Students promote No More Campaign Awareness


This past week nursing students Katie Bush (‘19) and Sophia Guzman (‘19) brought pieces of the No More Campaign to Alma College. These students aimed to raise awareness for victims of sexual assault and domestic violence on college campuses.

“The No More movement was started by Law and Order SVU’s lead actress, Mariska Hargitay. This movement’s main purpose is to help support victims of sexual assault and domestic abuse,” said Guzman.

“However, it is a movement that has spread across the country, helping influence many college campuses to host events and prevention/outreach initiatives in order to not only raise money, but also raise awareness of these issues, while continuing to support the victims and promote that change needs to occur,” said Guzman.

On Monday night, Bush and Guzman showed a documentary that portrayed the sexual violence that occurs on college campuses. This film, accessible to the public by Netflix, shows acts of sexual assault and domestic violence being committed, as well as the trauma of attempting to seek help after these experiences.

“The movie, The Hunting Ground, is a very heavy and informative film that really touches base on the acts of sexual assault on college campuses. Not only does it tell the stories of victims from colleges all across the country, it also portrays the acts of college campus administration and faculty trying to cover up the facts and attempt to keep the victims quiet so it does not fall back on their college or university image,” said Guzman.

Both Bush and Guzman agreed showing this film in conjunction with bringing the No More Campaign to campus was important. This film can relate to students and show people who have never experienced these situations that they are real and can happen to anyone.

“I feel that when people hear ‘sexual assault,’ they automatically assume we are talking about women. However, these types of movements support everyone, including men, women, students and staff members. This movement was created to help everyone who has been a part of an incidence, and no one should be discouraged to come forward and speak to someone in order to get help,” said Guzman.

Bush explained that if someone knows something about an act like this being committed but is scared of any repercussions that may come if they say something, then they should seek help and speak out in order to protect themselves and others.

“It is very important to take care of yourself. And if someone is in a situation where they know something that happened and they don’t really know what to do and how to act, there are people on campus who don’t report, and that includes the Chaplin and the Counseling and Wellness Center. It’s not bad if you’re scared to reach out [for help],” said Bush.

Maya Dora-Laskey, Professor of English and Women’s and Gender Studies, followed up Bush’s comment by adding different organizations that students can go to for resources, as well as organizations with a voice against sexual assault and domestic violence on colleges campuses, mainly here in Alma.

“I always recommend collaborating with other organizations—some good partners might have been Health and Wellness, Diversity and Inclusion/ CSO, Women’s and Gender Studies, Kappa Iota (KI), and MacCurdy Women’s House, and our Title IX Office on campus and Women’s Resource Center, RISE Advocacy (formerly Women’s Aid), Child Advocacy, and Alma PD in the Alma community,” said Dora-Laskey.

For those who are looking to be more active in organizations such as No More, there will be events held by Title IX in April, and students can contact Kaydee Hall with any questions.

The upcoming events for this are as follows: April 2 will be a forum with RISE staff members, April 6 will be the Scots Ask 5k and April 9 is Cone-sent. There will also be members of the No More Campaign at Open Mic with Theta Chi.

Valentine’s Day sparks differing views


Valentine’s Day is an internationally-recognized holiday that has been celebrated since its creation in the fifth century. Advancements to cultures over time have changed the origins of the holiday from a celebration of a Catholic Saint to the celebration of one’s love for another. As these changes occurred, the marketing toward gifts for couples to express their love increased.

Valentine’s Day has become a holiday that is seen in today’s societies as a day only for people to outwardly celebrate love. According to Christopher Nolan (’19), the commercialization of love through products such as roses have taken away the true meaning of the day.

“I don’t really like Valentine’s day. The romantic acts performed feel forced since our culture pushes the notion that going all out on the holiday is the right thing to do in order to prove that you care about your significant other.

“None of it feels genuine. It’s ridiculous to go to the store a day after New Year’s and see Valentine’s Day decor already out. The holiday’s commercialization takes away from the idea that love is unconditional—making love feel more like a currency. [Also,] roses are a b-tier flower,” Nolan said.

Jacob Bendele (‘20) concurred with Nolan over concerns about the extreme commercialization of the holiday and agreed that the ideal of the holiday has been cheapened by large-scale companies.

“I’m fine with it [Valentine’s Day]. I don’t especially like when anything is being commercialized because it just kind of takes the point out of it. I like the kind of stance of what it was originally supposed to be: a day where you can be with a loved one and just be thankful for what you have,” Bendele said.

Feelings toward the marketing of the holiday were different with Zoie Tranquilla (‘20). Tranquilla explained that she enjoys the holiday regardless of the marketing towards couples.

“Though I have been single for the past 4 years on Valentine’s Day, I still very much enjoy it. I am always down for a reason to celebrate. As for the commercialization, I feel it’s just part of the American holidays that people know companies are just looking for your money. It’s just a given from living in a capitalism world,” Tranquilla said.

Thornton concurred with Tranquilla about the marketing of the holiday and explained that she loves everything about it, from giving gifts to eating chocolate. Thornton also criticized the ways that companies acknowledge it through cheap quantity rather than quality.

“I like it [Valentine’s Day]. I’m kind of like a hopeless romantic: I like all that gooey stuff. I like the candy and the romance and the flowers. I like it [the commercialization], but I wish companies wouldn’t make gross chocolate. I feel like if they’re going to sell stuff [then] at least make it good quality stuff,” Thornton said.

Chloe Sheler (’21) believed that the holiday is one for the enjoyable celebration of love. She chooses to celebrate the holiday with her family and all those she loves, which is how Sheler feels the holiday should be celebrated.

“Now that I know the true meaning behind Valentine’s Day, and I can feel it, it feels good knowing that Valentine’s Day isn’t just about your significant other. It’s about love of your whole family. I’m very proud to have the boyfriend that I have who loves me and I love him. I’m very grateful for the people I love and that’s what it’s all about,” Sheler said.

Students choreograph dance concert


This past weekend the Alma College Dance Company (ACDC) put on their student choreographed show. The show consisted of three performances, one Friday night and two on Saturday. This dance show even included previews to some of the senior dance majors’ final shows that will be performed this April.

The ACDC dancers bond through their dance experiences, even though many of the dancers are not dance majors. Each student created dance routines that they hoped would gain an emotional response from the audience.

“My piece is about life as a young woman, learning to love yourself through faith and friendship,” said Abbie Richardson (‘19).

“I am also performing in a piece that is an honorary tribute, an old love-story, and discovery of the weight of a human soul.”

Each of these dancers performed pieces based around different topics, be they personal, educational or political.

“My piece from this weekend’s concert will be part of my thesis dance showcase, on April 6th and 7th, where I will be choreographing [and] presenting an evening length dance concert,” said Shanell Ramos (‘19).

Ramos continued, “There will be various dance pieces such as Lyrical, Modern to Hip-Hop, Vogue, and even New Jersey Club dancing.”

Though there were few seniors choreographing for the concert, they all had memories to share from their years here to the performances this past weekend.

“Performing at Alma has been an amazing experience,” said Richardson. “All of the pieces created this year have beautiful stories behind them, and everyone will find something they can appreciate or relate to.”

Richardson wasn’t the only dancer who had something to say about watching their own work being performed. Allison Muenzer (‘20) shed some light what it is like to watch your creation.

“It is an amazing experience to watch an idea for a piece grow into a complete work of art,” said Muenzer.

Muenzer continued, “The process of conceptualizing a piece, choreographing movement, picking music, designing costumes, and setting it in a performance space is an exhilarating time that we are blessed to be able to do within the Alma College Dance Company.”

Each member of the Alma College Dance Company performed this weekend with the same nervousness that one would have on their first performance, as Kathryn Todd (‘20) explained while mentioning her hopes for the performances.

“We are a passionately encouraging and loving group and believe it or not we still get nervous to perform even after dancing for all of these years!” said Todd. “The moments we all share together as a company just before we go on stage are truly special.”

Each performance from the weekends concert was meant to showcase how united the dancers are, even with a piece created out of grief. Todd expressed that it only takes one step to become a part of the team and that anyone can do so.

“If I could offer up one piece of advice to anyone considering dance classes or dancing with the company it is absolutely to be brave and just do it. I am wired to believe that everyone can dance. We are all movers and movement as an art form is something everyone can absolutely be a part of,” said Todd.

Alma welcomes Professor Camenares


Last semester Alma College gained a new professor in the science department: Professor Devin Camenares, PhD. Camenares moved to Alma at the end of last June, and this past fall was his first semester as an Alma professor.

Camenares first discovered his love for science in high school when he took a biotechnology class. “It really struck me at that time how it [biotechnology] is almost like a different programing language [and that] you can change the programing,” said Camenares.

Camenares came to Alma after teaching for four years at Kingsborough Community College in New York. At Alma, Camenares started up an iGEM (International Genetically Engineered Machine) team. “I wanted to gain teaching experience and help promote awareness of biotechnology and synthetic biology across the campus,” said Camenares.

Once in Alma, Camenaresfelt  that he had found the perfect place for his family, a small city that is not crowded and fast paced like New York, where he had been teaching before.

“The position at Alma, both as it was advertised and now as it has been realized, was a dream come true—a chance to not only teach and conduct research, but to develop an iGEM team with the full support of the college.

In his first semester of teaching, Camenares was given many opportunities to have some impactful memories. One of his favorites took place via email with one of his students. “It was great to see a student taking the material we were reading [in class] and going a step further [by doing his own research and asking questions],” Camenares said.

Camenares enjoys teaching the biotechnological sciences because of the coding and language they are written in. “I teach these courses because of how they relate to the ability to understand and reprogram living systems at a molecular level,” said Camenares.

When not in the classroom, Camenares can be found around the campus partaking in the hobbies he has rediscovered time for, such as chess tournaments. Camenares was also able to discover new hobbies he is considering once the weather is warmer, such as biking the trails.

One hobby that Camenares picked up once he came to Alma was tennis. He used to play some when he was living in New York, but thanks to Alma’s small campus and the short commute to work, Camenares is able to play the sport again, using the courts on South Campus and at the Rec Center.

Along with tennis, Camenares has strengthened his friendships with other faculty members by joining in on their games of Dungeons and Dragons (DND). Camenares has also acted in one of the local Gratiot County plays along with his wife.

“Alma is an improvement in almost every way!” said Camenares. “I particularly like how interconnected everything is: there seems to be more interdisciplinary connections among the faculty, and (in keeping with the tradition of a liberal arts college) a focus on a more holistic education and experience for the students.”

Camenares offered advice to future teachers, saying that they need to try to keep an open mind with their students, and to experiment with what teaching methods will work with those students.

“It is about taking full advantage of the experience not just to find a good position upon graduation, but to realize your potential for long term growth,” said Camenares. “It’s not about your first job upon graduation, but instead you’re last before retirement.”

Alma LEAPS towards a green campus


Keeping Alma’s campus green and reducing the college’s carbon footprint is what the organization LEAPS focuses on achieving. LEAPS, which stands for Leaders for Environmental Awareness, Protection and Sustainability, is a student-run organization that focuses on ways to help students use less wasteful products in their everyday lives.

“LEAPS’ mission is to combat current environmental issues and injustices through a campus perspective,” said Hunter Wilson (’20), the president of LEAPS.

Wilson continued, “LEAPS is devoted to generating awareness of environmental issues through campus education and opportunity, encouraging environmental stewardship, and promoting consistent sustainable practices on campus.”

On Wednesday, November 28 LEAPS, along with Active Minds and members of the McCurty House, held a “Green Me Up” event in Van Dusen. Students were taught different ecofriendly techniques from how to make their own toothpaste and laundry detergent to making healthy face masks and body scrubs.

Advice was also given to students about ways to be greener in their everyday lives, such as watching the products they use, especially when it comes to feminine health care.

Recycling is a big part of what LEAPS does as well. The members, like Christopher Nouhan (‘20), help promote better awareness of what can be recycled and what cannot.

“A lot of people think you can recycle pizza boxes, [and] you cannot recycle pizza boxes,” said Nouhan. “They’re dirty, they have food on them and byproducts are not allowed to be recycled.” Douglass Dice, Head of Facilities, agreed with Nouhan.

Nouhan went on to explain that all plastic one recycles, such as milk jugs, should be thoroughly rinsed about before being placed in the bins. “Straws [and lids] are a large portion of plastic waste, especially in the ocean and landfills,” said Nouhan. “I personally never use straws or plastic lids.”

However, if a recycling bin has been contaminated with food or byproducts, then the college is forced to throw it out. Dice explained that the reason for this is because of the recycling company that the college works with, whom does not allow for food products of any kind to be sent to them.

Dice and the members of LEAPS have provided advice for students to help reduce campus waste. Turning off lights when they are not needed, watching food waste and using the compost bins, as well as using fewer plastic straws and lids from Joe’s were all mentioned.

Wilson suggested the dorms having energy wars where the dorm that uses the least energy wins a prize. One way to do this is to make sure that your room windows are latched shut and not just closed.

“We find that students will close their windows, but they won’t latch them a lot of times,” said Dice. “When you latch a window, it actually works that compression strip as a weather seal and helps keep the windows efficient.”

One of the biggest waste issues mentioned by members of LEAPS is at the end of the year when student throw out usable furniture and other products. A suggesting is too take unwanted furniture to a thrift store rather than just throwing it out.

“Campus swap meets at the end of each semester would be beneficial in preventing waste such as furniture and appliances, school supplies, e-waste, etc.,” said Wilson.

Laundry frustrates students


Having to do one’s laundry on campus is something a lot of students deal with, including having to wait for open washers and dryers. The students living in the newly-renovated Mitchell and Newberry Halls have nine washers and dryers, so these students do not have to wait for the machines as much,

Wright Hall has four of each machine that are in very nice condition, but the other south campus dorms are not so lucky. Nisbet/Brazell Hall and Carey/Bonbright Hall each have only two washers and dryers, and these machines are not in the greatest conditions.

One of the dryers in Carey/ Bonbright does not have the handle, and the door is bent so it does not properly close. On top of this, students living in these dorms constantly have to wait for open machines in order to have clean clothes.

As a student living in Carey/Bonbright, the weekly struggles of having to wait for an open machine build my frustration and annoyance. For me, the weekends are a time for homework, practicing music for band and other class assignments or projects, as there is limited time during the actual week to do these things while also attending classes.

Having to wait hours for machines, some of which sit with a students’ laundry in them for hours, is frustrating and annoying because it is inconsiderate to the other students that have to wait for the machines. This could all be resolved if we had more washer and dryers in the south campus dorms.

After the renovations were mostly completed in the dorm halls of Mitchell and Newberry, the amount of washers and dryers purchased and placed in them seems to be a bit much.

It is understandable that there would need to be extra washers and dryers for all the students, but to allow these halls so many and neglect the upperclassmen who were forced over to the south campus dorms is beyond frustrating.

The upperclassmen living in Wright Hall are lucky because they have four washers and dryers that are located in a nice room on the second floor rather than down in a creepy basement with a window that looks out into a closed off room that students cannot access.

In Wright Hall the laundry room has chairs and the room is big, open and bright. A student could sit there and do homework while waiting for their laundry to finish. In the other south campus dorms, there is little room for students to move around, let alone to sit there and work on homework.

It is always awkward to go down into the basement laundry room of Carey/Bonbright on the weekends because there are usually other students down there, and the tight space makes it so that students bump into each other while trying to access the machines.

The worst part is when students remove each other’s laundry from the machines, especially when their clothes aren’t done in the dryers. These actions only build more frustration, as well as impatience, among all the students.

Nothing could frustrate and annoy one more than when they go to get their laundry and find that someone pulled it from the dryer before it was done, causing it to have to go back into the dryer.

Apart from it being frustrating, it is also embarrassing knowing that someone else’s hands have touched your clothes, including your intimate pieces of clothing. Living in co-ed dorm buildings, such as south campus, making this all the more creepy and concerning.

Not having enough washers and dryers, let alone proper working ones, is an issue that should be resolved to better meet the needs of the students who are frustrated by the struggles of trying to time manage just so that they can have clean clothes and keep up with their education.

Hancock joins Alma


At the beginning of fall term, Alma College added new minds to its teaching staff, including Brian Hancock (’05), education professor.

Hancock, who taught at Alma High School for four years and at Central Michigan University for two years, was thrilled to come back to Alma.

Hancock, whose lifelong dream was teaching, highly praised his students.

“I sincerely appreciate [Alma students’] efforts to maintain a sustainable balance of both academic and non-academic areas of interest, as well as their willingness to work hard and—most importantly—ask questions!” said Hancock.

“Overall I’m very, very happy that I am able to work with such great students and colleagues!”

He is currently working on finishing his PhD in curriculum, instruction and teacher education, all while teaching classes in multiple disciplines.

“I teach the elementary and secondary science methods courses, the introductory (foundational) course in secondary education, as well as the introductory physical science course (and lab),” said Hancock.

Hancock expressed interest in integrating some of his doctoral international travels to the Netherlands into the curriculum here at Alma.

“I was able to spend a month working with refugee students in a Dutch transition school,” said Hancock.

“Once I wrap up my dissertation, I’d like to think about if and how an education-based spring term course in the Netherlands might fit into our current offerings and students’ needs.”

One of Hancock’s hobbies is bicycling, and he spoke about how traveling by bike allows one to learn different aspects of the community they are living in.

“I’d encourage all Alma College students (and faculty!) to take advantage of our local network of paved and off-road trails. Exploring by bike is a great way to get to know your local community (and beyond).”

Hancock believed that the liberal arts education system at Alma supports students’ diverse educational needs in ways larger institutions can’t.

“I’m excited to be part of such a unique college as we collectively prepare the next generations of teachers.”

Elevator speech promotes change


At the beginning of fall term, Professor Henry Balfanz’s Selling/Sales Management class was given an assignment called an Elevator Speech and was instructed to write about problems in Alma’s campus community. These speeches were then presented to Alan Gatlin, chief operating officer (COO) and senior vice president for finance and administration.

“An elevator speech is called that because you run into somebody, and maybe you have 60 to 90 seconds to say something about yourself. You’ll either be running into a client, a possible client, or you’re running into your boss, and [you’ll] be able to make an appointment with that person to be able to talk in more detail [about yourself and your job],” said Balfanz.

Balfanz has assigned the elevator speeches every year so students within the class would get to know each other better. “People have come up over the years with different missions they are on, like more parking, better lockers, better equipment for the athletes, a new in-field for the baseball stadium, better lunches in Hamilton. Just all sorts of things,” said Balfanz.

Management major Katie Howd (’20) wrote hers about the lack of handicap-accessible seating at Bahlke Field. Her speech, along with the rest of the class’, were presented to Gatlin during the second week of classes. After hearing Howd’s speech, Gatlin set to work on getting new stands ordered for handicap accessibility. “It was the first year that that [one of the speeches resulting in positive changes for the campus community] happened,” said Balfanz.

Howd was both surprised and happy about the outcome of her speech. “I thought it was pretty cool. It’s not very often that you voice your opinion on campus and what you say is actually used,” said Howd. “It’s not just an Alma College thing [needing more handicap accessible seating], it’s a community thing too.”

Gatlin, who has been at Alma for a year and a half, has endeavored to make positive changes for the campus that also save money for students and faculty. Howd’s speech truly caught his attention. “That was the one I felt the most concerned about [and] that I felt that I could have the quickest impact on,” said Gatlin.

On September 6, he placed an order for new portable stands for the handicapped and disabled. These stands took two weeks to deliver, but were on Bahlke field for the Homecoming football game. They can also be wheeled over to the Tennis Courts for seating during matches, providing seating where there used to be none.

“It was the first discussion I had had about the stadium,” said Gatlin. “It’s an older facility, and it was built before the [Americans with Disabilities Act] standards. There’s not an easy way to make it compliant.”

Gatlin explained that because the current stands are built on a hill, there would be no way to change them and still meet the ADA regulations without removing the hill itself. “There’s no major funding to build and new football stadium [and] to bring Bahlke field up to code would cost hundreds of thousands of dollars,” said Gatlin.

The new handicap stands are located in the end zone closest to the Hogan Center. The reasons for this location are to provide seating where one doesn’t have to go up a hill while also helping to control that area of the end zone, as Gatlin said was a goal of Steven Rackley, Athletic Director.

The stands themselves can be shifted anywhere the campus needs, which Gatlin said is a goal achieved for both himself and President Jeff Abernathy in making the campus more handicap accessible, and more changes like this are in the plans to come.

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