Excitement over new convenience store


News spread this week about Alma College searching for someone to lease the old 7-Eleven building to give the school (and the community) more convenience.

Alan Gatlin, COO and Vice President for Finance and Administration, gave insight on the process.

“We were all caught off guard when 7-Eleven put up a sign one day over the summer saying, ‘we will be closing in three weeks’” said Gatlin. “As a college, we thought it was important to have a convenience store close to campus for the students, and available for the community. Also, nobody wants to see another vacant building in Alma.”

Gatlin explained how he tried to contact 7-Eleven’s corporate office for information on the convenience store closing and to see if there was anything he or anyone else could do to keep the store running. 7-Eleven’s corporate expressed that there was nothing anyone could do; the decision was made.

A week or two later, the individual who owned the building approached the school and asked if Alma College would be interested in buying the store from him.

“He said he always had a fondness for Alma College, and mentioned that he planned to do something with it in his estate, but said this would be an opportunity for him to do something for the school in advance,” said Gatlin.

“It’s great property. It’s in a prime location and its location is adjacent to property we already own.”

One of the college’s concerns with not buying the property was that they could not control what would go in place of the old 7-Eleven if they did not own the property.

“We felt that accepting the offer was a prudent decision. We started thinking about what we could put in the place of the 7-Eleven, but ultimately decided the best decision would be to put a convenience store in the location, much like before,” said Gatlin.

Now that the college has acquired the property, the school is searching for someone to lease the property out to that could operate the convenience store. Gatlin spoke to current owners of convenience stores before the college obtained the property to study how successful the plan might be, and is confident in the college’s decision.

Many students have expressed their thoughts about the plans.

“Honestly, I’m excited that it’s reopening,” said Gabe Zerbe (’21). “I went [to 7-Eleven] often for caffeine and snacks after Joe’s closed when I needed to stay up late for projects.”

Others had things to say about another convenience store besides Joe’s that is easily accessible to campus.

“It should be reopened because it is convenient for college kids to get things that aren’t offered at Joe’s. It is within walking distance, so it is also convenient for people without a car,” said Joe Tighe (’21).

The lack of a location near campus to purchase alcohol for those that are legal posed a threat to safety, according to some students.

“The 7-Eleven being gone means everyone has to drive across town to purchase alcohol and that could possibly pose some risks, whereas having a nearby solution that doesn’t require driving a vehicle is a good risk prevention tactic,” said Kody Murphy (’19).

Gatlin did mention, however, that the college will not be involved in the day to day operations of the store, meaning the people who decide to lease the building will decide what merchandise to carry, as well as hours they will operate.

Gatlin hopes to find someone to lease the space out to within the next 90 days, and hopes to have the business up and running within 6 months. He has shown the building to two potential operators already, with a third potential operator being shown it this week. All the people up for consideration have already owned and operated their own convenience stores.

Unique sound prevails


“Glory Sound Prep” is Jon Bellion’s sophomore album, and it truly solidifies his alternative pop sound in a way that he hasn’t touched yet, proving that Bellion is an innovator in the industry.

Jon Bellion’s album “Glory Sound Prep”—GSP—was released on November 9, 2018. He had been leaking and releasing songs for 3 weeks before the album officially premiered on his Twitter account.

Even though this album was released as a pop record, it is really a meshing of rap, pop and alternative done almost seamlessly. Bellion had been known for his unique sound since his first album—“The Human Condition”—came out in 2016. The hit single “All Time Low” off of that album shot Bellion into the view of the mainstream.

Every single one of the songs on GSP has its own unique sound. Each song is compelling in its own way, making it a versatile album that will hopefully stick around.

Bellion starts off the album with a track called “Conversations with my Wife;” his wife has been an inspiration since his first EP was released in 2013.

This song focuses on how the media puts such an importance on musicians winning awards, and how Bellion disagrees with that, focusing on the importance of family instead. These themes keep coming back through the rest of the album.

Another highlight of the album is “Let’s Begin,” the third track. This song contains the majority of the features on the album, with the stylings of Roc Marciano, RZA, B. Keyz and Travis Mendes.

The song is a meshing of so many different artists done so seamlessly, with an orchestral introduction, an incredible verse by Bellion and some great lyricism from Travis Mendes and RZA, this song is memorable and will hopefully get the commercial success it deserves.

One of the big releases from this album online has been the song “Stupid Deep.” This song is pretty simplistic, with the focus being on some simple piano chords and Bellion’s vocals. Though it’s simple, the way Bellion layers his own voice over itself creates a really unique sound.

“The Internet” was the standout song on “Glory Sound Prep” to a majority of Bellion’s audience. It has an infectious beat, and the song’s clear theme about social media makes it a memorable listen.

Past the technical side of listening to this album, it is genuinely a fun listen. It moved from the stripped-down acoustics of “Stupid Deep” to the eclectic “Adult Swim” track, this album takes you on a journey of different styles, genres and experiences.

This is an album I can listen to anywhere—in the car, in the shower or walking to class. Its versatility and Bellion’s raw talent makes this album worth a listen.

Remembering Stan Lee


If you’re reading this, I sincerely believe that your life has been touched by Stan Lee. There are some obvious examples, a large majority of you have probably either read a comic or watched a Marvel movie. If you haven’t done that, you’ve at least watched or read visual media created in the last 50 years and felt his influence regardless. We all know who Stan Lee is, but it’s hard to truly grasp how much he fundamentally changed the face of almost everything we see, so let’s talk about it.

Stanley Martin Lieber was born in 1922, in New York City. His family, Jewish immigrants from Romania, lived in a small apartment in the Bronx while Stanley found odd jobs to keep them all afloat. Stanley was hired by Marvel (at the time known as Timely Comics) when he was only a teenager. He quickly rose through the ranks, to become an editor. Believing comic books to be silly, he wrote under a pseudonym. “I’m not gonna use my real name, which I’m saving for posterity, for these silly comic books” he told the New York Times, “So I cut my first name into two.” And thus, Stanley’s alter ego was born: Stan Lee.

For 20 years, Stan Lee churned out what he considered to be formulaic comic books, growing increasingly disinterested in his job. While they were the comic books he had loved reading growing up, he now began to muse on what these spectacular heroes were doing when they weren’t fighting dastardly super villains.

DC Comics (at that time known as National Comics) were having an incredibly successful run with their Justice League comic books. As a result, Stan Lee was encouraged by his publisher to make his own superhero group. At the end of his rope, Stan Lee was ready to quit. His wife then encouraged him to write a comic the way he wanted it to be written, as the worst that could happen was that he would be fired. “If we have to do a team, that’s fine, but we’re gonna do it differently than anybody else does it,” Stan Lee recounted.

Stan Lee then co-created The Fantastic 4 with artist Jack Kirby. While the four showcased fantastic powers, they also had real human faults that would reflect in both their epic fights and less epic personal drama. Reed Richards had incredible elasticity, but was also an egomaniac. Johnny Storm had control of fire, but was incredibly reckless. Sue Richards could turn invisible at will, but lacked confidence. And most infamously, Ben Grimm had incredible super strength, at the cost of looking like a grotesque rock monster. Grimm would repeatedly interpret his appearance as the loss of his humanity.

These human elements interlaced with classic superhero stories were a massive success. And this success allowed him to cocreate more superheros with artists Jack Kirby and Steve Ditko. “What I tried to do was take these characters, who are obviously bigger than life and fictitious, and make them seem real,” Stan Lee explains “They’ve got these powers, they do wonderful things. But what are the things they worry them? What are the things that frustrate them?”

And it showed as he created some of the most iconic characters of all time. Tony Stark, a genius arms dealer trying to find better ways to help people, while suffering from his alcoholism. Thor, a literal god attempting to learn how to be human. Steve Rogers, the perfect WWII soldier who finds himself in a era he doesn’t understand. Bruce Banner, a scientist trying to escape his horrific self-destructive nature. The X-Men, mutants facing endless persecution and oppression for the way that they’re born. The Silver Surfer, a cosmicbeing traveling the universe and trying to live a life of pacifism. And Peter Parker, whose tragic origins have ensured that he will always put the greater good before himself, no matter the personal toll.

Stan Lee loved and understood people, and it showed in his work. These comics influenced other comics, movies, and most of the media we consume today. Stan Lee showed us that the measure of a hero isn’t how effortlessly they beat up the bad guy, but rather how they persevere despite the odds, how they get up despite being knocked down, and how they always choose to do the right thing. In the words of Spider-Man, “No one can win every battle, but no man should fall without a struggle!”

Campus attitudes towards greek life


At a campus the size of Alma’s, Greek Life has an impact on students, whether that impact is intentional or not. Many non-Greek students have opinions on Greek Life due to their observations, and much of these opinions are informed by media.

A recent 5300 article satirically addressed Greek Life, comparing it to a cult. This 5300 article has stirred up a lot of conversation about fraternities and sororities on campus, and is informed by a larger national conversation surrounding the need for these social organizations.

“I think that Greek Life can be a good thing, but I definitely think that it depends on the person and the organization,” said Nathan Fetter (’22). Fetter also said that a lot of the conversations about Greek Life relating to these issues is due to culture and personal experience.

“The media doesn’t focus on all the good Greek Life is capable of, like philanthropy and sisterhood,” said Kara Tredway (’22).

With Central Michigan University less than twenty minutes away, it is hard not to feel the repercussions of their Greek system, too.

In the past several years, as many as eight organizations have been suspended or disbanded on CMU’s campus due to hazing, sexual misconduct, and other dangerous behavior.

These kinds of actions taken against Greek organizations call into question how Alma’s Greek system addresses these issues.

“I think there are some frats that promote a culture of sexual assault and alcohol abuse, and then there are other frats that promote healthy social connections outside of partying,” said Fetter.

Some students, though, think that the good outweighs the bad in Greek activities on campus. “I’m not Greek, but I have a lot of friends who are. Greek Life at Alma seems to be a bit more wholesome – the people involved in Greek Life here seem to have a purpose, not just to be a part of something that has status or parties,” said Bridget Flanery, (’20).

For first year students at Alma, Greek organizations have already made an impact. “Greek Life at Alma seems really welcoming, and a lot of my friends who are first years are planning on rushing next semester,” said Tredway.

The opportunities for networking are incredibly enticing to a lot of students, as well as having a family on campus. “They want to be a part of Greek Life for the family,” said Flanery.

The Greek community at Alma sees mixed feelings from campus, but ultimately argues for the importance of Greek Life both in college and life after.

“I think that Greek life is an awesome tool to further oneself. Alma College provides us the opportunity to join Greek life and uses it to help us network, travel, take on leadership opportunities and make friends. Attitudes toward Greek life on campus is ambivalent. There are some students who see it as just a way to party, some who see it as something useful for philanthropy and service, and those who see Greek life as just ‘paying for friends,’” said Panhellenic Council Vice President Alyssa Mohr (’19).

The 5300 article has since been removed from their website. The story in question had some errors and lapses of judgement in it. Originally meant to be a satirical piece, something The 5300 does a lot, it had poor construction that made it seem like it was disparaging Greek Life on Alma’s campus specifically.

As a media writing course, this has proven a good teaching moment: we’ve discussed the errors leading up to the article’s publication and learned from them. The article was never intended to reference any specific Greek Life at Alma College; we’ve since apologized that it could have been read as such, and we’ve pulled the article,” said faculty advisor Professor Matt Cicci.

New directors debut in play festival


December is quickly approaching, which means finals, snow, and the 10-Minute Play Festival are around the corner. Each year, Alpha Psi Omega, Alma College’s theater honorary, puts on several short, one-act plays during the first week of December.

Every play is studentproduced, from the directing and actors to the tech and backstage crew. The directors of the 10-Minute Plays this year are Rachel Blome (‘21), Merek Alam (‘20), Joe Harrison (‘20), Carly Christie (‘21), Conner Garma (‘20) and Kallen Eckert.

With the variety of directors, there is also a variety of plays being produced this year. “This year’s shows are pretty varied, ranging from light-hearted comedies to the darkest sides of society,” said Garma.

By showcasing different themes and messages in every play, each director hopes their audience finds something to relate to and reflect on. “I would want the audience to walk away realizing how important theatre really is. You can create self-discovery, creativity, teamwork, and reminds us that we are not alone,” said Christie.

These messages in the plays can also share life lessons with the audience. “I hope that my audience feels very emotional after watching the show, whether they feel angry, sad, confused, or something else. I want the audience to realize that they need to appreciate every minute they spend in this life, because you never know how much time you have left,” said Blome.

A new occurrence this year is that two directors, Garma and Alam, are each producing a play that they wrote. “One of the characters, Ryan, is a very personal character for me. It’s a bit of a caricature, but his basis is very much founded on a certain point in my life. I wanted to creatively show how to deal with the serious problems Ryan is dealing with in a fun, lighthearted, optimistic way” said Garma.

Garma and Blome are also facing their directing debut at this year’s 10-Minute Play Festival. “This is my first time directing, and it’s been really cool to see the show come together and see my actors really telling a story. It’s been an interesting experience getting to make all the decisions of the performance, from lighting to sound to costuming,” said Blome.

“This is my directing debut, and the entire process is very new to me. The hardest part is having to figure out how to describe and help my actors understand and feel the vision I have for each and every moment,” said Garma. Learning about the process is a challenge that every director faces. “Trying to find character arcs and trying to find clear direction with characters in ten pages, as well as getting everything across quickly who the characters are in this world that’s being created is the hardest part for me,” said Harrison.

Directing a 10-Minute play requires a lot of dedication and work, mostly due to the short nature of the plays themselves. There is a lot of dialogue and emotion that must be shown in the short amount of time allotted for each play. Each director has their own aspect of the plays that they think is the hardest. “The hardest part of directing ten minutes, is the ending of ten minutes. […] With having only ten minutes to create emotion and realness is a challenge, but teamwork, time, and passion will always make a production amazing,” said Christie.

The plays shown in the 10-Minute Play Festival this year are: Fugue directed by Rachel Blome, Doll Cargo directed by Joe Harrison, Error by Trial directed by Merek Alam, A Whole House Full of Babies directed by Carly Christie, Better Off directed by Connor Garma and The Chocolate Affair directed by Rachel Blome. The plays are running from 30 November to 2 December.

Fall sports end, winter sports begin


As the snow begins to fall, it marks the end of the fall sports season. Each fall athletic team is now done for the year, bringing forth a new wave of excitement for winter teams and their competition.

Some highlights from this fall season included big moments from football, men’s and women’s soccer, cross country, golf and volleyball.

“This team started to build a foundation for a culture that is based on effort and attitude,” said Michael Allison, assistant coach of the football team.

“Overall, as a team we had a good season,” said Tait Morrissey (‘21), member of the men’s golf team.

“This season showed us we have the potential to grow and play some great golf in the upcoming years.”

Men’s soccer had a positive season, ending with a bang in the conference playoffs. Volleyball had a great year, defeating several ranked opponents and making it far in their conference playoffs.

With the coming of offseason, these teams’ work is far from over.

“The plan is to work hard, commit to each other, and hold each other accountable that what we say we would do is what we are actually doing,” said Allison.

Morrissey explained that practicing golf in the snow is not really an option.

“Most of us have putting mats so we can work on our putting stroke here at school,” said Morrissey.

From here on out, it is all winter sports. These teams include men’s and women’s basketball, wrestling and swim and dive.

“The team has been working hard on lifestyle,” said Victor Sosa (‘19) of the wrestling team, who said that his individual goals include becoming an All-American.

“We like to take pride on doing what no other colleges are doing when it comes to food, strength and sleep.”

Preparation can be the most important aspect of a season for some teams, including basketball.

“Everyday through practice, we preach competing to our players,” said Tyler Edwards, assistant coach for the men’s basketball team. The men’s basketball team never overlooks an opponent, said Edwards.

“We look forward to every game that we are in,” said Edwards. “We are very excited for our upcoming schedule and the opponents we will be facing this year.”

“Now we are moving into prime meet season it will be a great morale boost to see all of the hard work finally pay off,” said Cole Malhoit (‘20), a member of the swim and dive team.

Malhoit also said that the team has been working hard both in the pool and in the weight room since October.

Each team this winter has big goals that they all hope to attain, but most importantly every team wants to be proud at the end of their season.

“Going out and competing every practice, every game, for the time we’re on the court will ultimately end with our team being satisfied in their play,” said Edwards.

Students question Alma Commitment


Alma College attracts students by guaranteeing them the Alma Commitment. This includes the Alma Venture as well as academic & career guidance, but also an on-time graduation.

The on-time graduation promises that if you follow your track but do not graduate in four years the college will cover your tuition for an additional term. Students majoring in education, nursing and others instead get a four and a half year graduation commitment.

Education majors are a large factor in this group. “The usual time for most certificationtrack Education students is four years of courses and one term of student teaching,” said Peggy Thelen, professor of education. “We have exceptions including endorsements in Music Education and Special Education.”

Thelen went on to explain that while it is possible for education majors to graduate in four years there are factors that could get in the way of that. “Graduation timeliness also depends on the number of majors and or minors that a student carries…a lot of factors.”

Multiple majors or minors could complicate student schedules. This makes it harder for them to graduate in four years like most students. “All education majors are expected to graduate in four and a half years, the extra half year being student teaching,” said Marisa Romano (‘19), an education major. “It’s not impossible to graduate in four years, and some students choose to do that.

“To get a degree in music education requires a lot more courses and ensemble credits than other teaching degrees,” she said. “At other schools it’s very common to have music education students graduate in five or more years; I’ve even heard of people taking seven years.

“I think it’s unusual and stressful to be expected to be done with my classes and distributive requirements in only four years,” she said.

Romano wishes the college would guarantee students with majors such as these the chance to graduate on time without the threat of losing scholarships. “If I hadn’t taken several courses at [a] community college over the summers I would not graduate on time, and I was told I would lose most of my scholarships if I stayed at Alma past the four and a half years.”

Thelen also commented that students would like to have their scholarships and student aid stay with them through student teaching and graduation.

“I have taken 17 or 18 credits every semester I have been at Alma and I’ll still have to take one class online this summer,” said Jared Fleming (‘19). “There is no room for error or exploration if you’re an education major at Alma.”

Fleming likes how the Alma Commitment pushes you into the real world faster and decreases costs for students. However, he feels that education majors get a limited liberal education experience due to the strict course schedules they must adhere to.

The Alma Commitment also has some limitations, according to Romano. “I only know of one [student] who had her semester covered by the school…her advisor failed to tell her that one of her required courses was only offered every other year, so she got money from the school because it was the school’s fault,” she said.

“The problem with education [majors] is that they have to deal with what the state does because we are on a certification track and they’re just doing what the state outlines,” said Rachel Frisbie (‘19). I don’t know if there’s anything Alma can do to help solve those problems, but it would be nice to get some extra assistance. That extra semester is a lot to do.”

KMB performs Indoor Show


This past weekend, the Kiltie Marching Band, or KMB, had their last hurrah for the season when they performed their indoor show titled “Now in Technicolor.”

The band played quite a mix of music and performances. In addition to their marching show, the band also performed their new show.

“The indoor show combines several different iconic T.V. show theme songs from shows like The Office, Friends, Duck Tales, The Walking Dead and Hawaii Five-0,” said Jasmine D’Arcangelis (’22).

In between both of these performances, the Pipe Band and Colorguard also performed.

“The indoor show allowed the band program to showcase a large variety of ensembles,” said Ellie Woertz (’20). “This allows the Alma community to experience what the program has to offer.”

The show brought out several members from the community as well as many family members of the band members.

The show contains quite a bit of technical work as well with lighting design and choreography from the guard members.

“The lighting design throughout was fantastic, especially during The Walking Dead theme! When the fog machines turned off and the red lights came on, I knew it was going to be something intense,” said Liz Gallagher (’20).

Students said that many of the tunes were very catchy and very easy to want to sing along.

“My favorite part would have to be Part III overall. It has the most recognizable tunes like duck tales and the Friends theme,” said D’Arcangelis.

“My personal favorite piece of music for the indoor show was the Friends theme. The drum line all does the claps with their sticks and it makes me laugh every time,” Bridget McCaffrey (’21).

Students expressed that marching season can be extremely busy. Not only do the band members have to worry about the multiple performances throughout the semester, but they also have to work several events.

“There is a nice transition from marching season into indoor season,” said Jeremy Fieber (’19). “I love marching, but it is a nice change of pace,” Fieber said.

“The transition from outdoor band to indoor band was really nice. It really allows us to segue from the loud outdoor sound to the more dynamic side of concert band,” said D’Arcangelis.

There has always been a tradition of dressing up for one section or another of the indoor show. This year the band dressed up for their new show.

“The trombones did a whole section costume theme this year. We are all dressing up as characters from ‘The Walking Dead’ and I am personally dressing as a zombie,” said McCaffery.

“Most of the sections attempt to coordinate their costumes, with often hilarious results,” said Fieber.

Many people in the band dressed as Star Trek characters, office characters, secret agents or Pokémon, though they play different instruments.

People in the audience were thrilled to see the band put on another successful performance.

“It was a very good show! It was really cool to see how easily the band transitioned between the several different styles of music,” said Rachel Whipple (’20).

Not only were the members of the audience thrilled, but the crew was well.

“Working back stage was interesting. Working backstage gives you a whole different perspective on the show. Unfortunately, you rarely get the full impact of the show,” said Woertz.


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