Making connections on campus


Helper Helper is a new service on Alma College’s campus. Helper Helper is an app that students can download and it connects them to volunteer opportunities in and around Alma College as well as opportunities outside Alma College.

The purpose of Helper Helper is to make it easier for students to find volunteer opportunities on campus, as well as organize such events for their coordinators. By making it easier for event coordinators to find volunteers and for volunteers to find events, Helper Helper reduces confusion about volunteering on campus.

Opportunities for volunteering on campus are always changing due to the amount of events happening throughout the year, so students are encouraged to consistently look on Helper Helper for new events to volunteer at.

Starfish is a relatively new addition to Alma College’s campus. The role of the program is to make assistance-seeking easier for students and faculty. Faculty and staff members can raise a flag on a student, indicating a concern for that student.

By raising a flag, the student, their academic advisor, the retention team and other academic services will be notified and will be put in contact with the student.

The purpose of Starfish is for faculty to seek assistance for students who are struggling with their academics before it’s too late. Starfish also provides a way for faculty to indicate to students that they should start looking for resources across campus.

Starfish can also be used to express positive feedback in the form of “kudos,” such as “Keep Up The Good Work,” or that they have achieved “Outstanding Academic Performance” on a certain assignment.

As well as expressing concern or giving feedback, Starfish can be used to schedule meetings with a student’s academic advisor. By providing their office hours and other scheduling information online, professors make it easier for students to contact and set up meetings with them.

Handshake is also a way to get involved on campus and connect with Alma College alumni as well. By creating a Handshake account with their Alma College email, students are able to be connected to jobs and internships across the country in multiple fields of study.

Through using the site, students can upload their resumes and have them looked over and critiqued by Career Development staff. In addition, students can search for jobs or internships in specific fields they are interested in and find Alma College alumni in those fields. Handshake can also be used to schedule a meeting with the career development staff in the Center for Student Opportunity or register for career fairs and other events that bring potential employers to Alma College.

By using these programs that Alma College offers, students can expand their network of potential connections in their interested field for opportunities outside of college. These programs are meant to help students and provide the best way for them to get involved in and around campus whether by volunteering or taking an internship.

Order of Omega re-established


The Order of Omega recently held initiations for their newest class. Initiations were open to the public and took place in the chapel.

The Order of Omega is a Greek honorary that rewards Greek men and women who are already leaders within their organization. Membership is extended to leaders who hold junior standing and have been nominated by their organization.

The Order, which was disbanded until this semester, recently inducted its first members since 2016. The group has decided that it is too important of an organization to let it fizzle out. Many of the members have wanted to be a part of the organization for quite a while, so reinstating the Order of Omega was overdue.

Alyssa Mohr (‘19) has been interested in joining the Order since her freshman year. “John, Jelly, myself and Professor Bissell have worked really hard on recreating this organization as something sustainable, something that will help foster good relationships between Greeks and the community, and allow us to serve that community as leaders.”

The Order has not been back on campus for very long, but membership has already done wonderful things for the new members.

“While I have only just recently joined, I have already had the chance to meet some of the incredible Greek leaders on campus. Joining the Order has opened many opportunities to meet and connect with the chapter’s alumni,” said John Stefanek (’19).

Creating a new organization, or reviving an old one, is not a student-only effort. “The re-establishment of the Order occurred as a result of multiple parties with an independent but shared interest coming together in harmony. I was an active member of the Nu Gamma chapter from 2004 – 2006 and served as its president in 2005, so I personally was enthused by my memories of what it had once brought to Alma campus,” said English Professor and faculty advisor Dustin Bissell.

The re-establishment of the Order will impact campus as a whole, not just Greek life. “Considering the current national climate, it is especially important for groups like the Order to exist on our campus, to remind Greeks and non-Greeks alike that Alma College is a place where those with different perspectives and experiences may thrive in harmony and with a shared vision,” said Bissell.

The Order of Omega was created in 1959 by a group of fraternity men at Miami University, who believed that outstanding individuals in the Greek community should be recognized for their service to their school and to their community.

The founder is recognized as Parker F. Enright, the advisor for Greek life at Miami at the time of the Order’s formation. He also believed in recognizing the tremendous amount of good being done by members of Greek life.

In 1964, Enright accepted a position at the University of Pittsburgh and established the organization’s second chapter. Later, the Miami chapter wanted to expand their organization even further and established a third chapter at the University of Southern Mississippi in 1997.

The organization remained an all-male fraternity for the first 18 years of its existence until 1977 when board members voted to make the organization co-ed. There are now over 500 chapters in the U.S. and Canada, with more chapters added each year.

Wifi changes frustrate campus


Alma College students lost the cable in dorm rooms, instead supposedly giving them faster internet. However, they say that the wi-fi has not improved and many are not happy.

“I would much rather have my cable back than have faster internet because the internet is the same if not worse than before,” said Samantha Squires (‘20).

The decision was made over the summer and students were only informed of this by a campus email. The cable is no longer in the rooms but only in common areas such as lobbies.

Many things had to be improved on campus before the large freshman class arrived on campus, particularly the internet. The purpose of the change was to establish a more reliable connection for all students.

“The computers requiring access on campus has increased by a third in most buildings,” said Kyle Warner, Director of Information Technology on campus. If the enrollment rate continues to increase every year, this more than likely will not be the only change that in implemented. “The bandwidth caps have been eliminated from ACWLAN/ACRegistered and raised for ACGuest.”

“I never used the cable here when we had it, but I recognize that was a way many Alma students had their ‘stress less’ time,” said Lauryn Kranz (‘21). After the work is done for the day, people like to decompress by watching television in the comfort of their own room. This is not a possibility anymore.

“Without the cable in our dorm rooms, my roommate and I are missing all of our weekly shows,” said Squires. “I do not have the opportunity to watch my shows in the common areas because other people are trying to watch what they want.”

If multiple programs are playing at the same time, students would have to fight over who gets to watch their program.

Many students also use common areas for studying or doing homework. If that is the only place people can get cable, it eliminates a space for people to study.

“We have lost our cable but did not get anything in the trade,” said Caitlin DeZwaan (‘19).

One aspect of the improvements is to be better equipped for gaming. “By the end of 2018, game consoles will have improved Network Address Translation (NAT) services supporting more reliable connections for Internet gaming,” said Warner.

Main campus may have gotten some improvements but what about the small housing on campus? “I honestly feel [cheated]. The connection in small housing is worse than last year and needs to be fixed,” said DeZwaan.

Though there are not as many people in a specific house, they still need a reliable connection to do work and connect their devices.

The Greek Housing and Small Housing run on their own WiFi connection. The WiFi networks may not have as much traffic but they still need to be fast enough for the students who live in that specific house.

“We have also added ACRegistered which will help support consumer networks and gaming devices,” said Warner.

As Alma College updates their campus with better buildings, they will also be updating their wireless connection.

“Additional buildings are expected to see increased access point densities as part of future renovation projects,” said Warner.

Alma College is growing every year, this means that the WiFi will slow unless the college continues to update they system as we grow. Alma College is doing it’s best to listen to students and improve what they are asking.

Jazz ensemble rocks Heritage Center


Last Tuesday the Alma College Jazz Ensemble performed at the Presbyterian Music Hall. The students involved with the band had the opportunity to show their hard work and dedication to their art.

Students participating in the performance came together to showcase a wide variety of jazz tunes.

The concert promoted the hard work of student musicians on campus and exposed the student body to a unique style of music. “The band really gave an enormous energy to everyone in the audience. The hard work that they put into the performance showed off,” said Logan St. John (‘19).

Student audience members enjoyed the performance. “The band showcased a wide variety of lesser known jazz from all over the planet. I appreciate what the band was able to pull off that night,” said Jared Sisson (‘22).

Every week, the Jazz Ensemble meets for two hours in the evening, and they had five rehearsals before the concert. “The people that are in the band are very committed and frequently practice outside of the classroom,” said Sarah Garrod (‘20), a bassist in the Jazz Ensemble.

The show provided a variety of jazz styles for their performance. Students in the ensemble conducted their own research of the music played and presented that knowledge to the audience.

Throughout the performance, the student with the best summarization would introduce the song to the audience. This way, the students could have a better understanding of the music they performed. “Each week, we would write a paragraph about a piece and [Profecssor Jeff Ayers] would decide which was the best summarization,” said Garrod.

The pieces that the ensemble performed varied in their genre and origin. The musicians did their best to educate their members on a wide assortment of jazz pieces.

“For every classical piece, a staple piece for jazz, there will include a different style of jazz. One of my favorites was La Fiesta, which is more of a Latin American piece. It’s different, but it’s also fun to include the different types into our performance,” said Garrod.

The ensemble members researched the composers of the pieces to not only educate themselves but to understand the piece’s style and history. “You don’t realize the unique lives of the people writing these tunes. One person who essentially, brought the Bossa Nova style to the United States from South America was very influential to modern jazz,” said Ben Elliot (‘19), a trumpetist in the Jazz Ensemble.

The students participating in the Jazz Ensemble reflected on the pieces they performed. The ensemble gave off a lot of energy that resonated with the band members and the audience.

“The solos in Perpetual Commotion gave off a lot of energy. There was a tenor sax solo and a trumpet solo that were really good. I really like that piece because it had a funky groove to it and in the middle, there was a jazz interlude that complimented the piece,” said Elliot.

Every piece had a jazz soloist that either volunteered or was picked to play in the performance. The ensemble members and the audience supported every soloist and their confidence showed.

“I think – for the most part – every soloist did very well that night. All of us had some good, shining moments that evening that resonated with the audience. I think as a band too, we came together, and something clicked that night,” said Elliot.

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