Farewell to the Almanian


As I enter my last week of my undergraduate career, I would like to take this time to reflect on my time at Alma College and with the Almanian. After spending three and a half years on Alma’s campus, it seems still too soon to be leaving. It’s an over-shared sentiment, this feeling, but as cliché as it is, it’s incredibly true.

The students and faculty at Alma College have made a lasting impact on my life and have truly shaped the person that I have become. Though I have only been working for the Almanian for one semester, the experiences that I have gained here speak to the experiences I have gained from Alma as a whole.

The Almanian taught me that sometimes, you get to say yes, but also that sometimes you need to say no. Jelly has become one of my closest friends, mostly due to this experience, and she can attest that I would not have been able to handle the Almanian if I didn’t have this knowledge. If I can only impart this one piece of wisdom that Alma College has taught me, it would be enough. We all know how over-committed we all are. but as rewarding as it is to know that you are spending your time valuably, it is even more important to know that you are taking care of yourself. This is something I wasn’t able to learn until very recently, and I am incredibly grateful for Jelly and the rest of the paper for teaching me this. The Almanian staff are some of the most caring and considerate people I know, and I am sad that it wasn’t until my last semester that I was able to know this.

Campus attitudes towards greek life


At a campus the size of Alma’s, Greek Life has an impact on students, whether that impact is intentional or not. Many non-Greek students have opinions on Greek Life due to their observations, and much of these opinions are informed by media.

A recent 5300 article satirically addressed Greek Life, comparing it to a cult. This 5300 article has stirred up a lot of conversation about fraternities and sororities on campus, and is informed by a larger national conversation surrounding the need for these social organizations.

“I think that Greek Life can be a good thing, but I definitely think that it depends on the person and the organization,” said Nathan Fetter (’22). Fetter also said that a lot of the conversations about Greek Life relating to these issues is due to culture and personal experience.

“The media doesn’t focus on all the good Greek Life is capable of, like philanthropy and sisterhood,” said Kara Tredway (’22).

With Central Michigan University less than twenty minutes away, it is hard not to feel the repercussions of their Greek system, too.

In the past several years, as many as eight organizations have been suspended or disbanded on CMU’s campus due to hazing, sexual misconduct, and other dangerous behavior.

These kinds of actions taken against Greek organizations call into question how Alma’s Greek system addresses these issues.

“I think there are some frats that promote a culture of sexual assault and alcohol abuse, and then there are other frats that promote healthy social connections outside of partying,” said Fetter.

Some students, though, think that the good outweighs the bad in Greek activities on campus. “I’m not Greek, but I have a lot of friends who are. Greek Life at Alma seems to be a bit more wholesome – the people involved in Greek Life here seem to have a purpose, not just to be a part of something that has status or parties,” said Bridget Flanery, (’20).

For first year students at Alma, Greek organizations have already made an impact. “Greek Life at Alma seems really welcoming, and a lot of my friends who are first years are planning on rushing next semester,” said Tredway.

The opportunities for networking are incredibly enticing to a lot of students, as well as having a family on campus. “They want to be a part of Greek Life for the family,” said Flanery.

The Greek community at Alma sees mixed feelings from campus, but ultimately argues for the importance of Greek Life both in college and life after.

“I think that Greek life is an awesome tool to further oneself. Alma College provides us the opportunity to join Greek life and uses it to help us network, travel, take on leadership opportunities and make friends. Attitudes toward Greek life on campus is ambivalent. There are some students who see it as just a way to party, some who see it as something useful for philanthropy and service, and those who see Greek life as just ‘paying for friends,’” said Panhellenic Council Vice President Alyssa Mohr (’19).

The 5300 article has since been removed from their website. The story in question had some errors and lapses of judgement in it. Originally meant to be a satirical piece, something The 5300 does a lot, it had poor construction that made it seem like it was disparaging Greek Life on Alma’s campus specifically.

As a media writing course, this has proven a good teaching moment: we’ve discussed the errors leading up to the article’s publication and learned from them. The article was never intended to reference any specific Greek Life at Alma College; we’ve since apologized that it could have been read as such, and we’ve pulled the article,” said faculty advisor Professor Matt Cicci.

Community and grad assistants replace RAs


Alma College has recently undergone several staff changes, many of which were in the Student Life Department. One such change has been the hiring of Graduate and Community Assistants to replace some Resident Assistant positions.

Graduate Assistants are students at Central Michigan University that study Student Affairs and are employed by Alma College.

“Since the position is new, not a lot of students are aware of what it entails, and many think it’s like a combination between Americorps Vista and a hall director,” said Timothy Samuel, one of the new Graduate Assistants.

Samuel, who majors in higher education administration, works primarily with juniors and seniors as well as diversity and inclusion.

“I come from a public university. Being able to apply what I’ve learned at a smaller private college is great since I get to see both sides.”

Community Assistants, another new position, are students that aim to cultivate a warm and inclusive environment for residents. “Another component of what I do is ensuring that students know I am a resource and that I’m available when they need me. I am diversity, safe zone, and QPR certified,” said TiKilah Turner (’19).

The five Community Assistants are spread out around campus; three report to North Campus and two are responsible for South Campus. There are still Resident Assistants on North Campus, but there are only Community Assistants on South Campus.

“I think that taking away Resident Assistants on South Campus was a good investment, since it will teach students how to be independent and how to contact the proper person responsible when they need help,” said Jaclyn Roussel (’19).

While many students believe that these are positive changes, there are those that disagree with the removal of Resident Assistants from South Campus.

“I can see situations that would warrant wanting a Resident Assistant, because of convenience, but you can still get ahold of someone to handle the same problems,” said Andrew Coffelt (’20).

Coffelt also believes that due to the fact that only upperclassmen live on South Campus, they are aware that they have resources and know how to go about utilizing them. “We’re all adults, you’ve just gotta know how to handle yourself,” said Coffelt.

Dogs welcome visitors downtown


Puppy love can be comforting to many when they are far from home, and college students know that better than anyone. On a college campus, though, it can become difficult to find an outlet for this need for some dog affection.

Luckily, downtown Alma has a number of stores with friendly and accessible dogs. Since therapy dogs only come once a month, these dogs can be a much-needed resource for a college student needing a little break from the bubble.

Among those stores are Treasures, Terry’s Cycle and State Farm Insurance, with a schnauzer, labradoodle and golden retriever, respectively.

“The cheer team made my dog, Layla, a part of their scavenger hunt at the beginning of this year, which was really cool,” said Katie Tobias of State Farm Insurance on how much students have interacted with the dogs downtown.

“Not many students have a connection to the downtown area, so this is a nice excuse to get students wandering around down here.”

Baxter, a labradoodle, is often featured on Terry’s Cycle’s Facebook page, which has lead to quite the following for the dog. Between Baxter and Treasure’s house dog Katie Scarlett, they have an expansive fan club of community and students alike.

“Katie Scarlett, at Treasures is definitely one of the cutest dogs I have ever seen, and I encourage everyone to go see her,” said Emily Henderson (‘21). “I really enjoy talking to the owner of Treasures, so I go in for more than Katie Scarlett!”

Not only can students relieve stress and get some puppy kisses, but they can also create lasting relationships with community members. “I have several students that come down for a mom hug and some puppy love, which is really nice. Katie Scarlett has grown pretty attached to some college students, and she loves them – if a group of college students came in, and there was one nonAlma student in the group, she would know,” said Dawn Hall, owner of Treasures.

“Living so far away from my own dogs while I was a student at Alma was tough, but going down to visit Nala (Katie Scarlett) always helped propel me through my week, especially during exam times and other instances of particular stress,” said Alma College alum Naria FordThompson. “The dogs in the stores downtown never failed to put a smile on my face.”

Dogs are a part of many people’s families, and being away from family (especially such a cuddly member) can be even harder during times of stress. “Students are welcome to come visit Layla,” said Katie Tobias.

Alma College launches bike share program


This past month, Alma College and the Gratiot Community Foundation rolled out a new “Bike Alma” program. The bike share program has been in the works since early this year, with two locations: Starbucks and the Stone Center for Recreation with five bikes at each pickup station.

The bikes work through an app, Movatic, which will unlock and lock the bike upon pickup and return. The lock mechanism itself is solar powered, which cuts down on environmental impact.

To operate a bike, you must download the Movatic app, link a credit or debit card, and then pay approximately By Sam Nelson Politics $5 to bike four hours or less, though you can choose to use it for a longer period of time. Unfortunately, the locks have not been working properly, causing a delay in the official launch of the bikes.

“We want to make this service free for students and have a nominal fee for community members,” said Tammy Rees, Director of Campus Recreation and Conferences.

Currently, the bikes will charge students and community members alike, even though students can still check out mountain bikes for free from the Adventure Recreation program. For the time being, only five of the bikes are operational, with the other five out of commission due to hardware issues.

Rees and the college hope to have all of the bikes fully functional in the near future. The good news is that since the Electra bikes are so simple, having no speeds or extra gears, the bikes themselves are less likely to break down and require maintenance.

Chris Maltby at Terry’s Cycle was heavily involved in the process of starting and releasing this program, helping to find a bike share company for the college and to build the bikes, as well as fitting the locking equipment and rear racks to the bikes. There is an ongoing partnership with Terry’s Cycle to perform maintenance on the bikes as needed. “We live in a small town with a small college, and to make the most change in the most positive way, the city and the college need to band together,” said Maltby.

“Bike Alma!” is a catalyst to get the community and college to interact, by bringing Alma residents onto the campus. “It’s not just Alma College, it’s Alma as a town, as well,” said Prarthita Nath (’22).

It will be a resource for alumni, visitors, community members and college students alike, while offering both an eco-friendly and healthy alternative to driving. “Biking cuts down on carbon dioxide emissions and is a very healthy, fun way to get place to place,” said Maliena Boone (’19). All of the Electra bikes have baskets attached to the back of them, creating an alternative to driving to the grocery store or work.

“We had a student that would check out an Adventure Rec bike every day for the whole school year – rain, sun or snow – to get to his internship at an elementary school,” said Rees. She hopes that this program will be useful to more students in this way, and more convenient, with more locations than just the Rec Center.

This kind of program is unique in a small town, but has grown more and more popular in larger cities all across the world. New York City has Citi bikes, and towns such as Ann Arbor and Pittsburgh are introducing similar bike share programs. According to Rees, the college would like to purchase more bikes to add to the ten existing docks, with a new pickup stations at SAC and the Opera House once it opens.


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