop keep in some of the country influence, like Florida Georgia Line, or crossover to top 40 radio without having to alter their style, like Sam Hunt’s hit “Body Like a Back Road,” Morris seems less interested in these routes. 

These women are just two examples of the exciting genre-bending that is happening in country, but they might be the worthiest of your attention.  

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Somerville hired as director of spiritual life

By Kelsey Taylor

Staff Writer

On March 16, Alma welcomed its new Chaplain and Director of Spiritual Life, Rev. Andrew Pomerville. He comes to Alma from the Peoples Church of East Lansing after serving as its senior pastor for seven years, having also served as a chaplain for Denali National Park in Alaska, the Police Department of East Lansing and hospice.   

An Alma College alumnus himself, Pomerville is excited to come back to the community to serve as chaplain. “I’m excited about [chapel services], but I’m also looking forward to being the chaplain to athletics, to all the liberal arts programs, alumni, current students and prospective students and really be someone to help be a resource to everyone for their own spiritual growth.” 

Pomerville is also enthusiastic to introduce some more ways the chapel can be involved within the campus community, expressing interest in having all spiritual activities come under the chapel and interact with one another. He invites organizations to also reach out to him to have him speak or just to introduce himself.  

Pomerville hopes to work with students to create an environment where students of any belief can be safe to grow together in their spiritual journey. “My dream is that people would see that chapel as the kind of spiritual center, and the basement as a safe, hospitable, fun place to be,” said Pomerville. 

By connecting with the students here and implementing new programs, Pomerville aspires to make Alma a model for other colleges and universities to be inspired by. “I love the idea of following the lead of the students and seeing what they think our priorities need to be to create something the rest of the world can model. I think Alma should be leading, especially in the way we do chapel. We shouldn’t be looking at another college or university; we should be the ones setting the tone and having others be inspired by what we do.” 

Students are also eager to get to know Pomerville after the resignation of Rev. Noel Snyder last year. “I’m super excited to have a new chaplain. It will be good to bring a new face onto campus,” said Madelyn Winnie (‘19). She also expressed interest in some of Pomerville’s ideas for how to expand faith activities on campus, and encourages Pomerville to reach out to students around campus. 

There are many ways to connect with others of a similar or different faith. Not only is there a multi-denomination service at the chapel at 7 p.m. on Sunday evenings, there are numerous faith-based clubs around campus that meet throughout the week.  

Pomerville also hopes to begin hosting more services during the week in beginning in the fall semester to make them more accessible to everyone, and he plans to hold office hours at different places around campus to more easily interact with students. “Generally, I’m in the chapel basement, but I’ll also try to publicize office hours. I’m going to try to use our social media a little bit more effectively to say where I’ll be throughout the week as well.” 

“I know Alma gave me the opportunity to lead and grow certainly in my faith but also in a million other ways,” said Pomerville.  

“I think a liberal arts education is different from just a career path; we’re training you to become a good global citizen, to understand [your] own faith tradition but also to have respect and knowledge of those who believe differently without condemning them.” 

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Senior art students showcase talent

By Cassie Florian

Staff Writer

Since early this year, Senior art students have been working on their senior show thesis exhibitions which were put on display on Mar. 19.  

This show, which will have a Thesis Review Apr. 7 from 2-5 p.m. and a Gala Reception which will be on Apr. 8 3-5 p.m., is currently on display in the Flora Kirsch Beck Art Gallery located in the Clack Art Center.   

The gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. The gallery will be closed on Friday Mar. 30.  

“So what we do is we collectively, all year round, essentially create our own shows,” said Jessica Morr (’18). “You start it at the beginning of your senior year and do it all year round.”  

“It is a way for us seniors to essentially [get] a critique, prepare for the real world and for grad school stuff and to express what we want our work to be about,” said Zachary Meyer (‘18). 

Although it is clear that many find the show a great way to show off their skill as an artist and prepare for their life after college, others also reflected on how the experience brings them all together and allows for even a little experimentation as well.   

“I see senior show as a collective of interests, of artists [from] that year, and a mix of interests, styles and ideas” said Alyse Townsend (’18). “It’s a like mixing pot of art.”   

It is a good collection of subjects and subject matters, human expression and elements that we all share,” said Elly Jauquet (’18).   

“Senior show is basically about exploring different techniques and the artist proves how hard they worked and how dedicated they are,” said Shayla Crawford (‘18). 

Although there are a lot of things that these artists share, there are also many differences in their work such as their styles, techniques, mediums and inspirations.   

“Personally, I made about 10 works that showcase different mediums retelling my heritage through mainstream media,” said Crawford. “I included oil painting, ceramics and colored pencil in my work.”  

“My show is about the darkness of the human psyche. My work is macabre; some would call it creepy” said Meyer. “I have several large pen drawings and a large multimedia canvas.”   

“My senior show is a combination of dry chalk illustrations and marker illustrations that focuses on themes associated with pop culture especially superheroes and videogame characters so people who love these stories and characters will associate with my work as well as I do,” said Townsend.   

“I center a lot around my personal illness, especially a couple of years ago I got really sick and this show was a coping mechanism. It was very personal and hard for me to do at first,” said Jauquet.  

“Im a graphic design major so this was a cooperation between fine art and graphic design and I depicted how women are viewed in the media and how [society] typically sees them negatively,” said Morr.   

“I interviewed 50 women to see how they think media portrays them and then took a picture of them and edited the pictures like a magazine would and you wouldn’t even realize they were edited until they were side by side,” she said.   

“I want people to walk in with open eyes and definitely to question some things that are on pieces and to ask questions. All we want is emotion driven from an audience. After that, our work is done” said Jauquet. 

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