Gossip Squirrel 10/3/2022

Dear Gossip Squirrel,
I have had the busiest semester and feel like I have signed up for a lot that I’m not fully prepared for. Classes have been crazy, but I feel like I always have meetings until 8:00pm.

-I just want a break

Dear I just want a break,
So sorry that you have been having some hectic moments this semester. The best thing you can do is look ahead and rest. If you have a good idea of what your workload looks like, making sure you get your work done early is crucial! Always make sure that you are also giving yourself time to relax. Frustration will only make everything more complicated so make sure to take a break to reset.

– Gossip Squirrel

Dear Gossip Squirrel,
I feel like I have had a pretty bad relationship with one of my teachers. Though I don’t focus the best in class, I definitely try to keep a good exchange between us plus I try to ask questions and have always been good about turning my work in.

-Teacher hates me

Dear teacher hates me,
It can be frustrating putting in effort for a class in which you don’t feel like your work is being appreciated. The best thing you can do as a student is continuing to do exactly what you are doing. Continue to be diligent about your work and continue asking your teacher questions. Though your teacher might not see the amount of effort you are putting in your work, your overall understanding of the class and your motivation to get your work done will help you be successful in your class.

-Gossip Squirrel

Weekly Horoscopes 10/3/22


Aries (March 21st-April 19th)

This weekend will be filled with a demanding, but beneficial agenda. The Power of Luna and the
dwarf planet of Eris mixed will empower you to use your assertiveness and a bit of anger to
speak upon what you have been holding back to say or do for a very long time.

Taurus (April 20th-May 20th)

Prosperity and good fortune are coming your way. It may not seem like a lot of riches and
materialistic goods at first. However, it is up to you to determine what you will do with this good
in your life and what you might use it for.

Gemini (May 21st-June 20th)

Towards the middle of the week, you will detect confidence within yourself. Utilize this very
short-lasting chance to learn more about yourself, as well as appreciate your strengths and

Cancer (June 21st-July 22nd)

Activeness has been the key to your existence recently. You may have felt like you have been
involved severely in multiple activities that you cannot seem to keep up with. Now is the time to
determine the amount of energy that you possess and recognize your own limits.

Leo (July 23rd-August 22nd)

Your past self has been in your thoughts lately. You may feel a separation from what you once
were to who you are now. Now is the time to relate back to your childhood self and remember
what you enjoy deep down.

Virgo (August 23rd- September 22nd)

The dwarf planet of Ceres has just entered your view during the start of this week. You may
sense a feeling of deep love towards others around you and a desire to socialize with the
important people in your life. Now is a wonderful time to learn more from those that you look up

Libra (September 23rd- October 22nd)

Venus is now in your full possession and is starting to give you feelings of harmony and peace.
However, you may run into the dilemma of being unsure where you stand in your group of
friends, and whether this peace is ultimately good or if you are distancing yourself from

Scorpio (October 23rd-November 21st)

Now is the time to destress and find something fun and enjoyable in life. This open opportunity
will not last for long, so use this entertainment at your own risk and understand it will be gone

Sagittarius (November 22nd- December 21st)

Hard work so far this semester has been the name of the game. You may not have seen the
amount of progress that has been made so far, but you soon will. Continue your dedication, and
you will not regret it.

Capricorn (December 22nd- January 19th)

You may have felt on the edge lately and have been feeling annoyed easily. Luna will make an
appearance in your life during the beginning of the week, and fill you with a great number of
emotions, and then clarity.

Aquarius (January 20th- February 18th)

Now is the time to sit back, relax and smell the flowers. Enjoy the little things in life and use this
opportunity of peace to focus on what is important to you. Your relationships may seem to be
relaxing, so enjoy this quietness while you can.

Pisces (February 19th- March 20th)

You have had one main concern on your mind recently. Someone in your life recognizes this
and is willing to help if you were to just put yourself out there and ask. An intense amount of
growth is prepared to become at your service if you choose to take the help.

Lockhart Chemical Company Controversey




In July of 2022, the Lockhart Chemical Company located in Flint, Michigan, was identified as releasing discharge from a storm sewer due to a main breach. As of September 19, 2022, the company has been ordered to stop the usage of their wastewater and stormwater conveyance systems, which have been proven defective.    

The news of the spill is an additional tragedy contributing to the Flint water crisis, in which lead from aging pipes exposed around 100,000 residents to high lead levels after failure from officials to apply corrosion inhibitors. The order was authorized under Michigan’s Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Act. Three months after the spill, thousands of gallons of waste oil have been collected.

According to WNEM of Saginaw, the Lockhart Chemical Company was operating under a cease and desist letter from the city of Flint, ordering the company to not discharge any liquid waste from their on-site tanks into the city’s sewer system.                                                                      

“As a citizen of Flint who grew up blocks away from the Flint River and was a teenager through the time of the water crisis, it’s extremely frustrating to see this repeated disregard for not only the health of the citizens, but the health of the local environment as well,” said Audrey Plouffe (’23)

Dr. Amanda Harwood, an associate professor of Environmental Studies and Biology, also shared her thoughts on the matter. “Unfortunately, this is just another example of a company violating their operating permits. [Enviornment, Great Lakes, and Engery (EGLE)] and now the Attorney General are doing what is in their legal power to stop these violations and prevent further ones,” said Harwood.    

“If people are concerned about continued violations and continued risks to humans and the environment, the best thing they can do is make their voices heard publicly by elected officials. One simple way to do this is to vote for candidates who support stronger environmental regulations and their enforcement.”

The state of Michigan claims that they are committed to helping Flint recover from the public health crisis. Michigan has provided more than $350 million to the city of Flint, along with $100 million from the federal government that supports water quality improvements, pipe replacement, food and educational resources, healthcare, and job training and creation.    However, there are many more ways that action can be taken besides providing monetary support, including raising awareness around the situation in Flint and voting for officials that insist on creating change in the upcoming election.

“When things like this happen anywhere, not just in Flint, the culprits would far rather it be forgotten and brushed aside, but we have a responsibility to ourselves, others, and the world we live in to not let that happen,” said Plouffe.

Divided opinion on Metz Culinary Management



On July 1, 2022, Alma College partnered with Metz Culinary Management. Metz is renowned for its experience in the higher education industry, which was the major factor in Alma College choosing it over other contenders.

Metz was brought to Alma College with the hopes of it being an improvement upon the previous dining company, presumably in response to student complaints and protests in the past years.

Over the past few years, the student body has voiced its concerns and speculations over the quality and lack of variation in menu items and protein sources. Even after changing culinary companies, the student body still is upset over these issues.

“The change from Sodexo to Metz has severely altered my diet. Many of my favorite foods, such as peanut butter and chickpeas or no longer offered at the dining hall. As a student-athlete, I used to eat these foods as a source of healthy fat and protein,” said Ryan Gray (‘25).

Alongside numerous foods no longer being offered, popular food stations are no longer operable in the dining hall.

“I was confused about the two most popular stations, the Mongolian Grill and the pasta bar, to be removed,” said Austin DeRocher (‘24). “It was a staple of numerous athletes’ diets, providing them with high protein and carb options while simultaneously bringing the best flavors to the dining hall.”

The new culinary management has implemented various nutrition changes emphasizing healthier and alternative food options. Metz prioritizes making vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options more accessible for students to implement into their diet. These new changes have come with contradicting viewpoints.

“I’ve been to the dining hall possibly seven times since the beginning of the year. The only enjoyable thing I can find there is chocolate milk, cereal, and fries. I miss the unhealthier options that were offered before Metz took over,” said Andrew Smith (’23).

“I do enjoy the healthier options that are now offered. After practice, I tend to want to eat a lot of food and when healthier options are available, it makes me feel better mentally and physically,” said Gray.

Not only has the variation of food been questioned by the student body, so has the quality of the food. Numerous students have found questionable items in their food alongside of the question of how thoroughly cooked the food is.

“One day, I went to grab some oat milk out of the fridge, and inside the carton was mold. When I showed one of the workers, she looked concerned and took the carton away,” said Kylie Demarets (’25).

This has not been the only case where the food quality has come into question. Many students have found the tortillas at the deli station to be stale, and at times, different foods are under or overcooked.

Although Hamilton Commons is a small dining hall compared to many other campuses, students still wish more variety was available.

“For the whole month of September, all that has been offered at the Southern Cooking station has been tacos. My friends and I assume it is to commemorate Mexican Heritage Month; however, other Hispanic foods can be served that represent the culture. After weeks of only being offered tacos, it gets a little annoying when nothing changes,” said Grace Ludema (’26).

Overall, it seems that although the college had tried to improve the dining hall and its options, it sadly did not achieve this goal.

The General Manager of Metz Culinary Management was contacted on Sept. 27 but was unable to respond by the date of publication.

Guest speaker invited to bring gun violence awareness



On Oct. 6, Alma College is set to host guest speaker, David Hogg at 7 p.m. in the Dunning Memorial Chapel. Hogg is one of the speakers chosen for the Presidential Speaker Series. Hogg will speak to the student body and faculty on the subject of community through the lens of gun violence in schools.

Hogg is a survivor of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School shooting in Parkland, FL. Using his experience with gun violence, Hogg co-founded the March for Our Lives protest and co-wrote the book, “#NeverAgain.” He promotes activism and voting through numerous social media platforms, where he has more than one million followers.

Alma College’s Presidential Speaker Series is an event that the campus holds annually, which brings in people of various backgrounds and ideological beliefs.

“It is run through the Center of College and Community Engagement. This group brings in speakers who help guide discussions on civil responsibility and what that looks like at all levels of leadership,” said Andrew Pomerville, Assistant Vice President for Community Engagement.

“This year’s Presidential Speaker Series focuses on some important questions about our place within a community and how individual responsibility affects community responsibility. Hogg’s experience that he will share is an excellent fit within that theme, given the tragic circumstances that led to his national platform,” said Jeff Abernathy, president of Alma College.

Gun violence is an issue on the rise, and the discussion of gun rights is a disputed matter on all levels of government.

Recently, the House of Representatives passed a bill banning assault rifles with a 217 to 213 vote. The bill will be sent to the Senate to be voted on if it shall be passed or not in American legislation.

In June, President Joe Biden signed a gun safety bill into law. This law seeks to expand background checks. It also expands upon an existing law that prevents previously incarcerated people of domestic abuse from owning a gun.

In the wake of the Uvalde, Texas shooting, David Hogg responded to the situation in an interview with MSNBC. “We need to figure out what is the one thing that we can agree on to move forward not as democrats and republicans, but as Americans who actually address the situation,” said Hogg.

Gun violence is an issue that can occur in any community at any time. Staying informed may open useful conversations that can give people the resources to help the fight against gun violence.

“David’s talk encourages us to understand our responsibilities amid the conversation about gun violence. I believe awareness is already there about gun violence. Knowing that shootings happen is not the goal; the goal is knowing our role implicitly,” said Pomerville.

Alma College has made tickets accessible to all students. Tickets can be found online. Faculty and staff have been spreading the word around campus in hopes of a big turnout.

“Tickets are free, and there are about 100 seats currently available. Two-thirds of ticket sales are set aside for students, staff and faculty. Students can find tickets which are on the Alma Connect website,” said Pomerville.

“Peace and safety are the responsibilities of all our citizens. We all need to talk openly about how we can get there, and by having speakers like David come in, conversations can commence,” said Pomerville.

Controversy surrounding movie Don’t Worry Darling



The anticipation of the release of Don’t Worry Darling, directed by Olivia Wilde and starring Harry Styles and Florence Pugh, has been fraught with controversy. Any doubts the movie would do poorly on its opening weekend, however, were quickly cast aside as it rose to number one at the box office.

The discourse surrounding the movie touches on a wide range of things from Shia LaBeouf’s involvement to Styles’ acting, to the relationship between Styles and Wilde.

Some have even gone so far as to suggest the controversy has been used purposely by the film’s creators to promote the film and increase its potential viewership.

Whatever the case, most conversations are now centering around Styles’ and Wilde’s relationship. The age difference between the two, how it may have caused tensions on set and how distant they seemed to be from each other throughout the premiere in Venice are just some of the topics being discussed.

In a male-dominated field such as the film industry, female directors like Wilde may face more scrutiny just because they are women.

It would not be surprising if Wilde has faced more criticism as a woman. “[I]t makes sense…that a woman would experience more backlash for a movie like this since they are constantly under a microscope,” said Amelia Price (’24).

On a similarly note, Wilde faces more scrutiny as a female director. “[S]he will continue to be confined by her sexuality, as [the] film exists in a patriarchal society,” said Haden Gross (’23).

Furthermore, male film directors have had a long history of dating their female leads. Some instances included a notable age difference and still received little to no criticism.

Even if Wilde is facing more criticism simply because she is dating one of the world’s most famous male singers right now, it is still important to consider the gender biases that may be in effect.

Wilde’s directorial debut, Booksmart, was received very differently by critics, attaining an admirable 96% on Rotten Tomatoes and a solid seven point one out of 10 on IMDb.

Perhaps, some critics of Wilde have a problem with the subject matter of her newest film. This includes the constraints women of an idyllic 60s-era society are facing.

The movie, however, has not suffered any repercussions from the bad press. CNN reported they “opened to $19.2 million in North America [the weekend of September 23 and] …notched $30 million worldwide so far.”

While Don’t Worry Darling has only received 39% on Rotten Tomatoes and six point three out of 10 on IMDb, it has, nevertheless, pervaded our lives with the sheer amount of press surrounding the actors and creative team.

Whether more people will see the movie is up for debate. “As much as I want to see it, I do not want to support Olivia Wilde, financially or in general, so I will be watching it, but in a less conventional way,” said Price.

When it comes to movies these days, especially with social media, it is no surprise that a movie this heavily promoted with A-list actors and one of the world’s most famous singers could have caused this amount of contention. However, it is evident that some of the topics being discussed are not essential to determining the actual merits of the film.

While it may be fun to discuss all of the drama Don’t Worry Darling has caused, in the end, it really does not matter.

Hopefully, in the future, we can judge movies by their actual content and not the drama surrounding them.

Alma College offers fall alternative breaks




As the first academic break of the year is coming around the corner from Oct. 13 to Oct. 16, most of Alma College’s students are getting ready to go back home to see their families, friends and pets.

However, there are some students who may be interested in other opportunities to fill their Fall Break. For the students that are interested in an alternative option, Alma College offers a variety of different opportunities to participate in.

Fall Alternative Breaks have been offered through Alma College since 2003. They have gained more popularity each year among students and faculty alike.

These Fall Alternative Break opportunities are a great way for students to become more involved. They allow students to make a difference within the Alma community and the greater Gratiot community.

“What I like seeing in the volunteers that I have worked with is seeing people willing to take time out of their schedule to address a need in our community,” said Katherine Garlock, the AmeriCorps VISTA member for Food Security at Alma College.

There are four Alternative Break opportunities available for the 2022 Fall Recess: Food Security with the Gratiot Community Garden and Greater Lansing Food Bank, Environmental Stewardship with the Friends of the Fred Meijer Heartland Trail, LGBTQ+ Support with the Gratiot Gender Affirming Closet and Disability Support with Day Dreams Inc.

The Food Security Alternative Break with the Gratiot Community Garden and Greater Lansing Food Bank will work to alleviate food insecurity within the mid-Michigan area.

In this alternative break, students can expect active outdoor work completing end-of-season maintenance at the Community Garden. This will include garden take down, as well as sorting donations and assisting with food distributions to the Gratiot community.

“20% of Gratiot County is living in poverty, and hunger does not end after going to a food pantry a few times. We need volunteers who are willing to work and encourage their peers to engage with the community on a weekly basis,” said Garlock.

The Environmental Stewardship Alternative Break with the Friends of the Fred Meyer Heartland Trail will include service to and upkeep of the Fred Meyer Heartland Trail in Gratiot County. This break would be a perfect opportunity for students who love the outdoors and being active.

The LGBTQ+ Support Alternative Break will include sorting, washing and organizing clothing and accessory donations for the Gender Affirming Closet at Alma College. This alternative break seeks to provide gender-affirming clothing and accessories to the Gratiot County community.

“I am volunteering for the gender-affirming closet because I want to be a part of minimizing gender dysphoria on campus, and the clothes that we wear often have a hand in shaping how others perceive us and how we feel about our own identities. The closet offers students a place to find clothes that fit their preferred identity to lessen this dysphoria,” said Sophie Flater (’23).

The Disability Support Alternative Break will involve sorting donations and organizing merchandise at the Dream Works Resale Shoppe. This is a non-profit organization that was established to provide and support occupational and social opportunities for adults with disabilities. Students who sign up for this alternative break will aid them with that mission.

To sign up and find more information regarding this year’s Alternative Break opportunities, visit Alma.edu. Registration is open now.

Alma College celebrates Hispanic Heritage Month




Americans celebrate National Hispanic Heritage Month (HHM) every year from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15. Hispanic Heritage Month is a time to celebrate Americans who have ancestry traced to Spain, Mexico, the Caribbean and Central and South America.

Hispanic Heritage Week was first celebrated in 1968 under Lyndon Johnson. In 1988, the observation was expanded by Ronald Reagan to an entire month. Sept. 15 is the anniversary of independence for Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras and Nicaragua.

“Many people celebrate their heritage by preparing traditional dishes, playing music and hosting dances, and most importantly, spending time together,” said Alejandro Salais, graduate assistant in Alma College’s Office of Diversity and Inclusion (DI Office).

To celebrate on campus, the DI Office is holding many events for “all students, faculty and staff in the Alma Community,” said Salais.

Central to these events is the Hispanic Hall of Fame, viewable between Sept. 19 and Oct. 15 in the Rotunda of Tyler Van Dusen. This self-guided tour introduces you to Hispanic American historical figures and their contributions to American society.

“My personal hero [is] Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor,” said Stephany Slaughter, professor of Spanish and women’s and gender studies. Sonia Sotomayor, a Puerto Rican woman born in the Bronx, became the first Hispanic person and the third woman to serve on the Supreme Court in 2009.

“Someone in the Latino community that I look up to is Roberto Clemente—the first Latino inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame,” said Salais. “[His] dedication to community service and giving back to others is what has always made him a role model for me.”

“It is no [surprise] that Benito Antonia Martinez Ocasio, also known as Bad Bunny, is one of my idols,” said Krystal Urena (’23), president of the Alma College Hispanic Coalition. “He is true to what he believes in [and] has broken so many stereotypes of machismo.”

Bad Bunny, who is Puerto Rican, has won two Grammy Awards, four Latin Grammy Awards and eight Billboard Music awards amongst other achievements in music and television.

Puerto Ricans are contributing to American society in major ways, but their situation is unique. Puerto Ricans are U.S. Citizens, and have been since 1917, but are disenfranchised.

“Puerto Rico deserves particular attention, not only because of the continued colonial relationship between the island and the continental US… but because of the current situation [in which they are] recovering from Hurricane Fiona,” said Slaughter.

One of the ways the community celebrated HHM is by inviting Puerto Rican artist, Omar Cruz, to the DI Office’s HHM Painting with a Twist event. This event took place on Sept. 29. According to his website, Omar Cruz is “one of the most sought-after portrait photographers among celebrities.”

On another note, there are many ways to get in on HHM celebrations on Alma College’s campus.

“On campus, the [DI Office] has an event planned [on Oct. 7] that will include Ballet folclórico and food for our campus community,” said Slaughter. “I’m excited to participate!”

This event will take place in the chapel, featuring the Ballet Folclórico del Luz, Central Michigan University’s award-winning folclórico group.

On Oct. 13, there will be a showing and dialogue around the East LA Walkouts. This event will be cohosted by the DI Office and History Club in the chapel basement.

“The purpose of [the showing and dialogue] is to shine some light on the history of [the American] education system,” said Urena.

On Oct. 18, the Hispanic Coalition and iGem are cohosting an event on Latinx Voices in STEM in SAC 113.

“As a Latino graduate student and young professional, it means so much to me to be surrounded by a community here at Alma College that cares so much about learning about different cultures and social identities,” said Salais.


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