Alma begins conference play for fall sports

Zachary Carpenter 



Fall sports are in full swing for Alma College as well as the rest of the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA). In the last two weeks, Football, volleyball, mens and womens golf, mens and womens soccer, and mens and womens cross country have all had matches. After starting 4-0, the football team lost its first game to Olivet College on Oct. 2. The homecoming matchup marked the start of conference play for the Scots.  

Throughout the game, the Scots racked up impressive defensive stats including forcing seven turnovers and logging 69 tackles. However, despite their best efforts they fell short with a final score of 33-10. The football team now stands at 4-1 with a conference record of 0-1. 

Following a win over Finlandia University on Sep. 25, Scots Volleyball tallied a 3-0 loss to Calvin University before heading into a tournament at Elmhurst College (IL). The Scots played Elmhurst University, John Carroll University (OH), and Coe College (IA), tallying 3-0 losses to all three schools. The volleyball team now stands at 1-12 and are 0-3 in conference play.  

Women’s Golf placed 6th in the MIAA Jamboree at Thornapple Pointe hosted by Calvin University on Oct. 2. The Scots shot a combined 340 with Evie Garver (‘24) shooting a 78, good enough for 5th place individually. Additionally, Morgan Yates (‘23) shot an 81, putting her at 9th place individually.  

Men’s Golf placed 7th during the MIAA Jamboree at Zollner Golf Course hosted by Trine University on Sep. 25. Eli Pinter (‘22) shot a 78, leading the way for the Scots with the team finishing with a total of 337.  

“As a team we battled adversity with injury and health complications,” said Pinter. “Overall we fought hard and did not get the results we wanted but hope to finish out the year strong.”  

“Individually, I started out the day very strong and was under par for the back nine, but I did not finish the way I would like,” said Pinter. “Overall though, I held my composure and know there is improvement down the road.” 

Men’s soccer wrapped up its non-conference play on Saturday, Sep. 25 with a 7-0 loss to Wheaton College (IL). Heading into conference play, the Scots were 2-7.  

On Oct. 5 the Scots traveled to Olivet College where they played a neck and neck game with the Comets. The Scots struck early with a goal in the second minute of play. In the twenty-second minute, the Comets returned the favor with a goal of their own tying the game 1-1.  

For the duration of the second half, the game remained a draw forcing an overtime. Again during overtime, neither team was able to gain the upper hand forcing a second overtime. The game ended when the Comets scored during the second overtime.  

Women’s soccer recently played an MIAA matchup against Calvin University on Oct. 2. The Knights struck first with a goal in the thirty-sixth minute, but the Scots struck back just 15 seconds later with a goal of their own, tying the match at 1-1.  

In the end, the Knights proved too much for the Scots, eventually winning the matchup 4-1. The Scots fall to 2-7 on the season and 0-2 in conference play.  

Alma’s men’s and women’s cross country team competed in the Lansing Community College Invitational on Oct. 1. The men’s team finished 13th as a team with 281 points while the women’s team finished 15th with 374 points.  

Individually, Cornella Gotaas (‘23) posted the best finish for the women with a time of 21:18.4 on the 5k course, good enough for a 48th place finish among all women. For the men Sean Pauley (‘22) had the highest individual finish for the men posting a time of 27:03.1 on the 10k course, putting him in 14th place among all men.  

After a week of recruitment and rush events, the Fraternity and Sorority Life (FSL) community celebrated their new members and hard work by participating in Greek Week.  Events took place daily and were completely optional to any member of the fraternity/sorority community.  

The theme for the week’s events was up to the chairpersons coordinating them. Greek Week 2021 had a Survivor theme, with a fun tie to tourism and Total Drama Island.  

Each organization was paired up with another with the hope to bring together fraternities and sororities, especially those that might not be very close, in an attempt to build interfraternity and sorority relationships—more commonly known as “Greek unity.”  

Greek unity is what the FSL community strives for. “Greek Week always helps me feel so connected to other organizations on campus,” said Blake Jonassen (‘22). “The friendly competitions really help the pairs work together as best as possible and make us have even more fun with each other!” 

The friendly competition aspect of Greek Week was meant to add an extra incentive towards participation, as the winner of Greek Week was rewarded with the choosing of the chairpersons coordinating events.   

The events for this past week included dress-up days to flood campus with Greek letters, organization colors, and philanthropic attire which were meant to show the involvement of the fraternity and sorority community for the better.   

Alma College fraternity and sorority life is also unique in that it is smaller, so it is easier to build inter-organizational relationships with those outside of your chapter. 

One collegiate member shares their excitement to welcome in new members: “I think it’s so wonderful that some of our new members’ first experience in FSL is so focused on Greek unity,” said Katie Rooney (‘22). “Alma is really special in that we are able to create this wonderful, unified and unique community, and I love getting to share that with them right away!” 

After summer social media trends overwhelmed students, it was important to those currently involved to detonate those stereotypes and build a positive reputation for current members and those that are bound to follow.  

It is important to show that members in these organizations are community focused and want to build these relationships with each other to make our organizational bonds stronger.  

One new member shared how this past week was an exciting way to kick off their membership. “I never thought I would join a sorority,” said Miranda Avolio (‘24).  “Going through the recruitment process and finding my home was a really great decision! I feel more involved on campus and overall has boosted my mental health.  Participating in Greek Week and being able to wear and represent my letters gives me an amazing feeling and I feel more at home here at Alma College. 

Fraternity and Sorority members earned points by dressing up for dress-up days, attending events such as tie-dying, photo challenges with their partner organizations and a relaxing night of lawn games—all of which added up to points to crown the winners at the end of the week.   

After having most, if not all, Greek Week events being moved online last fall, it is exhilarating to be able to hold these events in person once again while adding in options for those who may not be comfortable with participating in person. 

With sororities welcoming in new members from formal recruitment, neutral rho gammas back wearing letters and fraternities sending out bids, the Fraternity and sorority community is excited to embrace the friendly competition that so many look forward to.  

Almanian Horoscopes: Mercury Retrograde lasting September 27 through October 18

Taking place in Libra, in the 11th house 

Izzy Oakley 


The signs most affected by this retrograde will be Aries, Cancer and Libra 

The signs least affected by this retrograde will be Taurus, Leo, Scorpio and Aquarius 

Aries, with the retrograde taking place in your seventh house of relationships, this is an important time for you to be mindful of your words. Any room left for interpretation may also leave room for miscommunication. Be clear in communicating what you want and need from friends and partners, don’t make them guess. 

Taurus, The retrograde won’t affect you too heavily, this is not a time to make any big financial decisions. Try to instead focus on practicing some self-care. Physical self-care activities like a morning workout or yoga session, or even some skin care will help. 

Gemini, a lack of creative energy may emerge due to the retrograde in your fifth house of inspiration and creativity. You may also experience a resurfacing of past issues or even exes coming out of the woodwork, but don’t take the bait.  

Cancer, with a retrograde in your fourth house, avoid drama at home. You will tend towards defensiveness if confronted with any trouble, so do your best to have patience with those around you.  

Leo, though its effect is weak, the retrograde in your third house of communication may lead you to speak out of turn. If possible, avoid important work calls or situations where there seems a great potential for emotional conflict. 

Virgo, this retrograde falls in your house of possessions, so watch your spending as well as what you say. You could potentially see some money or security issues coming up, but an opportunity to work with an old friend has the potential to be a great payoff. Reach out to them. 

Libra, especially affected by this retrograde in your first house of self-identity, you may find yourself at a loss for words. Consider the way you communicate with others, and try not to be bossy, even if you’re using a pleasant tone of voice. 

Scorpio, this retrograde takes place in your twelfth house of inner thoughts and desires. This calls you to take some time for introspection, especially when you’re having some tough conversations. This is a good time for you to learn to be a better listener. 

Sagittarius, with this retrograde affecting your eleventh house of community, you should be cautious in working with a group. Your typically sharp wit may offend those unfamiliar with you, so reign it in. Be concise and instructive when directing others. 

Capricorn, you’re experiencing this retrograde in your tenth house of career, so be patient! Scale back on any projects that seem unrealistic and focus on perfecting behind the scenes of what’s important. 

Aquarius, not terribly affected by this retrograde, you may feel a bit adventurous. Miscommunication on others’ ends might be your downfall, however, so make sure you double check any plans. You should also stick to the concrete plans you have and hold off on those more tentative. 

Pisces, with the retrograde occurring in your eighth house of secrets you might be feeling unappreciated by those around you. Take a break, come back and consider employing a new approach to whatever is draining you. 

Life 360 is a tracking app created by Chris Hulls in 2008. The app has gained popularity throughout the past couple of years and has posed numerous pros and cons within the lives of college students. 

The tracking app allows for constant location sharing between a group of people, even if your phone is off. Special options can be added into the app’s features such as driving reports and crash detection. Within the settings, a user can turn off their location sharing, but doing this will alert the members of your party that you’ve done so.  

The app allows users to create “circles.” This feature allows for a user to create separate groups of people that have the ability to track you. These different circles can allow students to not only have a circle with their family, but also with their friends.  

Since freshman year of high school, I have had Life 360 downloaded on my phone. My parents had my household all under a circle due to safety concerns. From a viewpoint of being a parent to four teenage girls, I understand the appeal that this app presents and why my parents had us get it.   

From a safety standpoint, the app is a great asset to have on your phone. Personally, I have a circle with my friends, and we utilize this app to make sure we get home safe from parties. If one of us gets stuck in traffic, we can see where the other is on the highway. If I ever feel unsafe, I can hit the SOS button on the app and it notifies my circle and emergency contacts.  

Being in college, the app has been both a blessing and a curse. When walking from campus to the parking lot, I feel safer knowing that my roommate can see where I’m at. However, I do not like how my parents can see if I am not in my dorm at midnight—mostly because they text me to go back. I am in college to be away from my family. I do not need them to know my whereabouts while I am hundreds of miles away, learning how to live on my own.  

The debate of whether or not the tracking app is necessary has been a prevalent topic on social media platform TikTok. Kids like myself feel the app tests the trust between them and their parents. Furthermore, many kids leave their phones at home to avoid being tracked, which can lead to a plethora of dangerous situations. Without a phone children become vulnerable to trafficking, kidnapping and more with no lifeline to the outside world.   

Ironically, the Life 360 app gives me both peace of mind and anxiety. I enjoy being able to depend on the app if I find myself in a tough spot. However, in a way, I feel that, as an adult, I should not be tracked like a delinquent child by my parents.  

Why Labor Strikes Must Continue

Felix Stoll 



Amidst the rapidly evolving conditions of the Industrial Revolution came the growing demand for the voices of workers to be heard. With factories operating under dismal conditions, many workers began to speak up about what they expected out of their workplaces. This eventually led to the concept of the labor strike. With mass labor being detrimental to the operations of factories and mines, the workers decided that in order to get the attention of their superiors they would organize times to walk out. This form of protest quickly became demonized in many countries with labor strikes as a whole being made illegal. Later, in the late 19th and 20th centuries, many Western countries began to partially legalize strikes due to the push back the laws received from the overall worker population. Out of these struggles also came the development of unions, which served to offer representation for workers in the inner workings of the higher offices. 

This past September saw the end of Nabisco’s first labor strike in fifty-two years. In early August around one thousand and fifty Nabisco employees from Colorado, Georgia, Illinois, Oregon and Virginia initiated the strike after the deterioration of conditions in Portland that spread to Chicago and elsewhere. The workers were fighting for a fair contract with no concession, citing the worsening work conditions since Kraft’s takeover of the company in 2000. 

Since May there had been no contract and in August the company, generally referred to as Mondelez International, proposed changes that would include longer work weeks, less pay, less worker benefits especially for new hires and less opportunity for overtime. These proposed changes came at a time when factory personnel for the company were already being worked to the bone throughout the pandemic. 

At the conclusion of the strike the Bakery Confectionary, Tobacco Workers and Grain Millers International Union (BCTGM) signed a contract with Mondelez International that would ensure fair hours and overtime, a 2.25% pay hike this year with a 60 cent raise each year for the next three years and competitive worker benefits. Everything agreed upon in the 4-year accord is meant to protect workers while also ensuring the future growth and success of the company itself. 

The recent Nabisco strike has sparked the conversation over the importance of labor strikes and unions. People are left to consider their options and rights in the workplace. How can unions and strikes truly serve the people? 

Unions are founded to give a voice to the workers. They give representation in the higher up decisions so that those providing the labor are not forgotten or taken advantage of. When unions are ignored, and the workers treated unjustly, strikes serve as a louder voice for the workers. Strikes demonstrate to those in charge just how important the workers are and just how serious their demands are. Along with this, strikes can help gain solidarity from other workers as well as the general public in order to bring attention to a company’s faults and show those in charge that people will not stand for these injustices.  

Without the workers a company will collapse. The working class keeps the company, and the country functioning, therefore when they strike the wheels stop turning and things come to a massive halt. This gets quick attention from those in charge who are in turn left making little to no profit and are threatened with the idea of no longer completing their goals.  

More and more workers are beginning to understand their importance and choose to not be a cog in the machine of the industrial complex. They are beginning to understand that they deserve more than crumbs, and right now in a pandemic people are growing desperate, which is the prime time for action to take place. People have come to the realization that they are what runs the corporations, not the suits upstairs, and they refuse to be taken advantage of. With these realizations the rising threat of more and larger scale strikes is spreading with some already planned for upcoming dates such as October 15. 

It is important for the working class to continue to stand in solidarity with one another and to speak loudly and proudly about their expectations. No longer can we allow for unworkable conditions to be the norm, especially in the throes of a global pandemic. Together we stand and together we can be seen and make an impact. On the backs of workers, the world goes round and therefore we have the power to bring it to a halt in order to be treated justly. We all deserve rights and that doesn’t end when we set foot into employment.  

Sin Nombre Hantavirus in Michigan

Felix Stoll 


October 5, 2021 

The Sin Nombre Hantavirus (SNV) in North America is the most common strain of the rare, but severe Hantavirus that infects humans. This virus causes hantavirus pulmonary syndrome in those affected. It was originally discovered in the Four Corners region during an outbreak on the Navajo Nation reservation (also identified as Diné) in 1993 caused by deer mice and white footed mice.  

Most commonly it is present in the deer mouse that is then spread to a human host through inhalation of airborne feces, urine, saliva, bites, or ingestion of contaminated food or water from infected rodents. The highest risk of exposure comes from entering or cleaning rodent infested structures. Most cases are identified in primarily adult patients in the spring and summer seasons. Currently, there are no person-to-person transmissions reported in the U.S. 

The virus presents itself anywhere from one week to five weeks after exposure to the infected rodents. Regardless of history, anyone exposed to a Hantavirus infected rodent is at risk of hantavirus pulmonary syndrome and their doctor should contact the local health department as soon as possible to report the case and discuss possible testing options. 

Symptoms can be difficult to notice at first and include fever, chills, body-aches, headache, nausea, vomiting, and diarrhea, and abdominal pain. It can later progress to include coughing and shortness of breath. Once it develops into hantavirus pulmonary syndrome as it most often does it boasts a remarkably high mortality rate of around 40%.  

Precautions can be taken to help reduce the chances of catching the Sin Nombre Hantavirus such as using rubber, nitrile, or latex gloves when cleaning areas with a rodent infestation, ventilating areas for at least 30 minutes before working, and being diligent in wetting areas with a disinfectant or chlorine solution before cleaning. 

On June 7 of 2021 an adult female from Washtenaw County Michigan was hospitalized with a serious case of the Sin Nombre Hantavirus. It is suspected that the patient inhaled the virus while cleaning out a residence that had been vacant for two years but had recently been reported as having an active rodent infestation. The woman was treated in the hospital and was recovering when last examined. 

Sin Nombre Hantavirus cases are rare and easily avoidable despite how detrimental to one’s health they can be. With a case popping up in Michigan it is recommended that residents remain diligent with taking precautions before cleaning areas that could have a rodent infestation. 

A bit closer to home on Alma College’s campus precautions have always been in place to ensure the safety of students, faculty, and staff. With our very own lab mice present on campus cleaning crews remain thorough in their procedures, especially with current COVID-19 protocols in place. Students can continue to foster a clean and safe campus environment by taking care of their trash often, disinfecting surfaces in their residential rooms, cleaning up after using kitchen areas, and cooperating with janitorial staff. 

Hospitalization Gap between Pfizer and Moderna raises concern

Aishwarya Singh                                                                                                                                                 


October 5’ 2021  

With months having passed to the major wave of vaccination in the United States, the scientific community expected to see trends emerge among different groups of vaccinated individuals as well as among recipients of different kinds of vaccine. As the months have gone by, The Center for Disease Control and Prevention have also tried to analyze whether the vaccines remain just as effective in preventing hospitalization months after a recipient receives their shot and the data is finally out.  

Data collected from 18 states across the United States between March and August reveal that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine prevents hospitalization in 91% of its recipients in the first four months after one receives their second shot. However, the troubling part of the statistic is that the efficacy of the vaccine reduces from 91% to 77% after 120 days have passed. This is especially alarming when put in contrast with the Moderna vaccine which has an initial hospitalization prevention rate of 93% and remains at 92% 120 days post receiving the second shot.  

A separate study conducted in late September by the The New England Journal of Medicine, which evaluated the real-world effectiveness of the vaccines at preventing symptomatic illness in about 5,000 health care workers in 25 states, revealed that the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine had an effectiveness of 88.8 percent, compared with Moderna’s 96.3 percent effectiveness.  

The most real consequence that such data has is on the debate of booster shots- when and how often must we start administering them to people that have already been vaccinated with their primary doses? If the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine drops in efficacy substantially, there are valid reasons for individuals that received the Pfizer vaccine to receive their booster shots sooner than those that received a Moderna vaccine.  

However, the scientific community claims there is not much to worry about and that these stats should not alarm people to the degree that they have. “Yes, likely a real difference, probably reflecting what’s in the two vials,” said John Moore, a virologist at Weill Cornell Medicine in New York. “But truly, how much does this difference matter in the real world?” “It’s not appropriate for people who took Pfizer to be freaking out that they got an inferior vaccine”, he adds.  

One of the primary reasons why such fears have been labelled unfounded is because the vaccines have remarkably similar efficacy against symptomatic infection. Here, the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine has an efficacy of 94% while Moderna has an efficacy of 93%. This is also the reason why they have been described as more or less equal since the initial few months of their administration.  

The second reason why worry seems unfounded is because initially, scientists had hoped that the vaccines would produce a 50-60% efficacy. When the vaccines far surpassed that expectation, to debate 88.8% versus 96.3% does not seems like a worthwhile cause. The vaccines have, by and large, done significantly better than anyone had expected and prevented a great number of deaths and hospitalizations. Such finer details were bound to emerge only with time and more studies will definitively show how and when booster shots for the vaccines would have to be administered. Till then, however, the government is focussing its efforts on making sure that at the very least, people receive their first doses.   

Controversial Refugee Center Proposal Passes

Aishwarya Singh                                                                                                                                              


October 5’ 2021  

When the Michigan Masonic Home closed the former Warwick Living Center in March, it was occupied by senior citizens in need of various levels of care. But when the facility reopens, likely later this year, it will become the temporary home to unaccompanied male refugees ages 12-17, who will be arriving from the southern U.S. border.  

To say the newfound use has created a bit of controversy in the community over the past four months would be an understatement. Multiple rounds of conversation and negotiation ensued between two sides of differing views- one side raising concern over the possibility of increased violence that might arise from housing refugees within the town and the other advocating children to be provided a safe living space as they and their guardians navigate the contours of the American immigration system.  

“If I lived in the community, I would be asking the same questions,” said Bethany Christian Services Branch Director Krista Stevens about concerns of violence and crime increase. “But these children are fleeing violence. They had to leave family to be surrounded by the safety we can provide.” 

However, city commissioners put an end to all the back-and-forth discussion last week when they voted 4-2 to approve a conditional rezoning request from the Masonic Home, owners of the building, and Grand-Rapids-based Bethany Christian Services, the agency that will operate the refugee center, that allowed the proposal to proceed. 

Despite the approval, however, there are multiple moving pieces that need to be figured out before the facility can be up and running. While minimal amounts of renovation are needed for the facility to be ready, there is extra paperwork and legal obligations that need to be ironed out before the rezoning can be complete. The children will also be thoroughly tested for COVID-19 before they move into the facility.  

The new residents will have to file and produce appropriate paperwork before they will move into the facility. The facility itself is working on installing cameras and security systems while trying to find people to staff the institution so that it can be filled to capacity, with all 36 beds being used by children. The facility is also working to equip their staff with counselors and therapists to provide the children with necessary mental health services during their time there.   

This facility is going to be a “transitional assessment facility” where the children will be housed for no more than 45 days. Within these 45 days, the appropriate authorities will work to unite them with a family member within the United States or an appointed sponsor. If 45 days pass and neither a family member nor a sponsor is found or the child turns 18, they will be transferred to a more permanent foster care unit.  

According to Bethany Christian Services, the support they’ve received from Alma townsfolk via emails, letters and phone calls has been overwhelming. The heavy negotiations on the matter were a testament to spirit of a democracy and the verdict was a testament to the compassion of the town community.

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