Mariah Carey remains an icon

MADDIE LUEBKE
COPY EDITOR

On Nov. 3rd, Mariah Carey released the 25th anniversary edition of her Merry Christmas album. The original release of this music proved to be history in the making, as “All I Want for Christmas is You” became one of the most popular Christmas songs of the 21st century. Carey is a Christmas music titan, her voice flooding the airways of every radio station.

Carey has remained popular for a very long time, while maintaining a relatively positive public image. During the live New Year’s Rockin’ Eve show in 2017, she was clearly lip syncing to one of her songs, and eventually walked off stage in the middle of a song because she was off. This caused a lot of people to question her legitimacy as a musician. Much of her career since has been proving herself as a musician.

While people’s opinions of Carey as a vocalist may have been stirred during that performance, nobody can doubt her skill as a businesswoman. She has manufactured herself as more than just a person. Mariah Carey is now her own brand. Her relevance in pop culture has adapted as culture has adapted itself.

I will not argue that Mariah Carey’s Merry Christmas is anything less than iconic; however, the re-release of this album can raise some questions. In a time where all music is released digitally and is online forever, why publish an album again 25 years after its original release?

A possible explanation for the re-release of the album is a money grab by the artist. This culminates in multiple different opportunities for an artist to increase their wealth.

Carey knows the influence this Christmas album has had. Die-hard fans will buy the physical album as soon as it drops, and people who missed out on the original release of the album will want it to add to their collection. This is a tactic used by a lot of artists, but now that all music is released on Apple Music, Spotify or any other streaming service, the income for artists has changed.

Re-releasing the same music will increase an artist’s overall plays on streaming services and on YouTube. It will also save money on production, as none of the original songs are being re-recorded. Carey is a performer, but is also an entrepreneur. She knows how to make money and keep her name relevant, and that is exactly what she is doing with this album.

Carey is a businesswoman first and foremost. She has established herself as a brand, distancing the person Mariah Carey really is from the performer. This happens a lot in the entertainment industry. Sometimes it happens when artists have done something to damage their public image, but they still want people to consume their art. Carey experienced that to an extent, but her execution of the business perspective it spectacular. Not every artist that was big in the 90’s has a Tiktok account. She has made herself relevant for over 30 years, and will continue to be relevant for future generations if she continues adapting with popular culture.

Renovations move to progress campus

MADDIE LUEBKE
COPY EDITOR

Photo by EMMA GROSSBAUER

It seems that over the past few years Alma College has taken a lot of initiative when it comes to updating the infrastructure on campus. In the time the senior class has been at Alma, they have redone all the North Campus dorms, Dow lobby, and built the new Zeta Sigma House.

These renovations have done some serious updating to North Campus. I lived in Newberry and Mitchell Hall, pre-renovation. Now that I’m living in Mitchell again, these updates to the North Campus dorm buildings were truly beneficial.

Besides some minor complaints about shower drains, Alma College provided North Campus dorms with the best the college had to offer when they renovated. The changes to Mitchell Hall made it a truly different living experience than when I lived there Freshman Year.

The newly planned renovations to the chapel and Swanson Academic Center are next in line to be renovated and updated for the 21st century. The updates to these buildings were announced over Homecoming weekend and caused a lot of commotion.

I think these renovations are really going to be beneficial to a large majority of campus. An updated Library and Chapel allows the college to expand in a genuinely positive way, but I can’t help but think about if these renovations are the most urgent.

I lived on South Campus for two semesters while I’ve been at Alma College, and I can’t help but notice the deterioration on those buildings: whole tiles missing in bathrooms, semi-functioning heat and general signs of decay.

South campus housing has its perks. Suite style living appeals to a lot of students, and its location proves to be convenient; however, people can be reluctant to live there because of the overall deterioration of the dorms.

While I lived there, I experienced missing bathroom floor tiles, shower water that was tinted yellow and flooding in the laundry room—a laundry room that was already creepy and inconvenient. The college facilities department was on speed dial, and while they were not always expedient in fixing things, the job always got done.

South campus needs some serious updating from the college. What was done to Newberry and Mitchell last summer should come to the south campus dorms sooner rather than later.

Many students have had complaints that all of the underclassmen dorms have been renovated, while a solid majority of junior and senior students live in the oldest housing on campus. Some students—including myself— have found ways to keep living on North Campus even though they are an upperclassman.

Everyone can argue that what is important to them should be the first one to get renovated. Humans naturally put themselves ahead of others, so that’s what students are going to do when they think they are smarter than administration.

Homecoming events entertain

MADDISON LUEBKE
COPY EDITOR

Photo by Allison Woodland

The events of Alma College Homecoming events filled the campus with the arts, sports and reunion.

There were reunions being celebrated, and families of Alma graduates coming together in celebration of Alma College.

The big event that took place the morning of the 20th was the Homecoming parade. Groups from all over campus marched to show their Alma pride. Sororities, fraternities and clubs joined the parade, but the largest group participating was the Kiltie Marching Band.

“My favorite event of homecoming weekend is the parade,” said Elijah George (’20), one of the drum majors for the Kiltie Marching Band. “I love the excitement and representation from all the different groups on campus.”

Homecoming king and queen were announced at pregame of the football game. “Everyone who is on court is such an amazing person, so I feel like we have a great group people representing Alma on Homecoming Court. It’s going to be fun getting to spend some of the day tomorrow with everyone,” said Jennah Davis (’20).

Jacob Headlee (’20) was crowned homecoming king and Bridget Flanery (’20) was crowned homecoming queen.

“Having the opportunity to participate in Homecoming in such a unique way was amazing,” said Flanery. “Everyone on court was incredibly kind and fun-loving, this showed itself especially as we tried to “row” the boat down Superior St. I’m thrilled to be recognized by fellow students as queen but I’m so much more excited to continue to enjoy my last year at Alma enjoying the love, kindness, and respect my Alma family is generous enough to share with every member.”

The Homecoming football game has proved to be one of the highlights of Homecoming weekend. Alma won 51-16, winning Homecoming for the second time in three years.

The football team wasn’t the only group putting on a show at the football game on Saturday. Performances from the Kiltie Dancers, Pipe Band and more filled Balkhe Field.

George says that leading the Kiltie Marching Band in front of the homecoming audience is one of the highlights of their season.

“Conducting in front of a large audience has to be the coolest feeling I have ever experienced,” said George. “When I step onto the podium, I feel the emotion and excitement of the band. I love to conduct and conducting in front of a large audience truly enhances my appreciation for conducting and music.”

Homecoming week was capped off by an event in Presbyterian Hall, a combination of the Alumni Awards and a performance by the Alma College Choirs.

Campus emphasizes self care

MADDISON LUEBKE
COPY EDITOR

As fall semester enters its third week, Alma College students are forced to put their summer clothes away and get back into the school schedule. Many students can be affected by the drastic change in schedule, causing their mental health to deteriorate as the semester goes on.

Students have different ways of taking care of themselves with a busy school schedule. “When I get overwhelmed, I shut down,” said Kirstyn Cotton (’21).

“I try to take half an hour every day to listen to music and chill. It helps me destress when school stuff becomes a lot to handle.” Students are encouraged by staff members to reach out for help in order to achieve academic success. That assistance can come from signing up for a tutor, going to professors’ office hours and making an appointment at the Counseling and Wellness Center.

Kali Prillwitz (‘21) takes a different approach to balancing her busy schedule. “I tend to go into a routine. I schedule my showers, and I make sure I go home after lunch to relax. I make sure that even though I might have a lot of stuff to do, that is my time,” said Prillwitz.

Sometimes simple things can help you manage a busy semester. “Keeping a planner is always good,” said Prillwitz. “I bought a watch last year; I use it to keep track of my time and stay on schedule by setting alarms and timers. I also take Sundays to do my homework, but I don’t touch it on Saturdays. I like to keep my Saturdays open for friends, football games and extracurriculars.”

There are a variety of things students can do on campus to relieve stress: going to therapy cat/dog night, going out with friends or just taking a little extra time before bed for themselves.

Sometimes students need a little extra help when it comes to taking care of themselves. David Weir from the Counseling, Health and Wellness Center encourages students to reach out for a variety of situations.

“Students at Alma College seek counseling for a variety of reasons,” said Wier. “These include stress, anxiety, homesickness and adjustment concerns, perfectionism, depression, grief, drug and alcohol concerns, suicidal thoughts, relationship and roommate issues, sexual and gender identity, intimate partner violence and sexual assault and abuse.”

Fears can emerge within college students when they think about making an appointment with a counselor. Wier hopes students who are nervous about making their first counseling appointment can view their mental health the same as they do their physical health.

“If you have a physical illness or break a bone, you go to the doctor without hesitation,” said Wier. “If you’re feeling down, struggling in an area of your life, or just don’t feel like yourself, a counselor can be a great resource to help you identify the problem and develop solutions to it.”

Even though many students have not been to the Counseling and Wellness Center, they know that it can benefit them. “I’ve never been, but I’ve thought about going often,” said Prillwitz. “I think it would be nice to have another person to talk to outside of my professors.”

The Wilcox Medical Center has gone through some updates this summer, which includes the combination of the Medical Center and the Counseling and Wellness Center. Students can contact the Counseling and Wellness Center Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. –5 p.m. at 989-463-7225

Taylor Swift: Love it or leave it?

MADDISON LEUBKE
COPY EDITOR

Taylor Swift’s most recent album—Lover—was released Aug. 23, 2019. This is her 7th studio album and is the next iteration in her progression as a musician.

Most of the songs on this album are exactly what we expect out of Swift. “The Archer” and “Soon You’ll Get Better” have teenage girls teary-eyed. “You Need to Calm Down” and “ME!” are the radio pop anthems that just scream ‘drunk party girl.’

The music on this album is what I assumed it would be at this point in Swift’s career. Her transition from country to pop was gradual, but now she is essentially the pop vocalist of our generation.

“You Need to Calm Down” became the white girl anthem for Pride 2019. While we love this kind of representation for marginalized communities, the source being Taylor Swift makes the conversation a little more complicated.

Swift has been criticized for preaching a non-inclusive type of feminism that excludes members of the LGBTQ community. This kind of accused feminism has been known on the internet as ‘white feminism’ for its exclusion of people who are marginalized for race, gender or sexuality.

There are a ton of easter eggs hidden throughout this album, and many die-hard Swifties have claimed that Swift is trying to tell listeners more about her sexuality. As soon as this became a popular idea, people immediately came in to criticize her for taking advantage of the LGBTQ community.

Some people think that she is using this album to try and take back the mistakes she has made over her career. She is trying to reach a bigger audience by focusing her songs around more diverse topics, but it reads to a listener as, “here are songs about the same things, but we’re gay now!”

This is not me saying that I hated this album. Sometimes I can bop to some Taylor Swift when I’m getting ready in the morning; sometimes a bubblegum pop song puts the pep in my step before my 9:40 class.

As a society, we just need to remain critical of the media we consume. Is it authentic, or is it major pop stars pandering to the new trend? It seems like Swift and her writers think being gay is the new trend.

Social context aside, “Lover” is a decent pop top100 album. It hits all of the basic pop requirements, but I think it might be time for us to expect more out of Swift.

New policies ruffle returning students

MADDIE LEUBKE
COPY EDITOR

While students were home for the summer, Alma College made significant changes to both their parking policy and their decorating policy. As emails went out to students notifying people of the changes, some students were upset with the new policies.

The changes to the parking policy include many of the individual dorm and house parking lots being combined into one pass for different sections of campus. Freshman now have access to buy a north lot parking pass upon enrollment at Alma.

The main south campus parking lot behind Wright Hall now has the same parking permit as all of the Greek Life houses and other small-housing on the south side of campus. If a student purchased a Maroon parking permit, they can park in almost any campus owned space on the south side of Superior St.

The parking lots located in the west side the north campus dorms have been combined into one parking pass. The new Teal Lot used to be 3 different parking lots, with people only being able to purchase specific parking passes based on room location and grade.

“I lived on South Campus this year, and the fact that they’ve changed it all to one parking permit makes it pretty difficult to find parking next to my hall,” said Laney Alvarado (‘20). “I get why it could be easier for some people, but personally, if I’m paying $300 for parking, I’d like to be able to park by my hall.”

Many students in small housing are having similar complaints. “I live in Maccurdy this year, and another problem with parking is our back-parking lot,” said Gracie Lloyd (‘22). “It is a parking lot directly behind our house, but anyone with a maroon parking pass is allowed to park there.”

Small housing students feel like the people living in their house should have priorities for the parking spots next to their house. “I feel that any small-housing that has a lot [of residents] like we do should be able to have those spots directly assigned to them,” said Lloyd.

The changes to the decorating policy include the banning of tapestries and many kinds of adhesives that students use to put things on their walls. Hanging anything from the walls is banned in the newly renovated Opera House.

The email to students outlining the new policy was sent to students on Aug. 15, which was also the day student move-in started for the fall semester. Many students already have the decorations set for their room before their planned move-in day, and the lack of personalization has some students upset.

The personalization of a student’s room is one of the things that can make a college dorm room feel like home. “Coming to college can be so stressful and uncomfortable for some, and to tell people that they cannot make their rooms their own is saddening,” said Lloyd.

Many of students’ complaints are not just about the changing of policy, but the lack of communication between administration and the student population around these changes.

“I get why they want to enforce those rules but from a student perspective, it just seems like the school is starting to take away more stuff than giving,” said Alexia Miller (‘20). “We pay a lot of money to go here. We should be able to decorate our rooms and hang stuff up.”

More information about these new policies can be found on the Alma College website, or through contacting a housing staff member.

Career week returns to campus

MADDIE LEUBKE
STAFF WRITER

Career Week for second semester is coming up in the end of January. Students are encouraged to attend these events in order to broaden career prospects and gain interview skills—among other things.

“There is a wide variety of events. Mock interviewing with alumni, an opportunity to purchase business attire at JcPenney with a large discount, a workshop on cultural awareness in the workplace (on MLK day), a panel discussion for student athletes, and presentations on paying for graduate school, interviewing and salary negotiation, and a LinkedIn workshop,” said Maria Jones, Director of Career Coaching.

The JcPenney Suit-Up event is new to career week. There have many displays and signs on campus advertising the event, including mannequins in SAC.

“While there, students will get 40% off all clearance, sale, or regular priced items,” said Jones when asked about the deals at this event. “Two weeks ago a women’s blazer was on sale for $20; at the least, students would get an additional 40% off that price. It’s a great opportunity to get new professional outfits or simply just a nice pair of shoes or a pair of black pants for work. Raffles, snacks, and a measuring station will also be at the event!”

The JcPenney event takes place at the Alma location on Sunday from 2pm to 5pm. There is a shuttle taking students from campus to the event and back in order to allow students to take full advantage of the perks of this event.

Unlike the stigma around the event, this is not a week structured only for business majors. “All of our events pertain to students from all majors and have no specific focus other than where you are in your professional development,” said Jones.

The Alumni SpeedInterview event is a great example of how this weeklong event can apply to many different majors. “We have a lawyer, a toxicologist, a teacher, an epidemiologist from the CDC and many other industries represented,” said Jones.

Some of the favorite career week events include the Suit-Up event with JcPenney and the workshop with Dar Mayweather about diversity in the workplace.

Student assistants working in the Center for Student Opportunity have been working hard with Jones to make the events of this week a success.Career week events take place from Saturday January 19th through Friday January 25th.

If you have any questions about events, contact Maria Jones at jonesma@alma.edu.

College changes tobacco policy

MADDISON LEUBKE
COPY EDITOR

Alma College students were notified through Student Congress last semester about changes in the tobacco policies on campus. There have been questions about what falls under this policy and how it will take effect.

According to The American Cancer Society, of the roughly 20 million college and university students in the United States, more than 1 million are projected to die prematurely from cigarette smoking. The American Cancer Society, under the direction of its Center for Tobacco Control, launched the Tobacco-Free Generation Campus Initiative (TFGCI), to accelerate and expand the adoption and implementation of 100% smoke- and tobacco-free policies on college and university campuses across the nation.

The standing tobacco policy on campus bans the use of cigarettes, vaporizers, and e-cigarettes inside of all college owned buildings— including dorms and small housing. This policy was last updated in January of 2018.

The draft of the new policy prohibits tobacco use across Alma College campus, including small housing and the surrounding areas. “The new policy is applicable to all campus buildings and housing, both inside and out and includes all facilities and grounds owned by Alma College. including but not limited to athletic fields, college owned vehicles, parking lots and surrounding college-owned properties,” said Anna Lambrecht, Associate Vice President for Student Life.

This policy makes Alma College a smoke-free, vapefree, and chew-free campus. There are no exceptions being made for tobacco-free vaporizers and similar devices that use essential oils.

“Alma College received a grant from the American Cancer Society and CVS Health Foundation to help us become a 100-percent smoke- and tobacco-free campus,” said Lambrecht. “This grant is a part of the nationwide TobaccoFree Generation Campus Initiative designed to reduce the number of people who get sick and die from tobacco-related diseases.”

After Alma College received this grant, they put together the Alma College Tobacco Free Task Force and met monthly. “Members of the task force began research to explore best policies & practices from other campuses in the nation that had already accomplished the goal of becoming Tobacco Free,” said Lambrecht.

Some students have been vocal on social media concerning these changes in policy, but many students do not have very strong opinions. “It doesn’t really affect me. I understand their reasoning behind changing the policy, but it might cause more issues than the money is worth,” said Kara Tredway (’20).

If students are caught in violation of this policy, they will receive disciplinary action from the Director of Student Affairs. This is different than disciplinary action towards faculty and community members.

Alma College conducted a survey—completed by 939 students—that said 44.4% of students are concerned about second hand smoke on campus and 51.2% of students have tried tobacco one or more time.

There is nothing in these changes to smoking policies that reference marijuana usage on campus. Thought it is legalized in the state, it is still banned on Alma College’s campus.

The P.C. debate

MADDIE LUEBKE
CAMPUS EDITOR

A huge debate in the political sphere recently is concerning politically correct speech. Many public figures are being called out online for their potentially offensive language and their ignorance when refusing to adapt their language to an ever-changing world.

Mistakes can be made, especially when one is raised in a different environment than you are currently in. However, being purposefully inconsiderate towards someone who have politely asked you to change your language is ignorant.

Many people who are not effected by bigotry and hate in this country do not understand the need to be conscious of our language. This is a huge learning curve for many, but putting the effort into altering your language can make you a person who can help those in need, and someone who is leading the wave of equality in this country.

There is a big debate in this country about the validity of changing to a more politically correct language, mostly because people claim that it will make the next generation weak and incapable of handling criticism. However, the purpose of politically correct language is the help all humans on this earth thrive and feel comfortable in their society.

For many years, the verbiage for people with disabilities has become more accepting and standardized. Instead of calling someone “the handicapped man”, it is better to refer to someone as “the man with a handicap.” This small change in word order puts the person first, validating them and ensuring that that person is more important than their disability.

Gender identity has been a big movement in the 21st century. People are more open and accepting about who they are, and that has resulted in more publicity around changing pronouns. People are changing their identity, and would prefer to be called different pronouns that make them feel more comfortable with their identity.

It takes a lot of courage for transgender and non-binary people to come to terms with their own identity privately, let alone showing that identity to the entire world. When people blatantly disrespect the wishes of these people to be referred to by different names or pronouns, it is ignorant and extremely disrespectful.

I do know, however, that there are some in this community that take advantage of people’s efforts to transition to calling someone a different name/pronoun. It is important to recognize people that are putting in the effort to change their mindset and be more accepting of the changing world around them.

If you have questions on what someone prefers to be called, the best thing to do is to ask them. Most people will really appreciate the effort into correcting their mistakes. As long as you are trying to change your mindset surrounding these issues, your effort should be seen, acknowledged and appreciated.

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