Greer named head coach of men’s soccer


After the resignation of coach Oakley, the Scots men’s soccer team brought home a familiar face. John Greer, previous assistant coach for the program, has been named as head coach.

“We’re thrilled to have Coach Greer returning to Alma and take over the reins as our new head men’s soccer coach,” said Steven Rackley, athletic director.

“He was here for two seasons under Coach Oakley as an assistant. He knows Alma, who we are, and what we can be,” said Rackley.

Greer spent the 2012 and 2013 seasons as an assistant for Alma and then spent the last five years coaching for Transylvania University.

Not only is the athletic department excited for coach Greer’s return to Alma, the student athletes are thrilled.

“It’s a great opportunity to start a fresh chapter under the reigns of a new boss coming to campus,” said Brian Ganton (‘20).

“The entire team is buzzing to have such a highly regarded coach as Greer joining our program,” said Ganton.

“I really think we found the right guy. He is extremely intelligent and really knows the game of soccer,” said Jarod Arendsen (‘22).

As for the hiring process, Greer was the clear choice for the job.

“We had a very strong pool of candidates for the position. Coach Greer rose to the top and the entire committee felt good about bringing him in,” said Rackley.

“Then, once we got him on campus, I knew. We all knew that he was the guy we wanted to be our next head coach,” said Rackley.

One unique aspect of the pooling process was that the members of the team got to have a say in who they wanted to be their head coach.

“As a team, we had a chance to meet with Coach Greer and ask him questions relevant to the culture of the program and also tactics,” said Andersen.

“However, the team was very proactive and involved in meeting Greer when he arrived to campus for his interview,” said Ganton.

“The lads had nothing but the best to say about him, and we believe that kind got the ball rolling on the ultimate selection of our newly elected coach,” said Ganton.

As for what is to come, the entire community around men’s soccer is excited for the future with coach Greer.

“I believe Greer will be coming in with a brand-new outlook of what he sees in the program, which some of the current team and recently past players have not particularly seen yet,” said Ganton.

“Greer is bringing an energy and culture change to the men’s program that is nothing short of contagious for the rest of the squad,” said Ganton.

“I think things will change a lot. I think he will bring a new aspect to the culture of the program,” said Andersen.

Students offered housing option at opera house


Housing selection for the 2019-2020 school year starts soon, and many students are struggling to decide where they want to go. For rising juniors and seniors, the options are quite vast. Between Wright Hall, Wright Avenue Apartments and all of the south campus dorms, there is quite a decision to be made.

Now, the college has also offered the Opera House in downtown Alma as a possible living option for those who will be upper classmen in the fall.

The Opera House was originally built back in 1880, before Alma College was even established. It was home to several traveling events throughout the years and was even used as the meeting center to announce the establishing of Alma College in 1886.

After the Opera house closed, several stores moved in to the first floor to keep the building in use. Unfortunately, there was a fire in 2010 and the interior of the building was completely destroyed. Thanks to its sturdy solid brick foundation, the building was able to stay standing.

Ownership of the building has passed hands many times since the fire, finally belonging to Alma College. The school has, for some time now, planned to turn the Opera House into student apartments. Thus, giving students the opportunity to live off campus while still ] retaining their meal plans and scholarships.

The City of Alma and Alma College were able to come together in 2017, when ownership transferred to the school, to raise $4.3 million of their preliminary goal of $5 million for the renovation budget. In order to live in the Opera House, students will be required to have a minimum of a 3.50 GPA.

“I was really interested in living in the Opera House! The biggest issue I have found, however, is finding enough people with that high of a GPA who want to live in the Opera House instead of Wright Hall,” said Nolan Kukla (’21).

“I feel like the high GPA requirement is completely understandable. In order to live off campus, I cannot blame the school for wanting the GPA to be so high. However, for me, I cannot live in the opera house because of my late rehearsals in the theatre department. It is unlikely to think I would be able to make that trip to and from every night,” said Sam Moretti (’21).

“I personally feel like a group of friends of that size, will not be able to make the GPA requirement and will all be willing to live that far off campus. I think it is a nice idea, I am just worried there will not be the numbers to fill the Opera House,” said George El-Hage (’21).

Another question that has been raised several times, is what rooms are going to look like specifically, and how many people will be able to fit in a room?

“All the bedrooms in the Opera House will be single rooms. Most will be similar in size but will vary depending on the number of bedrooms. Apartments will have options of 2, 3, 4 or 5 bedrooms. Apartments will also have a kitchen and living space in addition to the bathroom and bedrooms,” said Alice K r a m e r , Director of Residence Life.

Parking is also being taken into consideration.

“Currently, there is a city parking lot behind the Opera House. The college is working with the city to arrange parking options for residents of the Opera House somewhere nearby,” said Kramer.

Housing Costs will go up for those who decide to apply to live in the Opera House, but meal plan cost will go down. In the end, it costs almost the same., according to Kramer.

Students bring attention to climate change


On Mar. 15, students around the world skipped their classes to attend strikes intended to bring attention to climate change, an issue that has been sparking debate for over a decade. It is believed that over 1 million students in 125 countries skipped classes on Friday to protest a lack of action on the issue.

The movement began with Greta Thunberg, a 16-year-old political activist who reportedly sat outside Swedish parliament every Friday since August 2018. Thunberg has since been nominated for a Nobel Peace Prize because of her actions and inspiration to students around the world.

“Climate change is the most pressing issue the planet faces today,” said Nathan Fetter (’22).

“If we don’t take care of our planet, nothing we do today will matter in the end, because there will be no planet for us to live on. We need to take care of the planet the way it takes care of us and we need to work towards net zero emissions.”

“Climate change is a pressing issue today with very real consequences that are already beginning to be seen across the globe,” said Aubrey Root (’21).

“I have to believe that attention will be brought to climate change as a result of the student strikes, and I believe that if nothing else, the conversation about climate change that will be brought into a global light is worth it.”

One major complaint amongst young activists is the difficulty of getting older generations to pay attention.

“There are several challenges to be a student, primarily that several older adults don’t think we are wise enough to have informed opinions about such important topics,” continued Root.

“[But] students are justified because this issue is incredibly pressing for us to have a solid future on this earth.”

There have also been frustrations with students skipping their classes, an issue that also came up last year during walk-outs in schools due to gun safety protests. During these walk-outs, many schools threatened punishments such as detention if students participated.

“College students pay enough money that they should be allowed to skip whatever class they want, regardless of purpose.” said Ethan Zalac (’22).

“In the case of high school students, however, [it’s] a complicated issue. While this is a very important and worthwhile cause, and they should not be punished in this instance, it could open the door for similar strikes about things that are not as important or relevant, discounting the importance and impact of this and taking away from the education of younger generations.”

However, that’s not to discredit their efforts.

“I would say they are justified in their reactions, and I support their decisions to protest climate change,” continued Zalac.

“It is unlikely that I would participate; I think that through my studies here in digital media and psychology that I will be able to better serve an environmental movement with the skills and knowledge I am gaining from my classes rather than skipping them.”

Although some students may feel the same way, there are students in Alma that would participate in strikes for such causes.

“I would participate if students in Alma protested climate change, because this issue is very real in today’s world. [And sometimes, that means you have to be willing to sacrifice certain lifestyles, your time, or other things.” said Root.

“[And] students can become involved in several different ways: reading up on important causes, writing to policymakers, voting in politicians who will fight for the environment, or just voicing their concerns regarding climate change.”

You deserve better (or worse)!


Many Americans believe that our society functions as a meritocracy, an informal governing system where people climb the ranks based on their ability. The best, brightest, and most hardworking can get all the way to the most influential positions in the country. While everyone else exists in lower roles that are better suited for their skill-level.

The belief in an American Meritocracy is heartening for a couple reasons. It tells us that anyone can reach the top if they try hard enough, including you! And if you don’t quite reach the top, then at least the people who managed to climb higher deserve to be there. It can be comforting to know that those serving at the highest levels of government or those put in charge of the biggest corporations are qualified to make decisions that affect millions of people. There is a reason we spread the word about our favorite candidate or read the Forbes “400 Wealthiest People” list: we think these people are inherently smarter and better than we are.

On March 12, this idea was challenged. Federal prosecutors announced an investigation into a college admissions bribing scandal. The FBI investigation (nicknamed “Varsity Blues”) found that William Singer, a college admissions counselor, had unethically carried out admissions for more than 750 wealthy families. District of Massachusetts prosecutors have released indictments and complaints against 50 people, including parents who have used bribery and various kinds of fraud to gain admission for their children at the country’s top colleges and universities. The federal prosecutor revealing the scheme assured the nation that there would be justice, and that “There can be no separate college admissions system for the wealthy.”

Despite the valiant efforts of these federal prosecutors, there is a separate college admissions system for the wealthy, and it will continue to exist even after this investigation concludes. There are many ways that wealthier families get advantages in the admission process by the simple virtue of having more money, and most of them are very legal.

Nearly half of private colleges and universities take into account whether an applicant’s family members attended that school, giving special preference to “legacy admission” students who are more likely to have come from richer backgrounds. Many colleges consider if an applicant has made a campus visit, which can be trip that’s too expensive for other families. Wealthy parents can pay thousands of dollars for test prep and college consulting for their children, in contrast to struggling families who may need their children to spend their time working jobs in order to support the household.

Wealthier school districts can offer far more sports and extracurriculars which can help those students distinguish themselves in ways that kids from poorer school districts can’t. Wealthier parents can also simply donate large amounts of money to schools in order to get their children unofficial special preference. And some high school students will simply never be able to afford college no matter how smart and talented they are, unlike their more privileged peers.

The college admission scandal is not an isolated event in well functioning system, it’s a crack in the lie that there is a meritocracy that deserves to rule over us.

Many of the people at the top aren’t there because they’re far smarter or more hard-working than you are, they’re there because they had more money or knew the right people. The CEO of Mylan, Heather Bresch, who raised the price of EpiPens from $50 to $600 didn’t become CEO and jack prices because she was smarter than you, she did it because she was the child of a senator and was provided every opportunity in life. White House advisor Jared Kushner didn’t get into Harvard because of his spectacular GPA and SAT scores, which his high school administrator says “did not warrant it,” he got in because his father donated $2.5 million dollars to the school. Bresch and Kushner now both make decisions that affect millions of Americans because of their parent’s wealth rather than their own merit. And they aren’t the exception, they are the rule.

You could consider me hypocritical for writing about this. My family’s secure financial position allowed me to spend more time studying so I could perform better academically than the average student. My high school had enough money to run a whole host of extracurriculars which I had the time to join because I wasn’t working to support my family. My decision to go to Alma was aided by the fact that my mom’s employment here grants me an almost tuition-free college education. I could afford to work an unpaid internship over the summer and use it to build my resume. I’m the result of many privileges. Yet, I have also turned down my favorite college because of the costs associated with it, like many other people have.

There are students who are far smarter and more qualified than me who aren’t in college because of their financial situation. Similarly, there are students less smarter and less qualified than me who are in more prestigious colleges because of their financial situation. We’re all products of our environments, and some of these environments are better than others. None of us are hypocrites for admitting this.

We don’t live in a meritocracy, we live in a system ruled by inequalities. To recognize this doesn’t mean we should all be ashamed of the advantages and privileges that we have or don’t have. You may have deserved better or worse than what you got, and you may have gotten more or less opportunities than the person next to you. But you aren’t defined by what you deserved or how many opportunities you had. You are defined by how you use what you have to make sure that those after you are more deserving and that they have more opportunities.

Farewell to the Almanian


As I come to the close of my senior year at Alma and finish my final weeks with the Almanian, I’ve been asked to write about and reflect on the time I’ve spent with the paper.

I started working for the Almanian during my sophomore year at Alma as the layout editor of the “Thoughts” section of the paper; I also wrote weekly articles for the same section, generally writing album reviews which were more of just a way to shamelessly plug stuff I liked than anything else. I was fired in the winter semester of that year for not showing up to do edits one Sunday.

Luckily, neither the editor-in chief at the time nor myself had hard feelings about it, and the following fall I was hired back in the position of copy editor. This is what I’ve done for the paper since.

Copy editing is pretty simple: I just read some number of stories each week and make changes to stories as needed. Some weeks I get lucky and the errors are few, and some weeks I can spend over an hour or so working stories into being clear and readable.

In my few years editing, I’ve learned a great deal about some of the ways to effectively edit a writer’s original words without sacrificing their message, as well as how to communicate to writers the ways in which they can improve their writing and become more consistent in things such as journalistic style.

This part is tricky and has been a side of editing that I have long struggled with yet have more recently been becoming more comfortable doing. While I still feel a bit awkward in describing edits or notes, being a copy editor for this long has in some ways made me more confident in knowing and communicating aspects of grammar or style. I have also learned not to become frustrated or worry when advice goes unheeded and quality becomes difficult to maintain.

Overall, my time at the Almanian has been a good way to strengthen some of the things that I’ve learned through my major, as well as an opportunity to gain some experience in a semiprofessional journalistic setting.

Bringing sign language to campus


Alma offers a small variety of foreign language classes, and it’s required that each student take at least four credits in a language course, as well as four credits in a global.

Many students find languages such as Spanish, French and German interesting, while others may find them bland or hard to learn.

One class the college has yet to offer is American Sign Language, or ASL. While it may not be found on this campus, many online colleges as well as CMU offer various ASL courses.

Two students, Bailey Frank (‘21) and Jillian Weber (‘21), are proposing to add an ASL course to Alma’s campus.

Frank and Weber both feel as though adding ASL to campus would be beneficial to many people. “[It] would help other students have the opportunity to learn sign language as their language rather than doing Spanish or something if they have speech issues,” said Weber.

Frank and Weber have been working on this proposition this semester, and they will soon be presenting their idea in front of President Abernathy. “We have to talk to the foreign language professors here to see about the competition and how much they make so we can make a rough [budget] estimate for President Abernathy,” said Frank.

While adding a class may seem easy to do, there is a lot that go into a decision like this. “It would be expensive to go through a hiring process for an adjunct professor to teach it here,” said Dana Aspinall, assistant professor of English.

Not only would it be a big financial investment to add a course like this, the college must decide whether or not enough students would take such a course.

“We’re very cost-conscious at the college because all higher education is sort of in an economic crisis right now and we’re not immune from that,” said Aspinall. “We’re just trying to be very careful with our money.”

Although cost is a big factor in decisions like this, some students feel as though the benefit outweighs the cost.

“I think it would be a big benefit to campus because I really think it could bring in students who would feel more comfortable [here]. If they were deaf they could come to this college and there would be people they could communicate with,” said Kimber Buzzard (‘21).

Buzzard is a student who decided to take her ASL courses online and transfer the credits to Alma’s campus. As of right now, students that want to take ASL can take it for their foreign language requirement, but it will need to be either online or via commute to a campus such as CMU. Professors in the language department do allow ASL credits to count for the foreign language distributive.

Frank and Weber have been getting in contact with other campuses that offer this course, trying to determine what it would take to have it here. On top of the option of an ASL course being added, it will also need to be determined whether or not it will be credited as a foreign language, humanities course, global, or in the communications.

While not currently being offered here, some remain very positive about the probability of finding such a course at Alma in the near future. “So far we’ve had about 120 people answer our questionnaire. Of that 120 there [were] about six that did not want to [add this course]. That means there are about 114 Alma College students that would take it if it was offered,” said Frank.

Either way, Aspinall is very proud of his students this semester. “I’m very proud of the honors program students, this year in particular, for coming up with these ideas. Some of them are just fabulous, and I know that some of them are going to be put into place,” said Aspinall.

Tuition increase poses challenges


For many students on campus, the high tuition expenses of attending school have placed a barrier between the student and service institution in terms of where their money goes. Transparency between students and the college helps put myths to rest concerning why college has a cost.

Tuition encompasses two definitions of costs. A published cost covers tuition, fees and average room and board. Net cost is the published cost minus federal, state and Alma College financial aid and scholarships.

Understanding the difference helps clarify where tuition payments go as a reality of attending Alma College. Beginning with the different definitions of tuition helps clarify where and why tuition benefits the campus and the students.

“The terminology between net cost and the published cost is important. It is the net cost that considers all the financial aid and scholarships,” said Jeffrey Swears, Chief Financial Officer.

Tuition increases for several reasons, both internal and external concerns that are generally impossible for the institution to prevent.

Inevitably, tuition costs rise every year due to gradual increases in inflation as general costs increase for all goods and services that the college purchases; costs are passed on in the form of a tuition increase.

“Inflation certainly affects increasing tuition. At the same time, we focus on affordability, regarding keeping costs as low as possible in order to keep a quality education affordable for our students,” said Swears.

The purpose of tuition as a value is to provide a high quality education and living experience for all students on campus. That also covers a fair wage for staff and services on campus that are provided for students.

“All schools face the same thing. We all try to provide the best quality education and living experience we can, but we want to pay the staff a fair living wage,” said Swears.

The best means for the college to keep tuition affordable is to be efficient with the costs that come with maintaining a private college. Student affordability is a high priority of Alma College.

When it comes to affordability, the relationship between fixed scholarships and increasing tuition rates can become a topic that is often lesser understood by the general student populous.

“Scholarships do not increase with tuition cost. In a Freshman’s arrival year, they are awarded a level based on their financial need and merit. The college keeps this rate flat because we want to award as much as we can. If tuition increases, then that is a difference that students end up paying,” said Swears.

The smaller the college, the lower they can keep the published cost. Therefore, the gap between rising tuition and fixed scholarship rates can stay at a cost-effective level.

“For Fall 2019, Alma’s published cost will increase by 2.85%, the lowest such increase in at least 15 years,” said Swears.

The highest cost that colleges face is maintaining and improving campus utilities, facilities and equipment for future generations. The costs for people who live and use student services on campus primary make up the base of this cost.

“Beyond that, we have costs for technology and educational support costs. We have the buildings themselves. We have to maintain residents’ halls and all the buildings on campus. Student meal plans are another considerable cost out of tuition,” said Swears.

All of the listed services add up to the total cost of tuition for providing an education. As those costs increase, the cost of student tuition rises correspondingly to meet that shift.

“In 2017, Alma College’s net cost was the third lowest among 7 Michigan MIAA schools,” said Swears.

The faculty at the Student Service Office do their best to provide efficient, affordable education for students at Alma. Their work is important and appreciated by many students on our campus.


Guest op-ed: in response to early retirement


If you wish to submit something to The Almanian, please do so at editor.

This morning I went to put on my Alma College Alumni sweatshirt and couldn’t bring myself to wear it. The soft, gray, cozy sweatshirt is typically my favorite, but not today. I will never look at the Alma College tartan the same.

The news of my Alma Mater choosing to push 57 hard working staff to retire early has me feeling devastated. 57 dedicated, loyal, and faithful staff members do not know if they’ll have a position in the near future if they don’t take the offer. Some of these individuals have been employed by the college for over 30 years. They are a major part of the “Alma Experience.” These staff members are the backbone of the college. They are the MOST dedicated individuals I’ve met. Ultimately, they are the reason “Plaid Works.” And they want to WORK.

As an Alumni, I stand with the 57 individuals who deserve to be treated with respect. They deserve to be honored for their MANY years of service to a great college and community. One of the many reasons I love Alma College was because of the small, close knit, and “family like” atmosphere. The Alma College family looks out for one another, takes care of one another, and fights for one another…

What has transpired this week is NOT the Alma College family I once knew. Shame on you Alma College. Shame on you.

In Alma College’s mission statement, it says, “to prepare graduates who think critically, serve generously, lead purposefully and live responsibly as stewards of the world they bequeath to future generations.”

I can confidently say that I left Alma College with these key life tools and many more in my back pocket; however, where is the critical thinking component in the decision to push 57 staff members to retire early? Is this the only and best creative plan? Where’s the generosity in this circumstance? The purposeful leadership? The responsibility? Alma College, your mission statement does NOT match your actions.

Alma College, you can do better. Alma College, be better… love better, please.

Alma College, don’t forget your core values. Especially, the last value titled, “Ethical Integrity, Aesthetic Appreciation, Spiritual Sensitivity.” In that value you state that “with knowledge comes obligation. To live a complete life that withstands the scrutiny of self and others, individuals must exhibit personal integrity, respect for the value of all humanity, and sensitivity to the spiritual and material beauty of one’s existence. We expect these principles to be modeled in the educational programs, work, and daily interactions of all members of the college community and for graduates to practice them in their lives beyond Alma.”

In light of this week’s events, this is obviously you’re biggest “need for improvement,” area Alma College. Where’s your ethical integrity, obligation, and respect for these 57 individuals? Is this how you “value” the staff members on your campus? Alma College, are YOU honestly modeling this core value? I think not.

Alma College always says, “we don’t just embrace our Scottish heritage — we live it every day, out loud and in plaid.” The heartbeat of Alma College is in it’s deep Scottish heritage, plaid, bagpipes, and traditions. But the heartbeat is also in the people… EVERY person. I smile when I reflect on ALL of the PEOPLE who made my Alma College journey a great one.

The majority of them were staff members who went ABOVE and BEYOND to answer my every question, guide me, believe in me, learn my name (YES, my name… such an amazing feeling to walk into an office on campus and be called by your first name by a staff member who barely knows you), and who simply cared. A heritage is about more than how we value objects but it’s about how we value one another… what is and has been passed down from generations. Is this the beginning of the new “Alma College Heritage?” I hope not.

And although it would be easy to allow the negative decision of a few to soil my many years of amazing memories at Alma College, I’ve decided not to allow that for long. I’ll always be a Scot.

To every one of the 57 staff members, I want to personally say, “thank you.” Many of you made my “Alma Experience,” especially wonderful.

Thank you for your dedication, loyalty, and for truly loving the Alma College students, staff, and community. You all deserve to hear, “thank you.” As an Alumni of Alma College, I grief with you ALL as this is a loss that will be felt for many years to come. I truly believe God will bless and give you favor as you step into this next season. He will take care of your every need. Although your faith is being tested, “Count it all joy, my brothers, when you meet trials of various kinds, for you know that the testing of your faith produces steadfastness. And let steadfastness have its full effect, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.” – James 1:2-4.

You all are in my prayers as you face so many unknowns. Stay steadfast.

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