The cost of MUN




Everyone on this campus is either a part of Alma College’s Model United Nations team, or knows someone who is. With Alma College being a small, liberal arts college, it is rather impressive that our team is both nationally and internationally recognized. I mean, come on, the team was a Jeopardy! clue. That’s legendary status in my book.

This team rightfully deserves the recognition it receives, especially when considering 49 outstanding delegation awards from the national Model UN conference, 55 from the Midwest conference, and 25 years of receiving top national honors. This is no doubt an aspect of Alma College to be proud of. All this recognition and reward, of course, has a cost: hard work and more.

“Apart from the obvious extreme work ethic, perseverance, and speaking skills that you acquire in MUN, there are so many opportunities that open up to you. We get to hear about scholarships, excursions, internships, and more,” said an anonymous source.

“I know so many students that realized the path they want to take with their careers or general futures through Model UN and what we derive from meaningful volunteer work and advocacy,” said the anonymous source.

“There are costs for MUN, such as four suits for conferences, food if you have to go out to eat late after Tuesday practices, and binders with tabs, notes and dividers, [along with] the printing credit to print hundreds if not thousands of pages to fill the binders,” said the source. “It would be nice to know these costs beforehand, or to just get a rough estimate of all of the things we will be buying before the start of the season. I know I’ve personally had issues with not having the immediate funds to buy the printing credit I need.”

“College policy used to allow all students unlimited printing at no cost. When that policy was changed, it applied (and continues to apply) to MUN students as well,” said Dr. Derick Hulme, who has stood at the helm of the MUN program since 1992.

Despite the demanding workload, “we’re doing it because we believe it’s worth it. Regardless, I know we all sacrifice a lot ofmeals and sleep and maybe a couple other grades once in a while in order to satisfy the requirements of MUN. I’m sure most of us sometimes question what else we could be putting that effort towards, like mental and physical health, hobbies, other classes, extracurriculars, etc. It’s, of course, not the right decision foreveryone,”saidthesource.

These difficulties, if overcome, can open the door to prestigious opportunities. When asked about the outomes of those who have gone through MUN, Hulme said, “Model UN offers students both an appreciation for global affairs and the opportunity to develop critical life skills, including research, public speaking, and collaboration. It also strengthens resilience, adaptability, and personal accountability.”

“Model UN studentshave gone on to the finest law schools, graduate schools, and medical schools in the world, including Harvard, Stanford, Yale, Cambridge, Oxford, and Johns Hopkins. They also have won over $2 million worth of nationally competitive scholarships, including the Gates-Cambridge, Fulbright, Truman, and Udall.”

Another source, who wishes to remain anonymous, shared their thoughts. “Due to the pandemic, formal recruitment was sparse, thereby not giving students a bigger picture of what they would be getting into,” said the source.

In 2020, the national conference was canceled 15 days before students were to go to New York, which devastated graduating students. In 2021, both the Midwest and national conference were online, where Alma’s team traveled to Chicago to participate. The 2022 conferences required participants to wear masks, while the 2023 conferences will return to pre-pandemic protocols.

“After your first year, it’s a completely different experience, and I can agree that it is worthwhile. There are parts I actually enjoy, like public speaking and mentoring. But there is a lot of unnecessary pressure,” said the source.

“Our team is among our largest and most diverse to date. We have 43 students, including students from 9 countries other than the US, from Russia, India, South Korea, Tunisia, Morocco, Poland, Greece, Kosovo, and Britain. That has increased our emphasis on mentoring first time participants,” said Hulme.

“It sucks, it’s the worst experience ever. At the same time, it’s rewarding and there’s a collective trauma you go through,” said the source.

“The opportunity to interact with people from around the world and understanding different viewpoints [is my favorite part of MUN],” said Aditya Shankar (’24). “The least favorite part is probably only going to 2 conferences.” Shankar has been involved with Model UN as a whole for over 6 years.

“[The best advice I’ve received from Dr. Hulme is] ‘Whenever you think you are not performing well or that you are not reaching expectations, take a moment, breathe and think about the various things you have accomplished’, said Shankar.

To answer my previously mentioned question, I would say yes, being on the Alma College MUN team does have a price. With a class syllabus that boasts about the workload by equating it to the “price of excellence”, it is rather apparent to me that you have to be one motivated individual to join this amazing team. I am proud of the accomplishments that the team continues to bring home every year. However, it is easy to get caught up in the glory of success by telling your well-being to shove off.

IRS tells taxpayers to hold off




On Feb. 3, 2023, the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) told taxpayers who received special tax payments or refunds in 2022 from the state in which they reside to wait on filing their federal taxes until additional guidance was provided.

In 2022, over 20 states provided a one-time state refund to deliver relief related to the pandemic and its associated consequences. The 2023 tax season started on Jan. 23; however, the IRS had not defined if the state refunds should be considered taxable income on federal tax returns.

The recommendation applies mainly to states like California, which offered a Middle-Class Tax Refund that aided over 31 million taxpayers and their dependents. Other states that sent rebates to taxpayers after they stated having budget surpluses were also advised to hold off on filing taxes.

Each state that offered its constituents a relief refund had different rules and regulations for that process which made it harder to determine what is taxable on the federal level.

There is ample reason to believe many of these payments are not taxable for federal income tax purposes. If the taxpayer received a tax benefit in an earlier year or received aid under general welfare, then that refund is not taxable. Other refunds given by the states are normally includable in income for federal income tax purposes. This includes any disbursements from states provided as compensation to workers.

According to the statement put out by the IRS on Feb. 10–regarding guidance on state tax payments to help taxpayers, in the interest of sound tax administration and other factors–taxpayers in many states won’t need to report these special tax payments on their 2022 federal tax returns.

Out of the states that provided relief, Michigan was not among them in 2022. “This is not an issue for Michigan taxpayers,” said Tina Rolling, an Associate Professor of Business Administration at Alma College.

The IRS determined that a refund from the state for the promotion of the general welfare or as a disaster relief payment may be excludable from income for federal tax purposes under the General Welfare Doctrine or as a Qualified Disaster Relief Payment. For example, a refund related to the outgoing pandemic would not be federally taxed.

Although the IRS’s statement to hold off on filing taxes does not affect Michigan taxpayers, tax season is underway. Here is some general information to aid in the process of filing taxes:

The IRS is responsible for determining what income is taxable or not taxable. Taxes provide proceeds for federal, local and state governments to fund vital services like law enforcement and public works that benefit all citizens who could not provide such services for themselves.

Those who need to file taxes but choose not to, are likely to receive consequences from the IRS. Those consequences include penalties, fines, interest or more severe measures. Those who fail to file taxes on time are likely to encounter a Failure to File Penalty. The penalty for failing to file is 5% of the unpaid tax liability for each month the return is late, and up to 25% of total unpaid taxes.

There is no penalty for failing to file taxes if a refund is due; however, there is a possibility of losing that refund. There is a limited time period to claim a refund.

Spring sports start at Alma College




With practices for spring sports beginning in late January, student-athletes participating in men’s and women’s lacrosse, baseball, softball and men’s and women’s track and fi eld are getting busier and busier.

On Jan. 23, the men’s lacrosse team’s full practice schedule commenced for the 2023 spring season with a week full of winter weather advisories.

Even as the team trudges on through the snow and cold, there is much to be excited about including the home games and the atmosphere that comes with them. There will be plenty of opportunities to catch the men’s team playing on Balke Field this year with five home games.

“I love running out with the team because of the electrifying energy. Running out with the sword, shield and Scottish flag symbolizes what our team truly plays for. I feel like I am a part of a family,” said Dalron Gray (‘24), a short-stick defensive player.

The men’s lacrosse team has gained a new head coach for their 2023 season. “It feels great to be a part of a new chapter in Alma College Men’s Lacrosse history… the spring is going to be the beginning of the program accelerating [in] the right direction,” said Coach Casey Hogan.

Women’s lacrosse also launched into action with their 2023 spring season on Jan. 23.

While men’s lacrosse got a new head coach, women’s lacrosse found themselves with a new assistant coach. “I think [the assistant coach’s] unique perspective of the team combined with the standards we have set for ourselves is going to make this season extra successful,” said Rileigh McGeorge (‘24), a midfielder on the women’s lacrosse team.

Baseball had their first practice on Jan. 30, and their season will be busy with numerous games. Catch them on campus at Klenk Park at one of their seven home games this year.

As with many sports, “the hardest aspect of the season is keeping up with schoolwork with all [of] the traveling and missed classes… even when on campus, there’s less time to do homework with practice every day,” said Mitchell Foley (‘25), an outfielder on the baseball team.

Most spring athletes agree with Foley. Season means less time for school, but some good advice to take heed of is to “try to get homework done sooner rather than later; procrastinating is an even worse option while in season,” said Foley.

Going hand in hand with baseball, softball begins on Jan. 30, as well. This year’s softball team, however, may be a little different because the team “lost the majority of [their] starters on the field from last year,” said Danielle Dumoulin (‘24), a third baseman on the team.

“I am excited to see how our team steps up… we went all the way to the regional finals [last year], and it is important for us to follow up doing that again this year,” said Dumoulin.

Outdoor track has a bit of a later start than the previously mentioned sports with their outdoor meets beginning in March. This March, the team will “have more depth and… [has] gotten better,” said Jenna Belmas (‘25), a sprinter and hurdler for the track team.

Ultimately, from team practices and finding time for homework to gaining new coaches and losing players, spring sports are stressful. Yet, the attitude towards this season has been summed up in these three words by multiple athletes across campus, including Cole Pearson (‘25): “We are ready.”

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