Greek life begins winter recruitment


Winter recruitment season has started at Alma College. Students will have the opportunity to interact with students they may not get to know otherwise through rushing Greek Life, and in a few short weeks, fraternities and sororities around campus will be welcoming their newest members.

Why go Greek? Greek students have no shortage of good things to say about the experience. “Greek life has brought me (and so many others) amazing opportunities and lifelong lasting relationships. It provides you with a safe place to go where you have a support system as well,” says Jennah Davis (‘20), the Panhellenic Council President. “Some awesome opportunities that you will experience are the chance to travel, to advocate for a philanthropy that you value, and you have the chance to take on great leadership roles.”

When asking freshmen considering rushing, the dynamic seemed to be the same.

“I’m joining because I’ve heard that it’s a once in a lifetime experience,” said Allison Harris (’22).“From my mom and my teacher and my friends who were and are in Greek Life, they said that they create friendships that last a lifetime. I expect it to be fun and a good experience.”

Emma Grossbauer (’22) felt the same way. “I’m joining Greek Life so I can meet new people and create friendships that will last a lifetime. I hope to find the place where I feel that I belong,” said Grossbauer. One main worry among non-Greek students who are considering taking part in recruitment is how rushing works.

“The recruitment process is a bit different for both Sororities and Fraternities. Both go through a formal recruitment process in which those interested in joining Greek Life sign the recruitment list and are able to attend numerous events from different Greek organizations,” said Jordan Jackson (’21), the Inter fraternity Council President.

“At the end of the recruitment process, those who have signed up and have participated in those events will be invited to attend Walk-Outs/Run-Outs in which they will find their home,” said Jackson.

Time management is another big concern. With students staying busy with classes, jobs, sports, and other activities, tacking on Greek membership can seem daunting. Matt Jones, the Greek Life Advisor, says “[as] a community we believe that all of our members are students before they are a member of their organization.”

Despite the amount of time that is taken up by classes and other student activities, Greek Life is a once in a lifetime addition to the college experience. If you would like to receive more information about winter recruitment or Greek Life in general, feel free to contact Jennah Davis, the Panhellenic Council President, any Panhellenic Council members, the president of Inter fraternity Council, Jordan Jackson,Matt Jones, the Greek Life Advisor, or Alyssa Mohr, the Greek Life Intern.

Coffee and consent with title IX


January is Stalking Awareness Month, so the Title IX office held “Coffee and Consent” on January 16 at Starbucks to offer students a chance to connect with their staff. Title IX and Civil Rights Coordinator, Kevin Carmody, and Student Affairs Assistant, Kaydee Hall (’18), presented students with a chance to talk about stalking and other related issues on campus.

These rights were advocated for by Bernice Sandler, specifically, equality between sexes and the creation of Title IX. She helped pass legislation that affects higher education.

Sandler witnessed the inequality throughout her life, and it continued into her career as a teacher at the University of Maryland. The passage of Title IX effected athletics, financial assistance, and admission into colleges. It also addressed the issues of sexual harassment and assault and offered some protections.

A big motivation behind this event, for Carmody and Hall, was to provide opportunities for the campus to connect with the Title IX and Civil Rights office. They want to reach out to as many students as possible. They recognize that they might not get in other targeted awareness programs for organizations such as Greek life and athletics. “A big focus that I’ve had this year is around transparency,” said Carmody.

Their goal is for people to know it is okay to ask questions regarding stalking or other Title IX and Civil Rights issues. They want people to feel comfortable approaching them with these topics to start the conversation. Having events to encourage this is a start.

“[Stalking] is much more prolific than people understand,” said Carmody. He continued to say that it often goes underreported because it is “romanticized” in pop culture and the definition is not fully understood. This hinders students’ ability to know what to report because they are misinformed about it.

“Making ourselves available for students should be the biggest take away,” says Hall. There are events across campus but Carmody’s office is “always open”. This applies to asking questions regarding any Title IX or Civil Rights issues to reporting an incident.

In the case of needing to report an incident, it can be filed through Carmody in person or online. There are also national resources such as Safe horizon. If it is an immediate emergency, call 911 said Hall.

“The more that we can start to have these conversations, the better it’s going to be,” said Carmody. These events are meant to aid in facilitating the discussion. This topic “breeds its silence” stated Carmody, he explains that the longer students do not talk about this subject, the more it happens around them

Students travel to theatre conference


The Kennedy Center American College Theatre Festival (KCACTF) is a festival attended by students in Alma College’s theatre department.

This week-long, annual festival that takes place in two sections. The first phase is regionals, which takes place in different cities each year within each region. If you compete at the festival, which most attendees do, you have a chance to place and make your way to Nationals—the second phase. In order to attend you can be on either side of the show, actor or tech, but the requirements for each are different.

In order to attend the festival as an actor you have to be invited by a scout in the previous months. Theses scouts come to shows put on by the college, and if they think you in particular did an exceptional job, they can nominate you for the Irene Ryan.

The Irene Ryan scholarship is a $500 scholarship given to first and second place actors in each region. And the top two actors at the national level.The award recipient needs to not only claim first place, but also needs to be a registered college student and get through all 3 levels of competition.

Getting to attend the festival is quite an honor. This year the school only took twelve participants, ten actors and two techs. “I got to go to the festival because I was partnered with Dan Chalice (’21) and Merek Alam (’20) for the Irene Ryan competition and I was paired with Alena Ramos (’22)” said Daniel Barr (’22). Barr also said “If I can go every year, I will. It was so much fun.”

On the tech side of things, there was more of the same. However, the techs who went from Alma did not have to go on an invitation. “Because I am one of Terry’s student assistants and I had a theoretical scene design entered, I was able to go without invitation” said Sam Moretti (’21).

Tech members can also compete. Stage managers can submit prompt books, designers whether it be light, scene, costume or prop can enter their designs and general technicians can look at all the designs and go to lectures and shows.

Competition is one of the biggest aspect of the festival. “I got to compete in the Irene Ryan scholarship competition and the Music Theatre Intensive. I didn’t get to move on to the next round, but my group got incredible feedback so we can improve for future KCACTF,” said Ramos.

Even though the main aspect of KCACTF is to compete for the scholarship, there are also several workshops and events for the students to take part in.

“My favorite part of the festival was probably the grad school workshop I took. There were a set of exercises in which we went inside ourselves and visited the past while bringing that part out. I hadn’t felt emotions like that in such a long time” said Chalice.

Unfortunately, most groups didn’t get to move on. “Although we did not move on to the next round, I got to work with such an amazing person and we’ve become closer friends thanks to the festival and our wonderful scenes” said Carly Christie (’21).

In the students’ free time, they also get to explore the new city they are in. Many groups, while not moving on, also agreed that even though they did not get to go on to compete for the scholarship that the trip was well worth it. “I would attend again in a heartbeat. The festival is always in a different city and state and I get to have a good time going around the city doing what I love” said Christie.

The national competition takes place at The John F. Kennedy Center for the Performing Arts in Washington D.C. during the week of April 15. Even though our students will not be in attendance this year, they will strive to go in the coming years.

Diverse election shakes up congress


The 116th Congress began on Jan. 3 this year with a multitude of new members, both Democratic and Republican. 10 new senators and 101 new representatives were elected this year, leading to what many people claim is the most diverse set of politicians elected to the House. More than 60 percent of the seats that Democrats flipped were won by women. 67 Democrats and 44 Republicans were sworn in to Congress at the beginning of this year, some of which are already making waves. Notable members from each party include Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, Rashida Tlaib, and Andy Kim from the Democratic Party and Anthony Gonzalez, Marsha Blackburn, and Kevin Cramer from the Republican Party.

Alexandria OcasioCortez was elected as a Democratic representative of New York’s 14th district and holds the unique honor of being the youngest ever member of Congress. She ran her campaign on the idea of creating an America that works for everyone, not just a select wealthy few. Her main stances included Medicare for all, housing as a human right, immigration justice, and reforming criminal justice.

Rashida Tlaib was elected as a Democratic representative of Michigan’s 13th district and is the first Palestinian-American women in Congress, as well one of the first two Muslim women in Congress. Previously serving as a State Representative in Lansing, Tlaib ran for Congress to fight for others and to encourage people to do more for communities. Her priorities include standing up for unions, raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour, preventing cuts to Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, and making public colleges, universities and trade schools tuition-free.

Andy Kim was elected as a Democratic representative of New Jersey’s 3rd district and is the first Democrat of Korean descent in Congress. Kim campaigned on the vision of an America “Of, By, and For the People.” His pledges include lowering healthcare and drug costs, expanding care for veterans, speaking out about climate change, and fighting against corruption in government.

Anthony Gonzalez was elected as a Republican representative of Ohio’s 16th district and took an open seat in the House. Previously, he was a wide receiver for the Ohio State Buckeyes and the Indianapolis Colts. He ran his campaign on the main idea of protecting the American people. Gonzalez’s main issues that he plans to push are improving the education system and creating a pro-worker and pro-business environment in today’s economic system.

Marsha Blackburn was elected as a US Senator from Tennessee and was a US House Representative for Tennessee’s 7th district previously. She defeated Democratic Governor Phil Bredesen in November’s election to secure her spot in the Senate. Blackburn said she ran for the U.S. Senate “to straighten up the mess in Washington and remind the Senate that it serves you.” During her term in Congress, she wants to create jobs, support the troops, and raise support for the border wall.

Kevin Cramer was elected as a US Senator for North Dakota and was a US House Representative from 2013 until 2019. He defeated incumbent Democratic Senator Heidi Heitkamp by 11 percent in November’s election. His main issues include strengthening border security, protecting the Second Amendment, supporting the military and its veterans, and protecting and maintaining Social Security and Medicare.

Alternative breaks encourage service


Alma College offers students the opportunity to participate in Alternative Breaks. Alternative Breaks allow students to perform community service in lieu of going home for major breaks. These community service opportunities can vary from working with the homeless to providing disaster relief.

According to the Alma College website, most alternative breaks include teams of eight to twelve students, along with a staff advisor. Before departing, students will attend meetings in order to better understand the expectations of the trip. These trips are available for affordable prices through a subsidy from the Responsible Leadership Institute.

“When I attended my last alternative break, I made a bunch of new best friends and connections with people I never thought I would talk to,” said Bridget Flanery (‘20). Flanery most recently attended the trip to the Everglades in National Parks, Florida, in December of 2018.

During this trip, students assisted the park with maintenance, and completed several tasks that otherwise would not have been completed due to lack of funding for the national park.

“This trip had a lot to do with nature and the environment, but when we reflected at the end of each day, we realized it was about more than that,” said Flanery. “I met so many people and made so many new inside jokes. I made lots of new friends while also serving”

“I did an alternative break to the Fowler Center in Mayville,” said Alexia Miller (‘20). According to the Fowler Center website, the Fowler Center provides yearround camping experiences for children and adults with developmental disabilities.

“I want to work with the special needs population so I got to do that very hands on,” said Miller. “I enjoyed helping them get to their various activities.”

Miller and Flanery both said that alternative breaks are about more than just the service. “I will admit I was scared at first, but it was a lot of fun and rewarding,” said Miller. Similarly, Flanery said, “when people would walk through the parks, we would realize just how rewarding it was to be behind the scenes. We also would start to realize that the sheer beauty of the national parks is not done without hard work by everyone that works there.”

“It brings joy into people’s lives,” said Miller, “it’s definitely an experience I don’t regret, and I want to go on another one soon.”

“Alternative breaks make you value what you have at Alma. It’s comforting knowing that you have made new friends, and alternative breaks bring awareness to all of the opportunities you really have on campus,” said Flanery.

If you would like more information on alternative breaks, you can find more information on the Alma College website, or on the Alma Alternative breaks instagram-@ac_altbreak.

Getting up to date on winter sports


While students were enjoying winter break at home with their families, a select group of student athletes stayed on campus to compete.

The winter sports teams that were on campus during break included both the men’s and women’s basketball teams and the wrestling team, among others. The wrestling team had one event during break and overall the team did well.

“Over break the team did well at the Waynesburg Invitational,” said Brandan Ladd (’20).

“We were able to finish the tournament first overall as a team,” said Zeke Nave (’20).

“Among our team, 7 guys were able to earn individual medals with two being champions.”

From here on out, the wrestling team is getting into the full swing of the season.

“Most of the rest of our season consists of league dual meets and individual tournaments on the weekend,” said Ladd.

“Our goals are simple: stay healthy and continue to work hard in practice and prepare for competition within the conference as well as getting ready for the postseason,” said Nave.

The men’s basketball team struggled in a few ranked games over the break, but kept a good attitude about the rest of the conference season.

“During break, the team had a lot of great competition with teams that are ranked nationally,” said Tyler Edwards, Assistant Coach for the men’s basketball team.

“The goals for the rest of the season are to just learn from past mistakes and overcome to hopefully make the conference tournament.”

As for the women’s basketball team, winter break started slow and ended fast.

“We started off break a little rough with a couple losses, but we rebounded nicely with a pair of conference wins over Kalamazoo and Calvin to start the new year off right,” said Ryan Clark, Head Coach of the women’s basketball team.

“Our main goal for the rest of the season is to finish out our second half of the conference strong and make our league tournament,” said Clark.

Clark also said the team has goals to host a tournament game at home in the playoffs.

“Our goals for the rest of the season are to keep winning, to hopefully win the conference, and to keep taking steps forward as a team and getting better,” said Jessie Jordan (’20).

Aside from competition, student athletes got to spend a lot of time on campus during winter break.

“Even though we sacrifice spending more time with our families, being on campus still gives us a great opportunity to spend quality time with our teammates,” said Nave.

“We spend a lot of time together over break from practicing, lifting, team dinners, team building activities, and even Christmas festivities,” said Ladd.

“Winter break life for athletes on campus is not boring that’s for sure,” said Jordan. “Your teammates definitely become your family and we enjoy all the time we spend together.”

Alma welcomes Professor Camenares


Last semester Alma College gained a new professor in the science department: Professor Devin Camenares, PhD. Camenares moved to Alma at the end of last June, and this past fall was his first semester as an Alma professor.

Camenares first discovered his love for science in high school when he took a biotechnology class. “It really struck me at that time how it [biotechnology] is almost like a different programing language [and that] you can change the programing,” said Camenares.

Camenares came to Alma after teaching for four years at Kingsborough Community College in New York. At Alma, Camenares started up an iGEM (International Genetically Engineered Machine) team. “I wanted to gain teaching experience and help promote awareness of biotechnology and synthetic biology across the campus,” said Camenares.

Once in Alma, Camenaresfelt  that he had found the perfect place for his family, a small city that is not crowded and fast paced like New York, where he had been teaching before.

“The position at Alma, both as it was advertised and now as it has been realized, was a dream come true—a chance to not only teach and conduct research, but to develop an iGEM team with the full support of the college.

In his first semester of teaching, Camenares was given many opportunities to have some impactful memories. One of his favorites took place via email with one of his students. “It was great to see a student taking the material we were reading [in class] and going a step further [by doing his own research and asking questions],” Camenares said.

Camenares enjoys teaching the biotechnological sciences because of the coding and language they are written in. “I teach these courses because of how they relate to the ability to understand and reprogram living systems at a molecular level,” said Camenares.

When not in the classroom, Camenares can be found around the campus partaking in the hobbies he has rediscovered time for, such as chess tournaments. Camenares was also able to discover new hobbies he is considering once the weather is warmer, such as biking the trails.

One hobby that Camenares picked up once he came to Alma was tennis. He used to play some when he was living in New York, but thanks to Alma’s small campus and the short commute to work, Camenares is able to play the sport again, using the courts on South Campus and at the Rec Center.

Along with tennis, Camenares has strengthened his friendships with other faculty members by joining in on their games of Dungeons and Dragons (DND). Camenares has also acted in one of the local Gratiot County plays along with his wife.

“Alma is an improvement in almost every way!” said Camenares. “I particularly like how interconnected everything is: there seems to be more interdisciplinary connections among the faculty, and (in keeping with the tradition of a liberal arts college) a focus on a more holistic education and experience for the students.”

Camenares offered advice to future teachers, saying that they need to try to keep an open mind with their students, and to experiment with what teaching methods will work with those students.

“It is about taking full advantage of the experience not just to find a good position upon graduation, but to realize your potential for long term growth,” said Camenares. “It’s not about your first job upon graduation, but instead you’re last before retirement.”

Resisting I.C.E.: Radical or American?


When President Trump instituted his “Zero Tolerance” policy, he instituted a policy that empowered I.C.E. to separate over 2,500 children from their parents. Leaked audio from I.C.E. detention centers painted a grim picture of children crying for their families, and dozens of now infamous photos of distraught and sobbing children quickly blanketed social media.

The outrage in Michigan was enormous. On Jun. 30, over 1,000 protestors met for a “Families Belong Together” rally in Lansing and dozens of people took the podium on the steps of the state capitol to decry the agency’s cruel practices. The most notable speaker was thencandidate Gretchen Whitmer.

At the rally, Whitmer eloquently stated “I think we need a governor who’s going to stand up to the federal government when they violate our rights,” elaborating that what I.C.E. was doing was “fundamentally cruel and unconstitutional and undemocratic.”

Governor Whitmer’s comments cut right to the core of I.C.E.’s inhuman practices. Yet despite her strong stance, Governor Whitmer hasn’t announced any action or policy to push back against the violation of our rights by the federal government in the six months since the rally.

Perhaps the Governor’s disheartening silence after her exemplary criticism of I.C.E. is representative of what a lot of Americans feel –– we know that what I.C.E. is doing is wrong but we think resisting the agency is too radical. When, in reality, resisting I.C.E. is a matter of following what the Founding Fathers and Constitution tells us to do.

The most common form of resistance: following the 4th amendment and requiring warrants. When non-federal law enforcement come into contact with undocumented immigrants, I.C.E. will often request that these people be detained until the agency can obtain a warrant for deportation.

Some areas comply with I.C.E.’s warrantless request, while others do not. Areas that don’t comply with I.C.E. unless it has a warrant are called “sanctuary cities” or “sanctuary counties.” There are over 60 of these “sanctuary cities” and “sanctuary counties” across the entire country.

“One of the problems currently is how people talk about this concept,” said Professor Slaughter, “many of the people who support sanctuary cities, with or without that name, are actually saying that immigration enforcement must be separate from law enforcement,.” said Stephany Slaughter, associate professor of Spanish.

Law enforcement officers often support the use of sanctuary cities for logical reasons, not political ones. “When law enforcement does the job of immigration enforcement, it undermines community safety,” said Slaughter. “Law enforcement depends on community buy-in,” she said.

Many police officers have shared this sentiment publicly. Shelly Knight of the Dallas Sheriff’s Office stated that a Texas bill that would potentially criminalize noncooperation with I.C.E. if passed was “causing trust in the community to deteriorate,” and that undocumented immigrants are “not wanting to talk to us, they’re not wanting to open the door out of fear that something’s going to happen to them.”

Austin Police Chief Brian Manley stated that “Every Police Chief that spends time working on immigration matters is one less officer investigating serious crime.”

In a Washington Post poll of a San Diego immigrant community, 64.2% of residents said that they were less likely to report a crime they witnessed to local police if the police were working with I.C.E., and 46% said they were less likely to report a crime they had been a victim of. It is hard to even justify a law enforcement focus on undocumented immigrant to begin with. According to a 2018 Cato Institute poll, undocumented immigrants commit 56% less crime than native-born Americans.

Michigan State Police do not arrest people based on immigration status, but are required by policy to inform I.C.E. when they come into contact with people of questionable immigration status.

At the time of publishing, the Whitmer administration has not responded to the Almanian’s request for information on whether or not the Governor supports a pledges of noncooperation with I.C.E. at a state level or if she would endorse pledges of non-cooperation of other local law enforcement and collegial institutions.

Michiganders must ask themselves, why are we disregarding the 4th amendment and the safety of our communities in order to appease a federal agency and administration whose tenure seems to be marked with unspeakable cruelty at every turn?

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