Adoption ban begins in Tennessee


On the morning of January 17th, Tennessee Governor Bill Lee signed a bill that will allow religious adoption agencies to deny any service to LGBTQ+ couples. The law took effect immediately and allows any and all adoption agencies the right to refuse to take place in child placement if doing so would violate the agencies written religious or moral conviction policies.

In an interview with USA Today, Governor Lee’s spokesperson Gillum Ferguson stated, “This bill is centered around protection the religious liberty of Tennesseans and that’s why he signed it.” The bill was signed even after several groups including the state chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union urged the Governor not to.

The Reverend Jasmine Beach-Ferrara, the executive director of the Campaign for Southern Equality, also weighed in on the situation. “Other states, including Michigan, have implemented similar laws and had them halted in court,” said Beach-Ferrara in an interview with USA Today.

“This law is clearly discriminatory,” Beach-Ferrara continued. “As long as the LGBTQ+ community continues to be targeted by discriminatory laws, we will turn to the courts for recourse.”

In 2015, shortly after the Supreme Court legalized Gay Marriage, Michigan legislature passed a law that allowed adoption and foster care agencies to cite religious convictions when refusing to work with LGBTQ+ couples who wanted to adopt.

In 2017, however, two couples filed lawsuits challenging the Michigan health and human services department contract with taxpayer-funded and state-contracted agencies that refused to work with same-sex couples.

Business is a large part of the agencies as a whole, so some students discussed it with business ethics in mind. “I think the bill is fair,” said Micah Schultz (’22). “I believe that it allows businesses to have that religious freedom in business, but I think it’s a bad way of doing business because they are actively discriminating against a particular group.”

Attorney General Dana Nessel, who was the first lesbian to be elected to statewide office in the state of Michigan, is most well-known for her representation of the 2015 Supreme Court case that led to the legalization of same-sex marriage

Nessel was a large reason that the bill in Michigan was revoked in the first place. “Limiting the opportunity for a child to be adopted or fostered by a loving home no only goes against the state’s goal of finding a home for every child, it is a direct violation of the contract every child-placing agency enters into with the state.”

However, state senate majority leader Mike Shirkey was not in agreement with the decision against the bill. “I’m just disappointed,” said Shirkey in an interview with USA Today. “This proves our point that the attorney general is unwilling to defend the laws in this state.”

Later on Shirkey also stated, “Faith-based adoption agencies will have to stop operating in Michigan because of the lack of taxpayer-funded support.”

Many students have had a lot to think about when it comes to the topic. “I think if we are going to have religious freedom, we need to have freedom based on people’s family types too,” said Brandon Nicholson (’21). “I think it is unfair to base a families ability to parent based on who they spend the rest of their life with. Their parenting ability should be based on how they parent, not who they are with.”

Some students have been taking a more legal stance when considering “Tennessee was not the first to have something like this, so the recent signing of this bill might add to the increase in similar bills throughout other states,” said Kennedy Sutton (’23). “There might be an appearance of a few more laws, but I doubt that it will become a majority situation.”

While the bill may be legally sound, many still believe that morally it is unjust. “Personally I think the bill, although legally just, is morally wrong,” said Jordan Jackson (’21). “Discriminating against LGBT+ couples under the guise of religious expression is discrimination and outright wrong. Agencies are legally in the right but that does not mean LGBT+ couples are any less capable or qualified to care for and make a home for a child. Love is love no matter what.”

Alpha Psi Omega Hosts Annual One-Act


Every year during the fall semester, the theater honorary fraternity Alpha Psi Omega hosts a play festival known as the One-Act Play Festival. The festival is student produced both in terms of direction and technical production.

Every aspect of the show is created by the students. “It is a fully student produced show, meaning APO funds it, all the directors are members of APO, the designers are students and all production needs are coordinated by APO” said APO President Sam Moretti (’20).

Alpha Psi Omega was founded in 1925 at Fairmount State College and has grown to a total of 551 active chapters in the United States including the Delta Beta chapter here at Alma College.

This year the festival is running three shows, “We have three shows,” said Moretti. “The 5564 to Toronto by Karen Howes, directed by Rachel Blome (’21). The Second Floor by Robert Scott, directed by Terry Dana Jachimiak II. The final show is The Three Little Pigs: Reborn written and directed by Merek Alam (’20).”

Actors have only a few weeks to rehearse, memorize and prepare for their individual show. “My favorite part of the rehearsal process is when the lines are finally memorized and the performer can begin to truly experience the emotions that come from the words internally,” said Dan Chalice (’21).

While a typical theater production would have a set rehearsal schedule for all case members, the play festival allows each director to set up their own rehearsal schedule with their cast members.

“Directing has been a super fun experience,” said Blome. “I enjoy being able to control all the design elements of a show like lights, sound and costume. I have also really enjoyed being able to work with the talented actors of my choice. Overall it is a nice break from the traditional role I have filled and a fun, creative experience.”

Student directors are also a different aspect of the play festival. Student directors take on a new role during this time of the year and are given the opportunity to try their hand at leading the production. “I think that it’s a healthy experience for theater students to experiment with a directing role at some point,” said Chalice.

These student directors also bring a new perspective to the show. “Having student directors bring a unique perspective to each piece,” said Morgan Sweitzer (’22). “It is very clear when you see each show that the directors have varying visions creating distinct difference and an evening of electric theater.”

Additionally because each aspect of the show is student produced, students learn how to collaborate with each other for the betterment of the production. “My favorite part of the festival is the student collaboration,” said Sweitzer. “It is really a chance to get to know your fellow students on a more personal level.

In the winter semester, the theater program will also be doing The Devised Piece written by one of Joanne Gilbert’s classes, who will also be directing the production. “The play is about gun violence and the United States relationship with guns,” said Cassidy Sanford (’20). “The play is composed of interviews both on campus and in the surrounding community with the additional statistical facts.”

The Devised Piece will run February 13th – 16th. They will also be doing She Kills Monsters by Qui Nguyen which will run April 2nd – 5th. Auditions for both shows will be announced next semester.

‘OK Boomer’ takes the internet by storm



Many are saying that 2019 marks the year in which friendly generational communication comes to a close. Generation Z has coined a new phrase aimed specifically at the older generation known as “OK Boomer.”

The phrase has taken the internet by storm and is most frequently used in an attempt to express frustration with the Baby Boomer generation and their sometimes lack of understanding.

In an interview with the New York Times, Shannon O’Conner said “The older generation grew up with a certain mind-set, and we have a different perspective.” This is the common theme among the younger generation today. 

The phrase originally began in a TikTok video which featured an older gentleman as he describes what he calls “the Peter Pan syndrome.” He explains that Generation Z has created a utopian society in which they are attempting to live in for the rest of their lives.

He says that eventually the younger generation has to grow up and realize that not everything comes easy. Since the release of that video, there have been over 4,000 TikToks made in response to the video and to “Ok Boomer” overall.

Several college students have created merchandise which have sold out. One student received more than $10,000 in orders for her creation of a sweatshirt which used the typical grocery bag logo “thank you” replacing the words with “Ok Boomer.”

There has also been some harsh feedback to the phrase. Conservative radio host Bob Lonsberry vented some of his frustrations on the phrase when he tweeted that ‘boomer’ is the n-word of ageism.  He also tweeted that “being hip and flip does not make bigotry ok, nor is a derisive epithet acceptable because it is new.”

Alma students, however, disagree with that sentiment.

“I do think the term could be considered ageist, but it is definitely not a slur and should not be equated to words that carry a history of oppression and discrimination,” said Marissa Romano (’21). had some comments on Lonsberry’s tweets as well. On Nov. 4th, the twitter page tweeted, “Boomer is an informal noun referring to a person born during a baby boom, especially one born in the U.S. between 1946 and 1965. The n-word is one of the most offensive words in the English language.”

Some students are upset that when they make a joke about a generation, they are told that they are treating others unfairly, but when that same generation retorts with something offensive, they have no consequences.

“I think it is pretty hypocritical that Boomers can accuse lower generations of being ungrateful and lazy, but when a joke is made about a generalized community, they get upset and lash out,” said Brandon Nicholson (’21). “Additionally, the slur is not offensive and should be allowed to be used however our generation feels.”

In addition to merchandise, there has been an anthem created for the boomer backlash movement. Jonathan Williams wrote and produced the song titled, “ok boomer” which contains a chorus of Williams just yelling “ok boomer” repeatedly into the mic. Over 4,000 TikToks have been created using the audio.

Those who have made merchandise say that they will be using the money that they have raised to help pay of their student loans. Everett Solares, who sold a few rainbow “ok boomer” products said, “I had not seen any gay merchandise for ‘ok boomer,’ so I just chose every product I could fund.”

“I plan on using the money to pay my rent and buy things that will help me survive,” Solares continued. Others say that because essentials are more expensive than ever before, monetizing the boomer backlash was just the thing that they needed in order to continue to attend college and survive.

Halloween nightmare in Chicago


Graphic by MEREK ALAM

Halloween in typically a time for children to get into costume and to go around their neighborhoods trick-or-treating for a sweet treat. However, in Chicago this year terror was unleashed.

The block of 26 – west has been terrorized by gang violence for years, so another shooting is nothing new to those who live there. However, this year the violence occurred on Halloween night as children were trick-or-treating, and the victim of the shooting was a child.

A seven year old girl, named Gisele Zamago, was dressed in red and black while out with her farther in search of some candy on Halloween. Then, a man stepped out of an alley, yelled a Latin King insult and then fired seven rounds into a crowd of children and hit this little girl in the chest and neck. Everyone sprang into action.

Zamago’s father started to scream for help as he held pressure on his daughter’s wounds to stop the bleeding. Then a shop keep by the name of Lali Lara helped to bring the wounded child inside her store until police and an ambulance could arrive.

Lara helped to hold pressure until on the girl’s chest until help could arrive. “She was holding my hand for three minutes and then she let me go. I have kids – I would go crazy if something happened to them” said Lara in an interview with the Chicago Tribune.

Zamago was taken to the hospital in critical condition where she was stabilized and is now doing well. Officers have a suspect, who is also a child. The suspect is a 15 year old boy who they believe was aimed at a 32 year old man who happened to be near the child who fell victim to the shooting.

The older man was later found with a bullet graze on his hand in an alley, but he refused to answer any questions by police. He is believed to have been part of the rival gang this attack was aimed at, as has a criminal record of his own.

Students feel that the whole incident hits just a little too close to home. “I’m kind of at a point where I expect bad things around me but remain separate from things I find familiar,” said Grier Marquis (’23). “When something happens so close to home, it’s kind of shocking, gut wrenching for me, even though there have been multiple incidents like this in different places.”

Many citizens of Chicago feel that there is not enough involvement from the police on busy nights such as Halloween. One shop owner said “There needs to be a change with police, they need to walk the streets when there are so many children around,” said Anahy Olivera in an interview with the Chicago Tribune.

The 15 year old has since been arrested and was charged with two counts of first-degree attempted murder and two counts of aggravated battery. Chicago police superintendent Eddie Johnson said “Those involved do not deserve to be in our city. I am disgusted, but committed to doing everything we can to find the cowards that would engage in a gun battle during the early evening hours while children are trick-or-treating.”

Students worry about how to react and what they will have to worry about in the future. “It is just so crazy to think,” said Ellie Woertz (’20). “It makes me worry for the safety of the children that just want to have fun on a holiday. How are children supposed to enjoy themselves if parents are only worried about whether or not their child may suffer from violence?”

Gisele’s family has set up a GoFundMe to help cover the costs of the surgeries she will need in the next few weeks. Her aunt, Sanjuana Zamago, posted an update on Gisele’s condition to the GoFundMe, saying “she is awake and watching ‘Finding Dory.’ She has yet to say much but could give small responses to nurses and doctors about how she was feeling.”

Student burnout on campus


There are 23 days of classes left before finals. Midterms have all wrapped up and students are back in the swing of things from fall break. However, students are still burnt-out from the long semester full of busy schedules and long days.

The National College Health Assessment found that stress negatively affects more than 30% of United States college students. This negative can also be described a burn out. Burnout is defined as “an extended period of time where someone experiences exhaustion and a lack of interest in things, resulting in a decline in their performance.” Signs of this can be seen all over campus.

All over the place, you see students receding back to their room wearily after a long day to attempt to catch up on the sleep their missing, only to wake up early again the next day and start over again. “Senior year is especially stressful,” said Rachel Whipple (’20). “You are trying to focus on the classes you have right now but you are also trying to plan for your last semester.”

Students have responsibilities piling up and over lapping with each other making it difficult to get the proper rest they need to succeed. “I would say I am very burnt out,” said Chloe Sandborn (’22). “All of my school work and extracurricular activities are piling up which then makes it difficult to stay on top of everything that has to be done.”

Some students who are taking more than the normal amount of credits are also finding it hard to complete everything required of them. “I am currently enrolled in 18 credits and trying to raise my GPA,” said Makenzie Hemmer (’20). “I am also involved on campus with Active Minds, Resident Life and Advancement Office among other things and the demand is very high from everything tight now. Regardless of time management, it is still very mentally draining.”

Students all over campus are experiencing signs of burn out with no time in their busy schedule to do anything about it. There are six signs to look out for to detect if you may be suffering from burn out. First, constant exhaustion.

Exhaustion is the biggest sign, when you are exhausted you cannot properly focus on your school work and a lack of focus means a decline in performance or grades.  Secondly, you have a lack of motivation. Those who suffer from burn out are more likely to wind up sitting alone and saying no to things they would normally be on board with.

Third, you are constantly frustrated. Frustration is not something you are new to if you are burnt out. Fourth and fifth, you struggle to pay attention and your grades suffer. You cannot focus in class and therefore you grades start to decline. Finally you feel disengaged from your friends. You just don’t feel like you fit in with anything that’s happening and you tend to keep to yourself. If any of these six signs apply to you, you may be suffering from burn out.

But how do you fix it? How can you reengage for the last four weeks of school? The best way is to sleep. Do not over commit yourself. If there is an activity you do not have to partake in, don’t! Catch up on that sleep so when you have to get up early, you aren’t exhausted and make mistakes.

Additionally find a time when you can hit the off switch. There needs to be some time in the day that you dedicate to yourself. Turn school off and take some time for self-care. Whether that be going to a friends, going to sleep or simply playing on your phone, dedicate a few hours a day to doing nothing so your brain has time to recharge and cool down.

While you may feel like you are behind, just by admitting that you may be burnt out you are ahead of the problem. The earlier you can address that there is an issue, the easier it will be to solve or start to address.

Students take part in alternative breaks



For many students, fall break is an opportunity to go home and take time away from school. For others, however, it is a chance to give back to the community and get some volunteer experience. Alternative Breaks are ways for students to give back to the community either locally or nationally. The theme for this fall break was “Keeping it in the Mitten,” more specifically, Gratiot County.

Alternative Breaks initially came to fruition in 2003 where there was a single trip and about 20 students were involved. Today there are over 100 participants in the alternative break program each academic year. These breaks teach students about social issues impacting a region and allows them to experience the culture of a community in their specified location.

The breaks that took place this past fall break range from working in non-profit locations to working with the parks and recreation department of Gratiot County. Some students worked with the Wilcox Nonprofit Center, which took place in Alma.  Others worked with The Community Compassion Food Kitchen in Mt. Pleasant or Forest Hill Nature Area that is part of the Gratiot County parks system.

Some breaks were able to provide students with new information about the location they were helping. “Alternative Break at the Wilcox Center actually provided me with so much information about all the nonprofits located in the single building. It was definitely eye opening to hear how much goes on in the community and how many nonprofits there are dedicated to helping Gratiot County,” said Morgan Gust (’21).

On top of the direction from the school, students are in charge of creating the time frame and schedule. “As a site leader you have to pre plan the entire trip. You are in charge of connecting with the community planners, creating an itinerary, creating a budget and getting the students interested. If anyone has questions they come to you, and while you have a staff member, they are only around during the trip and are there to make sure you are following the rules of Alma College,” said Jessica Araway (’21).

Not just anyone can be a site leader however. There is an application process all must go through who are interested in becoming site leaders. “In order to be a site leader, you have to go on an alternative break as a student and the site leader of that trip then recommends you to the other site leaders as a potential new site leader, and then you get invited to an informational meeting where you get to decide,” said Araway.

Students who have attended alternative breaks recommend that other students also utilize this program that has been created. “I would absolutely recommend alternative breaks to other students and I’m a big advocate for them in the Transition Assistance Program that I’m apart of here at Alma,” said Raquel Smith (’21). “It’s a great way to get to know more students as well as give back to our community or other communities as well.”

Many students use alternative breaks as a way to explore opportunities outside of their major and outside of the campus life. This break was not a part of my major, I took it because it gave me a sense of what the Alma Community is going through and gave me a different perspective from the Alma College bubble many of us live in,” said Marissa Quiroz (’21).

In addition to the 3 experiences offered during the fall break, alternative breaks will be run during winter break as well as spring break in the second semester. Exact details for those trips have yet to come out, but information can be found on the Alma College website or by going to the CSO and speaking with Carla Jensen, Assistant Director of Venture Program and Off-Campus Studies.

Heavy rain causes flooding in library



Not too long ago the city of Alma was hit with quite the rainstorm, causing a pipe to burst beneath the library. A drain connected to the archival room in the basement was where the water came spewing out.

“A storm water drain pump from the city failed during the heavy rain, and so storm water backed up through a drain and into the archives area of the library; that’s how it flooded,” said Matthew Collins, the library director on campus.

The archival room, as well as the MacCurdy room at the library, is where the college’s collection of rare books can be found.

Alma College is home to quite the collection of rare books, all given to the college by donors with a love and passion for them.

“[Alma College] doesn’t actively buy rare books. Rare books tend to be quite expensive and we don’t collect books in any particular area. What we have was donated to us at some point,” said Collins.

This flooding caused concern for the rare books, as water is detrimental to the condition of a book.

Luckily none of the rare books were ruined due to the flood water.

“We really kind of lucked out that [the water] wasn’t higher, because if it had been a lot of books there would have been damaged. Really it was just some boxes,” said Collins.

Many students may remember seeing large dryers in the basement for quite some time, accompanied by a putrid odor.

“The carpet got wet and the [debris] in the water made the carpet really smell–it was gross. Ryan in facilities told me that they had to vacuum out almost 2,000 gallons of water from the basement,” said Collins.

While the water did bring a horrendous smell, there was no sewage among the debris. The carpet has been completely dried, and the decision is still being made as to whether or not the carpet will be pulled up and replaced.

Rare books do not come easily, and are extremely expensive. Not only do they cost a pretty penny, but they must be maintained in a climate controlled room, and have minimal contact in order to preserve them.

“If you’re going to [keep] books that are older than about the 1800s you would have to have special environmental conditions to keep them under, and you’d need to restrict access and we’re just not set up to do that here. It’s a little beyond us, and quite frankly most small colleges don’t collect rare books,” said Collins.

Due to these factors, many colleges like Alma are unable to properly store rare books, which in turn makes them not last as long. This is another reason why these books are hard to acquire.

“Alma College does not really have anyone who specializes in rare books and for that reason not much has been done with them. I worked with some books that are located in the MacCurdy room that had never been catalogued formally and hadn’t been touched since the ‘60s. It is not really the fault of the library staff that they haven’t been taken care of properly, there just isn’t anyone to do that job,” said Cassie Florian (‘20).

While the college may not have the best available space to maintain these works as best as they wish they could, the college is still home to many rare books. These books are important to have so that students with an interest in rare books have a place to go to get their fix.

“Rare books are important not only because of their monetary value, but also because they are great historical artifacts. They are also just really cool to look at,” said Florian.

Collins said that while none of these books are currently considered damaged, there is still the potential for mold to grow. Only time will tell how many of these rare books truly made it out of this flood unscathed. 

Music department hosts faculty recital


Graphic by MEREK ALAM

On Sunday, Oct. 6, the Alma College music department hosted a faculty recital. The program held a variety of performances from different faculty members both full and part-time.

“There is a wide variety of instruments and styles, ranging from Baroque to modern, with some jazz thrown in as well,” said Murray Gross, Charles A. Dana professor of music.

In addition to the more known pieces of music, some have arranged their own works that were performed.

“The first pieces are from my new ballet CD that was released at the beginning of the summer. It involves a number of Alma Faculty in performances of compositions that had their genesis in the ballet classes that I play for at Alma,” said Tony Patterson, collaborative pianist.

Students were excited to see that a faculty recital would be taking place this semester.

“I was excited to see Mr. Zerbe and Dave Fair perform. They are both amazing musicians, and it is really exciting. I think that it helps me establish a love for the art and credibility to the people here who are teaching us,” said Natasha Netzley (‘21).

Students were also glad to see their professors taking part in the same activity they do each semester.

“I feel like this will help form a stronger bond between faculty and students as were able to see them practice what they preach, for that reason I think it would be great for the faculty to do recitals like this more often,” said Brad Skellenger (’22).

Some professors are even using the event as an educational experience for students.

“Hearing their teachers perform is a great model for music students – we don’t have enough high quality live music performances at Alma as it is, so students should take advantage of the opportunity at hand. Some of my students in my FYS course will be attending and writing concert review essays as a way to connect,” said Gross.

The program has no strict theme, and a variety of styles were conveyed at the performance. The show opened with several original pieces and was followed by several more classic style pieces with a little bit of jazz and a little bit of comedy. But the close to the concert was something different.

“The final piece is a medley comprised of seven decades of TV themes. My goal was to get as many themes as possible in six minutes. In the end, I got 23,” said Patterson.

This is the first time in several years that this recital will be taking place.

“From my recollection, Dr. Gross started the faculty recitals years ago and at least initially they functioned as a fundraising opportunity for student scholarships. The recitals took place for several years and then stopped and this is the first one in a while,” said Vicki Walker, visiting professor of voice.

Even students outside of the music department can get some useful information out of the recital.

“This recital has been beneficial as a non-music major to see how a music education can be implemented after graduating from an undergraduate program,” said Ellie Woertz (’20).

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