Update on Joe’s Place



At the start of the school year Alma College found troubling news about plumbing issue at Joe’s Place. The issue led to the closure of the facility during the fall term; however, the issues were planned to be solved by Winter Term.

At the beginning of the year students received this email from Sandra Gadde, “Unfortunately, due to plumbing issues that were discovered late in the summer, Joe’s will be closed for the duration of fall term. This closure has brought some logistical challenges that we are working to address.”

As the mid-point of Winter Term approaches no updates have been released on when Joe’s Place would open up once more.

“They haven’t told us what is going on since the start of the year. Though the addition of the Joe’s Retail Store has helped the issue of the closure it hasn’t fixed the issue in its entirety,” said Britney Hamilton (’23).

Since the closure of Joe’s Place, Alma College has been working on creating a new dining option similar to Joe’s place.

“There will be a new grill option similar to the old Joe’s set to be placed in the Learning Commons. The name of the new facility has not been decided, but the grill is scheduled to open in March,” said Micah Barman, General Manager of Campus Dining.

The new dining facility will offer similar amenities to the old Joe’s, such as a retail outlet store and a grill the Joe’s name will be changed.

“The name will change and has yet to be released. We ran a naming contest/survey to let the students name it. The contest has ended, the marketing team is going through the results to decide the new name,” said Braman.

Though plans were set to ha ve the new Joe’s open by the beginning of the winter term, construction on the project is getting delayed by a couple months.

“Construction is taking longer than expected due to supply chain issues,” said Braman.

There has been speculation among the student body upon why the old Joe’s location is not getting fixed.

“The workers at Joe’s told me the leak that shut Joe’s down had been occurring since last year. I think the only reason Joe’s was shut down was because of the introduction of Metz. If the school still employed Sodexo, Joe’s may have stayed open,” said Hamilton.

Due to the prolonged absence of Joe’s Place, many students have grown impatient and irritated with the situation.

“It feels like the school is ripping us off. I spend a good amount of money to attend this school and I hoped to be given numerous options for dining. The absence of Joe’s has left only the Hamilton Commons as a place to get an actual meal on campus. I miss having different meal options on campus,” said Hamilton.

“It is frustrating as a student athlete to have Joe’s closed for so long. Sometimes after practice I don’t want to eat in the dining hall and just w ant to eat in my room. I miss having the option of taking my meals to go from Joe’s,” said Marissa Luzac (’24).

To compensate the closure of Joe’s, the college created a late-night option in Hamilton. However, once the new facility that replaces Joe’s is finished this program will no longer continue. “Currently there is a late-night option in Hamilton to compensate for the old Joe’s being closed. With the new Learning Commons location opening it will offer food later so there will not be a need for Hamilton to remain open,” said Braman.

Overall, the new dining facility will act like Joe’s but with a new name and location.

College takes steps to hire new professors




Alma College has multiple openings for professors that are either active or in the process of being filled for the upcoming 2023-24 school year. These openings result from various movements within departments including retirement, professors taking positions at other institutions and departments hoping to expand to better serve future generations of students.

Some of the more notable searches that have reached the stage where prospective candidates are visiting campus include openings for the philosophy and education departments.

Both departments have seen multiple candidates come to campus where they meet with students in an informal setting, receive a campus tour and present to both faculty and students on a topic within their discipline.

Other departments that are in the earlier stages of their search for new professors include the history and physics departments. The history department is looking for someone who can teach pre-1800s European history, and the physics department is looking for an instructor or lecturer of physics and engineering.

The search for new professors is a long one with multiple different steps involving meeting with multiple different peoplefrom across campus. One of the most important steps in the process for applicants is meeting with current students.

“I think it is important for students to be a part of the hiring process because not only are they the ones paying for the salary but are also the ones reaping the benefits of the education,” said Matthew Garland (’23).

This is especially true if it is within your major or minor, as it is extremely likely you will have the prospective professor teaching a class or two in the future.

“Many people maybe qualified, but I do not feel as though the Alma ‘vibe’ fits everyone,” said Garland. “We are a small school that hardly anyone outside of Michigan has heard of and it takes a special type of person to make it here.”

Students who take advantage of the various meetings set up with applicants not only play a crucial role in bettering their own personal education but also potentially the lives of Alma College students for generations to come.

Faculty and staff are also highly encouraged to attend these events as they will ha ve more insights into what applicants will be most likely to succeed in their new role, pulling on both their own as well as others’ personal experiences.

Anyone curious about where their academic department is in the hiring process is encouraged to reach out to their department chairs. While most information will be kept confidential, they can still tell students about upcoming events related to the hiring process.

For the philosophy department in particular, there is a lot of buzz around who will be tapped as the newest addition to the department. A longtime professor of philosophy, as well as the department head, Dr. Nicholas Dixon, is retiring at the end of the 2022-23 academic year following a 37 year long tenure at Alma College.

“I feel as though someone like him, someone open to discussion who teaches by listening to students rather than absorbing content from the textbook and spitting it [back] at them would be the best option,” said Garland about whom he would like to see replace Dixon.

While the final decision is ultimately left up to the provost and individual departments, the hiring of new professors is still an important thing for students to pay attention to.

Prolonged construction creates conflict on campus



Entering the new year, the new Hatcher Learning Commons is still under construction. Though it was expected that the renovations would be finished at the start of 2023, the renovations are now set to be completed by late January. The prolonged renovations have brought about a variety of emotions in the Alma community. 

Though the college has created a temporary library in Tyler Van Dusen, the limited space has led to many books that were once in the Alma College library to now be stored in the Wright Leppien Opera House. Because of this, action books that students could have found useful for research projects are now no longer on shelves but in storage instead. 

“As a student who is undergoing two research classes, it is difficult not to have the full ability to find different materials for my classes,” said Xavier Tarvainen (‘24). “Many sources online only have limited sections of the books I need for references, and if the library were open, I wouldn’t have this issue.” 

“We encourage students to continue studying at the library in Tyler Van Dusen. Research is better when you go and look around on the shelves, you find new books you didn’t know existed, which you can’t do when you’re online,” said Liping Bu, chair of the history department.

Although the current condition of the library is not an optimal environment for most people, many are looking forward to seeing what the new facilities will offer. 

“Given the addition to the library, the ability for anybody to conduct research will be enriched with the new additions,” said Bu. 

“I believe the library construction will allow me to study more effectively. The additional study areas that are being created will allow me to study in groups without worry if there will be room open for us to go to,” said Tarvainen. 

Currently, the construction around campus has caused frustration among the student body due to blocked pathways. 

“The construction almost led me to be late to one of my finals during the fall semester due to the fencing. I felt like I was a mouse in a maze trying to navigate a way to get into SAAC,” said Sofia Floros (‘26).

“The construction creates an inconvenience. It can be hard to navigate the fencing because it is constantly changing every day due to the construction crew working on different areas of the school,” said Tarvainen. 

Another issue the construction has created is the need for more study spaces for students. 

“I use the library as a study space. However, with the library being under construction, I have had to scramble to find a place to study that is not my dorm room. I have been going to DOW; however, most students also chose to study there, and with limited space, it can get crowded,” said Tarvainen.

Once the library is done, however, it will bring a new look to the campus and bring about new amenities. 

“I am excited to see the finished result of the library. The more work that goes into the renovations, the more beautiful it looks in the campus center,” said Bu.

“I am excited about the new additions to the library. It will be nice to have Qdoba on campus. As a student-athlete, my schedule sometimes won’t line up with the Hamilton Commons, so having another dining option would be very helpful,” said Floros.

Though the prolonged construction may be stressful for many, the new opportunities and amenities that will be created from the new learning commons will be worth the wait. 

Construction for the Learning Commons is predicted to be completed by Monday, Jan 23.

Tips for Alma College exam week



As final exams draw near, students may find themselves indulging in late nights and stressing over final grades. 

From Dec. 5 to Dec. 9, students will have final exams in numerous forms. They may be essays, presentations, multiple choice or in other formats. Students are preparing for this time with ways they have found to both cope with stress and study material that leads to success on their exams. 

“To prepare for my exams I’ve been going through my notes and using a ton of notecards to lay out what I need to know. From there I usually move from what I’m confident into what I’m not and focus my energy there,” said Abby Haag (’25)

“As a future educator, I have seen people tackle exam week in numerous ways. From my experience in the classroom, I have noticed that the most successful students on exam week are those that prepared well in advance and worked with their peers in study groups,” said Marissa Luzac (’24).

Alma College does not have a universal grading system; instead, each professor sets their own grade requirements. These requirements are shown to students at the beginning of the year through the syllabus provided by the professor. Typically, professors declare a 93% and above is an A; however, some professors have pushed this requirement to a 94%. Some have even required a 95% to get an A. 

“The diverse grading scale can be frustrating when in exam season. In some of my classes, I am required to have a 90% to pass. In others, I need to hold a 93%. It is frustrating is some aspects where even if I get a 91% in the class it isn’t considered an A and my GPA goes down in response,” said Mackayla Pirie (’24)

The high weight of a final exam on students’ final grades is what primarily causes students to stress during this time of year.

“It is a daunting task to complete an assignment that is worth almost a third of your grade. I know many students have difficulty taking tests because it doesn’t accurately display their knowledge of a subject,” said Pirie.

Exam week is also a factor in whether students will be eligible to continue their sport into the new year. All athletes at Alma College must have a 2.5 to be allowed to participate in their sport. 

“When it comes to exam week, it is stressful for me being a student-athlete because we must uphold a GPA of 2.5. Many of my professors weight finals either 20-35% of the whole class grade. Although I prepare for my exams through different methods of studying, it’s intimidating to know that if you do not do good one test your eligibility can be at risk,” said Jack Knoper (’26).

To counteract the negative effects exam week brings, students have found a multitude of ways to destress while studying.

“I try to take my mind off the exam in general. After a good amount of time during a study session, I go to the gym and listen to some music. Communicating with my family through FaceTime allows me to destress as I am able to talk to my family about topics other than the tests I am studying for,” said Kaylee Gray (’26).

“I try to create a schedule, so I don’t study for too long. I have found that if I study for more than two hours at a time, I tend to not retain information easily. Whether it be reading, using Quizlet or looking over notes, I set a timer to make sure I only study for one hour,” said Jon Beerbower (’24).

Overall, there are numerous ways to combat the stressful times that come with exam week. Preparing ahead of time, studying in groups and meeting with professors during office hours will give students the highest chance of success during this time of year. 

Overview of Michigan minimum wage increase



In the upcoming year, Michigan will be increasing the minimum wage. Outlined in the 2018 Improved Workforce Opportunity Wage Act, the minimum wage is to rise to $9.87/hour. Additionally, the tipped minimum wage will rise to $3.75, and the rate for minors will rise to $8.39.

According to the Michigan Legislature, “The 2018 Improved Wage Workforce Opportunity Wage Act was created to fix minimum wage for employees; prohibit wage discrimination; provide for a wage deviation board and provide for the administration and enforcement of the act.”

“The inflation we have now makes it even more important to raise the minimum wage. This ensures that people who make the minimum wage can better afford to live and be able to get by,” said Matt Hinkel, Economics Faculty Candidate.

Currently, the annual inflation rate stands at 7.7% for the United States. Though this rate has decreased by 0.5% since October, the price increase caused by the high inflation rate has caused strain on Michigan families.

In Michigan, the consumer price index has risen to 6.6% from a year ago. This significant jump has caused numerous families to have to cut out necessities to afford to survive. The 22 cents wage rise for many families will not help them pay bills as the cost of living drastically rises.

There have been conversations about possibly raising the minimum wage to $12; however, the possibility of this event occurring has been delayed in court.

In July, a court ruling of hiking Michigan’s minimum wage to $12 was stopped by Court of Claims judge Douglas Shapiro. This was done after the judge considered that businesses would need time to adapt to the new law. The case is still under appeal, and the decisions on if the ruling will be passed will be delayed until Feb. 2023.

Raising the minimum wage is a complex and highly debated issue. Many people believe that with the goal of fixing the problem of poverty in mind, altering the minimum wage does little in the long-term.

“Increasing the minimum wage will never be viable without a long-term plan. By increasing wages every year, the government… will find themselves in a negative… loop of poverty, wage increases, inflation… and so on,” said Austin DeRocher (’24).

“I believe the idea to raise the minimum wage is not a good one because it is counterintuitive. When the minimum wage rises, the market catches up through increasing prices. Therefore, the whole concept of raising the minimum wage does nothing to help lift people out of poverty,” said Andrew Smith (’23).

According to World Population Review, an online data collection site, the livable hourly wage for Michigan is $16.36. This statistic calculates basic needs such as food, housing, transportation, insurance, utilities, childcare, taxes and inflation.

“Michigan’s current minimum wage of $9.87 is not considered a living wage, no matter what definition you look at. Even for one working adult with no children, a person living in Gratiot County would need to make about $15 an hour to make a living wage,” said Hinkel.

Over the next few years, Michigan plans to continue the trend of slowly increasing the state minimum wage. Though the minimum wage will not reach the livable wage, the increase in wages may bring positive implications.

Overall, it will take time to see how raising the minimum wage will affect Michigan’s economy and society.

Winter registration brings excitement and stress




With the Fall Term wrapping up, the beginning of registration for the Winter Term begins. This period can be stressful and chaotic for many students; however, there are many ways to make registering for classes easy, efficient and effective.

Many advisors email their advisees to schedule a meeting time to discuss which classes will be best for the upcoming semester. Most of the time, advisors are chosen based on a student’s academic field of interest. This helps them understand a student’s major or minor requirements.

All advisors have different attitudes and methods regarding advising. This can significantly affect the advising experience.

“I switched advisors after I changed majors. This switch allowed me to understand how different advisors have different advising styles. I feel as if I connected better with my current advisor than I did with my previous one. [This] has allowed me to have a great advising experience over the years,” said Andrew Smith (’22).

For many underclassmen still deciding what major they want to pursue, registration can be stressful as there is no set list of distributive requirements.

“Going into registration, I didn’t know what course plan I wanted to undergo. I am still contemplating my major, and picking classes has been a struggle. My advisor helped relieve most of my stress, and with his help, we made a plan that I wouldn’t have been able to create myself,” said Kylie Demarets (’25).

Those still determining their academic path should seek the help of their advisors to devise an interesting path in different classes. This may help spur interest in a subject area. 

There are four time periods students can register for classes. Those with 90 or more credits pick on Oct. 31. Students with 56 or more credits pick on Nov. 2. Anyone with 25 or more credits picks on Nov 7. Finally, all remaining students can decide on Nov. 9.

These dates were chosen to allow upperclassmen to choose first, which will enable them to stay calm about getting a seat in classes necessary to graduate. First-year and second-year students must usually work around this factor, understanding some classes they want to take will fill up.

“My classes are always planned far ahead, making it less stressful. As an upperclassman, registering early has been a huge stress reliever, so now I don’t have to worry if classes I need to graduate fill up,” said Marissa Luzac (’24).

“Picking out classes has been very stressful for me. As an underclassman who picks last, it is nerve-wracking knowing that certain classes I need to take might not be available due to limits on class sizes,” said Sofia Flores (’26).

If first-year and second-year students aim to get the classes they want, they should have a line-up of different class options from other subject areas. If students do not limit themselves to one or two subject areas, they allow themselves to be open to an extensive array of classes to choose from.

“A student should have a number of classes that are interesting to them that are different. There should be various classes so that your studying is diverse enough to be done well,” said Dr. Hulme, professor of political science.

If students have any questions regarding winter registration, they should reach out to their advisor as soon as possible, as registration closes on Nov. 13.

Insight into Alma College interfaith program




Alma College has numerous clubs and programs that allow students to connect with peers and faculty. The Interfaith program on campus seeks to bring students, staff and faculty together through the practice of spirituality, religious identity and spiritual exploration.

“Alma’s Interfaith program gives students a community to activate their spirituality and curiosity about faith. Students at Alma come from many different backgrounds, and we want to support every person’s exploration and discovery,” said Reverend Alissa Davis.

Though Alma College is affiliated with the Presbyterian Church, the campus encourages religious diversity and holds various programs for students to practice and discover different religious faiths.

“The Interfaith program acknowledges this diversity and hopes to offer space and resources for people who are Muslim, Jewish, Atheist, Hindu and other faith traditions. The Interfaith program makes it a goal to teach how these various faiths can interact and work together for a common goal, “said Reverend Katrina Pekich-Bundy.

The Interfaith program works explicitly to bring community engagement activities in which preachers and speakers explore and dissect spiritual life at Alma College.

“Sometimes guest speaker conversations are held in person, and sometimes they chat with people further away in a zoom call,” said Davis. “Interfaith will also travel occasionally to visit different worshipping and cultural communities.”

The program holds numerous activities to welcome new students, such as t-shirt dying and kick-off events. Alongside their bi-weekly meetings every Thursday, the group also takes trips outside of campus.

“This semester, we hope to take a trip to Lansing to the mosque where Imam Sohail Chaudhry is the faith leader,” said Pekich-Bundy.

As of Nov. 3, 2021, Revered Alissa Davis returned to Alma College, where she now holds the title of college chaplain. Almost a decade after she graduated from the campus, she returned to her alma mater.

“I chose to come back because I’m grateful for my experiences (friendships, travel, personal growth and a great education) through Alma and want to be a part of offering that to the next generation,” said Davis.

Davis’s primary goal as chaplain is to create a safe and welcoming place for all people.

“I know many people have had poor experiences with faith communities, and we’re trying to undo some of that by taking a posture of hospitality. Even if you need a place to sit and process or talk through something, the chaplain team is here to support you,” said Davis.

To become involved in interfaith, students can find information about the program through Facebook and Instagram. Students can also reach out to chaplains or the Interfaith student leaders: Allyson Ehlert, Matthew Garland and Mariem Hamdi.

Religion can be a topic many students can struggle with as they begin to start adulthood. Even if students are unsure about attending church services or joining interfaith, leaders in the program always encourage students to try it out and ask questions.

“I tell students the same thing about any program: you won’t know until you try,” said Davis. “If you’re unsure, chat with Rev. Katrina or me and we can help answer specific questions.”

All of the leaders in the program are prepared to help any students when it comes to reassuring any uncertaities when it comes to interfaith life. 

“If you are ever unsure about joining the program come and visit an event or a Thursday interview. Have a conversation with someone involved in Interfaith, come and ask as many questions as you need,” said Pekich-Bundy.

Divided opinion on Metz Culinary Management



On July 1, 2022, Alma College partnered with Metz Culinary Management. Metz is renowned for its experience in the higher education industry, which was the major factor in Alma College choosing it over other contenders.

Metz was brought to Alma College with the hopes of it being an improvement upon the previous dining company, presumably in response to student complaints and protests in the past years.

Over the past few years, the student body has voiced its concerns and speculations over the quality and lack of variation in menu items and protein sources. Even after changing culinary companies, the student body still is upset over these issues.

“The change from Sodexo to Metz has severely altered my diet. Many of my favorite foods, such as peanut butter and chickpeas or no longer offered at the dining hall. As a student-athlete, I used to eat these foods as a source of healthy fat and protein,” said Ryan Gray (‘25).

Alongside numerous foods no longer being offered, popular food stations are no longer operable in the dining hall.

“I was confused about the two most popular stations, the Mongolian Grill and the pasta bar, to be removed,” said Austin DeRocher (‘24). “It was a staple of numerous athletes’ diets, providing them with high protein and carb options while simultaneously bringing the best flavors to the dining hall.”

The new culinary management has implemented various nutrition changes emphasizing healthier and alternative food options. Metz prioritizes making vegan, vegetarian, and gluten-free options more accessible for students to implement into their diet. These new changes have come with contradicting viewpoints.

“I’ve been to the dining hall possibly seven times since the beginning of the year. The only enjoyable thing I can find there is chocolate milk, cereal, and fries. I miss the unhealthier options that were offered before Metz took over,” said Andrew Smith (’23).

“I do enjoy the healthier options that are now offered. After practice, I tend to want to eat a lot of food and when healthier options are available, it makes me feel better mentally and physically,” said Gray.

Not only has the variation of food been questioned by the student body, so has the quality of the food. Numerous students have found questionable items in their food alongside of the question of how thoroughly cooked the food is.

“One day, I went to grab some oat milk out of the fridge, and inside the carton was mold. When I showed one of the workers, she looked concerned and took the carton away,” said Kylie Demarets (’25).

This has not been the only case where the food quality has come into question. Many students have found the tortillas at the deli station to be stale, and at times, different foods are under or overcooked.

Although Hamilton Commons is a small dining hall compared to many other campuses, students still wish more variety was available.

“For the whole month of September, all that has been offered at the Southern Cooking station has been tacos. My friends and I assume it is to commemorate Mexican Heritage Month; however, other Hispanic foods can be served that represent the culture. After weeks of only being offered tacos, it gets a little annoying when nothing changes,” said Grace Ludema (’26).

Overall, it seems that although the college had tried to improve the dining hall and its options, it sadly did not achieve this goal.

The General Manager of Metz Culinary Management was contacted on Sept. 27 but was unable to respond by the date of publication.


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