Women’s History Month sparks power in students


Many do not realize that the month or March is Women’s History Month. On Monday, Mar. 8, 2020 it was International Women’s Day as it is every year now.

Women’s History Month is all about trying to get equality. Still to this day women are not necessarily equal to men, especially in the work field. Wage gaps range depending on gender, age and the job being done. It is estimated that it will take another 40 years for women’s pay to become even close to male’s pay in the workforce.

International Women’s Day is the focal point in the movement for women’s rights. Women still fight for the equality that they deserve. There are multiple topics that people would like to cover during this day and in general.

Female athletes still are not treated nearly as well as male athletes. Not only is the pay different for pro-athletes, but the media coverage for female athletes is not advertised nearly as much as male athletic events. It has been a question if women should be allowed to compete in male dominant sports because some sports do not have women’s teams, for example, football.

Currently, there are female football coaches but still not many women playing football on pro teams. As women continue to fight for equal rights to do what they love, they break the norms of the gender-stereotyped norms.

There are so many stereotypes, in the work place especially, that claim that men can perform better in the workplace. Many women work so hard on a daily basis and shape the lives of the future. Women still go to work while pregnant and dealing with other bodily issues that happen over time.

Empowering women through women’s health education is very important because even as a women you may not know everything about your own health. Many women go undiagnosed with multiple different health problems because they don’t know what to ask at the doctors office. There is a time to draw the line with women’s health because you can only go so long with being in pain due to what you think could be cramps.

Many doctors still do not immediately test for things like endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome, etc. Endometriosis and polycystic ovarian syndrome is believed to effect 1 in 10 women in the world, however, many women remain undiagnosed.

Many women also push to increase visibility for women’s creativity. Women who have chosen careers in artistic fields sometimes feel undervalued and like their work is not as appreciated compared to a man’s according to several studies. For example, female authors are believed to not have their work appreciated due to many hurdles and struggle in best selling genres such as horror and science fiction. Many women, such as J.K. Rowling, have gone by initials and their last name or a made-up name that does not sound feminine just to get their work published and to try and reduce the fear that their work will not be appreciated by audiences.

Women continue to need the support in all different categories, this is just to name a few. Breaking the stigma and stereotypes of being a women continue to get harder as topics get deeper. We all have the power to change this.

New smoking age goes into effect



Recently, the United States has seen multiple changes regarding laws including ages you are eligible to drink, smoke marijuana and now tobacco use.

On Dec. 20, 2019, President Trump signed the bill which was set to go into effect immediately. The American Lung Association has been pushing for this law to go into effect because it will improve the safety and health of people and overall save lives.

Multiple statistics have shown just how deadly smoking and vaping can be. “Tobacco use is the number one cause of preventable death in the United States so anything that helps stop tobacco use is beneficial,” said Natashia Swalve, professor of Psychology.

Nineteen states and over 500 cities have changed the age from 18 to 21 since September before the bill was passed into a law. Multiple states were in the process of passing similar laws before this nationwide law was passed.

Setting a national age limit at 21 is predicted to prevent addicting upcoming generations and to ease the tensions for those who want a full ban on nicotine products. While this age change is not necessarily going to prevent all younger people from using tobacco products, it is believed to decrease the amount of usage in the future.

“I think it’s a good idea to increase the age because so many high schoolers and even middle schoolers are getting tobacco products when they shouldn’t be, simply because they have 18 year old friends,” said Jessica Dent (’21). “Not many teens in school have friends that are 21, so I think it will help bring down teen smoking rates.”

Nearly all of adult smokers have tried a tobacco-based product, like a cigarette, before they were 21, and some even being before they were 18. Smokers who are in high school and some even at college age tend to rely on their older friends to supply them. Changing the age to 21 should decrease the number of students who start smoking earlier than 18 because they will not have a supplier.

Tobacco is highly addictive due to the active substance that is released which is nicotine. Normally people who begin smoking at a young age are more dependent in adulthood. “Given that tobacco is a dangerous and addictive drug, any action that makes it harder to obtain is a good thing,” said Swalve. “I think this is a good start but will definitely not solve all of the problems associated with nicotine and tobacco dependence.”

Most people begin smoking or vaping as a way to combat their stress or anger, to relax, and to improve mood and concentration. People who begin to smoke for these reasons tend to think one every now and then will not hurt them or get them addicted because they do not realize the effects tobacco truly has.

Long-term nicotine usage can lead to changes in the brain and nicotine withdrawal. “As with any drug, our brains adapt to alterations from the substance,” said Swalve. “With nicotine, our brain “expects” the drug to focus and remain alert.”

Many people who try to quit using tobacco products do not succeed the first time. On average, it takes about 2.7 times to try and stop, usually due to the withdrawal symptoms. “Withdrawal symptoms are intense: making people irritable, making it harder to focus, and leading to weight

gain,” said Swalve. “These negative symptoms make people far more likely to keep smoking and makes it very difficult to quit.”

Tobacco has been known to ruin lives and may never stop being used. Many people are very opinionated about the change on the law, but primarily for the “good reasons” that are coming out of it. However, many people took to the internet to compare the new age with things like war and other drugs, such as, alcohol. “If 18-year olds can fight for our country and vote, then they should be allowed to have a cigarette,” said Dent. “It’s like saying, ‘it’s okay to die in combat but not by [using] cigarettes.’”

While the change will take some time for some stores to switch over, others switched their purchasing rules immediately. It is said that a few other bills are in the works to change other laws at the moment regarding the issues this law is being compared to

Parking predicaments frustrate campus



Parking has been a hot topic on campus, especially since the overnight street parking is now no longer allowed between the hours of 2 a.m. and 7 a.m. Many students have been parking in the streets since the beginning of the semester, which has taken a few of the spots students with passes for the lots usually use.

Students across campus have had their fair share of complaints about the overflow of students parking in their desired lot near their building. Many students do not pay attention to the regulations on Alma’s website in regard to the parking. For instance, if a student finds their lot full, then they can contact Campus Safety and get a temporary permit to park in an overflow lot.

Also, according to the regulations, if you are an owner of a maroon or teal pass, you may park in any of the silver lots if your assigned parking lot is at its maximum capacity. One thing to remember is that overflow parking is only allowed until noon the following day.

“I have not been able to park in my lot near my building since early October,” said Rachel Whipple (’20)

Students have, however, shown how upset they are that they even have to park in overflow lots, especially with the amount they pay to park.

“I pay $300 to park in the teal lots around campus, and there are only three lots that are teal on campus,” said Carrielynn LaFranchi (’22). “There are multiple other people that do the exact same, yet there are people who do not own a pass or park in random lots still and get away with it, which makes it hard for people who actually own the pass for the lots to find a parking spot.”

Students had the option to choose between several lots at the beginning of the year. Those lots are the Teal (north side by Gelston, Newberry, Mitchell and Bruske), Maroon (south side of campus near the fraternity and sorority houses, along with Brazell/Nisbet, Carey/Bonbright, Wright Hall and then on North side of campus by Wright Ave), Silver (across from Starbuck’s and by the softball field), Gold (behind Starbucks) and Magenta (First Presbyterian Church).

“For the amount of money I both pay to go here and pay for a parking pass, there should be open spots located in the lots close to where I live,” said Sophia Payne (’22). Students have been struggling to find parking spots due to the mass amount of students having a car on campus and either parking in the wrong spot, not owning a parking pass or not having the current parking pass for that specific lot. 

“My friend and I always park in the same lot by our sorority house, and that lot has been consistently full, so we have not been able to park in our lot and have had to park relatively far away from where we live,” said Lauren Sandtveit (’21). “The other night, we couldn’t find a spot and called security to tell them, and they said to come get a pass for an overflow lot and gave us a pass for the Heritage lot, which is a distance away from our housing, and the pass was just for the day. The way parking is grouped together this year does not seem like it has a reason; the way the old parking lots were set up made more sense.”

With the parking lots being consistently overflowing, students have been creating their own parking spots in their assigned lots and not in assigned spots which is going against regulations.  Campus Security is ticketing people who are violating these regulations. If you have any questions about the regulations, you can look them up on Alma’s website under Parking on Campus.

If you so happen to receive a ticket, you should get a charge on your account, and you have seven days to appeal the ticket before having to pay the amount specified at the Financial Services Office in the basement of Hamilton. 

This is the first year the new lots have been in placement compared to the old system, so kinks are still being worked out, and everyone is still trying to get used to the new lot setup. While many students do not care for the new set up, some do because it gives them more options where they can park. If you have any questions regarding parking do not hesitate to look online to see if your question is answered there, or contact Campus Safety.

Registration confuses campus


Recently, Alma has made a lot of changes, one of the changes being the registration system.  While the new system had many new features that students liked quite a bit, many students found themselves confused and frustrated when it came time to actually register for their classes.

It was announced that the registration and advising system would be changing on Thursday, Sept. 26, to students through an email. If students were confused with any of the new features, then they had access to the guide for the new system which was attached to the email. Students now have to go through Inside Alma and plan their semester out through the course catalog. In order to register for classes, students must have a meeting with their advisor and get their schedule approved prior to their registration date.

Students now have access to view their progress on their degree and on distributive requirements, along with planning their whole degree out unlike before when you had to wait until it was closer to registration.

With this new software, you can now easily plan out your degree over your four years.  Many students really liked this feature because then they could plan out what classes they wanted to take or need to take before graduating.

Breawna Ritter (’22) said, “This is probably the best feature because then I can plan all of my future classes out.”

With the planning feature, students were also able to see a schedule which lays out the day and time they will be in classes. Some students it took some time to figure out and get used to the new feature, some are even still learning how to work the new system.

Carrielynn LaFranchie (’22) said, “I didn’t like the new systems at first, but after I got used to it and learned everything, I found that I actually really like it. It’s really helpful and cool that it plans out your schedule and shows you what your schedule would be like and if any of your class schedules clash together.”

Some students even found the benefits that can follow them to jobs on and off campus.

Emmett Kelly (’22) said, “I really like that I can see what my exact schedule will look like and be able to make sure that everything will work. It’s also handy for my job, because I can just print my schedule out and give it to them for my availability.”

Students with 90 or more credits were first up to test the new system for their registration date on Monday, Nov. 4, starting at 9 a.m. Some students had troubles getting their planned courses to load and had to learn that in order to register, you had to log out and reload the page before actually being able to register.

It was still a learning experience when students with 56 credits or more registered on Wednesday, Nov. 6.  Students were still trying to get around registering for courses you had to have special permission for or had to have you advisor approve.

Katie Bailey (’22) said, “My only complaint is that there were a few classes that said you needed special permission to take them when I already had permission, but for some reason it let me into them right away and I had to talk to the registrar for like ten minutes in order to register for my spring term because it said I needed ‘instructor permission’ when I already had it.”

Students were still learning while registering on Nov. 11, students with 25 credits or more were quick to jump on and realize that certain thing like lessons. “I think it’s pretty convenient for the general population, but for anyone that wants/needs to take private lessons in the music department, it’s still not ideal. We are still having to waste paper and time by filling out a drop/add form,” said Kelly.

Anyone else who had not registered had a slim picking of classes and had virtually no problem except for the occasional loading error.  Overall, the system had its ups and downs, but so does any new system. 

Alma College prepares for Halloween


As Halloween is quickly approaching and everyone is making plans there are some things people are forgetting to think about. Safety is one thing that should be a top priority even while having a fun night out with friends.

As you are trying to pick the perfect costume and finalize your plans make sure you are paying attention to the weather. Alma’s first batch of snow is coming here this week according to the radar, snow is possible leading up to Halloween night. The temperature will drop as the week goes on, so definitely try and dress accordingly! Breawna Ritter (’22) said her top safety priority for Halloween is, “making sure my friends don’t stay out too late and making sure they are dressed in warm enough clothing.”

Another thing to pay attention to while choosing a costume is to make sure it is appropriate and not making fun of or disrespecting people, cultures or campus organizations. If you have to think about whether or not your costume is perpetuating negative stereotypes or can come off as hurtful, then it probably is.

The spooky costumes and decorations may captivate your attention, but during Halloween night and that weekend, keep an eye out and do not be a bystander. If you see something, then say something: whether you are dressed like a hero or not, you can step in and be one. Resident Advisor, Kimber Buzzard (’21) said, “Don’t be afraid to call campus safety, your RA or the administer on duty. They are resources who want you to be safe and are there to help you.”

Whether you plan to celebrate in your dorm building, around campus, or at a party this Halloween definitely know your resources. Halloween can be safe and fun at the same time no matter what age you are. 

When going out to celebrate make sure you have at least one person with you, especially if you plan to drink. Cosette Coston (’20) said, “Always have a friend with you and do not let your friends travel alone. Always remember your resources, such as if you do not feel comfortable walking you can call campus security to walk you back to your dorm.”

If you are old enough to drink and plan on it, please be smart about it. Know the signs for when you need to stop drinking and for when you need to cutoff a friend. They may be mad at you then, but thanking you later. Alcohol poisoning is a serious thing and can happen to anyone. If you suspect that someone has alcohol poisoning, even if you don’t see the signs or symptoms, seek medical attention as soon as possible.

Even when a person stops drinking, alcohol continues to be released into the bloodstream and the blood alcohol level continues to rise. Even when the person sleeps or is unconscious it continues rising. Never let an overly intoxicated person go to sleep, especially if they are exciting signs of alcohol poisoning. Don’t wait for the symptoms to worsen, then it could be too late. 

Signs to look out for when around people that are drinking include: mental confusion, introversion/extroversion (depending on the person’s personality), problems with coordination, loss of balance, unresponsiveness, nausea, vomiting, slow or irregular breathing and possibly other symptoms. Everyone is different and displays different symptoms, so if you suspect something is wrong then seek help.

Halloween is meant to be fun, so do not forget to have fun! Just be aware of your surroundings and know when a situation becomes or is unsafe for you and others. Unlike pumpkins, you still have your guts, so trust your gut instincts! 

The Beating Heart of Alma


There were smiles all around in Alma on Tuesday, Oct. 8, especially at the “cornerstone” of Alma. The people of Alma finally got to step inside the newly renovated Wright Leppien Opera House. The opening took place in Zimmerman Hall, named after late Alma College student, Joseph Zimmerman who graduated in 1961.

The building was built from 1877 tp 1880 by Ammi Wright and had been a place full of emotional memories for many people in the community.  The original design was only for a small store but the idea turned into something larger than expected and could then fit five stores and had the Opera House on top which was originally called Barton Hall.

The Opera House caught fire on Thursday, Oct. 14, 2010 and luckily was able to be preserved.  Many people reminisced how they felt when the building was burning. John Leppein said, “I thought the smoke would never leave,” when referring to that dreaded night. Hearing the murmurs through the room, many were elated that the Opera House was “structurally sound” after the fire nearly ten years ago and could not wait for it to reopen. 

The gathering opened with Alma Choir’s own Pretty in Plaid and Scots on the Rocks performing a few songs, one being “Loch Lomond” which is sung at many different Alma College functions and is just an all-around favorite song.

Donors and members of the community gathered to see what the 140 year-old building now looks like. President Abernathy took the floor by thanking all the contributions, big and small.  A few key people on his long list of ‘thank you’s’ include the Leppien family, Mayor of Alma, Greg Mapes, Dr. Jeff Holmes and his wife Ginna and David McMacken. 

Chaplain Andrew Pomerville began his invocation by saying, “Today we are here to give thanks and recognize what has happened in this space that we are currently standing in and looking forward to in the future with so much joy and hope for all the new memories we will be making in this space.” The expressions of deep gratitude for the memories they have and will have on people’s faces in that very room. 

After all, according to the wall with the history of the building, in 1886, the establishment of Alma College was announced in the Opera House. Alma College took ownership of the Opera House in December 2017 and the plans for renovation were later announced in August 2018.  Forty-one donors and nine businesses provided over $6.5 million in philanthropic support on top of the $1.5 million grant from Michigan Economic Development Corporation.

The Opera House ballroom once hosted events such as town meetings, theatrical

productions, public lectures, and concerts. The building houses 30 apartments and soon to be three small businesses along with having additional rooms insides such as the Hall.  According to Mayor Greg Mapes, three businesses are preparing to open on the ground floor. They businesses opening are an e-sports arena called “Block House,” a women’s boutique called “Show Ring Bling,” and Nutrition Club “Healthies of Mid-Mitten.”

Not long after the fire, the Opera House was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2013. It truly is a historic landmark for Alma and will continue to be for the years to come, especially with the new renovations.  The building truly is “the heart of Alma.”

I got the blues for piercings and tattoos



Tattoos and piercings are very popular in today’s society, especially with college students. When walking around campus, I can guarantee that you walk past plenty of people who are supporting a unique tattoo or piercing. The thing many people forget about though is, what is going to happen when applying for jobs?

How tattoos and piercings were perceived in the past and how they are today is luckily very different. For decades people have had a negative perceptions of tattoos and piercings. Many people relate their negativity towards their religion, just thinking they are trashy and unattractive and some even bring up the common question of “what will you do when you are old and wrinkly?”

As an avid lover of tattoos and piercings for the purpose of self-expression, I always try and make sure that there is a meaning behind what I am getting if I am getting a tattoo. Piercings are fun to experiment with because there’s multiple piercings you can get. I am currently still playing with the ways I express myself which led me to two tattoos and eight piercings at the moment.

I often get asked what I am going to do when I graduate and begin applying for jobs because of my tattoos and piercings. In today’s society, tattoos and piercings are becoming more widely accepted.

Most employers nowadays have tattoos themselves, which helps many people who have a passion for self-expression. Employers do have a right to have a dress code that requires you to take out any piercings or cover up tattoos. It is getting to a point that employers do not mind simple tattoos and piercings as long as they are not offensive or inappropriate.

Perceptions can impact reality, especially when you have a tattoo or out of the ordinary piercing. If you have an offensive or inappropriate tattoo in a visible place then that will impact your possibility of getting a job, but most do not. If I remember correctly, one in five people have a tattoo and piercings depend on what type it is.

Tattoos and piercings should be acceptable no matter what the job is and shouldn’t change the perception of the person doing the job. But to many people it does still change their perception to a point that some people still refuse service from people with tattoos and piercings.

Many people have heard the saying, “my body is not my resume,” which is entirely true. This is why many people are beginning not to mind hiring people with tattoos or piercings. You can have a tattoo or piercing and be highly qualified for a job, so why should that impact your chances for the job compared to someone with no tattoos with hardly any experience for the same job?

Recently, a lot of people in well-known careers such as nurses, doctors, firefighters, professors and teachers have been able to let their ink and metal be on display. Piercings are still more common than tattoos and overall more accepted in society to this day. Tattoos continue to gain a better following.

Self-expression is something that helps define a person, especially in college and in their career. Tattoos and piercings both help with self-expression and it is up to the person with the tattoos and piercings what they want to mark their bodies with, not anyone else’s.

Controversy over Ukraine


Everyone has different opinions about President Donald Trump, on-campus and off. Lately, there has been a controversy going around involving President Trump and the Ukrainian President, Volodymyr Zelensky.

“It’s important to remember Crimea, which is part of Ukraine which was given to them by Stalin which is populated by ethnic Russia,” said Britt Cartrite, professor of political science.

“They are relatively similar but do say they are [different compared to Ukrainians].” The differences between the two ethnicities are surely known in their culture and throughout the world.

There’s more to the story though, especially involving the United States and the two countries overseas. “Russia gave support to Crimean separatists which allowed Russians to leave Ukraine. Russia allowed and sent in paramilitary troops into Eastern Ukraine and demanded the right to vote on secession,” Cartrite said.

“Ukraine also sent in their military and fought back the paramilitary organizations [and were] able to hold onto Eastern Ukraine but not Crimea. All of this was a way of saying the United States under President Barack Obama was opposed to what Russia was doing so we started giving military aid to Ukraine.”

After Obama was done with his presidential run and Trump was elected, there was uncertainty in his relations with foreign countries, especially Russia. Trump has been in several situations where he tends to deny all questions raised about his actions.

“He’s handling it the way Trump has handled every other situation by calling it fake news,” said Brendon Forster (‘21).

President Trump made a phone call to President Zelensky on Jul. 25, but the phone call did not begin being questioned in the public until recently to most people’s understanding. Trump began the phone call by congratulating Zelensky on his victory on Ukraine’s Parliamentary Elections.

After Trump congratulated Zelensky on his win, he was quick to mention how much the United States does for Ukraine and then began hinting at wanting something back.

“So, he made a phone call saying that Ukraine needed to look into the corruption in their country, but specifically Joe Biden and his son, and he also mentioned the military aid. It’s like saying ‘oh by the way’ so if, in fact, there is a quid pro quo that is illegal, but we don’t have the official phone call,” Cartrite said.

“Normally when these phone calls are made they are put on the regular intelligence server, but this one was on the confidential server, but it is not clear that there was anything confidential in the phone call. It is not clear that a crime has been yet committed, but it is in question which is what brought on the whistleblower and possibility of impeachment.”

Few details have come out that we know are for certain. “The Ukrainian’s were due to have a specific amount of military and financial aid provided, and this aid was suspended prior to the phone call,” said Derick Hulme, professor of political science. “Any argument that there was not a quid pro quo is simply ignoring the entire context and intent of the phone call. If you give us dirt on Joe Biden and his son, we will release military aid, if you don’t, we won’t.”

Many people are unsure where they fall on the issue. However, students who are actively involved in politics on campus were quick to share their thoughts and opinions on the matter.

“Trump might have messed up big here, but I think it’s too soon to say anything is definitive yet, but he broke precedent,” said Forster. “President Trump is in the wrong in the situation whether it was a quid pro quo or not. You should not ask a foreign government to try and dig up dirt on your political enemy.”

President Trump has made several questionable decisions throughout his presidency so far and this is another on the list according to many. Only time will tell what will happen with the whistleblower lawsuit and the possibility of impeachment.


Up ↑