Weekly Horoscopes 3/29/21

KATE WESTPHAL
COPY EDITOR

What the Signs Need to Hear about their Bad Habits

Aries: Chewing with your mouth open is honestly one of the most disgusting things you could do, and I’ve seen you do a lot. Be respectful of others around you and close your mouth.

Taurus: If you continue to eat your roommate’s food, you’ll soon find yourself living alone. Mind their boundaries and get your own snacks.

Gemini: Put your dirty clothes away. They’re gross. It doesn’t matter where as long as they’re not on the floor or your chair anymore.

Cancer: Please do us all a favor and throw out the spoiled food sitting in your fridge. It’s for the greater good.

Leo: Those dirty dishes won’t wash themselves! You’re not better than the rest of us by refusing to look at the cups piling up in the sink.

Virgo: You may think you have everything in order, but you’re neglecting to sleep enough. If you’re routinely sleep-deprived, aspects of your life will start to crumble.

Libra: You may strive for balance, but you won’t find that while biting your nails. Consider choosing another hobby to replace gnawing on your fingertips.

Scorpio: You may think you’re too busy to take the trash out, but that’s not true. Humble yourself and take responsibility for your living space.

Sagittarius: Consistently showing up late doesn’t make you look cool. Instead, it makes you look dismissive of others’ time.

Capricorn: You make yourself forgettable by slouching all the time. Stand up straight, and maybe someone will finally remember you.

Aquarius: When was the last time you vacuumed your rug? I can tell it’s been a while. You should go do that.

Pisces: Procrastination master! Living in your daydream may sound fun, but too much so encroaches on real life and will leave you behind.

Senior farewells

To the Almanian,

Working on the staff of the Almanian for the past three years has truly been a good time. I began as a sophomore writing articles every week and soon held the position of layout editor, where I’ve stayed until now. I’ve enjoyed seeing how the perception of campus has changed over the years based on the articles we’ve written. We once wrote about clubs and spaghetti dinners, but now we look at presidential elections, climate change and racial and social injustices. Article topics may have changed, but I’ve found the staff have remained the same, hilarious people they were when I joined. I truly will miss spending Sundays in the office having minor meltdowns when the computers won’t start up, or Adobe Illustrator refuses to work or any of our regular issues comes up yet again. Although annoying when they happen, I’ve found I’m rather fond of those times. After I graduate, I will take a gap year and work as a rehabilitation technician before applying for occupational therapy schools. While this ultimately may have little influence on my career and my intentions in life, I will say with certainty that the Almanian has provided a new perspective on writing that I never really intended to have. I will miss you all and this newspaper greatly.

With love,
Kate Westphal

Dear Almanian readers,

As I reflect on my time as a staff writer for The Almanian, I’m able to also retrace the steps of my life here at Alma. I began my journey with the paper during my sophomore year, needing the extra cash and feeling as though I would be able to get some writing experience out of the gig. Writing for The Almanian was much more rewarding than I ever thought it would be. The experience of seeing something you worked incredibly hard to create on the front page, scattered around campus was quite thrilling. I’ve written everything from Campus Comment and stories on new clubs to political pieces and more. Each time I was given the opportunity to write something out of my comfort zone was an opportunity for personal growth. I’m thankful for my time here at The Almanian. Working for the paper allowed me to have a deeper connection to campus life, as well as giving me a space to write about important topics often overlooked by the mass media. I appreciate The Almanian’s willingness to choose topics that may be controversial, allowing us writers the chance to spark change across our campus community. I also have a sense of admiration for the paper’s push to remain an honest and unbiased source of information, as we oftentimes aren’t given something as simple as that by larger media outlets. I hope that students continue to pick up the paper and learn something, be it about campus, the world or even themselves. Fast forward to senior year, and here I am writing my farewell to The Almanian. Although I never would have dreamt that my time here at Alma would be ending during a global pandemic, I wouldn’t have wanted my last stories to be different than they were. Not only is my time writing for the paper coming to a close, but that chapter on my undergraduate career is nearing the final pages. I’d like to thank all of the Editor-in-Chiefs I’ve had at my time at The Almanian. I’d also like to thank all of the editors, who were kind enough to accept my articles late more often than not. Lastly, I’d like to thank all of those who read my articles; I hope you enjoyed them.

Keep on reading,
Emily Henderson

Dear Almanian,

When I was hired as “sports editor” of the paper, I mistakenly thought I was hired as a sports writer. While grateful for my first paid writing opportunity, this triggered my fight or flight response; I didn’t know enough to write about sports for every edition! I was certainly not qualified to do that. Once the then editor-in-chief informed my naive self that I was instead responsible for editing the layout of the sports page, that thought of impending doom went away and I was excited to get to work. My time working as a writer and layout editor for The Almanian has felt like it lasted for six years, but also six minutes. So many stories have been written and so much feedback has been received, yet it hasn’t felt like enough. In the last three years, I’ve written articles about anything from Alma conspiracy theories, on-campus events or popular culture, to more investigative works where I was in conversation with administration regarding larger campus issues. Throughout my time as a writer and layout editor, I have worked under three incredible editors-in-chief: Jelly, Brittany and now Bailey. These strong women have helped me grow into a more confident and capable writer and I appreciate their willingness to help me whenever I feel lost and ask silly questions. Our staff advisor, Matt Cicci has also been an immense help to me. He always sends his edits and opinions with some sort of witty comment and doesn’t judge me too hard when I send him emails with no files attached. Matt has guided me through a tumultuous senior year, which I am grateful for. I look forward to Sundays when we’re in the office because it is the only time I get to catch up with the other editors. We bond over reading Sorrow-Scopes when they come out, impatiently wait for Joe’s to open together and scream over every minor inconvenience that comes up while editing the pages. I wouldn’t have it any other way. Though I will not be missing the awful formatting issues on page 5, InDesign’s inability to be user-friendly or when my mouse says it is not charged after being plugged in for literally weeks at a time, I will miss these aforementioned things. The Almanian has given me an outlet for the last three years. Yes, it has given me journalistic experience and some extra cash, but moreso, it has given me a place where I can speak out about issues that I feel are important. This position has shown me time and time again why I want to be a journalist, and the people attached to the position are making it hard to say goodbye. To our current staff members and those who join in the future, know that the work you are putting in is important, and for the love of God, make sure to hit 3000 characters without spaces.

With love,
Jordyn Bradley

Dear Almanian,

I can’t believe how fast the years have gone by. I became the Web Editor of the Almanian at the end of my freshman year and have been managing the website ever since. Through these past three years, I have learned countless things by working on the Almanian staff. I have managed teams of people, social media accounts and a website. It was an amazing opportunity that has given me skills to prepare me for graduation, which is quickly approaching! I have seen so many amazing staff members come and go. To the staff who I have had the pleasure of working with: I truly enjoy reading and viewing your content every week; it’s the best part of my job. The editors have done an amazing job taking the Almanian to a whole new level over the past few years, and I have loved to watch it grow. After three years, I say my final goodbye to the Almanian and my fellow staff members. I can’t wait to keep up with Alma happenings by reading the website! I know that the Almanian is in good hands with all of you.

Your friend,
Chapin Kartsounes

Dear fellow Scots,

The past four years here have flown by with many challenges and positive memories that I will always remember. During my first initial visit on campus, I could tell there was small family feel between students, faculty and staff. From every organization and club that I have been a part of, this family culture was centered around each one. Upon my reflection on my time here at Alma, I want to thank my fellow wrestling teammates and coaches who fought with me, laughed along with me and stayed hard with me. I want to thank my professors who pushed me to take on challenges, but always believed in me every step of the way. I want to thank the people that I may have not known but have allowed that family feel to exist throughout Alma College. I also want to thank my many close friends that
have helped me develop into the person I am today. Finally, to the underclassmen, keep on the traditions, take on challenges and keep Alma College as a close-knit community.

Sincerely,
Zach Jandereski

Weekly Horoscopes 3/15/21

KATE WESTPHAL
COPY EDITOR

The Signs as Discontinued Fast Food Items

Aries: Little Caesar’s Pepperoni Crazy Bread. An appetizer, you often hold out for the next best thing to come along. Realize that sometimes nothing appears and you need to make do with what you have.

Taurus: Pizza Hut’s Taco Pizza. Combining two favorites may sound delectable, but you must recognize whether the outcome is something you truly desire. Taking time to reflect is always a good idea.

Gemini: Dairy Queen’s MySTIRy Misty. Just like this slushy, you too change yourself to fit the situation at hand, whether that benefits others or not. Be cautious as to how you present yourself.

Cancer: Arby’s Sourdough Melts. A solid choice, but one that may not appeal to everyone. There is no denying that you have desirable qualities, just focus on making yourself attractive to a wider audience.

Leo: Sonic’s French Toaster Breakfast Sandwich. A gluttonous choice is a foolhardy choice, whether that becomes apparent now or in the future. You have several good aspects but need to recognize when each part should be emphasized.

Virgo: KFC’s Chicken Littles. Simplicity rules your desires, and you aim for minimalism whenever possible. While not entirely wrong, there is more to life than just the simple things.

Libra: McDonald’s McSalad Shakers. You think shaking a salad in a cup is a way to add fun to your day. Please do more things that add joy to your life.

Scorpio: Taco Bell’s Spicy Chicken Burrito. Spicy, hot and addictive become a dangerous when combined. It is said that if the work is put in, you can still be enjoyed.

Sagittarius: Wendy’s Coffee Toffee Twisted Frosty. Popular but short-lived, this item describes you in more ways than one. Look inward and analyze how you can increase your social longevity.

Capricorn: Whataburger’s Steak Fajitas. A basic choice, but one that will consistently be there for you. While not picked often, believe that you will still be chosen.

Aquarius: Jack in the Box’s Cheesy Macaroni Bites. It’s a mystery why you aren’t kept around more often. You have all the qualities of a keepsake, but something is off that restricts you from becoming a longstanding figure.

Pisces: Burger King’s Cini-Minis. A perfect appetizer for a short time, but too much will leave you feeling bloated and sick. Understand when restraint is needed.

Students strike for climate change awareness

KATE WESTPHAL
CAMPUS EDITOR

Photo by Isaac Tessman

Climate change awareness has been growing in the news due to several reports detailing the effects of climate change and how long Earth will be habitable because of its effects. An international climate change strike occurred on September 20th to bring awareness about the effects of climate change to government and businesses in hopes of causing action. The strikes were timed to begin a week of activism at the United Nations, culminating in a UN Climate Action Summit.

Greta Thunberg, a 16 year old climate activist from Sweden, first called for a strike to protest adults who others say are ignoring the destruction of the planet. Thunberg became the face of climate change activism when she began skipping school on Fridays to protest inaction on climate change outside the Swedish parliament. The purpose of these strikes is to stand up to governments and businesses and force them into action.

Many of these strikes are led by students and young adults. Multiple Alma College students and faculty – coordinated by Leaders for Environmental Awareness, Protection and Sustainability – attended the climate change strike in Lansing on Friday. “The idea is for children and adults of all ages to walk out of their schools, jobs, and everyday routines in order to disrupt business as usual, just as climate change is doing in countries all over the world,” said Hunter Wilson (‘20).

The global climate strikes are said to be one of the largest international protests in history, with millions around the globe participating in their local strikes. Multiple school districts in Michigan, such as Ann Arbor and Detroit, excused absences for the day for students going to a climate strike. By excusing absences, more students were able to attend strikes and lend their voice to the growing cause.

Students and young adults make up a majority of those fighting for awareness about the effects of climate change. As they are the generation that will primarily deal with the long-term effects of climate change, they want measures put in place now to reduce the harmful effects of climate change in the future.

Getting involved on campus is important for students who want to help fight climate change. “At some point, every student on this campus will experience an adverse impact from climate change,” said Wilson. “Climate change is already hurting millions of people; if we don’t initiate change, the injustice of the crisis will only get worse.”

College students can support the climate strikes by allying themselves with climate activists and other young people fighting for change. “If you know of a child or teen striking, let them know that you support them. Talk to your family about climate change, and relay the information they need to reduce their carbon footprint,” said Wilson.

Reducing one’s environmental footprint can also help fight climate change. Buying and consuming less meat, forgoing fast fashion, driving less, using reusable water bottles or straws and unplugging cords when not in use are all ways college students can lower their carbon footprint and contribute less to climate change.

Contacting local businesses and government and voicing your concerns is another way to fight climate change. Big businesses and governments have the power to reduce their footprint on a much larger scale than a single person, so by forcing them to bend to social pressure and reduce their footprint, much larger steps can be taken to fight climate change.

Combating sleep deprivation on campus

KATE WESTPHAL
CAMPUS EDITOR

Classes have started again, which means an ever increasing load of work to finish. Trying to complete assignments before their deadline often forces students to stay up late, leading to sleep deprivation.

Sleep deprivation is a loss of the required amount of sleep. Its effects include irritability, lack of motivation, forgetfulness, lack of coordination and anxiety and signs of depression. The toll of sleep deprivation can also affect a student’s physical health.

“Lack of sleep is a health issue that can affect your mood, memory, performance, judgement and health. A new study reports that severe sleep loss jolts the immune system into action, reflecting the same type of immediate response show during exposure to stress,” said Anne Lambrecht, Director of Counseling, Health, and Wellness.

Being in a collegiate environment can also lead to students staying up late to complete projects and assignments. This can become a slippery slope of staying up late and sleeping in, which in turn forces students to stay up late again completing homework. By constantly engaging in this cycle, students are slowly forcing themselves into a state of sleep deprivation.

“The following all contribute to the culture of not getting enough sleep in college: college scheduling & activities (early & late night obligations, variable class schedule and late night social life), alcohol, caffeine and energy drinks, poor sleep behaviors (lack of a regular sleep schedule) and technology. Research has shown that both high school and college students demonstrate a 1-3 hour sleep deficit on school nights,” says Lambrecht.

Students can feel overwhelmed with the stresses of daily life in college, and sleep is often the activity cut in order to make time for other activities. By juggling time between classes, extracurricular activities and sleep, students can feel added stress in order to make everything work.

“I feel that college in general not only magnifies the mental stresses students feel, but the physical stresses as well, especially with those who participate on a team or club that require physical endurance and stamina,” said Austin Popp (’21).

Students can combat sleep deprivation in a number of ways. Taking a nap is one of the most common ways students get more sleep. By napping, students can gain more energy and improve their mental performance. However, students should also be aware of when and how long they nap for.

“Naps longer than 45 minutes (after you enter deep sleep) may actually leave you feeling more groggy and tired! Avoid late afternoon and evening naps, which can disrupt night sleep,” said Lambrecht.

Waking up at the same time every day, avoiding allnighters, regular exercise, limiting caffeine/alcohol intake and creating a positive sleep environment are other ways students can combat sleep deprivation. By engaging in these activities, students can take control of their sleeping habits and turn away from sleep deprivation.

Besides these activities, students also use their own tips and tricks to get more sleep on campus. “Try to be in as little light as possible and avoid screens for at least 30 minutes before bed. Perhaps read a book in a dim light room before sleep,” said Jon Groening (’20).

“I personally combat sleep deprivation by setting times to go to bed and wake up, and sticking to it. I often have trouble falling asleep, as I am a light sleeper, but if I keep my fan on, it will drown out ambient noise in my dorm,” said Popp.

If you or someone you know is dealing with sleep deprivation, students are encouraged to take a sleep assessment test at sleeptostayawake.org, as well as following the tips given and meeting with a medical or counseling professional to get help.

 

#neveragain: one year later

KATE WESTPHAL
CAMPUS EDITOR

It has been over a year since the tragic events that unfolded at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, prompting the creation of the #neveragain movement.

The movement’s motive was to bring to light the effects of school shootings and advocate for gun control laws to prevent these types of events from ever happening again. As well as creating the #neveragain movement, the students at Marjory Stoneman Douglas also created the March For Our Lives, an organization dedicated to increasing social awareness of gun control laws. “Independent of how one feels about increased gun control, it seems clear that [the #neveragain movement] has made the conversation about curbing these types of violence— by whatever means— feel more present,” said Professor of English, Dustin Bissell.

A shooting is defined as a “mass shooting” when four or more people are killed, excluding the shooter. School shootings have been happening for decades; however, the shooting most connected with bringing to light the issue of school violence was Columbine in 1999.

Columbine, what was once thought of as the most tragic school shooting, barely ranks in the list of the top five deadliest school shootings in the United States anymore. More shootings, as the ones at Virginia Tech, Sandy Hook, and now Parkland have ousted Columbine from its infamous spot.

According to the BBC, 2018 was the worst year for school shootings in the United States, with a shooting occurring about once every eight days and 113 people killed or injured in a school shooting. This sobering statistic has lead school administers to provide training on how to keep safe in the event of a school shooting to their students and staff. As the conversation surrounding gun control and school shootings grow, there has been controversy about the adequacy of school shooting trainings. “[A]s a teacher I think it’s important to make students aware, when and where appropriate, that school shooter trainings themselves are actually the subject of a little bit of controversy, with multiple perspectives that should be listened to and considered,” said Bissell.

Micheal Dorn, the executive director of Safe Havens, a non-profit organization that consults schools about campus safety issues, said that instead of training students and staff with a single catch-all approach such as going into a lockdown, they should instead be exposed to scenario-based training. Scenario-based training teaches students and staff how to react and deviate from an original plan when events suggest that following it would be too dangerous.

The most widely accepted response program – and in use at Alma College – is ALICE training. ALICE is an acronym, and stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter, and Evaluate. These are steps one should take when presented with an active shooter situation. When taking part in ALICE training, there are different roles for teachers and students . “[T]here is an ongoing sense of responsibility in being a teacher, so it’s not enough to simply feel comfortable in protecting oneself,” said Bissell. “In that sense, these types of training can foster a certain sense of added security in spite of the type of situation it prepares one for.”

In the year since the beginning of the #neveragain movement, the Parkland teens responsible for its creation have used its message to promote the rising issue of gun violence and call for stricter gun control regulations. They have published a book, gone on a cross country tour to promote voter registration, and organized the March for Our Lives in Washington, D.C., whose turnout made it one of the largest protests in American history.

While school shootings and gun control remain a hotly disputed topic, the core foundation and message of the #neveragain movement stands strong.

Opioid epidemic in America

KATE WESTPHAL
STAFF WRITER

Ever since the late 1990s, the United States has been dealing with an opioid crisis, causing an increase in opioid overdoses and deaths. Due to the rapid increase in the usage of prescription drugs – mostly painkillers –the opioid crisis has proved to be a constant thorn in the side of healthcare systems and government treatment programs.

Studies focused on opioid use and funded by the National Institute on Drug Abuse have shown that approximately 6% of those who are prescribed opioids for trauma or surgery continue to use them past their doctor’s prescription. Prescribed opioids include codeine, fentanyl, hydrocodone, and methadone.

Opioids are a class of medications primarily prescribed for post-surgery or pain management use, which is how most opioid users had their first interaction with the drugs. Opioid drugs bind to opioid receptors located in the brain and spinal cord and block pain signals coming from those receptors. In this way, they tell the body it is not experiencing pain.

As they block pain, opioids are a highly abused drug whose use can quickly become addictive, causing the need for treatment programs for opioid addiction to be established.

The opioid epidemic has been described as a uniquely American problem. Due to the structure of the healthcare system in the United States, it favors prescribing drugs over expensive therapies that many people can only use due to their private insurance.

When compared to other countries such as Canada or Germany, prescription rates for opioids are 40 percent higher in the United States. While the prescription rate for opioids are falling due to the high risk of abuse, there were still around 58 opioid prescriptions per every 100 Americans in 2017.

According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, more than 130 people die from opioid overdoses in the United States every day. This epidemic has caused the need for treatment programs to be established, particularly in communities where opioids are heavily prevalent.

Michigan is included, as it has the 11th highest number of opioid-related deaths in the United States. Michigan had 1,762 opioid related deaths in 2016 – a rate of 18.5 opioid-related deaths to 100,000 people. Compared to the national average for opioid-related deaths, 13.3 deaths per 100,00 people, Michigan has a clear need for opioid awareness and treatment programs.

Opioid treatment programs, referred to as OTPs, are defined as a program engaged in opioid treatment of individuals with an opioid agonist medication. Effective treatment options given to those engaging in OTPs include medications such as methadone and buprenorphine and behavioral counseling.

Studies undertaken by the National Institute on Drug Abuse show that Medication Assisted Treatment, referred to as MAP, decreases opioid use, and it increases social functioning and retention while in treatment.

Naloxone, also known as Narcan, is a frequently used medication in opioid treatment programs. It is designed to rapidly reverse an opioid overdose by countering its effects. Narcan is also an opioid agonist, meaning that it binds to opioid receptors located in the body’s brain and spinal cord and can reverse the effects of other opioids.

By binding to those opioid receptors, Narcan prevents opioids from binding and thus stops their effects on the body. While it is not meant to fully treat an opioid addiction, Narcan can help individuals recover from an overdose and begin the first steps into an opioid treatment program.

If you or someone you know is struggling with an opioid addiction, call the American Addiction Center at 1-866-703-4247 to receive help and information about treatment options and current programs.

Global warming cools campus

KATE WESTPHAL
CAMPUS EDITOR

Winter has finally arrived on Alma College’s campus, and in a frigid way. Temperatures dipped as low as -14° Fahrenheit during the week of 20 Jan. and are expected to stay low as we enter February. One large reason for the late and exceptionally cold winter is global warming and how it has impacted weather patterns.

What is often blamed for harsh winters is La Niña, the name for the periodic cooling of ocean surface temperatures in the central and east central Pacific Ocean near the equator. La Niña is the opposite of El Niño, which refers to the warming of ocean surface temperatures. According to the Climate Prediction Center (CPC), La Niña events happen around every 3 to 5 years but can happen several years in a row.

During a La Niña event, a drop in ocean surface temperatures in the Pacific Ocean affects tropical rainfall in Indonesia and South America, which in turn affects weather patterns around the world. These effects are felt the strongest during the winter months, when the jet stream linking these places is over the United States. A strong jet stream leads to colder and harsher conditions in the Northern Hemisphere and warmer and less harsh conditions in the Southern Hemisphere.

What does the jet stream mean for the Midwest? Typically, during a strong jet stream, fall tends to be drier and warmer while winter tends to be wetter than normal. However, there are also other weather patterns that correlate to a colder winter for us. These weather patterns include the Arctic Oscillation (AO) and the North Atlantic Oscillation (NAO).

The Arctic Oscillation refers to the changing atmospheric pressure patterns in the Arctic. When there is high pressure over the polar region and low pressure in the middle latitudes, the AO is said to be in a negative phase. Conversely to that, when there is low pressure over the polar region and high pressure in the middle latitudes, the AO is said to be in a positive phase. In a negative phase, cold air from the Arctic travels into the central and eastern United States, causing local temperatures to drop. In a positive phase, the cold air is confined to the polar regions by the low pressure and doesn’t travel down to the United States.

The North Atlantic Oscillation, abbreviated as NAO, is like the Arctic Oscillation, but measures the difference in atmospheric sea level pressure between the polar low and the subtropical high. A positive phase of the North Atlantic Oscillation indicates an increased pressure gradient while a negative phase indicates a weaker pressure gradient.

If either the Arctic Oscillation or North Atlantic Oscillation are positive for a long amount of time, their effects could lead to a milder winter in the continental United States. However, if they are negative for a long amount of time, it could lead to an unusually cold winter for the continental United States. Research has shown that the Arctic Oscillation and North Atlantic Oscillation have been negative for the past few winters and could stay in negative or positive phases for several years at a time.

These phases mean that weather could turn more extreme, and shift towards the ends of its scales. With the effects of global warming, warmer temperatures will increase, and colder temperatures will decrease, leading to a drastic change in seasons. Summers will become almost unbearably hot and winters will become immensely cold.

Currently, the Climate Prediction Center predicts an equal chance for normal, above or below normal temperatures as well as an increased chance for above normal precipitation in the Midwest. The best option to deal with the onslaught of cold weather? Bundle up, Scots. Winter isn’t over yet.

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