PODCAST BY JACOB SMITH
We could regale you with stories about his incredible record. Or win you over with iconic policies such as Medicare for All and canceling everyone’s student debt. Maybe you’re the most pragmatic type who would be persuaded by learning that he is the best positioned candidate to beat Donald Trump by both winning over independents and turning out non-typical voters. The most compelling reason for the endorsement, however, would be that out of the two remaining Democratic nominees only one represents much needed progress while the other one represents a status quo that can no longer be tolerated in the face of a literal doomsday.
Climate change is an existential change to humanity. If we do not make radical changes, our generation will suffer from natural disasters with an intensity and frequency that has never been seen before on earth. After our institutions crumble, the generations after ours will be reduced to a pathetic shell of humankind, sold into oblivion by those who came before them.
Joe Biden’s climate plan is far behind the ambition of Bernie Sanders’s proposals, receiving the worst score by the Sunrise Movement as a result of the lack of detail. More egregious was the fact that Joe Biden held a high dollar fundraiser that was organized by a natural gas company co-founder, directly taking money from people who are responsible for pushing us closer to the brink of annihilation. In contrast, Bernie Sanders’s commitment to only using grassroots fundraising and his strong support of the Green New Deal serves as an important first step to mitigating the effects of climate change and fighting back against those poisoning the earth.
The Bernie Sanders campaign understands that America is a story of contrasts. It is the story of a son watching his father come home from fighting in Vietnam with PTSD he’s unable to get help for. A daughter watching her mom come home late at night from trying to start a union in her workplace. A girl growing up in a Kenyan refugee camp and eventually being elected to Congress. A woman dying from rationing insulin. A high school love story cut short in Afghanistan. A college student traveling the world even though her parents have never stepped foot outside Michigan. A man covered with newspapers freezing to death on a park bench. A couple holding their newborn baby for the first time. A frustrating call with an insurance company representative. A black community uniting to help each other in the face of natural disaster after receiving no federal aid. A non-binary person finally getting to use their pronouns. A mom borrowing money from her kid’s bank account to pay for groceries. A brave queer girl who stays closeted around her family. It is the story of a Jewish family fleeing Europe after losing half of their relatives to the Nazis, and their grandson who sets an unlikely run for mayor, senator, and then President.
A climate catastrophe now threatens to wipe out all these people, their memories, and their dreams. It was always just one story. Not of you and me, but a story of us. We must fight with all we have in the spirit of solidarity to better the story, or at the very least––continue it. Bernie 2020.
At the time of publishing, Michigan will be voting on the presidential primary tomorrow (March 10th). You can use the secretary of state’s site to find your polling place.
While students prepared to head home for spring break, Alma College’s spring sports’ teams geared up to train, compete, and travel over break. With each spring team prepping for the start of their conference season, they took advantage of their break to put in some extra practice.
From Softball and Baseball going to Florida to Cheer and STUNT competing in Missouri, each team did something different for break.
For the Baseball team, they traveled to play in Orlando, Florida. While there, they competed in a total of 8 games against teams from Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, and New York.
“It is important to go to Florida and play during spring break because we need to prepare ourselves for conference play to the best of our ability because it comes really fast. The only way to get better is to keep playing and to get outside and improve our skills,” said infielder Benjamin Skinner (’21).
The Scots finished their spring break by splitting the 8 games with 4 wins and 4 loses. Logan Huff (’20) was also announced as the MIAA Position Player of the Week for his overall performance in the RussMatt Tournament in Florida.
This tournament not only gave the team a 5-6 overall record, but practice before their upcoming conference games.
“We have an overall goal to go there and win games and be competitive. At the same time, we are going to try to work out some kinks before conference play by getting outside and playing on an actual field,” said Skinner.
Also in Florida, the Softball team dominated their competition with an 8-0 record during spring break. The team played against teams from Ohio, Indiana, Florida, and Pennsylvania.
Daniella Little (’23) also earned the MIAA Pitcher of the Week title for her performance in the tournament with only allowing 10 hits in 15 total innings and leading the team with 14 strikeouts.
Outside of Florida in St. Louis, Missouri, the STUNT team picked up two more wins against Oklahoma Baptist University and Oklahoma City University. The team continues to rack up wins as they move towards their goal of competing in the D3 STUNT Nationals in April.
Men’s Lacrosse was expected to compete in Chicago on the first day of spring break but faced a game cancellation due to weather. However, they did travel to play against Illinois Wesleyan University a week later at the end of spring break, where they fell to the Titans 24-11. Chase Hunyadi (’20) managed to pick up his 200th career point while competing against the Titans.
While some teams ventured outside of Michigan, other teams stayed local during the break to either compete or keep their skills sharp.
The Women’s Lacrosse team took a different approach this spring break by not traveling for competition.
“We have traveled my last 3 years over spring break, but this year we were able to go home or travel where we would like to. The reasoning behind having off is because the team will be traveling to Ireland and Scotland after spring term ends in May for a few exhibition games,” said goalie Allie Ray (’20).
Before going home, the team competed in a home match against Earlham College, where the scots fell short in a 9-3 loss. In that game, Ray picked up her 600th career save and senior Olivia Benoit earned her 100th career draw control.
Following the game, the team was free to go home and work out on their own over break.
“Our Coach expected us to work out for a minimum of 6 of the 8 days we were home. She asked us to find a field and do sprints and expected us to do wall ball a few times over break. She did not want us to lose the progress we have made prior to break,” said Ray.
Two weeks ago, Gunplay debuted on Alma College Campus. This unique theatrical work was produced entirely by the students of Dr. Joanne Gilbert’s Performing Advocacy class the previous semester, and was directed by Dr. GIlbert herself.
Gunplay highlights the byproducts of gun violence in America. The plotline addresses themes of school shootings, police brutality, domestic violence and suicide.
Because the portrayal of topics such as these can be upsetting to audience members, trigger warnings were issued before the production began.
“The posters for the show featured a stylized graphic of an AR-15 and a message in large font that read: WARNING: ADULT CONTENT,” said Dr. Gilbert, Charles A. Dana professor of communication.” “I discussed this with Scott Mackenzie, chair of the theatre and dance department, and we agreed that the posters, programs and pre-show audio should all feature this warning due to the subject matter of the production.”
Issuing trigger warnings for a variety of different content has become standardized over the last decade. Trigger warnings allow audience members a chance to prepare themselves for potentially upsetting content. They also provide the audience members a choice to opt out of viewing the production.
“A trigger warning to me means that the content you are about to see will make you feel uncomfortable. If it’s something that would be offensive to viewers – take certain parts of the play for example – I would mention them on the poster and at the start of the show.” said Sophia Lioli, (’22).
Although trigger warnings were issued prior to each of the four productions of Gunplay, some students felt that certain content required a more specified announcement to allow audience members to prepare themselves.
“The suicide scene was deeply disturbing and was not something I thought was going to happen when watching the play in spite of the trigger warnings,” said Lioli.
Others felt that the trigger warnings issued sufficed in preparing the audience for any potentially shocking content, and that the presence of certain content in the play could be inferred prior to the performance.
“The warning for Gunplay was intended to alert potential audiences that the show featured disturbing content. We did not want to be stipulative and describe the entire plot, and believed that the combination of the topic, the title, the warning and the promotion of the show was sufficient to convey to potential audiences that this play was about gun violence.” said Gilbert.
Certain audience members felt that Gunplay could have been produced without some of the more disturbing and graphic content and that the omission of such content would not distort the overall message of the show.
“It would have been better without the suicide scene. I am sure they could have given their message to the audience in a more comfortable way — a way that would not resort to a person committing suicide in the second to final scene,” said Lioli.
However, the producers of Gunplay included vivid, uninhibited content, although it made some feel uncomfortable, in order to make a strong impact on the audience.
“Early on, I told our set designer, Sam Moretti, that I never wanted the audience to feel comfortable because comfort leads to complacency–the opposite of action–and I wanted audiences to leave with the desire to act,” said Gilbert.
In spite of controversy surrounding trigger warnings, Gunplay was the product of dedication of many hardworking individuals and sent a strong message to viewers, which was the desired goal.
“I am incredibly proud of and grateful for the work my students did to create dramatic scenes and represent actual community voices through their interviews, statistical research, writing and performing,” said Gilbert
Students are worried about their belongings being compromised due to floods happening on campus.
Two different instances have occurred to warrant these concerns: a pipe connection failure in Brazell Hall and a lavatory valve failure in Bonbright Hall. Students are still worried that they will be the next affected.
“When the pipe burst, the room started flooding with hot iron-colored water. It started coming out from the sides and under the door of the bathroom,” said Brooklynn Jonassen (‘20), who had valve failure in her bathroom on the first floor of Bonbright.
This was the first instance this semester. An alarm went off in Bonbright and Carey, evacuating everyone from the buildings.
“We were told to grab anything we would need for at least 48 hours,” said Jonassen.
She and her roommate were then moved into Newberry. Facilities told them to grab things for at least 48 hours, but they were notified they could move back in later in the week.
“We went and looked [at the room], and it was not cleaned at all,” said Jonassen, who decided to stay in Newberry instead.
The second instance this semester was on the second floor of Brazell Hall, where there was a failure in the pipe connection. This was due to the overnight winter temperatures.
“As the water within the pipe froze, it expanded and pushed apart the solder joint (what holds two pipes together).
There are hundreds of miles of piping on this campus and hundreds upon thousands of connecting joints [and] valves everywhere on this campus for heating and domestic water. It only takes one perfect scenario for a piece of infrastructure to fail,” said Ryan Stoudt, associate director of facilities.
With this being an interior issue based on outside temperatures, students cannot do anything to keep this from happening.
“When a situation happens, it is unfortunately inevitable for the people in the immediate area [to be affected],” said Stoudt.
The majority of the floor was flooded, along with some of the first floor, as well.
“There were 21 students affected during the Brazell incident,” said Stoudt.
“I was in my room just chilling when I heard a girl yelling in the hall, so I got out of bed and walked to my door, only to step into water,” said Katie Wilder (‘20).
She opened her door to see water flowing from the room across the hall.
“It took security [around 10] minutes to show up, and then they called facilities. At this point, the water was moving pretty fast, so I put some towels down in an attempt to delay the flow. Overall, it took an hour and 20 minutes for facilities to show up and turn
the water off. [Campus officials] will now be training security on where the water mains are and how to shut them off in all the buildings on campus, since they apparently didn’t know how to do that before.”
Students who had damage to their rooms were put into temporary housing while their rooms were cleaned and were let back in throughout that week, most being back within 24 hours.
Stoudt stressed that though this may seem like a large amount of people being affected by these instances, this was only two incidents campus-wide; they just happened to both be on south campus.
“This is a really low number in comparison to the amount of piping we have through the campus. Any and all areas on campus are subject to [failure]; this does not just pertain to south campus,” said Stoudt.
If students are wondering what precautionary actions they should take in case a situation like this happens to them as well, Stoudt recommends students read the Housing Agreement Terms and Conditions under article 19 to become better informed. To be brief, this states that Alma College is not responsible for damage to or loss of property for any reason, which includes flooding. Many parents’ homeowner insurance policies may also cover a certain amount of damages, but students would need to look more into that themselves.
The Housing Agreement also strongly recommends that residents on campus look into and secure renter’s insurance to protect themselves against something like this happening, because it can happen at any time without warning.
“Make sure cords, backpacks [and anything else] are off the ground because you never know when something might happen and if you’ll be here to react to it,” said Wilder.
The lack of restrooms that are available for any student, no matter what gender they prefer, on Alma’s campus is something to question.
You may not have noticed this issue because it doesn’t particularly affect you, but for the students that it does, it is more than an inconvenience.
There are very few all gender bathrooms in common areas of campus, and this problem needs to be solved. There are students on our own campus who have nowhere to do something that everyone does, and no one can help.
It’s time we start growing with society and creating spaces that allow people to use the bathroom if they need to, just like everyone else can.
There is a solution to this issue — we need single use bathrooms that are accessible and plenty around campus. These can be used by anyone, no matter what gender they identify as.
In the end, no one would be inconvenienced. A lot of people would be helped, and a positive change would be made!
I think the first step of this process should be addressing the few all gender bathrooms that already exist on our campus.
The most well-known all gender bathrooms are the ones on the first floor of Dow. These are routinely disgusting. The smell carries past the door, and the toilets are always very dirty.
The point is there, but Trans students deserve the basic decency of having a restroom that is useable.
Another gender inclusive bathroom used to exist across from Tyler Van Dusen but has since been removed and painted over. There are only male and female bathrooms in Saga, as well as the rec center.
There are no public all gender bathrooms in SAC, but students are allowed to use the one in the teacher’s lounge on the first floor if needed.
It is absolutely not okay that a student may have to walk up and/or down three flights of stairs just to use the restroom during class.
This issue has surpassed being just an inconvenience to students who need single use bathrooms. It can interfere with their health and disrupt their education because they would need to walk up and down flights of stairs which would cause them to miss more class time than those who could just use the restroom down the hall.
Because of the fact that I am cisgender, I have spoken to many individuals with whom the lack of all gender bathrooms effects. I then decided to use my voice as a staff member of The Almanian to broadcast their worries.
“If I’m somewhere like the rec or SAC, I’ll have to walk across campus just to use the bathroom,” said Oliver Labuda (’22). Labuda also stated that they sometimes leave SAC during class to use the single use restroom in the Eddy Music Hall.
Other students opened up to me about their struggles with not having a bathroom that is accessible to them.
“I have taken to social media to speak out about the issue,” said David Parnell III (’21) who has spoken with members of administration about the lack of gender-neutral bathrooms on campus.
“Your Trans students just need your actions to speak,” Parnell stated in a tweet that got several likes and retweets from other Alma students.
The school has taken a step by making bathrooms of dorm buildings single person use because anyone can use and access them at any point.
If we had more areas like this around campus, it would be a step towards making Trans students on campus feel a little more comfortable.
When you have a marginalized group speaking out and asking, “hey, we need this thing to make us feel more humane on your campus,” and the issue only seems to get worse, there needs to be a call to action.
The college should take responsibility for this mistake and allocate more bathrooms around campus to being single use, all gendered and easily accessible. This is a small step that could help many students at Alma who deserve comfortability.
Next time you’re walking around common areas of campus buildings, check the bathrooms. If you see an all gender bathroom, check the conditions. If none are satisfactory, or there isn’t one in sight, realize that.
Alma College, we want to see change. As long as everyone pees, they all deserve a place to be able to do so.
Aries: You may find yourself in a bit of a slump. The best way to cure this is surrounding yourself with the energies of your friends. It may seem like a distraction, but it can reset your mood.
Taurus: Taking a break from social media will feel like a long needed vacation. There’s no shame in stepping away to reflect on your life in the present and all the good that surrounds you.
Gemini: Do not overwork yourself until the sun comes. It will result in future exhaustion that could be detrimental to your work. Managing your time to take care of yourself is self-care.
Cancer: Overthinking future decisions that have no relevance to the now will be a waste of your energy. There are current issues that need your attention. Try to refocus your purpose.
Leo: You’re a success and not something that should be hidden. Take pride in what you’ve done, and celebrate your accomplishments. Don’t let your own self-consciousness stop you.
Virgo: There will be those that question your character and moral judgment. It may be easy to sit back and allow others to think what they want, but it will be beneficial to stand up for yourself.
Libra: Are you chasing after someone that is unworthy of your attention? Make sure to check your own worth and appreciate the person who you are. You are worth a lot more than you think.
Scorpio: You’re not aware of how important you are in other people’s lives. It’s hard to acknowledge and accept that you are cherished. Not everyone is out to get you.
Sagittarius: Introducing new people into your life can bring a brand-new joy you wouldn’t expect. It can be viewed as a fresh start and introduces new ideas you otherwise would not have thought of.
Capricorn: Falling behind on your work will lead to a case of burn out later on. Start preparing for future projects as soon as you can. Your future self will thank you.
Aquarius: Not everyone has the same thought process as you. You may have a more logic-based thinking, while someone else is more emotion driven. Try to understand where others come from.
Pisces: The stress in your life may begin to bring a bigger storm of chaos. In this time remember the end goal you must achieve. The stress of it all will be very worth it.
Welcome back. This week, I sat down with Dr. Anthony Collamati, Chair of Communication and New Media Studies. We met in the DMC conference room on Friday afternoon.
Chelsea: First, I always like to talk about your background. What was your Pre-Alma experience, and how did you get here?
Dr. Collamati: My Pre-Alma experience was in the corn fields of Indiana –no, well, kind of. I was born there in the Midwest, but I grew up around Boston, and went to a small liberal arts school in New Hampshire. You see it often during times like this when people are debating, usually the democratic or republican debates will travel through my alma mater which is Saint Anselm College. That not only steered me into, I was an English major initially, I worked with some great faculty, and I really fell in love with the liberal arts experience. I don’t think I would be here today if it wasn’t for that kind of college. Then, I was in Chicago. I went to grad school thinking that maybe I wanted to teach or write, and I ended up getting into film. I worked on film a little bit in Boston, and it was always one thing or the other, and I had the good and bad fortune of writing a script and getting people interested in giving me money to make it and direct it. Seems like good fortune, but the bad fortune was that the script wasn’t too good. So, it wasn’t a really great film, but I learned a heck of a lot because I got the chance to work with some very talented people. Actors, cinematographers, production designers, it was another education. And then Clemson after that, as a way to marry the film work I was doing in Chicago with the teaching that I had always loved to do. They had a program that was interdisciplinary, kind of like new media studies now.
C: So then from there, you said you wanted to be a teacher, so after that program did you intend to become a professor, or were you still looking to be a filmmaker?
A: When I was in Chicago, when I left, this was way back in the day, the internet was just getting dusted off! I didn’t want to have a career in academia at that point, but I always loved to teach. I didn’t necessarily want to study things, I wanted to make things. But then, given a little time, these programs started to change and started to involve making along with teaching. That’s where I found a place.
C: I try to do some background research before we sit down to have a good concept of the work you do, and I saw that you worked on a film with Alma students recently. Can you talk about this experience, and why including students to create these things is important?
A: Absolutely, in Chicago I worked on a few projects of mine, and worked with a few crews. When I started teaching classes here at Alma, as part of the new media studies program, there is that experience of working on a set with professionals. We do it a little bit with students in the spring, but getting on a set on location with a full crew is a totally different experience that I can’t replicate in a classroom. At the same time, I really wanted to keep making things. I teamed up with a great partner who cowrites with me and produces a lot of our films, actually all of our films. We suddenly had this project that was starting to gather some momentum; it was called ‘Break my Bones.’ Part of our pitch was that we wanted to take people who were really good in the industry, at the time. This was right after the tax credits folded in Michigan, so there were all these cool people who were still here, that had just worked on films like ‘Batman vs Superman,’ ‘Transformers.’ They had all this really great experience. We wanted to give students the opportunity to work alongside them and learn from them, and that’s what happened with ‘Break my Bones,’ and a couple years later we did it again with another film called ‘Base Camp.’
C: Really interesting; I’ve been really interested in film. In high school, I got really into stop motion movies with LEGOs in painted box sets.
C: I have a whole new respect for that, so much work goes into a single minute of content.
A: As we speak, my eldest has a big cardboard box full of LEGOs with a painted background on the foot of his bed that I have to remind myself not to trip over when I wake him up. Yeah, that’s how he’s getting into it too.
C: It definitely is fun. To get back on track, what programs that your department is involved with do you think more students should know about or utilize?
A: So, there is a student production company here called “Bitworks” that is run by students. They work with clients and do jobs from creating videos, doing photoshoots, redesigning graphics or retooling websites. They get paid better than any other position on campus, and they get this really important experience that is client based. It’s not the way some people want to work; It might not be as magical as stop motion, or the narrative stuff, but it can be really rewarding in different ways, and your work can impact a community, or give them experience that will last long after graduation.
C: That seems like a really good opportunity. Do you have any closing thoughts about your Alma experience or words of advice for students who want to pursue something like that?
A: Yeah, I think the real strength of Alma College is that, and I say this quite a bit — Our greatest weakness is also our greatest strength: we’re small, we’re isolate. It can be seen as a weakness. But I think a great strength that we have is that we’re small, we’re rural, we’re located in the middle of the state. Why is that a strength? Because we have the opportunity to get to know each other and work across divisions that other people are more confined by, to be a little more adaptable and move quickly in adapting. We don’t always do it, but when we do, really cool things can happen.