Spring sports start at Alma College




With practices for spring sports beginning in late January, student-athletes participating in men’s and women’s lacrosse, baseball, softball and men’s and women’s track and fi eld are getting busier and busier.

On Jan. 23, the men’s lacrosse team’s full practice schedule commenced for the 2023 spring season with a week full of winter weather advisories.

Even as the team trudges on through the snow and cold, there is much to be excited about including the home games and the atmosphere that comes with them. There will be plenty of opportunities to catch the men’s team playing on Balke Field this year with five home games.

“I love running out with the team because of the electrifying energy. Running out with the sword, shield and Scottish flag symbolizes what our team truly plays for. I feel like I am a part of a family,” said Dalron Gray (‘24), a short-stick defensive player.

The men’s lacrosse team has gained a new head coach for their 2023 season. “It feels great to be a part of a new chapter in Alma College Men’s Lacrosse history… the spring is going to be the beginning of the program accelerating [in] the right direction,” said Coach Casey Hogan.

Women’s lacrosse also launched into action with their 2023 spring season on Jan. 23.

While men’s lacrosse got a new head coach, women’s lacrosse found themselves with a new assistant coach. “I think [the assistant coach’s] unique perspective of the team combined with the standards we have set for ourselves is going to make this season extra successful,” said Rileigh McGeorge (‘24), a midfielder on the women’s lacrosse team.

Baseball had their first practice on Jan. 30, and their season will be busy with numerous games. Catch them on campus at Klenk Park at one of their seven home games this year.

As with many sports, “the hardest aspect of the season is keeping up with schoolwork with all [of] the traveling and missed classes… even when on campus, there’s less time to do homework with practice every day,” said Mitchell Foley (‘25), an outfielder on the baseball team.

Most spring athletes agree with Foley. Season means less time for school, but some good advice to take heed of is to “try to get homework done sooner rather than later; procrastinating is an even worse option while in season,” said Foley.

Going hand in hand with baseball, softball begins on Jan. 30, as well. This year’s softball team, however, may be a little different because the team “lost the majority of [their] starters on the field from last year,” said Danielle Dumoulin (‘24), a third baseman on the team.

“I am excited to see how our team steps up… we went all the way to the regional finals [last year], and it is important for us to follow up doing that again this year,” said Dumoulin.

Outdoor track has a bit of a later start than the previously mentioned sports with their outdoor meets beginning in March. This March, the team will “have more depth and… [has] gotten better,” said Jenna Belmas (‘25), a sprinter and hurdler for the track team.

Ultimately, from team practices and finding time for homework to gaining new coaches and losing players, spring sports are stressful. Yet, the attitude towards this season has been summed up in these three words by multiple athletes across campus, including Cole Pearson (‘25): “We are ready.”

Starbucks Connect creates new Munch Money option




Around campus there are many exciting projects that are coming to fruition in the next couple months. Currently, the college is working to integrate a new Starbucks Connect system to be assessable to students and the Alma community.

OnJan.16thefirstpart of the renovations took place which installed the wiring for the system. The installation process will be ongoing until the end of March.

“We are currently about halfway through the install process, this program takes 10 weeks to install and there are a lot of tasks that must be completed with a target date of March 22nd for launch,” said Micah Barman, General Manager of Campus Dining.

“We are waiting on new hardware to be shipped to the location. However, IT related infrastructure is being worked on at this time,” said Barman.

The new system will offer new features for Alma College students to utilize at Starbucks. Students will now be able to use their Starbucks app to remote order their drinks. Additionally, students will be able to use their Starbucks rewards with their Munch Money.

“Alma College Starbucks customers will be able to use the full rewards program. Also, all customers will have access to remote ordering,” said Braman.

Many students are excited for the new additions to Starbucks. Numerous students have been waiting for the opportunity to use their Munch Money with their reward points.

“Since coming here I found it frustrating when I couldn’t use my rewards points with my munch money. I go to Starbucks almost daily and I would be able to save a lot of money through their rewards system,” said Kylie Demarets (‘25).

The Starbucks reward system is a function found on the Starbucks app that allows users to gain stars which are tracked as points. When a user spends a dollar, they receive a star in return. Different amounts of stars grant you different rewards ranging from a free customization of a drink to free select merchandise.

Throughout the year the system grants users special offers such as additional stars on select holidays or exclusive access to personized offers like a free drink on a birthday.

Alongside of the rewards features, the new system will assist baristas to keep up with orders at a faster rate. 

“The program will automate some back of the house tasks to speed up service and ensure better accuracy for customizing beverages,” said Braman.

One major issue that Starbucks employees and customers deal with daily are long lines that accumulate throughout the day. These long lines can create a noisy environment that can be distracting for students who utilize the café space to study.

“The new system I believe will be an effective way to reduce wait time in Starbucks. The new addition of the remote ordering system will help decrease the lines which will bring a quieter environment in the store for people like me who utilize it to study,” said Madison Arnzarut (’23).

“I’m hoping that this doesn’t make things too much harder on the baristas, they already work hard to be sure we get our correct orders and get them in a timely manner. I hope that online ordering and the reward system work out just as well for them as it will for us,” said Aubrey North (‘23).

Overall, the system will create new opportunities for students to utilize munch money while on campus. The progress of the project will be updated for the campus community once the launch date nears closer.

History club: Making their mark at Alma College




The Alma College History Club has been working hard towards making their mark on campus. With the release of new podcast episodes and winning the excellence in inclusion award, 2023 is shaping up to be their year.

“The primary goal behind the history club is simply to have fun researching and discussing history. As I like to say, we’re a place where stories are heard because we focus on whatever members are interested in– especially for the podcast,” said Aubrey North (‘23), president of the History Club at Alma College.

Meetings are held every Wednesday at 7:30 p.m. in SAC 106. Anyone interested in joining is welcome to stop by.

“We do try to focus more on Alma College’s history and the local history of Gratiot County. With this focus, we provide members full access to the Almanian Archives and try our best to stay in contact with the Gratiot County Historical Museum and Genealogical Library,” said North.

The club was recently awarded the excellence in inclusion award from the Diversity and Inclusion office. This award recognized individuals and groups whose work advanced diversity, equity and inclusion.

“Ultimately, we received the award due to our focus on inclusion in our events and podcast and our ‘genuine interest and dedication to spreading awareness of underrepresented populations and discussing how we can begin to advocate for equality.’ Our events have recognized and discussed the struggles and successes of marginalizedcommunitiesthat the dominant culture has often tried to erase,” said North.

The group has been partnering with the Office of Diversity and Inclusion (DI) on events, and the mutual benefit has shown.

“I feel like the office of DI has given us a lot of support over time too, it’s just a really fantastic relationship,” said Professor Benjamin Peterson, Lecturer of History and Political Science and faculty advisor for the History Club at Alma College.

A key focus of the club is producing their podcast, Alma College Histories and Mysteries. Two episodes have been released so far this calendar year.

“Our first episode released on Jan. 19 and shares the oral history of Alice Kramer as she reflects on her time at Alma as a student and [a member of the staff] Our [second] episode [came] out on Feb. 2 and features an interview with retiring professor, Nicholas Dixon as he reflects on his 36 year at the college, retirement and the life of a philosophy professor,” said North.

Podcasts are on the rise and are a great way for the group to relate with others in the Alma community. “It provides a new way for people to connect, not just to history as a whole, but [also] to the history and tradition of Alma College and Alma, Michigan… [It] allows them to reflect on that,” said Peterson. 

Additionally, it is a tangible product of the group’s work and will be out in the world forever. “It continues to exist, and people can continue to go back to it. That’s what I think is particularly cool about it as a medium,” said Peterson.

“We release episodes every other Thursday on Anchor, Spotify and Stitcher,” said North.

The podcast is not the only thing the group has to focus on, however, as they are constantly working to grow their presence as a group on campus.

“We try to host one event a month, try to take one field trip a semester and continue to produce content for the podcast. We do our best to hold events related to a specific history or heritage month… This semester we’ll be collaborating with the Alma Connection Project to host an event for National Arab American Heritage Month,” said North.

Students can get involved in the group in many different ways, it really is catered to everyone. “History club came about because the history department wanted one. What history club is is determined by the students in history club,” said Peterson

“If you have anything you’d like us to make a podcast episode on or even want to make a podcast episode yourself, don’t hesitate to reach out to [Aubrey North], Dr. Peterson or Madison Hall. Additionally, if you’re a senior and would like to record an interview reflecting on the Covid-19 pandemic at Alma College, reach out to the above-mentioned contacts to set up a time and place,” said North.

“On March 11th, we will visit the Michigan History Center in Lansing. We will cover the costs of admission and dinner in the area. Please email [north1ac@alma.edu] to reserve one of our fifteen spots! More information to come soon,” said North.

Taking a ‘Wrecking Ball’ to double standards




Following album releases from Taylor Swift and SZA and Miley Cyrus’s single, ‘Flowers,’ women are dominating the music charts and breaking records. Often though, the public’s focus is not on the art itself, but rather on the personal lives of the artists.

When Miley Cyrus released ‘Flowers,’ a track that plays on the lyrics of Bruno Mars’s 2012 hit ‘When I Was Your Man’ on Jan. 13–her ex-husband Liam Hemsworth’s birthday–it was hard to deny the singer’s intentions.

Many fans were quick to point out that the ‘Flowers’ music video appears to contain “Easter eggs” that hint at details about Cyrus’s relationship with Hemsworth.

Whether or not the aspects of the video fans perceive as clues really mean anything, it’s critical that we look past these details and appreciate Cyrus’s art for what it is, not who its subject is. Weeks after the song’s release, fans have not been able to do this.

Cyrus can’t even release a song about self-love without fans putting most of their attention on a man. It speaks volumes that Cyrus’s lyrics were inspired by a song by Bruno Mars, a pop artist whose love life has never been under such a microscope.

However, Cyrus isn’t the only female artist whose work has been subject to the “Who’s it about?” game. Throughout Taylor Swift’s career, the public has been asking this exact question.

Swift’s re-released albums prove that, even years later, her songs are not allowed to speak for themselves. The public feels that they must know the details of every romance that inspired her lyrics.

“Jake Gyllenhaal is finally able to sleep at night now that Liam Hemsworth is the most hated man on the internet,” said Twitter user @Brooke_Paige15, calling out Swift’s ex-boyfriend Jake Gyllenhaal–whom she dated almost 13 years ago, mind you–and Hemsworth.

And yet, male artists like Harry Styles and Ed Sheeran have penned track after track about mystery women. In a 2017 interview with The Zach Sang and the Gang Show, Styles opened up about his desire to keep the meaning behind his songs private.

“I think the best thing about music is everyone can take away different things from stuff, and that’s not wrong, there’s not really a wrong answer,” said Styles. “I feel like [with] a lot of my favorite songs that mean something to me, I’d be disappointed if someone told me that they were about something else. It might ruin the song for me.”

Coming from Styles, this response, albeit disappointing perhaps to die-hard fans of the singer, is respectable. Styles’s music is viewed as art above all else. Swift’s music is viewed as insight into personal life first and as art second.

Cyrus’s ‘Flowers’ is not the “Liam Hemsworth song,” Swift’s album Red is not the “Jake Gyllenhaal album.” Every pop artist writes about relationships, heartbreak and even marriage. The difference, though, is that the work created by men in the industry is not defined by these themes and they’re certainly not defined by their subjects.

So when we get bored with wondering exactly how many women Hemsworth allegedly cheated on Cyrus with, we’ll actually talk about the song, right?

It isn’t that easy, because when the ‘Flowers’ rumors are old news, Taylor Swift might top the charts again with a surprise release or SZA might make a triumphant return. And while fans could celebrate the success of all these women, the reality is, they won’t.

Why do Ariana Grande fans and Taylor Swift fans take to Twitter to argue about who is the superior artist but when Harry Styles and Swift are neck-in-neck in the charts, it is totally acceptable?

The fact is, we are not comfortable seeing multiple women vying for the top spot. And if we have to see multiple women succeeding, it at least can’t be a friendly competition. We imagine that these women can’t possibly be happy about the success of other women in the industry.

Younger pop artists like Olivia Rodrigo and Sabrina Carpenter are not next. It is already happening. Rodrigo’s debut single, ‘Drivers License,’ garnered attention for its subject and Carpenter was promptly villainized for “stealing” Rodrigo’s boyfriend. Both artists have been under scrutiny.

We have to recognize the double standards at play when we discuss pop music and shift our perspective away from the artists’ personal lives and relationships.

Will Mac Mall ever look the same?



While the construction is coming to an end within Alma College’s Learning Commons, more has started in McIntyre Mall, most commonly called among students: Mac Mall. Although Mac Mall is just a courtyard, it has become a central hub for the students at Alma College. Because of the importance of Mac Mall, students are concerned that it will not look the same after construction.

With beautiful maroon walkways, benches and memorial trees throughout, Mac Mall was a nice space for students to meet up with friends, an occasional gallery for Alma College’s art students and a good space for professors to hold class sessions when the weather permitted. The recent events of revamping the learning commons have turned this beloved space into a wasteland.

Alma College offers the ability for people to create a memorial for special occasions and loved ones. In Mac Mall, these memorials were often in the form of a tree. Based on the Alma College website, these memorials are a lasting tribute to those who the trees are dedicated to, yet when the construction started, those trees were removed. It is disheartening to see these “lasting memorials” so readily ripped out of the ground.

Based on an email from Jeff Abernathy on tentative end dates on construction, Mac Mall is not scheduled to be completed until mid-April; however, the advancement in Mac Mall’s remodel has not been promising. With the lack of color and greenery, this once lively courtyard has become sterile.

The first place that first-year students explore on campus is Mac Mall. Tartan 101, the three-day long introduction to Alma College for first year students, starts there each day. There are a multitude of events and traditions that incorporate Mac Mall like the scavenger hunt during Tartan 101 and the pumpkin that found its way on top of the spike each October. With the presence of construction, these traditions are at risk.

Mac Mall’s legacy extends past the students’ first year as well. Organizations like Active Minds and ACUB (Alma College Union Board) used this space to promote and housetheirevents.Specifically, the old entrance structure to the Learning Commons was used to hang banners made by these organizations. This was a way to get information out to the students and without it, promoting events has become increasingly difficult.

“ACUB has used Mac Mall to advertise for upcoming events we were putting on throughout the year. We have also done tabling in Mac Mall to spread information events,” said Elaina Gross (’25), a staff member of ACUB. Mac Mall had an active art scene. “Mac Mall 

has been used as a location for art installations during Art Prize or collaborative outdoor space between the dance program and art program”, said Jillian Dickson, Assistant Professor of Art and Design at Alma College. Although Mac Mall’s final look is unknown, the current lack of a community creative space is detrimental to the students.

The unknown outcome of Mac Mall is discouraging, but a fresh start allows the college to listen to its staff and students about their needs. “I love well-designed, luxurious community spaces and when it is obvious that investment is going to community spaces, and not private spaces”, said Dickson.

 “I personally hope that this new space will be more welcoming and accessible to all people. I hope it will be a comfortable space for students to use,” said Gross.


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