Women’s golf wins at home


On Saturday, September 15, the Women’s Golf team took home a big win. Literally. The team hosted the Alma Invitational at the Pine River Country Club.

“To finish in the top four at our own invitational was a great feeling,” said Kennedy Hilley (‘19), “but it made it even more special that it was my last tournament at Pine River Country Club.”

Hilley was a team leader at the event, along with a few more of her teammates. “I had a couple bad holes but I was able to move on from those and focus on the next shot,” said Hilley.

“It goes to show that golf is not a sprint but a marathon,” said Hilley.

Head Golf coach Mike Mignano was proud of the whole team, and especially the seniors. “Our seniors have shown exceptional leadership while the younger players have made strides and gotten some valuable competitive experience,” said Mignano.

While Hilley and the other seniors are in their last season as Scots, some fresh faces have come along to fill their shoes.

Freshman Ava Gardiner (‘22) shot a careerlow at the invitational. “It was an amazing feeling,” said Gardiner.

“I’m pretty happy with my score, but I know there is always room for improvement, and I look forward to having more chances to beat that.” Gardiner is excited to continue her success.

“I want to take full advantage of the time I have left,” said Gardiner.

The team has goals for this year, and will stop at nothing to achieve them.

“They set lofty team goals this year,” said Mignano, “it will be exciting to see the team progress the rest of the fall season and into the spring.” That lofty goal? To make it to the spring tournament, according to Hilley.

“I know this team has the potential to finish in the top three,” said Hilley.

Hilley said her personal goals are to continue working and land an all-conference spot.

“We want to continue with our momentum, and we’re aiming to take the top,” said Gardiner.

In Mignano’s first year as a head coach at Alma, he has been nothing but impressed.

“They are not only great golfers, but even better people,” said Mignano.

“It’s proof that you can be successful in athletics while also showing kindness, compassion, responsibility, and activism across campus,” said Mignano

Students react to schedule changes


The new scheduling system – which added 10 minutes onto the end of every class period — is a change to students and faculty members alike.

“I just think most of the start and stop times are wonky now. I find it harder to keep track of when my classes are because of the 10-minute shift,” said Bridget McCaffrey (’21).

According to Associate Provost Britt Cartrite, the 10 minutes added to each class was strategically placed to limit as much disruption for students and staff as possible.

“Because Alma is on a 4-4-1 schedule (we have the spring term and our classes are 4 credit courses), everyone has started to become more sensitive about contact time, which is the amount of time students are spending with professors in class.”

Each student is meant to spend two to three hours of time out of class studying and working on school work for every credit a class is worth according to the student handbook as well as each course syllabus.

For example, if a student takes a four-credit class, that student is meant to spend 8-12 hours a week working on homework or studying for that class alone, outside of the work done in class.

These standards are formulated by the Department of Education to decide how much in class and out of class work necessary to merit one credit.

A model the college tossed around along with the idea of adding 10 minutes to each class period was the idea of lengthening the calendar. Though starting the fall semester before Labor Day would put Alma in line with many other colleges across the board, extending the calendar would be tricky in the winter.

When factoring in Winter recess, a week off for winter break, spring term, and needing to be out of school before Memorial Day for the Highland Festival, extending the calendar could not work.

Therefore, adding ten minutes to the schedule was the idea that seemed to make the most sense. “The least disruptive thing to do would be to keep our 4-4-1 schedule, keep our 4 credit courses and keep our calendars the same, and simply add ten minutes to each class period,” said Cartrite.

“I don’t really have an issue with the class times being lengthened, although it has been an adjustment. When they lengthened class times they also moved around when certain classes are offered. For me this has worked to my benefit, but for some of my friends, their classes are very spaced in turn making them very unsatisfied with their schedule,” said Mackenzie Hemmer (‘21).

Now that some classes start at 8 a.m. rather than 8:30 a.m., adjustments have been made there, as well. “Even though classes start at 8 [in the morning], Saga does not open until 7:30 a.m., and the line goes all the way past Newberry. People with class at eight have to eat in like ten minutes,” said Nolan Kukla (’21).

Studies show that better work will be achieved if breaks are given. “It wouldn’t be too bad if, during the 1.5 hour classes, teachers had to give us a 5-10 minute break. I have a professor who does that in [one of my classes] and it helps immensely,” said Carolina Regan (‘20).

Yes, the scheduling changes are changes to get used to, but in the end, it is only 10 minutes, versus adding days to the overall calendar. “[The changes] threw me off to begin with, but I am slowly getting used to them,” said Dana Aspinall, English professor.

Art prize projects take over campus


Art Prize 2018 is underway on campus with 11 exhibits. These displays are placed throughout North Campus and have already become a familiar sight for many students and faculty. Although each exhibit is unique in design and creation, they all follow the same theme – Black and White.

Themes are chosen based on student interest, according to professor Jillian Dickson, organizer of Art Prize. Dickson also provides advice and guidance for artists as they design, create, and display their projects.

“Last year the theme Recycled was chosen due to student interest in and conversations of the health of our planet. This year Black and White was chosen in reaction to our polarizing political climate,” said Dickson.

“Last year the recycle theme was too specific and everyone took it at face value, not really delving into what it could have been,” said Anissa Keeler (‘19), the artist behind “Tied Up.” “However, I feel like the black and white theme had a fair amount of ambiguity that forced us to think about the ideas and messages we really wanted to convey. I feel like this year there was so much more room for the artists to insert their own voices and passions into their works, which benefited art prize in my opinion.”

Each year’s Art Prize theme is announced during winter semester, allowing the artists lots of time to come up with their projects and gather supplies. Although much of this work occurs over the summer, some artists plan nearly a year in advance.

“I sat on the idea and let it evolve to what ended up being the final product over a period of about 6 months before I began painting,” said Calum Clow (‘20), the creator of “Spilled Milk.”

Although Art Prize is a contest, the reward for many participants has nothing to do with who wins. It presents an opportunity to see student work outside of a classroom environment where creativity and ingenuity are key.

“I enjoy the creative process, which I guess is the whole part. I like brainstorming about possible projects that fit with the theme and then getting excited when we think of a good one,” said Spencer Wehner (‘20), who worked with Ivy VanPoppelen (‘20) and Paige Shaw (‘20) to construct “Tunnel Through.”

“I love making art by myself or with my friends and art prize allows for that in a fun way. It also allows for other students who may enjoy art but don’t make much of it to enjoy it around campus,” said Wehner. “Anyone who wants to make something can, and it’s super fun and rewarding to see your work displayed on campus.”

For the artists, there is a sense of community and appreciation for the talents others bring to the table. “I love how art prize stimulates creativity. It’s inspiring to see the different creative avenues my peers have taken with the theme. It also presents an opportunity to explore unorthodox, innovative ways of installing artwork,” said Clow.

Keeler believes the lack of a traditional gallery arrangement improves the Art Prize experience. Instead of assembling all exhibits in one place, artists select a location on campus to house their projects.

“I like art that is meant to be a whole experience, something you can walk into and feel overwhelmed by. I like art that everyone can see, not just those willing to wonder around a gallery. I feel like the Alma Art Prize project allows for that kind of creativity, it allows art students to stretch their limits beyond white walls,” said Keeler.

Art Prize serves to function as a demonstration of what art can be outside on an orthodox setting, a demonstration of the results of thinking outside of the box, according to Dickson. “I hope that art students start thinking about art that functions outside of the classroom or a gallery. Having to collaborate with others, procuring a location, site specificity and art within an environment all have specific challenges, which are great learning tools.”

Living without access


You don’t necessarily know that something is missing until you need it. For me, that thing was handicap buttons, ramps, and other means of accessibility on campus.

Throughout the summer, I became semi-dependent on mobility devices to get around, especially when I was going long distances or had a really active day.

When I got to campus, I knew there was a lack of ramps, but I didn’t think the issue would be as difficult as it quickly became for me.

I live in Newberry, which, for those who don’t know, does not have a ramp or access to any dorm room without taking at least five steps up or down. Luckily for me, I am still extremely mobile and can handle a few stairs.

There are some who are not as lucky as I am and cannot walk at all. If they ever wanted to spend time in a Newberry dorm room, it would be nearly impossible unless someone physically carried them up the steps.

At one point, I decided to use my motor scooter to get from Newberry to one of my classes. On the way out, I noticed that there was absolutely no handicap button, so I had to try and drive my device while opening the door at the same time. This task is even more difficult on the way into a building.

When you have to deal with these things regularly, you get used to them. However, I, and any other handicapped student on campus, should not have to.

I do not believe that it is too much to ask to install a button on each door that leads outside of the buildings on campus. All I am asking for is to have the ability to enter and leave a building independently.

Not only do a lot of doors lack these, but the ones that do have them don’t always work. There have been some instances where I have pressed the button, just to test it, and the door has not opened.

That means that the buttons need to be kept up with somewhat regularly to make sure they are in order. If a student reports a broken handicap button, the first thing that needs to be done is repairing it.

Something else that needs to be addressed is the lack of elevators in dorm buildings. Yes, Newberry is the only building on North Campus that does not have complete accessibility to any dorm room, but if you have friends on the second or third floors, you are out of luck.

Not having accessibility also takes a toll on mental health. Personally, I feel as though my needs as a person with a physical handicap are not a priority to the higher powers of Alma College whatsoever.

Along with this, it is easy to feel like a burden to your friends when you have to ask for help doing things that should be easily done with handicap accessibility. Going back to the elevator situation, someone in a wheelchair would have to depend on their friends coming to their dorm if those friends lived on a second or third floor.

We have expensive new chairs, academic technology and more but some buildings have only one or no handicap buttons. While these are all very beneficial to our campus, there are other issues I believe need to be addressed that seem to be constantly thrown under the radar.

A common opinion in the disabled community is that we just want to have the option to be independent and do things for ourselves. Sometimes, it is necessary to ask for help, but having our choice stripped from us is borderline inhumane.

Installing a handicap button, more ramps, and options to get up the stairs in the dorm buildings seems to be a minor thing to ask for, however, it comes down to more than just asking for help. We want to be seen, heard, understood and want to finally see action take place.

Students impact local health


43 years after the public health disaster that came from the Velsicol Chemical Corp. in St. Louis, MI contaminating the state food supply, community members are still feeling the effects.

Many residents were exposed to polybrominated biphenyl, or PBB, when the company accidentally switched Nutrimaster, a cattle feed supplement, with Firemaster, a toxic flame retardant that poisoned several farm animals and a large amount of the population across Michigan.

By the time the mistake was recognized, it was already too late.

“The Velsicol plant mixed up fire retardants (PBB) with supplements meant for cow feed, and ended up distributing these all over the state of Michigan, which the cows ingested, farmers were directly exposed, and a majority of the people already ingested the products,” said Grace Erickson (’21).

Even though the Velsicol Chemical Corp. center in St. Louis shut down, the effects are still present in society today and the former site is now an EPA Superfund site because it is one of the most highly contaminated pieces of land in the United States.

Now, Alma students are getting directly involved with addressing the health problems that are still going on from this disaster back in 1973 by partnering with Emory University School of Public Health.

“The project that I am working on is a research piece for Emory University. They are studying many different effects that PBB has on the people of Michigan,” said Erickson. “There are many people involved in this, including Dr. Lorenz, the Healthy Pine River Group, the Emory research team, and many other officials and people of the community.”

The research involving Emory University has been going on since 2011, but the studies have evolved since then because PBB contamination can be passed on to offspring.

“They are doing a multigenerational study looking at the effects from the grandparents to the kids to the grandchildren,” said Maggie Patterson (’21).

“They [community members] have high levels of PBB in their blood and they continue to come back to this study throughout the years to get tested and these could’ve been factory workers or farmers or they could have even been community members who somehow got a higher exposure.

Now they’re doing a clinical study to test the effects of some medication that they are trying out. Because PBB tends to be stored in the fat, they’re trying to figure out a way to help get it out of the body,” said Patterson.

Even though the study is well established, Emory University is always looking for more people to get involved.

“They’re always looking for more Alma College students to help out because Emory likes having us help out. We help them get people from station to station and keep some organization and peace during the meetings.

“They also have us do confidentiality training because we handle files and so therefore we have to be trained for that. They typically do two or three events in the area around us that they would have us help out with every year,” said Patterson.

According to Alma students involved, this project is far more than a resume builder. “This experience has really shown me that health is a huge determinant of happiness,” said Erickson.

“It has also shown me that no matter how long I have to fight for something, to never give up. Whether this is a class, applying for Medical school, or just life in general. These screenings have given the community hope above anything. They have given the people solid answers, time to vent their concerns and time to ask questions,” she said.

It also provides them a new perspective on their prospective careers.

“I’m on the Pre-Med track and it showed me that I would to have some research still in my future and it exposes where there may be a gap between patients and their doctors if the doctors aren’t necessarily informed about environmental factors,” said Patterson.

“If a patient is experiencing a certain effect or certain symptoms but the effect that is happening is rare, looking at your patient’s history but also where they live and how things happening around them can have an impact on them,” she said.

Above all, Alma students are most concerned about getting answers to improve the health of community members who were effected, according to Patterson and Erickson.

“Hopefully one day soon these people can have some justice or they can have some of their negative health effects relieved,” said. Erickson.

Alma College launches bike share program


This past month, Alma College and the Gratiot Community Foundation rolled out a new “Bike Alma” program. The bike share program has been in the works since early this year, with two locations: Starbucks and the Stone Center for Recreation with five bikes at each pickup station.

The bikes work through an app, Movatic, which will unlock and lock the bike upon pickup and return. The lock mechanism itself is solar powered, which cuts down on environmental impact.

To operate a bike, you must download the Movatic app, link a credit or debit card, and then pay approximately By Sam Nelson Politics $5 to bike four hours or less, though you can choose to use it for a longer period of time. Unfortunately, the locks have not been working properly, causing a delay in the official launch of the bikes.

“We want to make this service free for students and have a nominal fee for community members,” said Tammy Rees, Director of Campus Recreation and Conferences.

Currently, the bikes will charge students and community members alike, even though students can still check out mountain bikes for free from the Adventure Recreation program. For the time being, only five of the bikes are operational, with the other five out of commission due to hardware issues.

Rees and the college hope to have all of the bikes fully functional in the near future. The good news is that since the Electra bikes are so simple, having no speeds or extra gears, the bikes themselves are less likely to break down and require maintenance.

Chris Maltby at Terry’s Cycle was heavily involved in the process of starting and releasing this program, helping to find a bike share company for the college and to build the bikes, as well as fitting the locking equipment and rear racks to the bikes. There is an ongoing partnership with Terry’s Cycle to perform maintenance on the bikes as needed. “We live in a small town with a small college, and to make the most change in the most positive way, the city and the college need to band together,” said Maltby.

“Bike Alma!” is a catalyst to get the community and college to interact, by bringing Alma residents onto the campus. “It’s not just Alma College, it’s Alma as a town, as well,” said Prarthita Nath (’22).

It will be a resource for alumni, visitors, community members and college students alike, while offering both an eco-friendly and healthy alternative to driving. “Biking cuts down on carbon dioxide emissions and is a very healthy, fun way to get place to place,” said Maliena Boone (’19). All of the Electra bikes have baskets attached to the back of them, creating an alternative to driving to the grocery store or work.

“We had a student that would check out an Adventure Rec bike every day for the whole school year – rain, sun or snow – to get to his internship at an elementary school,” said Rees. She hopes that this program will be useful to more students in this way, and more convenient, with more locations than just the Rec Center.

This kind of program is unique in a small town, but has grown more and more popular in larger cities all across the world. New York City has Citi bikes, and towns such as Ann Arbor and Pittsburgh are introducing similar bike share programs. According to Rees, the college would like to purchase more bikes to add to the ten existing docks, with a new pickup stations at SAC and the Opera House once it opens.

Hispanic Coalition hosts Fiesta Baile


The Hispanic Coalition hosted Fiesta Baile on Friday, September 21. The event connected the campus community with the Hispanic and Latinx locals around Alma.

History Professor Daniel Wasserman spoke about his goals in helping organize the event. “Part of it is to reach out to the community, but just as important is to give our students a chance to learn something about Hispanic cultures. [We] also want to encourage folks to see Hispanic cultures as rich, as having something significant to offer to our country.”

Fiesta Baile took place in Van Dusen and started officially at 6:00 p.m.. Colorful decorations and art made by local kids in the Alma Community Art Center decked the hallways. A mariachi band played and people danced the samba. Dance lessons were also given at Van Dusen and at Highland Blush.

Local restaurants like Bracero, Terry’s Tex Mex, Los Hermanos, and Cancun provided different foods for the event, including dinner and dessert. Information booths for organizations were also set up for the MidMichigan Migrant Resource Council and the local chapter of the United States Department of Agriculture.

“We hope that our students learn[ed] and our community learn[ed]… about the kinds of services that may be offered,” said Spanish Professor Stephany Slaughter, one of the main organizers of the event. “M.M.R.C. came and brought representatives that provide information for services such as farm worker legal aid and a number of other possibilities… that can help local farm workers and folks that are not in the farm working community but that could also perhaps benefit from that information and services.”

“Fiesta Baile started in 2010. It started for two main reasons and one came from a student’s suggestion. 2010 was the 200th anniversary of the independence of multiple Latin American countries. It was also the 100th anniversary of the Mexican Revolution,” said Slaughter. “The summer before [the first Fiesta Baile] we had an intern in the Mexican consulate in the Detroit. She came back and said we do all the Scottish stuff — the Highland Festival — what if we did something like that thinking about the Bicentenario (Bicentennial).”

According to Slaughter, the Hispanic Coalition began activities a few years later. “In talking with students what should we call this? How do we make an organization that reaches beyond students — beyond campus that feels inviting so we thought [of the word] ‘coalition.’”

“What we wanted to do is what can we do to bring people around the sort of goals that we have and some of that is to promote Spanish language and Hispanic has that piece of language in a way that Latinx doesn’t necessarily assume,” said Slaughter. “[Hispanic Coalition has] evolved over the years as a student organization that also brings in the community. Fiesta Baile is a big part of that.

“This is the 9th year [we held] Fiesta Baile — where we have community members that help organize and are really invested in the event as one of the few events that does bring people to campus in this way — particularly from the local and surrounding Hispanic and Latinx communities.”

“This is my third Fiesta Baile. I’m a first generation student so [it helped] having a welcoming vibe. Also [our goal is] educating the campus — it’s just not the stereotype — we have a bunch of cultures and a bunch of different variety.” said Guadalupe Salgado (‘20), the President of Hispanic Coalition.

“Politics aside, as human beings it’s good to acknowledge what every person brings to the table. There are so many people of Hispanic ancestry in this country, so it’s good to know a bit about the history and culture of many of those folks,” said Wasserman.

Alma’s thoughts on the outside world


On August 28, the National Hurricane Center started tracking some movement off the western coast of Africa, movement that would eventually become Hurricane Florence.

One week earlier on August 21, prisoners around the country went on strike, with a list of demands that runs the gamut from demanding compensation for labor, to a restoration of voting rights.

These two events should be entirely irrelevant to one another – why should severe weather patterns in the Atlantic have any bearing on the rights of the incarcerated?

“By punishing inmates we end up making them tougher and more likely to return to gang life or their pre-prison life and that isn’t doing anyone any good,” said Jake Holt (‘20).

The South Carolina Department of Corrections brought the two together with their announcement on Sept. 10, when they announced that prisoners would not be evacuated from the Ridgeland Correctional Institution, despite its location in the middle of a mandatory evacuation zone.

These elements together start to pose a question – what are our prisons for?

To some, we must use incarceration as a deterrent and a punishment for crimes committed. One would be hard pressed to find folks who argue that individuals who have carried out inhumane violent acts should be let off the hook.


We can look to the prosecution of Larry Nassar, the sexually abusive physician who worked for MSU for years. Without a doubt, Nassar is depraved, and has no place in our society. Looking back a bit further from our current news cycle, we could consider the crimes of Tamerlan and Dzhokhar Tsarnaev, the men who carried out the Boston Bombing. While Tamerlan was killed in a police shootout after the incident, Dzhokhar lived to see his case brought through our justice system.

There is no doubt an obvious terrorist isn’t the prime candidate for rehabilitation. However, the high profile stories that capture our attention are not the typical cases of people who have been imprisoned.

According to the Federal Bureau of Prisons, 46.1% of current prisoners are incarcerated for drug offenses. Are people likely to be deterred from drug use, possession, and distribution with the threat of prison?


Some other students agree with this opinion. “Prisons should be used first and foremost to correct behaviors of prisoners so that they can reenter society. It should focus on rehabilitation,” said Asiel Clark (‘20).

If we are to base our justice system off of punishment, are we doing it effectively? The fact of the matter could be that if you commit the crime, you’re obligated to do the time, even in the severe conditions of a hurricane.

If you are for rehabilitation, what steps can be taken to align prisons with the demands of those on strike?


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