Students spend spring term on campus

HANNAH STIFFLER
STAFF WRITER

Alma College has many unique and amazing opportunities. One such opportunity is the ability to take spring terms. This is set up primarily due to the 4-4-1 academic calendar year. One of the requirements that students have for graduating from Alma College is the completion of two spring terms.

One of the options for spring term is that students are required to have an “S” course completed. As stated on alma.edu, an “S” course is an “immersion in a secondary language, crossing geographical boundaries, exploring cultural/social/ethnic/economic differences outside the classroom, and applied experiences requiring extended daily interactions with instructors. Internships do not satisfy the ‘S’ requirement.”

Since COVID-19 required Alma College to switch to virtual learning back in March 2020, there have also been adjustments to requirements for spring terms. Alma College had to remove all travel opportunities for students’ safety. Many juniors and seniors did not know that they would not have the opportunity to take advantage of the required “S” course, yet the college is either waving the credit or requiring another spring term of their choosing.

For the spring 2021 term, the cost of tuition is $1,764, the cost of board is $600 and no cost for room. Additional costs may include equipment, laboratory, travel and off-campus room/board fee. The cost of spring terms should not alter a student’s decision of whether to do a spring term or not since the school has grants that students can apply for to cover part of their spring term.

The two most popular options for grants amongst students are either the P-Global program or Alma Venture program. These grants are introduced to students during their second year at Alma College and can be applied to their Junior Year Applied Experience. Eligibility and the application along with other information can be found on the Alma Venture program page on alma.edu.

Gabby Blecke (‘21) was able to use her Alma Venture grant in a different way than most students, particularly because of her inability to travel for last year’s spring term. She says, “As a result of COVID, I had the awesome opportunity to use my venture to get my CNA certification.”

Blecke plans to attend the University of South Dakota for Occupational Therapy Doctorate in the fall. In between graduating from Alma College and beginning graduate school, she plans to work in a position that allows her to use her CNA license.

It is important to remember that, as the situation surrounding COVID-19 continues to improve, there is hope for the future of spring terms—hope for travel, learning and growth for the both the students and faculty here at Alma College.

Understanding parking on campus

HANNAH STIFFLER
STAFF WRITER

RAUL RIVERA
PHOTOGRAPHER

As is likely common knowledge, Alma College allows students who have vehicles to park on various locations on campus. At larger universities, it is not always possible for students to have a vehicle on campus, much less to have the ability to park in such close proximity to residential halls.

Alma College offers two different types of parking passes. Students are able to park in maroon or teal parking, silver parking or in magenta parking at the First Presbyterian Church located one block West on Superior Street. Maroon and teal lot parking passes cost $300, the silver lot passes cost $250, and magenta parking passes costs $150.

The Center for Student Opportunities (CSO) is where students are able to pick up their parking passes. When a student purchases a parking pass, they will be charged to their student account.

You are able to register for a parking pass from either the student portal (inside.alma.edu) or the parking office. The parking office is located in the CSO and has open hours from 1pm-3pm on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Campus security addresses all parking violations by distributing online tickets while the parking office handles appeals. If a student has any concerns regarding parking, students can email parking@alma.edu.

Bailey Allison (‘23) is the parking assistant who handles all appeals and parking inquiries. Allison says that “Students who want to appeal tickets can either do so through the parking tab in their Alma Portal or they can email [parking@alma.edu].”

Students are able to view a map of where their pass allows them to park on the Alma College website, or at https://www.alma.edu/about/visiting/parking-maps/. Here, students can see all options of parking which can also impact which parking pass is best. Allison adds “Students can also find parking rules and regulations on campus website for parking.”

Alma College is currently looking to update policies regarding parking here on campus. The Student Congress President, Will Brown (‘22), is currently an acting member of the Policy and Planning committee and intends to “examine current policies and work with faculty and staff to make any necessary changes that will benefit the parking experience for all of us here on campus.”

Brown is encouraging all students who would like their voice heard on the matter to email him at stuco.president@alma.edu. Any and all suggestions brought forward will be included in the discussion surrounding Alma College parking policies.

Health screening emails and leaving campus

HANNAH STIFFLER
STAFF WRITER

A change to the COVID-19 guidelines the Winter 2021 semester at Alma College included students remaining on campus for the entirety of the semester with the exception of the three weekends granted by the school for students to visit back home. To ensure that students are following the new protocol, Alma College is using students’ daily health screenings to determine the location of the students.

If the college’s data shows that a student has left campus, they are sent an email from the COVID-19 Student Conduct and Compliance Assistant, Shelby Shawl. Within the email, it states that if the student has left campus they must begin to self-quarantine, which includes all meals to-go and avoiding in-person activities.

If the student received the email by error, then they can disregard the email. If the student’s device is not connected to Alma College’s Wi-Fi when the health screening form is filled out, this can result in error in data. Director of Residence Life, Alice Kramer, said “The best way to avoid this is to make sure your device is connected to Wi-Fi before you submit the form each day.” She adds “All the student needs to do is reply to the email. Again, we encourage students to be honest about their situation so we keep our campus safe.”

Kramer said that besides the daily health screenings, the other way in which the college recieves information about students leaving campus are students self-reporting. She adds “I have been impressed with our students’ honesty and commitment to keeping themselves and our campus safe by letting us know when they need to leave campus.”

This change on campus has become a concern to students who have family emergencies and appointments outside of the greater Alma area. Emma Keith (‘23) had to leave campus for a medical appointment. Keith said “I called Shelby Shawl. If it is for a medical appointment, you are allowed to leave campus as long as you are going to that appointment and come right back to campus. As long as you only go to those two places then you do not have to quarantine or get tested when you arrive back on campus.”

“All of our decisions have been grounded in what we learned about COVID-19 spread on campus last semester. When we analyzed our case information, we found that COVID spread at Alma College when students left campus, caught the virus, returned to campus, and spread it to their roommates and other close friends” said Kramer.

Since the pandemic is still evolving, there is little knowledge as to how much longer Alma College will have to continue tracking students through health screenings. Kramer adds “We are committed to evaluating the situation regularly and making changes when it is safe to do so.”

Career Week hits campus

HANNAH STIFFLER
STAFF WRITER

Each semester at Alma College, the Career and Personal Development Office holds a week of events for students of all majors to develop personal and professional experience for life after Alma College. During this winter semester, Career Week was held from Sunday, January 31 until Saturday, February 6.

The events were as follows: Suit up! with JC Penny online, Choose Your Own AdVenture, Resume Café with Alma College Alumni, Clifton Strengths Workshop for Seniors, Grad School & Gap Year Fair, Headshots and Alumni Speed Interviews.

A few of the recurring events that are held during Career Week are Suit Up with JC Penny, Alumni Speed Interviews and the annual fair offered in the Fall term called Career EXPLO. The registration for Career Week can always be found on Handshake.

Assistant Director of Career and Personal Development, Madelyn Wentwork, said “We also do our best to provide students with resources to help them launch their careers such as discounted professional clothing, mock interviews, and resume reviews. Additionally, and especially this year, we focused on connecting students with alumni so they can learn from professionals in their fields.”

One of the new events for Career Week this semester is called Roundtable Represent. Madelyn Wentwork added, “at this event, we connected students and alumni of color to discuss their experiences at Alma and in the workplace. This was just one of many networking events that we’re hosting this month.”

Additionally, the Career and Personal Development Office added a new program called Choose Your Own adVenture. This program is meant for first-year students in preparation for the next four years at Alma College and life after it, along with information on how they can take advantage of the Venture Program. This new program can be found at www.alma.edu/adventure.

One of the most popular events during Career Weeks happens to be the free headshots offered. “We collaborated with Communication and Marketing and Bitworks to provide free professional headshots to over 50 students, faculty, and staff members” said Madelyn Wentworth.

By next fall, the Career and Personal Development Office is hoping to include more asynchronous programs. This will allow more students to have the opportunity to interact with the events and programs that Alma College has to offer.

Due to the ongoing pandemic, the Career and Personal Development Office held all events virtually, with the exception of the free headshots, which were held in-person. Despite most events being virtual, there was still a great turn out from students who were invested in their future after Alma College.

“I find it very rewarding to talk to students who participate in our programs who are excited about the people they’ve met and the opportunities they’ve discovered. There’s no limit to what networking can do” added Madelyn Wentworth. “We hope to encourage students to start thinking about their plans for after graduation. It’s never too early!”

New COVID-19 campus-wide testing rolls out

HANNAH STIFFLER
STAFF WRITER

RAUL RIVERA
GRAPHIC CREATOR

Coming into this Winter semester brought many uncertainties for students, faculty and staff. Before arriving on campus, Alma College required COVID-19 saliva kits be ordered, completed and sent in for testing via FedEx on January 12.

Many students found the instructions for ordering the kits clear and concise. Confusion began when students completed their kits. Bailey Allison (‘23) said “Unfortunately, sending back the test was slightly more difficult. We did not have to register the actual kit we had received as it was already registered, but that was not on any of the instructions”. Clarification from the school followed in an email days before the kits needed to be sent back.

Sophia Romain (‘23) found the process for ordering her COVID-19 kit to be clear but did not expect that she would be tested again for COVID-19 the first week back to classes.

On December 8th, 2020, Alma College announced on their website that they had installed eight sampling pumps around north campus. Within the first week back to campus, the pumps detected COVID-19 in Mitchell and Gelston hall, thus causing all in both halls to be tested.

“Testing for Mitchell was pretty easy. I was able to go right after class and have a quick swab done. My results were in by dinner the next day” said Romain. Testing had taken place in the Hogan Center where they used a polymerase chain reaction nasal test.

On January 27th, all south campus residents were tested with PCR tests. Since south campus does not have any of the wastewater collection and testing sites, each student had to be tested individually to ensure that they did not have COVID-19.

Instructor of Environmental Studies, Murray Borrello, describes PCR tests: “Your mucous will have minute amounts of the virus (or not), so what PCR does is take a DNA fragment of a specific thing you’re looking for – Coronavirus DNA for example, and amplify it. Then, if you have a fragment of COVID-19 DNA, it can be identified with a stain or some type of marker”. Assistant Instructor of Biochemistry, Devin Camenares, adds “This makes certain sense, since both your nose and mouth are in contact with your respiratory system.”

Students arriving on campus this semester have tested negative. Knowing this, students like Romain and Allison feel at ease. “It made me feel as though we were getting back to some sort of normality. But, knowing that people have already tested positive does not bode well for us” said Allison.

Romain added that she believes that it would have been more accurate for the school to have tested students upon arrival since four to five days leaves enough time for those who are not quarantining be infected before arrival.

Murray Borrello, said “The more testing, the better. The only way to control the virus on campus is to know as soon as possible who is carrying it and isolate that person away from the general population. It is a method that works – and actually helped us have a pretty successful Fall Term. And, if I know testing is being done on a regular basis, I feel much more confident in the classroom.”

Alma College seems to be responsive to COVID-19 testing in order to have students on campus and in the classroom. Alma College is said to have spent $100,000’s of dollars on COVID-19 testing. It appears that nothing will prevent Alma College from keeping students, faculty and staff safe.

Eugenics bring controversy

HANNAH STIFFLER
STAFF WRITER

BAILEY LANGBO
HEAD EDITOR

Eugenics are defined as the arrangement of reproduction within the human population in order to increase the occurrence of certain desirable characteristics. The eugenics movement was first introduced to America in the early 20th century, despite its principles dating back to Ancient Greece. It was originally coined by Francis Galton in the late 1800s.

In 1897, Michigan was the first state to propose eugenics in legislation, which did not pass at the time. Several years later in 1913, Michigan passed this piece of legislation but primarily enforced it on those who were deemed “mentally defective” or “insane.”

The law was then adapted in 1923 for the addition of x-rays for vasectomies and salpingectomies and was expanded to those who were considered imbeciles but not insane. In 1929, the law was expanded to include those who were found to be harmful to the general public such as pedophiles, which was an even larger number of the population.

“In the 1920s, the Supreme Court voted on Buck v. Bell, which boiled down to the legalization of eugenics and forced sterilization of those deemed “unfit” to reproduce,” said Maria Ruedisueli (‘21).

“This statute has not been overturned and there have been thousands of forced sterilizations across the country since this passed.”

Since mid-September, there have been reports to the Department of Homeland Security about forced hysterectomies performed on immigrants who are located at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Irwin County Detention center in Georgia. Hysterectomies are female sterilization, which cuts or blocks the fallopian tubes to prevent eggs and sperm from meeting. Dawn Wooten, who used to work full-time at the detention center, was the nurse who raised these concerns.

In her report, she explained that immigrants were not receiving accurate information in regard to their treatments.

Forced sterilization has long been an issue within minority groups, and it appears that this time is no different. “Minorities have always been a target for the upper and middle Anglo-Saxton population,” said Ruedisueli. “It is fueled by an irrational fear of displacement and losing their status in society.”

Such is the case in prisons and detention centers now. Official complaints received by the Department of Homeland Security say that immigrants have specifically been targeted as of lately, as shown in Georgia. This maltreatment of immigrants and minority groups is a concept that has long been practiced within the United States.

There have been at least 148 women in California’s prisons from 2006-2010 who have reported forced hysterectomies. “Sterilization of women is still taking place in prisons as of quite recently, and with new reports, it appears that this trend is back again at the border,” said Ruedisueli.

While forced sterilization within the United States is still a problem, steps have been taken to lessen its frequency. In the 1960’s and 1970’s, the government of the United States had begun to provide funding towards reproductive health for both men and women. President Obama signed the Eugenics Compensation Act into law in 2016 which has provided thousands of Americans federal safety net programs.

Election day in the United States is arriving quickly. There has been a lack of response from political officials regarding forced hysterectomies at the Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s Irwin County Detention center in Georgia.

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