The Alma College Division III Experience



The Three D’s: Discover, Develop and Dedicate, according to the official website of NCAA Division III sports, specifies student athletes should be “encouraged to pursue their interests and passions beyond the classroom and field of play… to discover themselves.”

The NCAA Division III website also relays that the “emphasis on participating [in] activities outside of the classroom” is a “hallmark of the Division III experience.” Alma College athletics, on the other hand, seems to be getting this mixed up with the ultimate American philosophy: sport equals life, and coaches don’t seem to be helping.

Yes, we athletes work incredibly hard, we strive to do our very best–on the field, in the pool or on the court–but no matter how bad we wish we were; we aren’t Olympians here at Alma College.

Instead, we’re students, first and foremost, trying to discover, develop and dedicate ourselves to things that will help us thrive in the rapidly approaching future of life outside a college campus. However, this has become difficult for Alma athletes as coaches have been known for cutting students for participating in other organizations, and baseball and softball are notorious for their late- night practices, all while athletes’ GPAs slip through the cracks. While coaches are notorious for using the line, “communication is key,” when explaining how athletes can approach them with any absences from practices they may need, it often feels like a cover up to distract others from what really happens.

How is communication key when some athletes are only allotted one absence throughout the duration of their season? How is communication key when coaches begin to cut athletes who join Fraternity Sorority Life (FSL) because their focus is no longer tunnel vision for their sport?

Sports cannot equal life at a Division III college–something most athletes may not want to face, and something coaches often don’t want to admit.

While FSL may get a bad rap because of the partying atmosphere associated with the organizations, the networking done through alumni and administrators makes any FSL event worth attending- -something athletics cannot provide students on the deep level that FSL does.

Coaches should be encouraging students to make connections for their careers through FSL and other activities rather than threatening cuts like what allegedly happened on the softball team.

“I think a lot of coaches here believe that their athletes being involved in other things is going to take away from their athletic commitment and drive…[but] athletes should at least get a chance to

prove that they can handle being an athlete and being involved in other things like FSL,” said Cassidy Smith (‘26), a former member of the softball team.

Furthermore, practice times matter. They matter for mental health, physical health and the ability of the athlete to function. College students are recommended seven to nine hours of sleep, but how is this possible when practices run until 11 p.m.

“Students should have ample opportunities throughout the week to prioritize school. They shouldn’t be practicing so late at night that it will impact them when they attend classes the next day… This is unacceptable,” said Raegan Stambaugh (‘23), SAAC president.

While sport equals life to coaches, a Division III school shouldn’t be allowing this emphasis; yet, it is notable to mention the team with one of, if not the highest collective team GPA has one of the worst training facilities and is not on the list of construction updates, nor will they benefit from the new athletic facility coming to campus.

A Division III school should not be blatantly ignoring the team with such a high GPA. The very value of a Division III experience is “student first,” so why aren’t we rewarding the highest achieving academic athletes?

Even on the surface level, GPA concerns are continuously seeming to be thrown to the side when athletes start to slip in the classroom. “I think it is important to address that… there are various athletic staff who are able to see athletes’ grades and yet when those students seem to be struggling there is not any follow through or any implementation of a plan,” said Stambaugh.

Yes, while student athletes can attend study tables with their teammates, it is a very lax system that does not give the student any other help than a designated, yet hardly required, study time.

“An NCAA Division III school should aim to provide a well-rounded collegiate experience that involves a balance of rigorous academics, competitive athletics and the opportunity to pursue a multitude of other co-curricular opportunities,” said Stambaugh.

And she’s exactly right as it is what we all signed up for when we athletes committed to Alma. Perhaps it is time to reevaluate whether student athletes are able to have the full Division III experience at Alma College.

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.”

Alma College basketball update




Out with the old and in with the new. Scots, it’s time for some basketball. Now that football – with its season full of victories – is over, the time has come to focus on the triumphs of Alma College basketball. 

The Alma College Men’s Basketball team has had many personal victories, as well as team victories. So far this season, they have faced tough competition while winning four games and losing ten games. 

“We are still figuring things out and learning what works and what doesn’t. We have a lot of potential though, and I am hopeful that we will begin to turn things around during the rest of the season,” said Colton Meister (‘24)

In a significant game against Grace Christian, where Alma College ended the victorious game in triple digits for the first time since 2017, Landen Moore-Pierce (‘23) set a new program record for single game threes. 

In this game, Moore-Pierce put up nine three pointers. This topped the previous record belonging to Isiah Law of eight threes in a single game from 2017 . 

Additionally, Meister notably tied the Men’s Basketball program record for single game blocks in their game against Otterbein. Meister tied the 2007 record of seven blocks in a single game. This record was last tied in 2015 but has continued to stand for about 16 years. “It felt good to tie the record. I was surprised after the game when they told me,” said Meister.

“It is crazy to see all these records being tied or broken. Alma hasn’t always had the most athletic recognition in the MIAA, but since football season we can all… see that changing,” said Cole Pearson (‘25)

“From the perspective of a student-athlete in a different sport, it has been really cool to see the support the basketball team is getting this year and I hope it will carry over to lacrosse and other sports too,” said Pearson. 

Inner-sport support from multiple teams has been on the rise at Alma, and it has been especially evident this basketball season. For instance, the Alma College Swim and Dive team recently supported the men’s basketball team at Olivet College. 

Although the game did not end in Alma’s favor, “it was really cool to be able to go and support our men’s basketball team at Olivet. I was really able to see how they worked as a team, even when the game wasn’t going their way,” said Matthew Arrigoni (‘24)

With National Girls and Women in Sports Day around the corner on Feb. 1, it is very fitting to recognize and celebrate the successes and achievements of the Alma College Women’s Basketball team, too. 

The Women’s Basketball team recently defeated the Olivet College Comets on Jan. 14 with a final score of 73 points over Olivet’s 62 points. 

“Basketball season has been full of competition, and I am really looking forward to the conference tournament,” said Madison Robbins (‘23), a senior basketball player for the Alma College Women’s team. The conference tournament will conclude the 2022-2023 season.

The Women’s Basketball team also recently visited the Nike World Headquarters with Ed Osowski, an Alma College alum and Board of Trustee member. 

“Visiting the Nike Headquarters was very inspiring. We were able to see how hard work in athletics pays off, whether that be on the court or off,” said Robbins. 

Finally, the basketball games would not be the same without the Alma College Spirit Squad or the Alma College Dance Team. At this season’s home games, what players and students are most excited for, “the atmosphere in [the Art Smith Arena has been] so energetic,” said Robbins. 

“I think the games are always really fun no matter the outcome. We’re all there to cheer on the basketball teams and help everyone have a great time and get pumped up,” said Anika Ried (‘23), a member of the Alma College Dance Team. 

Be sure to attend the coming Alma College basketball games to see the Scots in action as they take on their next tough competitors. For more information on the rest of this year’s highlights visit the Alma Scots’ website.

David Zerbe inducted into Golden Thistle Society



David Zerbe, director of bands and percussion studies at Alma College, is the first ever non-Alma College alum to be inducted into the Order of the Golden Thistle.

The Golden Thistle Society is an acknowledgement of alumni loyalty and is typically an honor given to those that attend their 50-year class reunion at Alma College. For context, the thistle is a historic symbol and the national flower of Scotland. 

Alumni are seen proudly wearing their pins of the Golden Thistle post induction at campus events and throughout Homecoming weekends. 

“Being inducted into the Golden Thistle Society is truly an honor. It is humbling to know that people feel so strongly about your contributions to the life of Alma College that they believe you [are] worthy of an Honor reserved for Alma Alumni,” said David Zerbe, the inductee. 

Zerbe was presented with the honor of being inducted into the Order of the Golden Thistle at the Kiltie Marching Band centennial celebration. Many of his accolades were mentioned, but above all, the description of his character is what stood out to most.

“I attended the centennial as an outside volunteer with the Student Advancement Association but listening to all of the remarks about Professor Zerbe made it very clear he was very deserving of this award,” said Ryan Gray (‘25).

“He has modeled exceptional qualities in leadership, dedication, kindness and compassion and just going with the flow. As I approach graduation and will be getting my own degree in teaching . . . Zerbe is somebody I look up to and hope I can be as impactful of an educator as he is,” said Kayla Keopf (‘23), student of Alma College and Senior Drum Major.

Along with being director of bands and percussion studies, Zerbe is also the Paul Cameron Russel Professor of Music. This is an Alma College prestige and an endowed professorship in honor of the late Paul Cameron Russel. 

Since starting his career at Alma College in 1988, Zerbe has earned many awards. He received the Outstanding Faculty Award for the Humanities in 2011. He was also the Faculty Barlow Award recipient in 2013. 

Not only is Zerbe a distinguished Alma College faculty member, but he is also a distinguished member of the music community outside of Alma College. 

According to the Alma College website, Zerbe is a founding member of the internationally acclaimed DMP recording group and the Robert Hohner Percussion Ensemble and he has performed with many different organizations.

Although there are many, a limited number of these organizations include the Midland, Saginaw, Traverse City and West Shore symphonies in which Zerbe was a profound percussionist.

Furthermore, Zerbe is an active free-lance musician who has appeared with Aretha Franklin, Peter Ruth, Michael Feinstein and many other renowned musicians.

More about Zerbe’s accolades, accomplishments and directee groups can be found on the Alma College website. Additionally, it has been noted that Zerbe presents his students with amazing and unique musical opportunities.

“He . . . gave me the opportunity to cover the vocal part on saxophone for the song ‘Afro Blue’ for the Alma College Percussion Ensemble,” said Jack Letica (‘24), a student studying instrumental performance and vice president of Phi Mu Alpha, a music centered fraternity. 

“He has worked extremely hard in his care for teaching students. From the moment I met Zerbe, I could tell he had a great passion for music. I believe he understands and supports my efforts to go further into music and develop a career by giving me these opportunities,” said Letica.

It is clear that Zerbe has made an impact on the Alma College campus, community and beyond, and it is exciting to anticipate what will come next from the Alma College professor.

“I am looking forward to continuing to build on the strengths of our organizations to foster even more vibrant ensembles, ones that not only bring instrumental music to campus… but also [provide] a window for those not yet acquainted with Alma to experience what Scots can do,” said Zerbe.

Alma College partners with Granger Waste Services



An exciting new partnership has made its way to the Alma College campus and community. Alma College has partnered with Granger Waste Services in order to enact a formal recycling program on campus.

An email sent out to the campus community from Raymond Barclay, Alma College’s Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, on Nov. 8 included this new recycling program is expected to begin in Feb. of 2023.

“This partnership will go a ways toward fulfilling one of our commitments as stated in the Evergreen strategic plan, to build a more sustainable campus now and benefit the future,” said Barclay in the email.

For context, the Evergreen strategic plan is considered a “dynamic plan for Alma College” in which Alma College strives to reach five different themes with accountability measures. More on this plan can be found at

A letter was also sent from Granger Waste Services to the Alma College students. The letter starts with the exciting news that “Alma College has made a significant commitment to a sustainable future by partnering with Granger Waste Services to provide on-campus recycling services.”

The letter includes that the recycling services will entail single-stream recycling. This reduces the amount of sorting that is often associated with recycling procedures while also increasing the efficiency of said recycling.

The single-stream recycling will also make the program more affordable in order to “ensure it will be sustainable for years to come,” said the letter from Granger.

More information regarding what will be counted as an accepted, recyclable material through the new program can be found in the Recycling Guidelines flier attached to the email sent to the campus community.

“I am so happy to see a recycling program come to the campus. I think it will be very beneficial seeing as there is a lot of waste produced by students here. I’m sure this program can help in a big way,” said Cole Pearson (‘25).

There seems to be an abundance of positivity coming from students regarding the new recycling partnership.

“I am excited to see the new recycling program come to campus. I am glad to see Alma College put in the extra effort to help with the environment,” said Kylie Demarets (‘25).

“I did not previously know much about Alma College’s Evergreen plan or recycling system, but I am so happy to hear that we are a part of an institution that is striving for good goals. I definitely think this [recycling] partnership will be valuable,” said Sofia Floros (‘26).

It can be seen that most students are positively reacting to this new partnership between Alma College and Granger Waste Services; however, there is some questioning about how this program changes anything for students.

“I am a little confused about how this program is going to be any different or more effective than what we already have. I see recycling bins scattered around campus, so I am assuming the campus already has a recycling system in place. I am looking forward to seeing [the new program] in action, though,” said Pearson.

While Alma College does not currently have a recycling partnership, there is a recycling and waste management department under the college’s Facilities and Service Management umbrella. As previously noted, this new partnership will further enhance the college’s recycling system.

Seeing as this recycling initiative is not set to take action until the winter of 2023, the college asks that students and the community “please be patient with the grounds team as they do their best to bridge the gap in the meantime,” said Barclay in the email sent to the campus community.

“We look forward to providing more information to you when this program kicks off next year… Thank you for your collaboration with us on this important project,” Barclay said in the email.

Whitmer or Dixon to become Michigan’s next Governor



Gretchen Whitmer (D) and Tudor Dixon (R) are facing off in Michigan’s (MI) 2022 gubernatorial election, or the election for governor.

Whitmer, the incumbent, highlights infrastructure development, investments in business and access to abortion as key aspects of her campaign.

Dixon, endorsed by former President Donald Trump, is focusing on education, “pro-growth” economic policy, infrastructure, ending most legal abortion access and the second amendment, according to her website. Dixon has criticized Whitmer’s COVID-19 response and “will block mask mandates in schools,” according to her website.

Students at Alma College have numerous issues they take into consideration when deciding how to cast their vote, however, many students feel they must prioritize key issues. 

“My top issues are student debt and access to healthcare,” said Luke Losie (’23), Co-Chair of Alma College YDSA. “With the repeal of Roe v. Wade, I have been forced as a voter to consider exclusively the abortion issue in this election.”

On abortion, Whitmer has taken actions to protect access. Most recently, the MI Court of Claims ruled a 1931 MI law banning abortions without exceptions unconstitutional. 

The MI House of Representatives introduced Proposal 3, which will “amend the state constitution to provide that every individual has a right to reproductive freedom” if passed, according to the official proposal. Proposal 3 will also be on the Nov. 8 ballot.

Alternatively, Dixon believes abortion should only be allowed to save the life of the mother, according to MLive and her website.

Students are also concerned about infrastructure, education and taxes.

“This election has me hyper focused on the state-wide infrastructure issues…[MI’s] problematic decline in test [scores] and educational facilities and the role tax cuts or hikes will play in handling both,” said Jacob Keeley (’24), President of the Alma College Republicans. “Over the last four years, [Whitmer’s] administration’s lack of [economic] planning has become incredibly obvious.”

Whitmer’s proposed $2.1 billion “MI New Economy” plan focuses on supporting the middle class, small businesses and making community investments into infrastructure like high-speed internet and housing units, according to a press release.

Dixon wants to reduce personal income taxes, encourage workforce training, promote trade and cut MI’s regulatory code by “40%…in 4 years,” according to her website. 

“I support Dixon’s broad usage of public-private partnerships as well as restructuring Michigan road management agencies,” said Keeley.

According to Dixon’s website, her goals for education include the following. Dixon wants to finance individual tutoring using federal COVID-19 relief funding, “ban school personnel from talking to [K-3] children about sex and gender theory secretly behind their parents’ backs, protect young girls from being forced to compete against biological boys,” improve civic and financial literacy and create education savings accounts.

According to Chalkbeat Detroit, among Whitmer’s education priorities are “tripling the number of school literacy coaches[,] closing the school funding gap [and] creating a college scholarship program for education majors.”

Voting for MI’s next governor will take place on Nov. 8. If you have not yet voted, be sure to do so at your precinct-specific voting location.

Water polo club coming to Alma College




Alma College has numerous athletic teams, clubs and other extracurricular activities available to students. In the coming weeks, Alma College will introduce a water polo club.

“Interested in water polo? You should be,” the recruitment flier said. “We welcome any level of water polo experience.”

Madison Humphrey (‘24) is President and Calvin Huggler (‘24) is Vice President. “I would say my hope as [Vice President is] to help create a foundation for the club that will ensure future Alma College students will be able to participate in these sorts of activities,” said Huggler.

“I’m most excited . . . to learn a sport that’s new to me and offers [me] an opportunity to connect with other club members in a competitive environment,” said Huggler.

The mission statement of the Alma College Water Polo Club is “to create a comfortable and enjoyable social organization in which Alma College students can be introduced and become well versed in the fundamentals of water polo as a sport.”

The mission statement also emphasizes that students will “display sportsmanship and encouraging attitudes, especially when playing in a competitive and goal-driven atmosphere.”

If you are an Alma College student, there are two requirements to become a member. First, all members must demonstrate swimming ability. This can be done by swimming a full, twenty-five-yard length of the pool without any assistance.

It is also required that all members have their own swimwear. Members should utilize a full-piece swimsuit rather than two-piece swimwear. The constitution adds that swim caps are also highly recommended.

As stated in the club’s constitution, no dues are required for membership. However, “members are required to attend the club meetings at least two times a month to be considered a full-time club member.” Attendance will be factored into a member’s playing time if the club were to take part in a game or scrimmage.

Many students are very excited by the opportunity to participate in the Alma College Water Polo Club. “It will be a nice throwback to my high school days of playing water polo for Groves,” said Jack Knoper (‘26).

“It feels like a little piece of home is being brought to campus.”

“As a member of the swim team, I cannot wait to try water polo. It seems like a fun game-style extension of my sport,” said Andrew Ludden (‘24).

Although many are excited, the club leadership might have a difficult time encouraging Alma’s extraordinarily involved student body to make time for water polo.

“I have a lot of prior obligations,” said Kylie Demarets (‘25). Other students like Demarets explained water polo may be lower on their priorities of clubs to join because it is not viewed as strongly as a resume builder.

“Although the teamwork and goal orientation of the club would be great to add to my resume, I just do not believe that I have time to add this club to my already busy schedule. I look forward to seeing their meeting times, though,” said Ryan Gray (‘25).

Regardless of the doubts in terms of scheduling, many students are looking forward to trying water polo for the first time or reliving their high school game days.

Students hoping to join the Alma College Water Polo Club can visit their Instagram page, @almawaterpoloclub, for more information.

Alma College Scots athletics update




Football has had many successful wins in recent weeks, notably beating Martin Luther College during the Homecoming game. However, football players are not the only successful Scots on campus.

Men’s Soccer has played a total of seven games after beating Anderson University on Sept. 10. The team has two wins and five losses so far.

“The team is really on its way to finding its identity. The squad is beginning to gel and get comfortable with one another… I think that our play shows it. The bond this team has is second to none,” said Ethan Vollstedt (‘23), the captain of Alma College Men’s Soccer.

While the team faced tough competition, it resulted in nothing but growth. “We are just a few ticks away from rounding a very special corner and achiev[ing] our goal of getting back into the MIAA playoffs,” said Vollstedt.

Women’s soccer has been busy traveling to Ohio, Wisconsin and Illinois. They currently have a record of one win, two losses and two tied games.

“I think our season is off to a great start! We have great team chemistry and are having a lot of fun playing fearless soccer,” said Lily Stephan (‘23) of the women’s team and the MIAA Offensive Player of the Week, named on Sept. 26.

The Alma College Women’s Soccer Team also won their first game of conference play on Sept. 28. “We started conference play strong with a win today which will help us build momentum for the rest of the season,” said Stephan.

Recently, Alma College Women’s Golf hosted the MIAA Jamboree. This is the third MIAA Tournament of the season. They completed the tournament with 323 points, the lowest score of the season.

“I am super proud of how our team has been doing so far this season. Our [first-years] have really stepped up and played a big role on our team. I look forward to finishing the season strong and continuing to push each other to be better every day,” said Morgan Yates (‘23).

Yates tied for the medalist position at the MIAA Jamboree. Of even more importance, Yates has been named back-to-back MIAA Golfer of the Week.

“I personally have put in a lot of work this summer and fall and I am happy to see it pay off. My family, coaches and team have been really supportive, and I will continue to improve,” said Yates.

Next, tennis has been on the road having played in Indiana in recent weeks. Unfortunately, the women’s team fell to both St. Francis and Manchester University. The men’s team also fell to St. Francis but defeated Manchester University with a monumental nine to zero score.

“So far, I think we have started off with some good opponents that made some of us really fight to win our matches. Hopefully, that fight will continue throughout our fall and spring seasons, and we can bring home some wins,” said Laney Voisinet (‘26), a first-year on the women’s tennis team.

Swim season is also off to a strong start with practices having begun on Sept. 19. As swimming is a sport with a longer season, it is important to keep the positive energy going into the first meet on Oct. 8 at Saginaw Valley State University.

“I feel like this is going to be a special year. We have a lot of energy and excitement coming into the season, and I know that will help us in late fall and into winter,” said Nick Polzin, the head Alma College Swim and Dive coach.

E-sports, a sport typically left out of the spotlight, won their two games against Marietta College on Sept. 3. They had some close losses against Mount Vernon Nazarene, Valparaiso and Bethel College on Sept. 10.

Alma College Baseball has seen many successes during Fall Ball. On Sunday, Sept. 27, the team beat Mid-Michigan College in a doubleheader with a resounding score of 22 to one and 21 to three in each game respectively.

Finally, Cross Country has had strong showings at their first three invitationals. The men’s team finished sixth of eight on Sept. 2, seventh of 10 on Sept. 10 and fourteenth of 24 on Sept. 17. The women’s team finished fifth of six, ninth of 12 and tenth of 24 on the same respective dates.

As the Scots face tough competition, they hope students will come support them in their sporting endeavors. Students can find sporting information on the Alma Scots website. “[We] would love to see everyone at our next home game!” said Vollstedt.

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