Farewell to the Almanian


As I enter my last week of my undergraduate career, I would like to take this time to reflect on my time at Alma College and with the Almanian. After spending three and a half years on Alma’s campus, it seems still too soon to be leaving. It’s an over-shared sentiment, this feeling, but as cliché as it is, it’s incredibly true.

The students and faculty at Alma College have made a lasting impact on my life and have truly shaped the person that I have become. Though I have only been working for the Almanian for one semester, the experiences that I have gained here speak to the experiences I have gained from Alma as a whole.

The Almanian taught me that sometimes, you get to say yes, but also that sometimes you need to say no. Jelly has become one of my closest friends, mostly due to this experience, and she can attest that I would not have been able to handle the Almanian if I didn’t have this knowledge. If I can only impart this one piece of wisdom that Alma College has taught me, it would be enough. We all know how over-committed we all are. but as rewarding as it is to know that you are spending your time valuably, it is even more important to know that you are taking care of yourself. This is something I wasn’t able to learn until very recently, and I am incredibly grateful for Jelly and the rest of the paper for teaching me this. The Almanian staff are some of the most caring and considerate people I know, and I am sad that it wasn’t until my last semester that I was able to know this.

The P.C. debate


A huge debate in the political sphere recently is concerning politically correct speech. Many public figures are being called out online for their potentially offensive language and their ignorance when refusing to adapt their language to an ever-changing world.

Mistakes can be made, especially when one is raised in a different environment than you are currently in. However, being purposefully inconsiderate towards someone who have politely asked you to change your language is ignorant.

Many people who are not effected by bigotry and hate in this country do not understand the need to be conscious of our language. This is a huge learning curve for many, but putting the effort into altering your language can make you a person who can help those in need, and someone who is leading the wave of equality in this country.

There is a big debate in this country about the validity of changing to a more politically correct language, mostly because people claim that it will make the next generation weak and incapable of handling criticism. However, the purpose of politically correct language is the help all humans on this earth thrive and feel comfortable in their society.

For many years, the verbiage for people with disabilities has become more accepting and standardized. Instead of calling someone “the handicapped man”, it is better to refer to someone as “the man with a handicap.” This small change in word order puts the person first, validating them and ensuring that that person is more important than their disability.

Gender identity has been a big movement in the 21st century. People are more open and accepting about who they are, and that has resulted in more publicity around changing pronouns. People are changing their identity, and would prefer to be called different pronouns that make them feel more comfortable with their identity.

It takes a lot of courage for transgender and non-binary people to come to terms with their own identity privately, let alone showing that identity to the entire world. When people blatantly disrespect the wishes of these people to be referred to by different names or pronouns, it is ignorant and extremely disrespectful.

I do know, however, that there are some in this community that take advantage of people’s efforts to transition to calling someone a different name/pronoun. It is important to recognize people that are putting in the effort to change their mindset and be more accepting of the changing world around them.

If you have questions on what someone prefers to be called, the best thing to do is to ask them. Most people will really appreciate the effort into correcting their mistakes. As long as you are trying to change your mindset surrounding these issues, your effort should be seen, acknowledged and appreciated.

Freshmen settle into campus life


As fall semester comes to an end, students on campus have settled into their routines as undergraduates. Freshmen have started to learn the ways of navigating the Alma area, academics, and social life in general.

A few months ago, four freshmen were featured in a “Campus Comment” segment that focused on what they wanted to achieve looking forward at their lives as Alma College students.

Each student mentioned how excited they were to meet new people, take classes related to their majors and partake in featured clubs on campus.

Now, several weeks into the semester, we checked back in with those students to catch up with how they have been adapting to the college lifestyle.

“I’m happy with the person that I am. I feel the same, just in a more mature environment with a lot more people who have like mindsets to me, so I would say I’m way happier here overall,” said Brad Skellenger (‘22). Previously, Skellenger had mentioned that he was excited to meet new people who were as dedicated to music as he is.

Skellenger participates in band, choir and a small student-led vocal group called “Off Kilter” on campus.

Irene Collins (’22) found that her excitement about singing with the choirs was validated. “Chorale is my favorite class because singing makes me incredibly happy and [Will Nichols] is a wonderful professor,” said Collins. “My FYS (Time Travel in Science and Literature) is a close tie because the class is incredibly interesting and Dr. Jensen is a wonderful and incredibly thoughtful educator and person.”

Students can meet new people by joining clubs, engaging in their classes, going to on campus events and more. Every week at Alma, there is at least one event happening that has been put on by a student led group. These are made aware to the student body through posters around campus and emails sent to your Alma email address.

“My favorite thing to do on campus is attend sporting events and perform with the dance team,” said Alexandra Mithen (‘22). She had expressed in the earlier edition that she was excited to perform with the dance team this year, especially at sporting events. Mithen is heavily involved with the dance team as well as taking classes pertaining to dance on campus.

Moving into a new school with people that are unfamiliar can be challenging as an incoming freshman. However, as we move further into the fall semester, people around campus are starting to find their homes, friend groups, favorite classes and more.

“My favorite class is probably my FYS, which is Dance in the Humanities,” said Gina Dossantos (‘22). “I love learning about different forms of movement and how aspects like culture and history influence [them].”

Dossantos mentioned previously that she was excited to join clubs that celebrate different cultures. “I haven’t engaged in as many clubs as I had hoped to. However, I think now that I’ve seen all the different opportunities I have, I can pick the ones I’m drawn to most,” she said.

During the first semester of freshman year, a major life shift occurs. This can create a push towards large life changes in a short amount of time. Being away from family, living on your own and having to create new friendships and bonds comes along with that change.

“I [learned] that nothing will come easy here, everything, even the little things, require self-motivation and discipline,” said Dossantos.

For any incoming college students, Skellenger advised them to “[not] be shy. Talk to people even though you know you’re terrified to because it’s so much easier to be yourself once you’ve branched out already.”

Skellenger encouraged his fellow students to exceed their boundaries and make friends to have a much more enjoyable experience in college.

Alma LEAPS towards a green campus


Keeping Alma’s campus green and reducing the college’s carbon footprint is what the organization LEAPS focuses on achieving. LEAPS, which stands for Leaders for Environmental Awareness, Protection and Sustainability, is a student-run organization that focuses on ways to help students use less wasteful products in their everyday lives.

“LEAPS’ mission is to combat current environmental issues and injustices through a campus perspective,” said Hunter Wilson (’20), the president of LEAPS.

Wilson continued, “LEAPS is devoted to generating awareness of environmental issues through campus education and opportunity, encouraging environmental stewardship, and promoting consistent sustainable practices on campus.”

On Wednesday, November 28 LEAPS, along with Active Minds and members of the McCurty House, held a “Green Me Up” event in Van Dusen. Students were taught different ecofriendly techniques from how to make their own toothpaste and laundry detergent to making healthy face masks and body scrubs.

Advice was also given to students about ways to be greener in their everyday lives, such as watching the products they use, especially when it comes to feminine health care.

Recycling is a big part of what LEAPS does as well. The members, like Christopher Nouhan (‘20), help promote better awareness of what can be recycled and what cannot.

“A lot of people think you can recycle pizza boxes, [and] you cannot recycle pizza boxes,” said Nouhan. “They’re dirty, they have food on them and byproducts are not allowed to be recycled.” Douglass Dice, Head of Facilities, agreed with Nouhan.

Nouhan went on to explain that all plastic one recycles, such as milk jugs, should be thoroughly rinsed about before being placed in the bins. “Straws [and lids] are a large portion of plastic waste, especially in the ocean and landfills,” said Nouhan. “I personally never use straws or plastic lids.”

However, if a recycling bin has been contaminated with food or byproducts, then the college is forced to throw it out. Dice explained that the reason for this is because of the recycling company that the college works with, whom does not allow for food products of any kind to be sent to them.

Dice and the members of LEAPS have provided advice for students to help reduce campus waste. Turning off lights when they are not needed, watching food waste and using the compost bins, as well as using fewer plastic straws and lids from Joe’s were all mentioned.

Wilson suggested the dorms having energy wars where the dorm that uses the least energy wins a prize. One way to do this is to make sure that your room windows are latched shut and not just closed.

“We find that students will close their windows, but they won’t latch them a lot of times,” said Dice. “When you latch a window, it actually works that compression strip as a weather seal and helps keep the windows efficient.”

One of the biggest waste issues mentioned by members of LEAPS is at the end of the year when student throw out usable furniture and other products. A suggesting is too take unwanted furniture to a thrift store rather than just throwing it out.

“Campus swap meets at the end of each semester would be beneficial in preventing waste such as furniture and appliances, school supplies, e-waste, etc.,” said Wilson.

Students celebrate at athletic formal


On Saturday night, the Cappaert gymnasium transformed into a dance floor.

Any and all students were invited to the masquerade formal, which was full of food, games, and dancing.

“The formal started as an athletic formal,” said Sarah Dehring, Assistant Athletic Director.

“Alma used to do an athletic formal years ago and we wanted to bring it back.”

The event, hosted by SAAC and ACUB, was a huge success.

“Hosting a school wide formal allows for an enjoyable night where all students could be together in one room,” said Jennifer Kowalczyk (’20).

“This year, SAAC partnered with ACUB on hosting this event to help reach out and welcome all students.”

Kowalczyk is a member of Alma’s SAAC and was in charge of putting the entire event together.

“Students could look forward to appetizers, photo booth, dancing, highly rated DJ, [and] games such as corn hole, can jam, spike ball, a pong table, life-size backyard games.”

The best part about the night was that all of the proceeds went to a charitable cause.

“We were contacted by the Amazing Grace Foundation so all the proceeds go to a good cause,” said Dehring.

The Amazing Grace Foundation raises money toward researching pediatric cancer and helps families affected by pediatric cancer with financial aid.

Preparation for the formal began almost a year ago.

“We began planning this event hours after last year’s formal ended,” said Kowalczyk.

“Our goal is to continue to make this event bigger and better every year.”

Every student who attended the formal had a lot of fun.

“My favorite part was definitely the DJ. He was throwing dope mixes the whole time and it was amazing,” said Tim Gearig (‘22).

For other students, the music wasn’t the most important part; Mason Ippel (’20) enjoyed the opportunity to dress up.

“Getting dressed up with my friends was my favorite part,” said Ippel.

The formal was a great way to spend time with friends in a fun environment.

“Setting up was fun and I loved taking pictures with my friends,” said Olivia Benoit (’20).

“The best part was the pong tournament, it was a great idea.”

Many students thought the games were the best part of the night, especially the ones that had a cash prize at the end.

“I also loved the pong tournament, it was fun to compete for money,” said Ippel.

“Just having the opportunity to dress up and go to a dance is not something we get to do often in college so it was a fun stress reliever,” said Tait Morrissey (’21).

Alma embraces Giving Tuesday


The college celebrated Giving Tuesday by hosting a massive drive for donations. Organized by the Office of Alumni Engagement, the strategy room on the second floor of the Hood Building was the center of operations for the push to set a new Alma record.

“[Our goals were] to raise at least $100,000 and to obtain 100 new student referrals,” said Brent Neubecker (‘95), director of annual giving.

“If the college raise[d] $100,000, three donors [would] provide an additional $100,000, bringing the overall total raised to $200,000.”

Giving Tuesday broke all expectations; Alma raised $323,023 total with 186 student referrals.

Neubecker said that their methods of outreach were social media, emails and individual outreach to alumni, parents and friends.

“Giving Tuesday is just a great annual reminder to check in with ourselves about what is important to support philanthropically. [These include] the institutions and organizations that have impacted each of our lives on a personal level,” said Melinda Booth (‘02), associate vice president for marketing.

Social media made a huge impact on the amount of alumni and parent donations.

“Social media is really the difference maker for Alma College,” Booth said.

“It’s where we see a lot of engagement from alumni, parents, staff, etc., sharing commenting and interacting with us on…Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.”

Individual outreach was an important factor and even students got involved.

“Current students are a wonderful source of new student referrals,” said Neubecker. “Students can encourage their siblings and friends to apply to Alma.”

Even small donations matter. “Giving Tuesday is about participating at every level,” said Neubecker.

“Last year, we saw many students participate by giving gifts they could afford, such as $5. Those gifts are very special and reflect the generous spirit of our student body and our college as a whole.”

He understood that most Alma students give back to the college once they have graduated and appreciated those who felt moved enough to donate before the students graduate.

“Students can be persuasive with people in their networks who have the resources to give to Alma College,” said Neubecker.

“Giving Tuesday is about spreading generosity and we are grateful when students can generate excitement for others to provide philanthropic support.”

Neubecker went into detail on where the donation money goes.

“Each donor decides how to direct their gifts. The college is placing particular emphasis on the Alma Fund, the Scot Scholarship Fund and the Jungle, Grove, and Campus Fair Fund.”

These three funds directly impact student life and financial aid.

“A gift to the Alma Fund provides flexible, immediateuse resources keeping the College affordable while enhancing the student experience,” said Neubecker.

“Gifts to the Scot Scholarship Fund allow you to invest in the education of deserving, qualified students. Gifts to the [Jungle, Grove and Campus Fair] fund help keep Alma’s campus welcoming to students, faculty, staff and guests throughout the year.”

Neubecker hoped that future Giving Tuesdays will be just as successful as this year’s. “Each year we learn a little bit more about what works well and does not work well with our alumni and friends,” he said.

“We have seen more and more success in every passing year on Giving Tuesday. Our challenge will be to keep the day exciting and meaningful to those who support our college.”

RBG holds critical position


Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg was admitted to the hospital on Nov 9 after falling in her office and fracturing three ribs. Ginsburg, who is 85, has had several health scares prior to this one. She has had cancer twice and one heart procedure since she was appointed to the Supreme Court by President Bill Clinton in 1993.

Nevertheless, Ginsburg continues to overcome, and now is a more critical time than ever for her to be in good health.

Since coming into office, Trump had the opportunity to appoint two of the current nine Supreme Court Justices who serve a lifetime appointment: Neil Gorsuch and the infamous Brett Kavanaugh, which gave the Supreme Court a solid 5-4 conservative majority.

If anything happened to Ruth Bader Ginsburg before the next Presidential election (God forbid), Trump would have the opportunity to appoint another Supreme Court Justice, meaning he would then have handpicked one third of the court.

The United States surely does not need any more Brett Kavanaughs holding one of the most powerful positions in the country for the rest of his life; one is bad enough as is. Ginsburg’s position on the court is critical for the representation of women in our county. Judging by what we have seen from Trump so far, we all know that it is highly unlikely that he would appoint another woman to fill her spot if anything did happen to Ginsburg.

Luckily, Ginsburg is one tough woman, always returning to the bench rapidly after any setback. She recently pledged to stay on the Supreme Court as long as she is physically and mentally able to, which she predicted to be at least past 2020.

Ginsburg was only the second woman ever to be appointed to the Supreme Court and has always been a major advocate for women’s rights.

However, as difficult as it is to get appointed to the nation’s more prestigious court,

Ginsburg’s journey was even more difficult than usual. Ginsburg grew up in a low-income neighborhood in Brooklyn, New York. Her mother was a huge inspiration for her and always stressed the importance of Ginsburg’s education. Unfortunately, her mother died of cancer the day before her graduation ceremony.

Ginsburg went on to graduate first in her class at Cornell University and then became a student at Harvard Law. During law school, Ginsburg faced the challenges of balancing being a mother and a law student all while her husband was deployed. Not to mention she faced enormous disadvantages being one of only 8 women in a class of 500.

On top of all that, she became the first female member of the legal journal the Harvard Law Review.

Excelling at her own law school studies and battling gender discrimination all while being a mother alone is incredibly impressive, but it doesn’t end there.

Ginsburg’s husband was diagnosed with cancer at the same time and she proceeded to take notes for her husband. Basically, she was pursuing not one, but two law school educations at the same time.

After transferring to Columbia Law school to be in New York where her husband accepted a job at a law firm, Ginsburg graduated first in her class.

Later she became the first female tenured professor and Columbia Law. Ginsburg is one of the most accomplished women of our time. She is truly a hero to us all and without her, the Supreme Court would be a very dark place


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