‘OK Boomer’ takes the internet by storm



Many are saying that 2019 marks the year in which friendly generational communication comes to a close. Generation Z has coined a new phrase aimed specifically at the older generation known as “OK Boomer.”

The phrase has taken the internet by storm and is most frequently used in an attempt to express frustration with the Baby Boomer generation and their sometimes lack of understanding.

In an interview with the New York Times, Shannon O’Conner said “The older generation grew up with a certain mind-set, and we have a different perspective.” This is the common theme among the younger generation today. 

The phrase originally began in a TikTok video which featured an older gentleman as he describes what he calls “the Peter Pan syndrome.” He explains that Generation Z has created a utopian society in which they are attempting to live in for the rest of their lives.

He says that eventually the younger generation has to grow up and realize that not everything comes easy. Since the release of that video, there have been over 4,000 TikToks made in response to the video and to “Ok Boomer” overall.

Several college students have created merchandise which have sold out. One student received more than $10,000 in orders for her creation of a sweatshirt which used the typical grocery bag logo “thank you” replacing the words with “Ok Boomer.”

There has also been some harsh feedback to the phrase. Conservative radio host Bob Lonsberry vented some of his frustrations on the phrase when he tweeted that ‘boomer’ is the n-word of ageism.  He also tweeted that “being hip and flip does not make bigotry ok, nor is a derisive epithet acceptable because it is new.”

Alma students, however, disagree with that sentiment.

“I do think the term could be considered ageist, but it is definitely not a slur and should not be equated to words that carry a history of oppression and discrimination,” said Marissa Romano (’21).

Dictionary.com had some comments on Lonsberry’s tweets as well. On Nov. 4th, the dictionary.com twitter page tweeted, “Boomer is an informal noun referring to a person born during a baby boom, especially one born in the U.S. between 1946 and 1965. The n-word is one of the most offensive words in the English language.”

Some students are upset that when they make a joke about a generation, they are told that they are treating others unfairly, but when that same generation retorts with something offensive, they have no consequences.

“I think it is pretty hypocritical that Boomers can accuse lower generations of being ungrateful and lazy, but when a joke is made about a generalized community, they get upset and lash out,” said Brandon Nicholson (’21). “Additionally, the slur is not offensive and should be allowed to be used however our generation feels.”

In addition to merchandise, there has been an anthem created for the boomer backlash movement. Jonathan Williams wrote and produced the song titled, “ok boomer” which contains a chorus of Williams just yelling “ok boomer” repeatedly into the mic. Over 4,000 TikToks have been created using the audio.

Those who have made merchandise say that they will be using the money that they have raised to help pay of their student loans. Everett Solares, who sold a few rainbow “ok boomer” products said, “I had not seen any gay merchandise for ‘ok boomer,’ so I just chose every product I could fund.”

“I plan on using the money to pay my rent and buy things that will help me survive,” Solares continued. Others say that because essentials are more expensive than ever before, monetizing the boomer backlash was just the thing that they needed in order to continue to attend college and survive.

Deadly virus coming from Arctic icecaps


Climate change is a subject that has long been circulating through the news and world politics. Although there are countless side effects of climate change, researchers have recently discovered another phenomenon occurring: key marine animal species across the globe are dying due to a virus being released from melting icecaps.

Phocine distemper virus (PDV) is a pathogen that has long been affecting marine mammal populations across the Arctic. Its origin baffled researchers for a long time, until they noticed the link between the spread of the virus and the rate of the icecaps melting.

It is reported that since 1988, the virus, caused by the icecaps melting due to climate change, has killed tens of thousands of marine animals. Scientists became curious how the virus was being released when the disease, which had previously circulated in certain species of seals, began to spread through otters and sea lions, as well.

After studying data for 15 years, researchers noted that Arctic sea ice is a necessity for marine mammals, but when ocean temperatures rise, they are forced to cross paths with new species in pursuit of their food. It is this interaction that makes the virus spread to new species and what tipped off researchers to its source.

Exposure of the virus has peaked twice; once in 2003 and again in 2009. In both cases, the outbreaks came after record-low levels of sea ice. These outbreaks reportedly occur every five to 10 years. According to NASA, sea ice hit its second-lowest level in 2019, so marine mammals could easily be facing another outbreak soon. The virus is prevalent in the northern Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.

PDV luckily doesn’t infect humans, but it has been compared to the measles. Both are respiratory diseases that spread through contact—and both are highly contagious. Although the virus itself doesn’t affect people, there have been indirect consequences of declining marine mammal populations. As seals and fish move further away from shore, Alaskans find it harder to hunt and maintain their livelihoods.

There is no known cure for the virus, but there are ways to slow it down. Marine mammals are unable to keep up with their changing environments and circumstances caused by climate change. People can make greater efforts to reduce their individual carbon footprints, which can come together as a global effort.

“It is important to reduce our carbon footprint because within the next century, we could experience extreme weather patterns, a loss in biodiversity, and mass extinction, just to name a few tragedies caused by climate change,” said Rebecca Marolf (’23). “U.S. citizens release the most carbon dioxide per capita, and it is important that we take the necessary steps to reduce our carbon footprint for future generations.”

Making efforts to reduce individual carbon footprints can often be easier said than done, but there are easy ways to make a difference. “Personally, I have taken initiative to stop consuming large amounts of meat including beef, chicken, turkey, etc. I will only eat venison and meats that my family and I harvest from hunting,” said Marolf. “I have also changed my clothes shopping habits and started thrifting. I have found that thrifting used clothes has been very fulfilling for my bank account and for the environment.”

There are even more ways for students to help the environment. For example, things as simple as reducing the use of plastic water bottles or turning off lights when they aren’t being used can collectively make a big difference in the world’s carbon footprint. Efforts like these, together, can help to slow down the effects of climate change and provide a safer world for both humans and animals, such as those being affected by PDV.

Football team honors fallen veteran


Alma College Football faced off against Olivet on Saturday Nov. 9. The team suffered a loss on the field but they secured a win through the honor they showed in this memorial game to a fallen veteran and football alumni.  

Chris O’Connor was a 1985 graduate of Alma College and former member of the football team. O’Connor then joined the Marine Corps and in 1989 he passed away in a tragic helicopter training exercise in South Korea. 

Each and every day we honor Chris by doing so touching the victory bell, but Saturday was a day to inform others of Chris’ unselfishness and also honor all the other veterans who lived similar admirable traits as Chris.  Alumni that knew Chris speak very highly of him.  I think it is always important to remember and appreciate those that have come before us and many alumni have reached out to express their support of the Chris O’Connor Veteran’s Day Game,” said Head Football Coach Jason Couch.  

The victory bell sits in the grass by the entrance into Bhalke Field. It is a memorial to Chris O’Connor and the bell is rung by a brother of his fraternity, Tau Kappa Epsilon, every time the Scots score a touchdown.  

This game means so much because of the bond I share with my brothers from the military, football, and from the TKE household. It’s an honor to represent a man who was so well respected,” said Veteran, Football Player, and TKE Brother, Stephen White ‘22 

The Scots fell in a 28-13 game to the Comets. Though the Scots surpassed Olivet in both passing yards, with 207, and rushing yards, 184, they still suffered 4 turnovers compared to Olivet’s 1 which contributed to the loss. 

“I am extremely happy with how hard the team worked and every week they competed.  If they take that same mentality into everything else they do, they will be successful.  It was fun to be a part of this team, it’s obvious they care about each other and have a deep desire to do their best for one another,” said Coach Couch. 

The Scots will end their season on Saturday Nov. 15 in a game against Finlandia University. For some players, this will be the last game they ever play. 

The team has come a long way from last season and they look forward to ending their season on a high note. 

“The progression of our team has been steady ever since the end of last season. The senior group we had this year have stepped up and created a culture that I feel will be around for a long time. Seniors such as Max Kretzschmar, Steve Sowa, Zeke Ramirez deserve a lot of credit for the impact they have left on this program and have set the bar high for the years to come,” said Couch. 

Coach Couch spoke his thoughts on the season ending game. 

“WIN, and honor the seniors who are going to put on the Scots jersey one last time.  They have spent countless hours preparing themselves, making sure they are physically and mentally ready to represent Alma College the best they can.  When you work so hard on something and it comes to an end it is very difficult and emotional.  We will share laughs and tears following the game.  The Seniors and their parents should be proud of what they have accomplished.  They will be missed,” Said Couch.  

After Saturday’s season ending game, the coaches will get to work to replace and build next year’s team. 

“Coaches will hit the road Monday, working hard to bring in a strong 2020 class.  We will travel to most of the schools in the state of Michigan and target a 40-50 schools out of state,” said Couch. 


Women’s basketball starts off strong


On Saturday, November 9, Alma College’s Women’s Basketball team tipped off their season to not only a great start with a 60-44 win over Oberlin College, but new Head Coach Samantha Stormont’s first collegiate win. 

This win set the tone for the season and expectations after coming off of a successful 2018-2019 season with a 9-7 record and advancement to the semifinals in the MIAA conference. 

Head Women’s Basketball Coach Samantha Stormont said, “I am so proud of the year we had last year, but when the season ended, we all agreed we wanted more. We talked a lot about putting in the work this summer individually, so we didn’t miss a beat when we came back together in the fall. As a program, we constantly talk about our goals and what we’re fighting for.” 

With this mindset in mind, the team makes sure to embrace the upcoming season and new head coach with open arms. The team is eager to make this year different and prove that they are here to play, which is the exact point the team made on the court on Saturday.  

“The team’s mindset [going into Saturday’s game] was coming out and setting the pace within the first five minutes. We competed the entire game and are taking one game at a time. We protected home court and played as a team,” said Hannah Thelen (’20), a senior on the Basketball team. 

From Coach Stormont’s leadership and the team’s mindset, mentality and a want to start off strong helped the Scots make a strong point with their win. 

However, behind the mindset and hunger for a successful new season is the foundation for the up and coming team. Before the Scots take the court, they spend constant hours and time preparing for these moments. 

These hours of practice not only help the athletes stay in prime condition for the season, but play a role in the overall cohesion of the team. 

“Our practices consist of break-down drills between post and guards, shooting drills, and we focus a lot on defense and build on our offense. We end practices with a scrimmage or 5-on-5 drill. When practice is over, we recognize players who we believe stood out during the practice. We call these ‘Spotlights,”’ said Thelen. 

These “spotlights” reflect not only the hard work of the players, but the unity and bond of the team that stems from the acknowledgement and practice. 

Without these moments, the team would not be the team it is today. 

“My favorite part of being a part of this team is how connected we are.  Our crazy team has fun making memories and laughing together. Our team chemistry is the key to success,” said Thelen. 

The same can be said about Coach Stormont. Outside of these moments and the “spotlights” in practice, the team and their win on Saturday put a big spotlight on their new head coach.  

“Coach Stormont has high and achievable expectations for each individual along with the team as a whole this season to put nothing but 100% effort and dedication to this team and to never lose sight of how lucky we are and how great this program can be if we believe,” said Jennifer Brandt (’21)

From assistant coach to head coach, Coach Stormont already had a preexisting bond with the team. Her presence was a familiar face and impact on the team. 

This made the transition easier for the team and herself.  

“As our assistant coach last year, she knows the ins and outs of our team and uses that to capitalize our program this year.  Sami’s expectations for this team are high. She knows our potential and believes this is the year we become MIAA Champs,” said Thelen.
With that in mind and Coach Stormont’s first big win on Saturday, 
the team went back to the court on Monday, November 11 to face off against Bluffton University, where their expectation and goals remained the same. 

Speaking about Monday’s game, Brandt said, “We also hope to learn even more from this experience to take to the next practice and grow off of. We know what we came here for and what we have to do to get where we want to be and we hope to carry that out every minute of the game.” 

The Scots put up a tough fight, but fell short with a 62-49 lose against Bluffton. This placing the team at 1-1. 

However, despite the loss, the team is determined to keep moving forward and taking it day by day – one basket at a time. 

“The girls absolutely set the tone for how hard we will compete every night. We played as a team and had a lot of fun, I expect nothing to change,” said Coach Stormont. 

Trump’s troubles beyond the impeachment inquiry


The events surrounding the impeachment inquiry have captured the nation. However, there are more problematic revelations and verdicts plaguing the White House.

Two books have been a center of focus in recent weeks. One, written by an anonymous senior Trump Administration official entitled, A Warning, provides a look into the inner workings of Trump’s White House. 

The anonymous author explains their experiences within the administration, citing concerning incidents regarding the President’s willingness to follow precedent or observe typical operating procedure. As the book is unsigned, there is room to doubt the credibility of the author, however this individual has previously published an op-ed in the New York Times. 

The book focuses less on the impeachment inquiry, (as the book was fully written at the time that the process began,) and more on the inner workings of the cabinet and administration as a whole. They explain the exodus of cabinet members and the consideration of officials to revolt against the president en mass. 

Also, recently in print, former Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley released a memoir on Nov. 10 entitled With All Due Respect. Considering the negative news surrounding the president as of late, this book seemed to pose a more positive light.

In her book, Haley often sides with Trump while criticizing the rest of the administration. However, she admitted she did not agree with all of the decisions and actions made by Trump, particularly regarding foreign policy.

Haley seemed to concur with the speculation in A Warning, by explaining that multiple administration officials tried to convince her to act in a way different from her direction from the president in order to “save the country.” 

Trump’s turbulent month was not limited to publications. A guilty verdict was announced on Friday for Rodger Stone, longtime aide to the president. Stone was charged with seven felonies, including lying under oath and obstruction of justice among others. He was found guilty on all counts and is expected to be sentenced to jailtime in February. 

Stone is among several former Trump associates who have been found guilty on charges stemming from the 2016 campaign and other dealings with the president. While this verdict does not directly impact Trump, it has been bobbled by political pundits as a bad look overall. 

Considering Donald Trump’s financial records legal battle, a Manhattan federal appeals court consisting of three judges, unanimously decided that the president must turn over financial records. Several parties have requested to see this data, as it pertains to hush money payments, potential conflicts of interest cases and more. 

This fight is set to hit the Supreme Court Docket, likely this term, meaning a decision could be announced before the 2020 election. Trump’s lawyers have diligently fought the ruling, calling it politically motivated and an attack on the president. 

The larger issue at stake in a Supreme Court hearing will be the extent of presidential immunity.  The court has previously taken cases involving sitting presidents, however in both cases, the president in question felt losses (Nixon in 1974 and Clinton in 1997). 

The months to follow will be pivotal in the future of the Trump Presidency.  Considering the escalating impeachment inquiry and external troubles considering former cabinet members and associates, Trump’s efforts to damage control will be critical to his success moving forward. 

Changes coming for Alma College Venture experiences



Fall 2020 will bring some big changes to our small campus. Beginning next fall term, Alma College will open up more travel experiences for students, in the hopes that more individuals will be able to make use of the opportunities offered through the college.

Currently, any student who has taken advantage of a Posey Global Grant to travel abroad is not eligible to use a Venture Grant. Starting in the fall of 2020 that will change.

“Students can now complete multiple experiences and they will not take away from their access to other opportunities,” said Assistant Director of the Venture Program and Off-Campus Study, Carla Jensen.

The goal of this change is to open up opportunities to students on campus that may otherwise be closed. Some say that Alma’s off-campus experiences help to distinguish the college from other small liberal arts schools.

Not only will students be able to use these grants in any order they see fit, there will even be opportunities for those traveling to get more funding.

“All traditional Venture funding will still be in place, but additional funding is available, thanks to generous donor support, for experiences like local service learning, social justice and advocacy work,” said Carla Jensen.

Some students now wonder what this means for those that have already received a Posey Global Grant and were denied for a Venture Grant.

“The Venture Grant was falsely advertised to me as a prospective student and I was very angry to learn that I could not access it because I took the opportunity to use a P-Global in my first year,” said Destiny Herbers (‘21).

While students still currently cannot apply for a Venture Grant if they have already used a P-Global, the opportunity for some will come soon enough.

“This change I do think must be frustrating for people who were denied their Venture due to using P-Global money first, but that doesn’t mean that Administration shouldn’t make this change,” said Lillian Blaisdell (‘21).

For many this change seems to be a case of “better late than never,” but still brings some disappointment as they won’t be able to take advantage of this opportunity for this upcoming spring term.

The changes of the order in which the Venture Grant and P-Global can be used is not the only change to this system, though.

“Beginning next fall, all experiential and service learning programs will now fall under the Venture umbrella and most will have a shared application and committee review process,” said Carla Jensen. “Students can dream up their Venture and apply for the funding needed and the committee will determine the awards.” 

While the entire process hasn’t yet been fully decided or released, the college is planning on big changes that involve opening more doors for students who are willing and wanting to travel abroad. The upcoming changes have many students giddy about the prospect of being able to travel even more, but they feel as though there are still issues that remain unsolved.

“I do think a major flaw that still exists in the Venture program system is why [and] why not some students receive the “full” $2,500.  I think, especially since $2,500 is advertised for every student, it really stirs up bitterness and confusion when people aren’t awarded the full amount,” said Blaisdell.

Although some students feel as though there are issues within the Venture system here at Alma, there are changes being made in hopes of allowing more students to venture off campus and explore the world around them.

“We believe every Alma College student should have a transformative experiential learning opportunity and the college is expanding our commitment to making that possible,” said Carla Jensen. “College is a great place to explore new things and we believe your college experience should include the opportunity to pursue something you care deeply about or maybe just to step out of your comfort zone and try something you never imagined”

2020 primary elections cause political shake-up


This week has seen the 2020 primaries heating up with the switch of Virginia, a formerly republican red state, to a democratic blue. This voting result is consistent with the surge of more suburban populations attending the polls, which has been seen nationwide. The democrats are in control of the top three statewide offices as well as the House of Delegates and the Senate within Virginia after Tuesday’s election.

An important takeaway from this election is the money put into voter mobilization efforts in Virginia from a Democratic Super PAC, Forward Majority, allowing for more blue voters to turn out in greater numbers.

“A total of 1.2 million Virginians cast votes for Democratic state Senate candidates on Tuesday, while 892,000 chose Republicans, according to the state board of elections. More than 1.1 million voters supported Democratic House of Delegates candidates, while 985,000 chose Republicans,” stated the Washington Post. “Democrats flipped two seats in the state Senate and five seats in the House, ensuring majorities in both chambers. They also gained several seats and took control of the boards of supervisors in both Loudoun and Prince William counties.”

But what are the implications for this switch? More liberal policy changes are to be expected in the state alongside potential ratification of the Equal Rights Amendment. Virginia is a key state due to its tendency to be majority Republican in its House and Senate seats. Its proximity to Washington DC also shows significance in overall voting trends.

The next important event in the 2020 Democratic Primaries is the fifth debate, which will be taking place in Georgia and is co-hosted by MSNBC and The Washington Post. This increase in debates with next year’s caucuses nearing shows the importance in state leanings from this point onwards.

This election also holds value due to the power of redistricting that is given to the Independent Bipartisan Advisory Commission on Redistricting in Virginia. How these new districts are drawn directly ties into how each party will fare in each section. A new bipartisan commission has been proposed as a constitutional amendment to draw congressional maps and this will require each party’s vote before it is cemented fully.

The most vital aspect of this democratic win in Virginia is how their governmental actions will be perceived by other states. “That could have broader implications given the national election. People will be watching to see what the Democrats do in power now that they have it,” said Mark Rozell, dean of the Schar School of Policy and Government at George Mason University.

Virginia should be placed alongside other key partisan elections that happened in 2019, including Mississippi and Kentucky. The gubernatorial race in Kentucky shows the decline in percentage points for Republican incumbent Bevin, who is losing favor in the polls due to the moderate campaign of Democrat Andy Beshear.

For the students of Alma College, we should remember that our vote counts more than ever in both primary and national elections. 2020’s election is not a guarantee for any party just yet and everyone should make an effort to let their voices be heard civically. 

iGem wins silver medal in annual competition


From Oct. 31 through Nov. 4, a group of Alma college students attend the iGEM 2019 Giant Jamboree in Boston, Massachusetts. Here they compete against teams from across the world in a synthetic biology competition. Students in high school, undergraduate and graduate studies are asked to look at their local communities for an issue to try and solve through engineering.

iGEM stands for International Genetically Engineered Machine which is an independent, non-profit organization dedicated to the education and advancement of synthetic biology through collaboration in an open community. They hold an annual competition where teams show the project they worked on the past year.

“iGEM is a way for students and society to become more aware of synthetic biology and help realize the potential of this field to create innovative technologies that solve real world problems,” said Devin Camenares, professor of biochemistry and iGEM coordinator. “This is a way for students to work on a team towards a common goal – to see ways in which they can apply their education across different disciplines.”

iGEM started in 2003 at Massachusetts Institute of Technology for their students. The following year it was a summer competition and since then it has grown to have over 6,000 participants.

David Viguilla (’20) got involved with the team for many reasons. He was drawn to the student led aspect which allowed them to choose what they worked on—rather than being given an assignment—as well as the other learning aspects where he can put what he has learned into practice. There was also the interdisciplinary work the team had to partake in that he enjoyed.

“This gives opportunity for all majors to get involved in iGEM and in fact, makes it a necessity for the team to be made up of a diverse range of students,” said Viguilla.

Madison Hibbs (’22) said that they choose their project through looking at local problems. The team engaged with the community to come up with ideas to solve issues that are in the community. She also has a love for fixing problems with science.

“The fact that it is a competition that helps people really drew me in,” said Hibbs.

Alma’s project was titled “Plaque Attack.” The group’s goal was to engineer a microbe that could break down trimethylamine, also known as TMA, before it could have any harmful effects. The ultimate goal is to create a probiotic to prevent future plaque buildup and improve heart health.

“The program brings a new avenue for experiential learning, one that is interdisciplinary and team-based,” said Camenares. “It gives students a chance to emerge from Alma as leaders in the new field of synthetic biology.”

This was the team’s first year competing and received a silver medal. Other teams from Michigan included Michigan and Michigan State, both of who got bronze medals. Other countries that were represented at the competition included, China, Scotland, Australia and many others.

The competition provided an encouraging environment for synthetic biology engineering to thrive. While there, students were able to see ideas that other teams got to present as well.

“I loved being able to hear other people’s ideas and seeing what they brought to the table,” said Hibbs.

“Some successful teams even form start-up companies and receive grants from pre-existing companies to continue their research,” said Viguilla.

Following the competition, their work does not stop. Hibbs said that they will continue to look for ways their pathway to work. They will also begin looking at new projects to pursue for the upcoming year.


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