Understanding parking on campus



As is likely common knowledge, Alma College allows students who have vehicles to park on various locations on campus. At larger universities, it is not always possible for students to have a vehicle on campus, much less to have the ability to park in such close proximity to residential halls.

Alma College offers two different types of parking passes. Students are able to park in maroon or teal parking, silver parking or in magenta parking at the First Presbyterian Church located one block West on Superior Street. Maroon and teal lot parking passes cost $300, the silver lot passes cost $250, and magenta parking passes costs $150.

The Center for Student Opportunities (CSO) is where students are able to pick up their parking passes. When a student purchases a parking pass, they will be charged to their student account.

You are able to register for a parking pass from either the student portal (inside.alma.edu) or the parking office. The parking office is located in the CSO and has open hours from 1pm-3pm on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Campus security addresses all parking violations by distributing online tickets while the parking office handles appeals. If a student has any concerns regarding parking, students can email parking@alma.edu.

Bailey Allison (‘23) is the parking assistant who handles all appeals and parking inquiries. Allison says that “Students who want to appeal tickets can either do so through the parking tab in their Alma Portal or they can email [parking@alma.edu].”

Students are able to view a map of where their pass allows them to park on the Alma College website, or at https://www.alma.edu/about/visiting/parking-maps/. Here, students can see all options of parking which can also impact which parking pass is best. Allison adds “Students can also find parking rules and regulations on campus website for parking.”

Alma College is currently looking to update policies regarding parking here on campus. The Student Congress President, Will Brown (‘22), is currently an acting member of the Policy and Planning committee and intends to “examine current policies and work with faculty and staff to make any necessary changes that will benefit the parking experience for all of us here on campus.”

Brown is encouraging all students who would like their voice heard on the matter to email him at stuco.president@alma.edu. Any and all suggestions brought forward will be included in the discussion surrounding Alma College parking policies.

The Spanish flu at Alma


Young College men – some in uniform – wearing cloth masks to help prevent the spread of the Spanish Flu in 1918.

“Fashions change, even in war times.” These were the opening words within the December edition of the Weekly Almanian. At this point in time, Alma College emerged into a new chapter of its history. President Woodrow Wilson declared war on Germany and a deadly form of influenza was spreading globally. Faces familiar to students—friends, family, professors and neighbors—were either off to war in France or covered by a cloth mask.

Amid The Great War, Alma College quarantined in an attempt to slow the spread of the deadly respiratory infection known to millions as the Spanish Flu. By 1918, the Spanish influenza virus had claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands worldwide. Its arrival signs were felt around the state, from Detroit, Ann Arbor, Traverse City, Lansing and even here in Alma.

Masks became a necessary measure to combat the spread of this respiratory disease. Even over one hundred years ago, the Alma College student body’s reaction to masks has remained constant.

“Now must the eyes smile instead of the lips. Now must the forehead and the ears blush in place of the cheeks. Truly the eyes must bear the heaviest burden of expression.” The college was handling the pandemic well in 1918. Students and faculty were more than happy to help their neighbors in a time of social and political upheaval.

Therefore, it comes as no surprise that Alma College students would uphold the college’s mission statement values. For students to “think critically, serve generously, lead purposefully and live responsibly as stewards of the world they bequeath to future generations.” The generation that lived through the pandemic performed all of these values and more to help stop the spread of the Spanish flu. Today, our campus follows in their footsteps.

Life changed at Alma, and the graceful way the writer recorded the campus—despite the circumstances—brings a smile to one’s face.

“Dr. Brokenshire wears his mask as he attends to everything—religiously. He never pushes it to one side or up or down, nor does he sneak breath around the corner, but always sees to it that his voice and every breath is carefully strained.”

Student men of the SATC—Student Army Training Corps—sang at Alma College’s Chapel in December 1918, adorned with cloth masks distributed by the Red Cross.

“Chapel was, at first, the place of many amusing sights. The seats were filled with mummies who had been embalmed in sitting postures in order to watch the world revolve. Soon, however, there was much discomfort when, as they sang, the notes would re-echo and roll around inside the masks awhile before finding the outlet over the right ear or under the left eye. Sometimes this process would cause an unpleasant sensation called a tickle, so that the unfortunate person forthwith sneezed. Whereat the righteous drew away and whispered influenza.”

These values will always have relevance. Even in a society battling over masks, Alma College has always done what is right for its community.

Alma College honors women


March is Women’s History Month. The month, which is centered around International Women’s Day on March 8, is celebrated with global events honoring the achievements of women and raising awareness for women’s equality.

While International Women’s Day has only been recognized as an official United Nations observance since 1975, its origins date all the way back to 1908, when thousands of women took to the New York City streets to protest working conditions.

In 1909, the U.S. celebrated the first National Women’s Day, honoring the women involved in the protest the year before. Russia joined the celebration and many other nations followed suit not long after.

In 1978, Molly Murphy MacGregor, a schoolteacher from Sonoma County, California, decided to create a Women’s History Week within her district. The idea caught on and suddenly schools across the country were celebrating Women’s History Week.

In Feb. of 1980, President Jimmy Carter proclaimed the week of March 8 National Women’s History Week. In the years following, President Reagan issued an annual week-long celebration as well.

Women’s History Month, however, did not get its start until 1987. The Women’s National History Project lobbied to extend the holiday. Finally, Congress passed a proclamation and Women’s History Month was established.

Over the years, Alma College has been fortunate to have many great women on campus. One of these inspirational women is former Alma College librarian, Helen MacCurdy.

Helen MacCurdy donated her home to the college to be used as a residence for Alma College women, as well as a resource center, providing information about women’s and gender rights and history.

The residence is home to an extensive collection of literary and media resources. When the building was renovated in 1992, retired Michigan State University women’s studies coordinator, Dr. Joanne Rettke donated her own collection of resource materials.

Today, residents of the MacCurdy House are tasked with creating and organizing volunteer opportunities. Over the years, the house has welcomed many guest speakers and writers, including Eve Ensler, Lucille Clifton and Dorothy Allison.

Kaitlyn Stymiest (’22) admires Professor of Religious Studies, Kathryn Blanchard. “She is an extremely great professor and one of the wisest, kindest people I have met,” said Stymiest.

Another influential woman in Stymiest’s life is her sorority president, Lexy Maas. “How she manages [the sorority] is a mystery to me, but she does it with grace. She is overall such a hard-worker and such a light in our lives.”

Alma College history professor Liping Bu has also been a positive influence in Stymiest’s life here at Alma, “I adored her class. She carries herself with the greatest dignity and a sense of humor to match.”

Women’s History Month is an important time for Kayla Schmitz (’21). “[It] means making extra time to appreciate, learn about and empower women from all walks of life,” Schmitz said.

Schmitz admires Professor of English and Gender Studies Prathim-Maya Dora-Laskey, who doubles as Schmitz academic advisor. Schmitz also feels fortunate to have learned from former Professor of Communication, Joanne Gilbert.

In addition to her professors, Schmitz looks up to her boss at the Alma College Bookstore/Mailroom, Ashley Strawn and the women custodians she worked with at Facilities and Service Management.

Schmitz also adds, “I try my best to be my most authentic self, to consistently educate myself and others and try to stand up for myself in any situation. That is what I have learned from these women and what I try to emulate on a daily basis.”

Seniors discuss commencement


The campus community received word via an email from President Abernathy that as long as COVID-19 cases on campus and in Michigan remain low, the graduating class will have an in-person commencement ceremony on May 1, 2021 outdoors and on campus.

Many seniors are grateful for the opportunity to have an in-person commencement ceremony, especially since the class of 2020 had a virtual commencement last July.

“I think that it’s awesome that we actually get a ceremony to celebrate our efforts and [our] time commitment,” said Savana Shellman (‘21).

“I am glad the administration finally told us the plan [regarding commencement], and hope they keep us informed during the next few weeks,” said Elizabeth Flatoff (‘21).

Due to commencement being over a month and a half away, it is unsure whether or not guests will be permitted to attend the in-person ceremony, and if so, how many.

“It would just be nice to know if we are allowed to bring guests or not sooner rather than later,” said Nolan Kukla (‘21).

“I wouldn’t be [upset] if we can’t have guests, but I’d rather just know. Some people’s parents work weekends and would have to take time off. Additionally, some parents might have to make travel plans and I’m sure it would be better if they figured it out sooner rather than later.”

According to President Abernathy, the wait on the decision to have guests is due to health department regulations on attendees based on the type and size of an event.

“I am open to visitors, [but] it would be amazing if people could get tested before coming to [commencement],” said Michelle Malkowski (‘21).

“I think [that would] give everyone peace of mind.”

“[If guests are allowed at commencement], I think [they] should be limited in order to not have an outbreak on campus,” said Shellman.

A decision regarding guests will be made in the coming weeks but regardless of the outcome, commencement will be livestreamed for people unable to attend.

In the email sent out to campus by President Abernathy, he also reminded graduating seniors to order their caps and gowns from Jostens before the deadline on Mar. 20. Many seniors have issues with the price of the caps and gowns.

“I just think that over 80 dollars for a basic cap and gown is excessive,” said Flatoff.

“I know the school is going through a third party to get them, but especially during this time where guests aren’t guaranteed for graduation, 80 bucks is a lot to drop on a piece of fabric I am using once.”

A graduating senior who wished to remain anonymous also had an issue with the price of the caps and gowns through Jostens.

“Caps and gowns are advertised as $70, but with taxes and shipping it’s $87,” said anonymous.

“That is almost $100 to walk at [a] graduation that we have been working for for years.”

With the pandemic, many students have been unable to return to off-campus jobs during the school year, due to the campus COVID-19 policy of not traveling outside the greater Alma area.

“So many students typically work off-campus as opposed to on-campus,” said anonymous.

“With a limited number of on-campus jobs, how do you expect full time students to just find the money to pay for this? It feels as though this is just another disadvantage that students with no financial support from [their] families have to constantly face.”

Regardless of the protocol and what is to come, the spring 2021 graduating class have an in-person commencement ceremony to look forward to following the end of the winter semester.

“I’m glad the college is actually putting on a ceremony for us; [it feels] like our senior year has just revolved around COVID-19,” said Shellman.

Weekly Horoscopes 3/15/21


The Signs as Discontinued Fast Food Items

Aries: Little Caesar’s Pepperoni Crazy Bread. An appetizer, you often hold out for the next best thing to come along. Realize that sometimes nothing appears and you need to make do with what you have.

Taurus: Pizza Hut’s Taco Pizza. Combining two favorites may sound delectable, but you must recognize whether the outcome is something you truly desire. Taking time to reflect is always a good idea.

Gemini: Dairy Queen’s MySTIRy Misty. Just like this slushy, you too change yourself to fit the situation at hand, whether that benefits others or not. Be cautious as to how you present yourself.

Cancer: Arby’s Sourdough Melts. A solid choice, but one that may not appeal to everyone. There is no denying that you have desirable qualities, just focus on making yourself attractive to a wider audience.

Leo: Sonic’s French Toaster Breakfast Sandwich. A gluttonous choice is a foolhardy choice, whether that becomes apparent now or in the future. You have several good aspects but need to recognize when each part should be emphasized.

Virgo: KFC’s Chicken Littles. Simplicity rules your desires, and you aim for minimalism whenever possible. While not entirely wrong, there is more to life than just the simple things.

Libra: McDonald’s McSalad Shakers. You think shaking a salad in a cup is a way to add fun to your day. Please do more things that add joy to your life.

Scorpio: Taco Bell’s Spicy Chicken Burrito. Spicy, hot and addictive become a dangerous when combined. It is said that if the work is put in, you can still be enjoyed.

Sagittarius: Wendy’s Coffee Toffee Twisted Frosty. Popular but short-lived, this item describes you in more ways than one. Look inward and analyze how you can increase your social longevity.

Capricorn: Whataburger’s Steak Fajitas. A basic choice, but one that will consistently be there for you. While not picked often, believe that you will still be chosen.

Aquarius: Jack in the Box’s Cheesy Macaroni Bites. It’s a mystery why you aren’t kept around more often. You have all the qualities of a keepsake, but something is off that restricts you from becoming a longstanding figure.

Pisces: Burger King’s Cini-Minis. A perfect appetizer for a short time, but too much will leave you feeling bloated and sick. Understand when restraint is needed.

Disability visibility on campus


March is Disability Awareness month. Alma College hasn’t always offered a plethora of information on disability awareness, but this year may be different.

This semester the Center for Student Opportunity has created a reading club for faculty and students. The material concerns disability visibility.

The subject matter for this group was Disability Visibility written by Alice Wong, and it’s a collection of short stories by those with disabilities about their lives.

“We talked about how this book brings light to the lives and narratives of people with disabilities written specifically by people with disabilities,” said Julia Dang, a graduate assistant for the office of diversity and inclusion.

This book was chosen for a myriad of reasons. One reason is that Alice Wong, the author of the highlighted book, will be speaking at the Women’s History and Disability Awareness Month Keynote that will be happening on March 25th.

Not only is March Disability Awareness month, but it is also Women’s History month. The CSO is hoping to celebrate and highlight these together at the end of this month.

This book was also chosen because it offers a closer look into the life of more than one disabled individual.

Throughout history disability visibility has been lacking in all societies, but those with disabilities and their allies are hoping to change this narrative.

“Disability visibility is having those experiences recognized and validated and to have their voices and concerns heard rather than doing what our society is known to do, which is push away the topic of disability and accessibility because it’s difficult,” said Dang.

Disability visibility is important more than just one month out of the year, and is something that has not received a lot of attention through media or other outlets, and when it does it may be from the perspective of a non-disabled individual.

“Oftentimes, we are told about disabilities by medical practitioners or even by media, and it’s really not their story to tell, so we thought it would be really beneficial for our campus to hear about what they have to say about their own community,” said Dang.

Many feel that the only way to know about the oppression that minority groups face is to hear their story from them, without the presence of the majority’s opinion obstructing the truth.

This club has more than one motive. Not only do they want students and faculty to learn about the struggles that those with disabilities face in their lifetime, but they are also hoping to spark a change among those on campus.

“I wanted us to be disturbed about the lack of accessibility that is around us so that we can be fired up to make a change to be more inclusive,” said Dang.

The Center for Student Opportunity doesn’t plan on stopping here. As momentum gains within our academic community, they hope to see more students join them in future meetings discussing other books regarding this topic.

“This was our first book club; however, based on the engagement and success, I’d love to host another one of these in the future,” said Dang.

The CSO is hoping to hold another reading club in the future, and are open to student suggestions on the material that is covered regarding the lives of those with disabilities.

While nothing has currently been planned regarding the next book that will be highlighted in this group, those who partook have a good feeling about the direction the campus is headed in regards to disability visibility.

Education during a pandemic


COVID-19 has affected every aspect of daily life. Many people lost their jobs, lost their homes, lost their family members and even lost out on educational opportunities. Weforum.org stated that globally, over 1.2 billion students were moved out of the classroom and into a virtual world of learning.

Education has changed drastically since the coronavirus became a widespread problem. Many students are now at home, learning in a virtual setting because of that constant fear of the virus.

“Adjusting to learning online has not been super difficult because I am very independent in my learning style,” said Brenna Kilby (‘24). “There have been challenges with motivation, and it can be very frustrating because technology does not always work, but for the most part it has not been too bad.”

Not only have students had to adjust to this change, teachers and educators did too.

“Teaching online is different, and for me, it is far less satisfying and for more stressful,” said Laura Von Wallmenich, a professor of English. “I have realized I need to design class in a totally different way. It is working, but it does not feel the same. I do not get the same sense of joy from the energy of a great discussion.”

Weforum.org stated that there has been an increase in retention of information being taught and learned, and that it takes less time to go over new material. With moving online though, students do not have to be in person to do their homework or even possibly take tests, which could constitute cheating or lead to finding the answers online instead.

There has been discussion of permanently implementing hy-flex courses in schools. With research finding that students seem to be learning better online, this is likely going to become an option. There is still some uncertainty among students and teachers about whether learning and teaching online has been completely beneficial.

“If a teacher is not good with technology or is just disorganized in general, it becomes extremely difficult to learn online,” said Kilby. “On the other hand, if a professor is organized, it makes it easier to go back and watch lessons and to understand the material even more. In the end, the difficulty of learning virtually really depends on the professor.”

Before COVID-19 spread throughout the world, the market for edtech investments was $18.6 billion in 2019. It has since been projected to reach $350 billion by 2025. It has been predicted that this is due to online educational programs, virtual tutoring and video conferencing apps.

Because of this surge of online learning, many academic software businesses have offered their programs for free to the public. Since then, programs like BYJU have seen a significant increase in their number of students.

While moving classes to a virtual setting has its benefits, it also has negative impacts. Many students do not have internet access in their homes, and while some schools are providing those students with the options of either being completely in person or receiving paper copies of their work, it still takes away from their education as a whole.

Moving to a virtual setting has taken away a lot of social interaction between students and teachers. Everyone is required to remain six feet apart, and some people are even completely isolated because of the possibility of getting sick. This has affected both mental and physical health.

In.style.yahoo.com stated that parents have also had to become teachers for their children. Because so many classes are now online, parents are having to find time to help their kids during class or are even teaching their kin themselves. Before COVID-19, many parents were not as involved in their student’s education as they are now.

Although the virus has affected education in many different ways, it has required many to overcome any obstacle that they face. In the end, students and teachers are learning how to be resilient and conquer anything that challenges them.

Syrian Civil War reaches decade mark



Following a recent escalation in violence Syria is again in the spotlight of world politics. On Feb. 27 President Joe Biden ordered an airstrike on two locations in Syria in response to an attack carried out by Iran against U.S. backed forces in Iraq.

One of the two airstrikes was called off at the last minute by Biden after intelligence received a report that there were women and children present at the location. The attack that was carried out left one ISIS fighter dead and another two injured.

The airstrike marks the first time Biden has chosen to use military intervention overseas and comes at a time where he is trying to keep the delicate balance of power within the region.

Congressional Democrats were quick to criticize Biden for authorizing the attacks while Republicans applauded the action. Progressive Democrats have called for a deescalation of U.S. involvement in the Middle East citing the staggering cost of life caused by the seemingly never ending wars.

Biden defended his decision to go ahead with the airstrike citing that he did not wish to further escalate tensions in the region but did wish to protect U.S. interests in the region.

The U.S. has had a long history in the region going back to the first invasion of Iraq following their takeover of nearby Kuwait in 1990. More recently ISIS has dominated the region, specifically Syria, creating a major humanitarian crisis and displacing millions from their homes.

According to the International Red Cross 13 Million Syrians currently rely on humanitarian aid for survival, a staggering three-quarters of the war torn country’s population. Many have been forced to become refugees in far away European countries.

Recent reports from Save the Children a not-for-profit organization that focuses on humanitarian aid for children reported that 33% of children interviewed in Syria would rather live in another country and 86% do not wish to return to their home.

Complicating efforts for a deescalation of violence in the region is the growing threat ISIS once again poses. Although their physical Caliphate was defeated in Dec. 2018 following a yearslong offensive by U.S. backed Kurdish forces to reclaim large swaths of land that had been captured in 2014 and 2015 by ISIS fighters.

The Syrian Civil War itself began in 2011 as a facet of the greater Arab Spring movement in Northern Africa and the Middle East. Protesters across the region rose up against oppressive dictatorial regimes, resulting in the overthrow of some and violent responses by others, such as Bashar al-Assad, President of Syria.

In recent years, the U.S. has faced an uphill battle containing the spread of ISIS and attempting to stop the Assad regime from committing more human rights violations against the residents of Syria.

The U.S. has also had the support of such allies as Britain and the greater European Union but other countries such as Russia have complicated efforts by backing the Assad government.

On Mar. 7 a Russian warship bombed an oil drilling site in Northern Syria further complicating peace efforts in the already delicate region. At least four people were killed in the blast and 24 others were injured.

Another factor complicating the civil war is COVID-19. The virus has struck the entire world sparing no one, including war-torn Syria. On Mar. 8 both President Asad and his wife tested positive for COVID-19. An additional 26,000 people have been recorded as positive in the country and a little over 1,000 have perished.

Although the numbers seem low it has been difficult for officials to compile accurate numbers due to competing forces controlling different regions within Syria’s borders. Vaccine distribution has also been slow in the country due to the competing factions.

U.N. Secretary-General Antonia Guterres on Mar. 10 called the situation in Syria a” living nightmare” and highlighted the need for more humanitarian aid to go to the region, especially during the pandemic.


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