College hosts Pine River Film Festival

By Cassie Florian

Staff Writer

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This past Saturday Alma College had their second ever Pine River Student Film Festival at the Strand theater from noon to 9 p.m. There were high school films, homegrown films and college films shown at the event in the narrative and documentary categories.  

At the end of every category the audience was given a chance to vote for their favorite film.   

There was a table at the event that was selling t-shirts, posters, pins and sticker and admissions also was there giving away brochures lanyards pens and tote bags. The theater itself was also selling concessions at the event.   

At the event there was also an activity booth called “provoke a scene” which was a social media campaign that encouraged guests to create their own narratives using figurines and backdrops that could be shared on social media with the hashtag #PRSFF18 which gave an educational aspect to the festival.  

There were also a few returning New Media Studies alumni who returned to support the students and enjoy the show.  

“I watched all of it [and] thought it was really cool, I was really excited for it because I have never been to one and I’ll probably go to it again next year,” said Jessica Araway (‘21).  “I also thought it was cool to see the local films, because I knew people who were in them.”  

“I watched the college section, but I missed the homegrown part,” said Casey Ball (‘18). “I thought it went really well, I was happy it happened again this year because I didn’t get to go last year.”  

“I saw bits and pieces of the high school documentary part and the last half of the college narrative and I loved it,” said Olivia St. Arnold.  

“I loved supporting other filmmakers and seeing what others are capable of. Filmmakers supporting filmmakers, you know?”  

“I got to meet a few Alma film students which was cool, since I go to a film school in Grand Rapids. I loved ‘Average Fellas’ and ‘Love of Cinema,’” said St. Arnold.  

“I watched everything except for the high school documentaries and I thought it went really well,” said Zachary Kribbet (‘18). “It was really well organized, and I thought there was some really good work that was shown.”  

This year, although it is only the festivals second year, has dramatically increased in size with over 1400 submissions, which is something several students took notice of.   

“My favorite part was probably the fact that we had submissions from over 90 countries; that’s insane,” said Ball.  

“I guess just like the sheer amount of films and submissions that were submitted, and the fact that it was all student based was what stood out for me,” said Kribbet.  

“I would, I’d like to be able to support it more [in the future], but I don’t know if I’ll be able to because I’m graduating,” said Ball.  

“I would most definitely [come again] because I think it is very, very cool to share something like this, that is all student-led,” said Kribbet.   

“I would come again! I’d always support other filmmakers. I might just submit a film next year too,” said St. Arnold.  

“The event went well! I really wish there were more people there but I’m happy with the outcome,” said Zack Baker (’18). “Of course, I hope next year goes even better. I wouldn’t have done a thing different.”   

“My favorite part was that everyone that came had a good time. I feel glad that I don’t have to worry about it, but I’m sad that it’s all over,” said Baker. “It’s like a birthday party or a graduation, you look forward to it for so long, and when it’s over it’s kind of empty.” 

Senior art students showcase talent

By Cassie Florian

Staff Writer

Since early this year, Senior art students have been working on their senior show thesis exhibitions which were put on display on Mar. 19.  

This show, which will have a Thesis Review Apr. 7 from 2-5 p.m. and a Gala Reception which will be on Apr. 8 3-5 p.m., is currently on display in the Flora Kirsch Beck Art Gallery located in the Clack Art Center.   

The gallery hours are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday. The gallery will be closed on Friday Mar. 30.  

“So what we do is we collectively, all year round, essentially create our own shows,” said Jessica Morr (’18). “You start it at the beginning of your senior year and do it all year round.”  

“It is a way for us seniors to essentially [get] a critique, prepare for the real world and for grad school stuff and to express what we want our work to be about,” said Zachary Meyer (‘18). 

Although it is clear that many find the show a great way to show off their skill as an artist and prepare for their life after college, others also reflected on how the experience brings them all together and allows for even a little experimentation as well.   

“I see senior show as a collective of interests, of artists [from] that year, and a mix of interests, styles and ideas” said Alyse Townsend (’18). “It’s a like mixing pot of art.”   

It is a good collection of subjects and subject matters, human expression and elements that we all share,” said Elly Jauquet (’18).   

“Senior show is basically about exploring different techniques and the artist proves how hard they worked and how dedicated they are,” said Shayla Crawford (‘18). 

Although there are a lot of things that these artists share, there are also many differences in their work such as their styles, techniques, mediums and inspirations.   

“Personally, I made about 10 works that showcase different mediums retelling my heritage through mainstream media,” said Crawford. “I included oil painting, ceramics and colored pencil in my work.”  

“My show is about the darkness of the human psyche. My work is macabre; some would call it creepy” said Meyer. “I have several large pen drawings and a large multimedia canvas.”   

“My senior show is a combination of dry chalk illustrations and marker illustrations that focuses on themes associated with pop culture especially superheroes and videogame characters so people who love these stories and characters will associate with my work as well as I do,” said Townsend.   

“I center a lot around my personal illness, especially a couple of years ago I got really sick and this show was a coping mechanism. It was very personal and hard for me to do at first,” said Jauquet.  

“Im a graphic design major so this was a cooperation between fine art and graphic design and I depicted how women are viewed in the media and how [society] typically sees them negatively,” said Morr.   

“I interviewed 50 women to see how they think media portrays them and then took a picture of them and edited the pictures like a magazine would and you wouldn’t even realize they were edited until they were side by side,” she said.   

“I want people to walk in with open eyes and definitely to question some things that are on pieces and to ask questions. All we want is emotion driven from an audience. After that, our work is done” said Jauquet. 

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Student film festival continues to expand

By Cassie Florian

Staff Writer

Alma College will host its second Pine River Student Festival Saturday, April 7, at the Strand Theater downtown. 

The planed event, which is proving to be much larger than the inagural one, begins at noon and is free for all movie lovers. 

The categories that the films can be in are either documentaries or narratives and the judges this year consist of nine professors from the English and new media studies departments.   

Although there were many people who entered their work into the festival, only 49 out of the 1,464 films that were submitted, from 90 different countries, will be shown at the event, all only 20 minutes long or under. Organizers say this makes the festival have a much larger sclae and make it a more global event than last year.  

“I am the festival director this year, and am taking over for Patrick Mallett who did it last year,” said Zack Baker (’18). 

“I have been in contact with [him] to see how we can improve and grow.”  

“As a member of Short Stack Film Club (the event’s sponsor), I have  five volunteer screeners to help rating the films,” said Baker, who also mentioned how having members of the club not only helped take more off of his plate but also gave him more perspectives on the films he was rating.  

“[The festival] is also a part of my senor capstone,” said Baker. “So, I get to be a part of this event both hobby wise and academic wise.” He continued on to talk about how he will also be presenting the work that he did for this event on Honors Day.  

“I’ve ordered t-shirts, stickers and buttons as well as made a 30 second video ad that plays at the NCG theater in Alma to hopefully get some more community participation,” said Baker. He also mentioned being able to hire and work with others for the festival, such as for designing posters, which was an exciting and new experience for him as well. 

“I think that the most interesting and exciting thing about this [festival] is that the quality of film was really high,” said Joe Harrison (’20), who was a screener for the festival. 

“It makes me very excited for the future of young media.” He also mentioned how impressed he was by the quality of the international films and how he is excited to see how the future of international film will grow as well.  

“You never know; the next Steven Spielberg could submit a film here,” said Harrison.   

“I was [also] a screener for the Pine River Student Film Festival,” said Emma Wood (‘20). “We got films from all over the world—and I mean from all over the world.  

“The narratives were graded on story, visuals, sound and acting while the documentaries were graded on story, visuals, sound and relevance. Each category was rated out of three, and in total they were rated out of twelve, said Wood.  

“I’d have to say, over all, my favorite part was seeing [the festival] grow into the big thing that it is right now and what it will be. I’ve seen it in its skeleton form and it is really cool to now see the meat on its bones. 

“You don’t have to be a film buff or new media studies major to enjoy [the festival], “ said Wood.  

“Everybody will find something that they enjoy there. Overall, it’s a really cool thing that normally wouldn’t in a small town like Alma.”  

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Model UN does it again at Midwest competition

By Cassie Florian

Staff Writer

While many students were finishing up their midterms and heading home for break, Alma College’s Model UN team was winning yet another “outstanding” award at the Midwest Model UN conference in St. Louis.  

The college has won this award for 25 years consecutive years, and have  won 46 outstanding awards since 1994.  

“Overall, the experience was pretty exciting, we were freaking out a little bit at first when things didn’t go as planned, but it kept us on our toes and I think we all had a pretty good time,” said Daniel Lynch (’20).  

With this being his first conference, Lynch went on to mention how, although the experience was new and very intimidating, he learned a lot and even got to go out to dinner at the Trainwreck Saloon to celebrate his birthday with the team. 

Although members were able to have some fun while in St. Louis, it was their research and preparation at Alma that really showed during the conference.  

“We did a lot of research in preparation for this conference,” said Anna Kildisheva (XC). “You need to know a lot in terms of info and in terms of communication. We had very intensive classes and practiced giving speeches a lot. I think we were quite prepared.”  

Although their research and preparation is a clear reason for their annual success at conferences, many students also site their professor, Dr. Derick Hulme as the major reason for their success.  

“A big reason for why we do so well is because we have a great professor,” said Jadon House (’20). “He does a great job at preparing us for the conference and his teaching style helps us get where we are now.”  

“He is demanding of us and it prepares us for conference so well,” said Kildisheva. “He puts a lot of pressure on us which helps push us to do our best.” 

Although there were many new members who were just learning what conference was all about, there were also a lot of older members there to help make sure everything ran smoothly.  

“Since I’ve been [there] before, [the conference] was quite enjoyable,” said House. “It was mainly the same topics as last year so most of the time was spent focusing on training the new folks and preparing them for conference.” 

House also mentioned how if he could go back and change one thing about the experience, he would focus a little more on researching and practicing their presentations so that they could all be even more prepared for the event.  

While the team was certainly able to bond with each other throughout their time preparing and participating in the conference, they also had the ability to interact with people from other schools.  

“One of my favorite things about the conference was meeting new people from different schools,” said Blaze Wilson (’21). “It was really cool to see students from other schools with like-minded interests.” 

With the end of their St. Louis conference, the Model UN team will now begin preparing for their next conference in New York. 

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MacCurdy sponsors new events on campus

By Cassie Florian

News Editor

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Alma College’s on-campus women’s aid center, the MacCurdy house, has been very active this year, having held events such as the slut walk and a house meet and greet that members hosted in the fall.  

This month, MacCurdy is sponsoring two more events that, like those it has hosted in the past, help to promote equal rights among people of all genders on campus.  

The first event that they are hosting is a production of “A Memory,  A Monologue, A Rant, and
A Prayer” or MMRP for short. “[An MMRP] is a collection of monologues written by or inspired by real people,” said Ishijah Johnson (‘18).  

They were put together by Eve Ensler, who also did the Vagina Monologues, which MacCurdy has also performed in the past.  

The Vagina Monologues are episodic plays that discuss topics such as body image, consensual and nonconsensual sexual experiences and several other topics as seen from a woman’s perspective.  

Although MacCurdy has been doing Vagina Monologues for a while now, the group felt that it was best to make the switch over to MMRP.  

“A few of us in the house [did] not like the idea of acquainting women with vaginas,” said Johnson, so we switched to MMRP, which is more inclusive and raises awareness to certain issues.” 

Although the dates to audition to be in the performance have already past, Alma College staff and students can still watch the monologues get performed and support their fellow students.   

The production will take place Feb. 21 at 7:30 p.m. in the chapel and students are encouraged to come and listen.  

“It will be eye opening,” said Johnson.  The second thing that MacCurdy is doing this month is a dress drive throughout February and into March.   

“The dress drive is a collaborative project between MacCurdy house and the Career Closet here in Alma, run by the Women’s Resource Center of Gratiot County,” said Audrey Karr (‘18).   

Items that can be donated include gently worn prom dresses, accessories, shoes, jewelry and strapless bras of all sizes and designs, according to Karr.  

Donated items can be dropped off at the MacCurdy house, 701 W. Center Street, or the Career Closet, which is located at 150 W. Center Street.  

“This is a new project growing out of the need for local high school students who cannot afford the enormously expensive necessities of prom season,” said Karr.  

The dresses that are donated go to the students here in Gratiot County so that they can have them for prom.   

“It is important to donate and participate in events like this because it brings the campus and local community together for a great cause,” said Karr.  

She said everyone deserves to go to prom and enjoy themselves, and not being able to afford all of the components for a successful prom is an unfair reason to have to miss out on such a special night. 

For students who are interested in doing more with the project, MacCurdy welcomes anyone who wishes to help out with the drive.  

If any students are interested in volunteering their time at the Career Closet or wish to assist in any other way with the project, they are encouraged to contact Karr, who is the current MacCurdy house manager. 











College welcomes new chaplain and director of spiritual Life

By Cassie Florian

Staff Writer

Last week, the college introduced a new Chaplain and Director of Spiritual Life to campus, Rev. Andrew Pomerville.  

“Returning to Alma College [was] truly a dream come true,” said Pomerville, who was an Alma College graduate in 2001.  

“The opportunity to serve as the chaplain and director of spiritual life is a lifelong dream and a true calling.”  

Along with this familiarity and love for the college, Pomerville also cites his past experiences in ministry as vital for his success here at Alma.   

“Looking back on my career in ministry, I believe all my experiences have been preparing me for this particular opportunity,” said Pomerville. “I most recently served as the senior pastor for the multi-denominational Peoples Church of East Lansing, whose diverse population drew heavily from Michigan State University students, faculty, staff and alumni.”  

On March 16, Keith Wise, who was appointed in August as the interim chaplain after the resignation of Rev. Noel Snyder, will officially hand over the position to Pomerville.  

“Although I haven’t met him in person, by reputation he is very good” said Wise, professor of history and religious studies. “I had complete confidence in the selection committee [for the position].”  

Wise said he would greatly miss meeting prospective students as well as his interactions with students beyond the classroom, however he said he realizes that soon it will be time for him to step down.   

“I’ve served in interim positions before in my ministry and from that I’ve learned the ways of temporary service,” said Wise. “You have to be willing to give it away and you need to have the mindset to be able to function well in a temporary capacity.”  

Students have also shown much excitement for the arrival of the new chaplain and for what they believe he can bring to spiritual life on campus.   

“I am beyond excited [for the new chaplain] … each time [I’ve talked to him] I have been blown away by this crazy energetic vibe he gives off,” said Holly Zuiderveen (‘18). “He seems truly passionate about his role as a mentor and spiritual counselor, and ready to run with the job description and tailor it to his own gifts and students’ needs. As with any small, close-knit group on campus, chapel can be intimidating or just plain unappealing to students,” said Zuiderveen.  

“However, I think having a chaplain [who is]more dedicated to just having conversations with people outside of the traditional Sunday worship time is a great goal, and one that he wants to accomplish.”   

“I’ve met [Rev. Pomerville] a couple of times through church conventions and am very familiar with his name,” said Libbey Jones (‘18).  “Although we were all very excited for Noel when he got a new job, I think we are all ready for a new, permanent person. I definitely think that it is important who gets chosen to be chaplain,” said Jones. “They will all have their own style of preaching and it is important that we find someone who is young, has an exciting outlook and will [meet] our students where they are.” These are all qualities that Jones said she believes Pomerville possesses.   

“The opportunity to serve as the chaplain and director of spiritual life is [a] lifelong dream and a true calling,” said Pomerville. “The chance to serve during this amazing moment in Alma’s history is beyond my greatest expectations and I look forward to joining this outstanding community.”   

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Grad school vs. work experience

By Cassie Florian

Staff Writer

For many students, the question of whether or not to go to graduate school right after Alma or to first gain experience in the workforce can be an extremely intimidating one.  

Although this is not an easy question to answer, staff and students share their insights into what to do after Alma. 

“I was having a lot of trouble deciding whether or not I wanted to attend graduate school next year,” said Bergen Jome (’18). 

“I was planning on applying to fast track one year programs… [but] decided to take a gap year and want it to be as productive as possible.” 

The reason she decided to take a year off, Jome said, was because she found herself to be more interested in looking at apartment flats and places to visit than grad school itself. 

“Make [your gap year] productive,” said Jome, “but give yourself some time to relax and reflect on all that you’ve done. Grad school will always be there and more often than not, they would like to see that you’ve gone out and done something with your major or general area of interest.” 

“I would recommend taking a year off—at least the summer—of just not going to school,” said Steven Vest, associate professor and head of reference and instruction services.  

Vest said he would suggest taking a year off because he, who had gone from a very intensive undergraduate program to an even more difficult graduate program, found the whole process very overwhelming.  

“Take some time to plan your life a little bit and get some perspective,” said Vest. 

Although taking a gap year is a good option for students who don’t want to go right into either grad school or the workforce, internships can also be a way for students to gain experience while taking a break from their schooling. 

“I will be doing an internship with the West Michigan Whitecaps (baseball team),” said Monica Bussell (‘18).  

“I am the multimedia intern so I will be helping make videos, graphics, player greenscreens, and also game time photography.” 

“Most people think if they try to get another internship post grad they might as well get a job…but it was a position I was interested in for a long time and an opportunity opened up for me to take it. 

“I went straight into graduate school,” said Daniel Wasserman, professor of history. “It really made sense for me. Financially, I believe, if you go straight into grad school and if you have loans, you can continue to defer them [also] I really wanted to go… I couldn’t wait to focus on studying.” 

Wasserman also said  some of his friends found they were really burned out from classes and it made sense for them to take a few years off. He believes it all depends on how students feel after their undergraduate program and what type of degree they want in the future. 

“It all depends on what kind of program you’re interested in,” said Wasserman “[For] some types of degrees it’s important to have experience before grad school.  

Talk to faculty, to students in programs you’re interested in, get email addresses and ask for insight. Do some soul searching and do what makes sense to you.” 

“I think going to grad school is awesome, and a great idea for a lot of people,” said Dylan Zaborowski (’18).  

Zaborowski, who is an education major said he is planning on doing a semester of student teaching after he graduates from Alma but also sees the benefits of graduate school for some people.  

“Alma definitely does a great job preparing students for the next step in life, whether that be going to grad school or going right into the workforce!” 

Student group seeks sustainable food

By Cassie Florian

Staff Writer

SAGA, not to be confused with the name that students use to refer to Hamilton Commons, stands for the Student Agricultural Group for Advancement, a group of students with the goal of creating a more sustainable and healthy food practices here at Alma College. 

“We want to see the food on [Alma’s] campus improve in terms of what can be grown locally,” said Jarrett Buikema (’21) when asked what drove him and many other members of the new campus organization, SAGA, to become members. 

The group came out of the First Year Seminar ‘Stuffed and Starved’ which we all took this past semester.  

“This is where it began, we put together a group and started having meetings,” said Buikema He continued by mentioning the importance research also played in founding the organization.  

“We’re interested in making a more nutritionally conscious campus,” said Samuel Nelson (’21).  

This however, does not mean that the organization is anti-Sodexo, in fact the organization would like people to know that they are in reality the opposite of that.  

“We are not necessarily against Sedexo or certain foods,” said Nelson. “We don’t want to be against anything, only for things…we wish to work with Sodexo to improve the food on campus.” 

In terms of the organization’s plans for the future they have both short-term and long-term goals for SAGA.  

“A short-term goal is to secure the old garage behind the environmental house and create a greenhouse out of it,” said Buikema. “We have also been in contact with companies who provide grants to schools for greenhouses.  

We created a small pop up green house as a test run and believe we will have even more success with the real thing.” 

Regarding long-term plans, the goal is to secure the old K-Mart in town. 

“We have been researching how to transform urban spaces into greenhouses,” said Buikema. “It is a 150 thousand dollars [for the space].” 

Another long term goal of the organization is one that focuses on strengthening and improving the group itself. 

“We wish to gain a larger following in the fall, since it is difficult to find people to join in the middle of the year,” said Nelson. 

SAGA, although it started out from an FYS, is welcoming of people who would be interested in joining their group. 

“First of all, it’s open to everyone interested in joining” said Buikema. “We are looking to diversify the group’s background information and want to see an increase in people who can bring other things to the table. 

“We meet on Wednesdays in SAC 109 at 9 p.m.” Nelson said. “We want to see students join that come from a large variation of backgrounds to help us to get some new perspectives that will help to further develop the group. 

“This group is one of the most diverse on campus. Everybody in this organization came together with one common goal.” Buikema said, when asked what was his favorite part about joining this group is and why this organization is so important to him.  

This common goal, of creating a more nutritionally conscious and sustainable campus, is something that without a doubt, this organization is proud of and ready to share with the rest of Alma College. Screen Shot 2018-01-23 at 4.08.46 PM

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