The cost of MUN




Everyone on this campus is either a part of Alma College’s Model United Nations team, or knows someone who is. With Alma College being a small, liberal arts college, it is rather impressive that our team is both nationally and internationally recognized. I mean, come on, the team was a Jeopardy! clue. That’s legendary status in my book.

This team rightfully deserves the recognition it receives, especially when considering 49 outstanding delegation awards from the national Model UN conference, 55 from the Midwest conference, and 25 years of receiving top national honors. This is no doubt an aspect of Alma College to be proud of. All this recognition and reward, of course, has a cost: hard work and more.

“Apart from the obvious extreme work ethic, perseverance, and speaking skills that you acquire in MUN, there are so many opportunities that open up to you. We get to hear about scholarships, excursions, internships, and more,” said an anonymous source.

“I know so many students that realized the path they want to take with their careers or general futures through Model UN and what we derive from meaningful volunteer work and advocacy,” said the anonymous source.

“There are costs for MUN, such as four suits for conferences, food if you have to go out to eat late after Tuesday practices, and binders with tabs, notes and dividers, [along with] the printing credit to print hundreds if not thousands of pages to fill the binders,” said the source. “It would be nice to know these costs beforehand, or to just get a rough estimate of all of the things we will be buying before the start of the season. I know I’ve personally had issues with not having the immediate funds to buy the printing credit I need.”

“College policy used to allow all students unlimited printing at no cost. When that policy was changed, it applied (and continues to apply) to MUN students as well,” said Dr. Derick Hulme, who has stood at the helm of the MUN program since 1992.

Despite the demanding workload, “we’re doing it because we believe it’s worth it. Regardless, I know we all sacrifice a lot ofmeals and sleep and maybe a couple other grades once in a while in order to satisfy the requirements of MUN. I’m sure most of us sometimes question what else we could be putting that effort towards, like mental and physical health, hobbies, other classes, extracurriculars, etc. It’s, of course, not the right decision foreveryone,”saidthesource.

These difficulties, if overcome, can open the door to prestigious opportunities. When asked about the outomes of those who have gone through MUN, Hulme said, “Model UN offers students both an appreciation for global affairs and the opportunity to develop critical life skills, including research, public speaking, and collaboration. It also strengthens resilience, adaptability, and personal accountability.”

“Model UN studentshave gone on to the finest law schools, graduate schools, and medical schools in the world, including Harvard, Stanford, Yale, Cambridge, Oxford, and Johns Hopkins. They also have won over $2 million worth of nationally competitive scholarships, including the Gates-Cambridge, Fulbright, Truman, and Udall.”

Another source, who wishes to remain anonymous, shared their thoughts. “Due to the pandemic, formal recruitment was sparse, thereby not giving students a bigger picture of what they would be getting into,” said the source.

In 2020, the national conference was canceled 15 days before students were to go to New York, which devastated graduating students. In 2021, both the Midwest and national conference were online, where Alma’s team traveled to Chicago to participate. The 2022 conferences required participants to wear masks, while the 2023 conferences will return to pre-pandemic protocols.

“After your first year, it’s a completely different experience, and I can agree that it is worthwhile. There are parts I actually enjoy, like public speaking and mentoring. But there is a lot of unnecessary pressure,” said the source.

“Our team is among our largest and most diverse to date. We have 43 students, including students from 9 countries other than the US, from Russia, India, South Korea, Tunisia, Morocco, Poland, Greece, Kosovo, and Britain. That has increased our emphasis on mentoring first time participants,” said Hulme.

“It sucks, it’s the worst experience ever. At the same time, it’s rewarding and there’s a collective trauma you go through,” said the source.

“The opportunity to interact with people from around the world and understanding different viewpoints [is my favorite part of MUN],” said Aditya Shankar (’24). “The least favorite part is probably only going to 2 conferences.” Shankar has been involved with Model UN as a whole for over 6 years.

“[The best advice I’ve received from Dr. Hulme is] ‘Whenever you think you are not performing well or that you are not reaching expectations, take a moment, breathe and think about the various things you have accomplished’, said Shankar.

To answer my previously mentioned question, I would say yes, being on the Alma College MUN team does have a price. With a class syllabus that boasts about the workload by equating it to the “price of excellence”, it is rather apparent to me that you have to be one motivated individual to join this amazing team. I am proud of the accomplishments that the team continues to bring home every year. However, it is easy to get caught up in the glory of success by telling your well-being to shove off.

Classified documents found in the home of former Vice President



On Jan. 16, former Vice President Mike Pence requested a group of lawyers to investigate his private residence in Indiana after classified documents were found in the Delaware home of President Joe Biden. Pence’s lawyers indeed found documents in the former Vice President’s safe that contained sensitive or classified information.

Mike Pence’s counsel, Greg Jacob, took the necessary steps to notify the National Archives of Pence’s possession of the documents. Shortly thereafter, the Department of Justice requested immediate access to the documents, to which Mike Pence agreed.

“The discovery of classified documents in the homes [and] private offices of Mike Pence and Joe Biden reflect both a lack ofappropriate care and attention to the handling of classified material and the significant problem of over-classifying materials,” said Derick Hulme, Arthur L. Russell Professor of Political Science and Nationally Competitive Scholarship Advisor at Alma College.

“Mike Pence and Joe Biden had the highest levels of security clearance, which enabled them to see the most sensitive materials. However, it’s always important that only those individuals with appropriate security clearances have access to particularly important documents,” said Hulme.

Dr. Hulme has been a vital part of Alma College since his career at the institution began in 1992. He serves as an expert in the school’s Model UN program and international law, along with an array of issues within the political science, foreign affairs and law spectrum.

“The Presidential Records Act (PRA), a response to President Nixon’s attempted destruction of presidential materials, is vital to efforts to sustain a democratic, transparent and responsive government. The PRA enshrined the concept that all materials generated during a presidential administration in fact were owned by the American people, not by elected officials,” said Hulme.

“The discovery of classified documents in homes, especially the homes of current non active figures, presents a significant national security risk.,” said Adam Deeter (’25). “While current President Biden is cleared to view documents of top secret and classified nature it is bad practice to allow documents to leave secure areas. These are documents with enormous national security implications and if they were to fall into the hands of enemies of the state our entire country would be put in grave danger.”

“In regard to the Mike Pence situation, it is simply inexcusable. To allow a non- active governmental figure what is essentially unauthorized access to top secret documents concerning the safety of our nation puts the citizens in what can potentially be [a dangerous situation],” said Deeter.

On Jan. 19, agents from the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) collected the documents from Pence’s home. Since then, the four boxes containing the documents in question were reviewed by Pence’s attorney and are in the process of being sealed and delivered to the National Archives in Washington, DC.

American Teacher Act first step towards fair pay



On Dec. 14, 2022, a new act was introduced in the United States Congress by Representative Frederica Wilson, a Democrat from Florida. 

The American Teacher Act, which was referred to the House Committee on Education and Labor, promotes the increase of wages for American teachers. The legislation was also drafted by the nonprofit organization, Teacher Salary Project, which strives to assist teachers in becoming financially viable. 

This act is a response to the current nationwide teacher shortage and decreasing morale of educators. If passed, the American Teacher Act could lead to an income of $60,000 a year. This is about a $20,000 increase from what public school educators are typically paid. 

“Having a minimum wage of $60,000 is just the beginning of paying teachers what they are worth. Teachers are critical to our nation’s future,” said Dr. Peggy Yates who serves as an Assistant Professor and Director of Special Education Teacher Preparation at Alma College. 

Dr. Yates has 25 years of teaching experience and acts as Vice President of the Alma Public School Board of Education. 

“Raising the base pay is a step in the right direction, but so much more can be done to promote the importance of the profession across the nation,” said Yates.

“Of course, doing something about the teacher shortage in our country is critical right now, and the American Teacher Act is an important step in creating a better future for teachers and students alike,” said Katie Rooney, an Alma College alumna who graduated in 2022. 

“Ultimately, I think the passing of the American Teacher Act would be a humongous leap forward in treating teachers like the invaluable humans they are,” said Rooney. Rooney also recently began her career as an elementary school teacher. 

“Education is power, and teachers place that into the hands of our country’s future citizens – parents, politicians, influencers, innovators, etc… We should be paying teachers a comfortable living wage at the very least, and there is no reason teachers should have another stressor on our already overfilling plates,” said Rooney. 

“As a second-year teacher, I make around $41,500 per year. I am constantly being told I am lucky to even make this much, while at the same time, I struggle to make ends meet and pay my bills,” said Jessica Headlee, a 2020 Alma College alum. 

“This is a huge reason why I have two other jobs on top of my job as a teacher. I face disparaging burnout, financial struggles, loss of family time and lack of sleep every day because my career simply does not pay teachers what we are worth,” said Headlee.

“ There is a huge disparity here as you can see. It is clear that teachers are not valued as professionals since we are hardly paid as such.” 

“Another benefit I hope for is that, if the American Teacher Act passes, hopefully, we will draw more qualified candidates into the field of teaching,” said Headlee. “I am aware of multiple teaching positions that have had to be filled by long-term substitute teachers. Is this really what is best for our students?”

“I think if this act were to pass, it would definitely shine [a] light on the profession and encourage people in America, especially college students, to consider going into teaching,” said Raegan Stambaugh (’23), an Alma College student in the process of her first semester as a student teacher.

“This bill would help to send a message and prove that teachers are a valued part of society,” said Stambaugh.

One thing many hope to see is how much further the income can be raised. “$60,000 will not go very far in bigger cities such as New York or San Francisco. It would be nice if they could even set the salary even higher,” said Stambaugh.

Whichever trajectory this new act will take, the surrounding conversation is certainly a step in the right direction.

Alma College football wins first-round of playoffs



On Nov. 19, the Alma College Scots gained a 41- 21 victory over Mount St. Joseph, still making the 2022-2023 team undefeated.

The Scots took the MIAA championship title on Saturday, Nov. 12 against the Albion College Brits. Much anticipation was building up on campus regarding the Nov. 19 game against the Mount St. Joseph Lions, with the Alma College Athletics social media platforms promoting the slogan, “Win or Go Home”.

Offensively, the Scots were led by QB Carter St. John (‘26) and RB Eddie Williams (‘‘26). The former threw for 2 touchdowns, and the latter contributed 2 rushing and 1 receiving touchdown.”

An anonymous donor provided a great monetary amount to cover the costs of students wishing to get tickets to the event. While Alma College has a policy in place that allows students to be admitted into games for free, the National Collegiate Athletic Association requires that all guests pay for entry as part of their tournament hosting requirements. 

“I have a lot of good friends on the team, and I know a lot of the staff well, so it’s really exciting to watch their success and cheer them on,” said Payton Miller (’23), who is Student Supervisor and Broadcasting Coordinator for Alma College Athletics.

“If I could describe this year’s team in one word it would be relentless. This team has worked so hard all year and continues to put in the work to improve. It can be seen through our first 10-0 record in school history, conference awards, and individual player accomplishments,” said Miller.

“I love watching our men compete on the field. They play with unbelievable passion and love for this sport,” said Head Football Coach Jason Couch, who has coached the Alma Scots since 2018. “[The team has] completely bought in to the process of improving every day, [to winning each day]. We have 28 seniors committed to our KILTstyle culture.”

“Cherish our time together. We are one of 32 teams left in the country playing Division III football,” said Couch when asked what advice he had for the team. 

Another proud Scot is Michigan Senator Gary Peters, an Alma College alum from the class of 1980 who was present on Nov. 19 for the opening coin toss.

Peters shared his school spirit over his social media platforms during the week in a video with colleague and rival Mount St. Joseph alum, Senator Rob Portman. “We are undefeated for the first time in 128 years. We are now in the playoffs for the national championship and we’re going to beat your team,” said Peters to Portman. Along with Senator Gary Peters, many other alumni traveled and tuned in to the game to show their school pride.

A notable aspect of the football team’s season so far is the excitement of the fans. “I’m super excited to just be in the game day environment and have a cool experience like this at Bahlke Field,” said Miller. Based on the turnout at the game and the number of viewers over the livestream, along with the atmosphere created, the Nov. 19 game had the feel of a second homecoming.

The team also appreciates the support. “Come to the game. Have fun, make it a party. It’s going to be cold, but warm up by jumping around and yelling for the Scots,” said Couch. The Scots won the first game of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) 2022 Division III Football Championship and are now advancing to the second round of the NCAA tournament.

“Alma just won 41- 21, their first playoff game victory in the history of the school and now they continue to go forward on their way to the national championship,” said Peters, following up with another post on his official Instagram page.

The team will play again on Nov. 26 against the Aurora University Spartans from Aurora, Illinois, but the time and the location of the game are yet to be announced by the NCAA.

Alma College staff run for community positions




With the election season underway, all eligible voters are having candidates and policies brought to their attention in order for their vote to make the difference they want to see. Keeping this in mind, there are three members of the Alma College faculty and staff who are running for positions within the Alma community.                                                                                           

Stephany Slaughter, a Spanish and Women’s & Gender Studies professor, is running for the Alma School Board. “I am running because I believe in the value of public education and the importance of cooperation between communities and schools,” said Slaughter. “In my role as [a] parent, I began thinking about running for the Board of Education several years ago and began looking at what it might entail.”                                                                                           

Slaughter also stated how her time working at Alma College has contributed to the current campaign.

“Through working at Alma College over the last 14 years I have gained many experiences that will inform how I approach a position on the Alma School Board, including working with complex budgets, developing and implementing curriculum, serving on our Board of Trustees and working with students,” said Slaughter. “The biggest takeaway, however, is consensus building through seeking out a variety of voices on issues.”                                                     

In terms of what students on campus can do to get involved, Slaughter emphasized the importance of voting.

“I encourage students to get registered, get informed and vote their conscience,” said Slaughter. “I sometimes hear students say they aren’t planning to vote, sometimes because they don’t see themselves as political, sometimes because they don’t think it will make a difference. It absolutely will make a difference.”                                              

Running for the position of Alma City Commissioner is Bill Gorton, Associate Professor and Chair of Political Science.

“I’ve been sitting on the city’s parks and recreation committee and the zoning board for a while, and so I started to become familiar with some of the issues that the city faces,” said Gorton.                        

Some changes Gorton would like to make in his possible new role include converting the old Total Petroleum site into a solar array station, creating a commuter rail service, construction of a new bike path that connects the Meijer Heartland trail and the bike path along US-127 and more equitable funding for city parks.                                                                                                  

“The relationship between the college and the city is symbiotic — or, at least, it should be. The college is one of the biggest employers in the city and its students produce a lot of revenue for local business. In turn, the college benefits from being located in a vibrant, thriving city. We both depend upon each other,” said Gorton.                                                                                                  

Also running for the City Commissioner position is Drew Bare, the Assistant Director of Instructional Technology & Support Services at Alma College.

“I feel a calling to more service to the city of Alma,” said Bare. “I live in the city with my wife and kids and it’s important to me that we have people involved in our city commission who care deeply about the success of the city and are willing to work hard towards that.”                                                         

Bare has identified ways in which he as City Commissioner can improve Alma.

“In my door knocking over the past several weeks I’ve heard a lot of concerns including the poor condition of some of our streets, funding for the library, fair distribution of funding for parks and ensuring that the city maintains a reputation of being welcoming to new residents and businesses,” said Bare.                                                                                                                                                       “So much of what I’ve learned working for the college these past 16 years would carry over to being a city commissioner. My top priority in IT through all of these years has been to help develop a reputation for excellent customer service. Serving the residents of Alma would have a lot of similarities to serving the staff, faculty and students at Alma College,” said Bare.                    

The upcoming election is being held on Tuesday, November 8 and students are greatly encouraged to vote.

The pros and cons of being an education major




Since I declared my major my freshman year at Alma College, I have been a Secondary Education/ English double major for going on three years now. In that time, I’ve completed one placement and am currently completing another, accepted a work study position within Gratiot County, taken what seems like a boatload of education credits and have become President of the Education Club. You could say I’m rather involved with the education department and all things education related. 

Over the course of my time here at Alma, I’ve heard multiple things regarding the pros and cons of being an education major from my peers. Ash Holland (’23) said that there are both ups and downs to the major. 

“Some pros of being an education major are being part of an amazing community of people and the feeling of being supported and able to ask as many questions as needed,” said Holland. “I like how we have a lot of placement opportunities before we student teach.” However, Holland also recognizes the cons of being an education major. “A con of being an education major is being busy especially when doing a placement. Many times, education students have to drive to do a placement and it is a major time commitment to achieve,” said Holland. An overall change that is suggested to be made is to have students complete less “busy work” and a larger focus on assignments regarding teaching, such as creating lesson plans. 

Dr. Brian Hancock, an Assistant Professor of Education at Alma College, is happy with the work being done within the education department. “The program is nationally recognized and our faculty and clinical partners do an amazing job at preparing well- started teachers who are ready to do great work with Pk- 12 students,” said Hancock.

“The changes to our education program offerings are in-line with the new requirements from the state of Michigan and, especially important for the Pk-6 major, now include a clinical placement in a classroom during the first year of study,” said Hancock. Dr. Hancock also shared some advice for students. “I always encourage education students (and all students, for that matter) to take advantage of any and all travel opportunities during their time at Alma College. So much of “good” teaching is being responsive to students needs and interests and is not scriptable within a curriculum. We collectively can learn so much about ourselves and others when we visit new places, and it’s important to take advantage of those opportunities when they present themselves,” said Hancock.

As an education major, I greatly sympathize with other students in the field as I have worried about driving to and from placements, about completing my hours in a timely fashion and awaiting acceptance into the Teacher Education Program since some of the requirements do not fit the content area in which I am going into.

With this being said, I have had an overall positive experience with the education program here at Alma. I have enjoyed going into classrooms early in my years here so that I can determine whether or not teaching is what I truly want to pursue. I have endless gratitude and appreciation to the education department faculty, for they are always willing to answer any questions I may have as well as instruct classes that have given me new perspectives about my field. 

I additionally love being President of the Education Club as I get to connect with members while also acting as a bridge between student and faculty communication.

In conclusion, I commend my fellow education majors that are passionate about what they do. I believe the pandemic has been one of the greatest examples of how overlooked and overworked teachers are, and just how much we impact our students.

When I went to New York City this summer, I bought a pin in Central Park that reads “Teacher Power”. A dear friend of mine asked what that meant. After thinking about what it means, I took a few notes that I would like to share with you now.

Teacher power is inspiring students to become the best version of themselves. It’s acting as a role model when there’s no one to look up to. It’s providing stability when the home life of a student is rocky. 

It’s supporting them when there’s no one to hold them up. It’s motivating them to get what they want out of life and to not let go. It’s shielding students from gunfire.

It’s the bookmark my teacher made me that I use to this day. It’s the sympathy cards I received when my grandfather died. It’s the conversation I recently had with one of my past English teachers. 

It’s every hug I received at my high school graduation and every conference my parents attended. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, if I could take care of every single child in the world, I would. And that’s teacher power. 

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.

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