Gender affirming closet open to campus and community



It can be a challenge in a rural town like Alma for queer people to be visible and feel accepted. The Gender Affirming Closet of Alma College exists to help support the queer community express themselves and feel comfortable, offering access to free clothing for LBGTQ+ people on Alma College’s campus and the surrounding campus community.

The Gender Affirming Closet is open to the community Friday from 6 PM to 8 PM, Saturday from 10 AM to 6 PM and Sunday from 2 PM to 4 PM.

The primary goal of the Gender Affirming Closet is to “provide free, safe, equitable [and] appropriate access to clothes to all people.” said Sydney Powers, Americorp VISTA LBGTQ+ Support.

The “hope [in creating and maintaining the Gender Affirming Closet] is that [access to these resources] will inspire our queer community on campus to express themselves and feel that they are supported.” said Kate Stymiest (’22).

The Gender Affirming Closet strives to provide gender-affirming clothing options for non-binary students specifically. The closet achieves this in part by not organizing their clothing in gender-specific sections, a practice that is common in chain stores and boutiques.

The Gender Affirming Closet aims to give queer people options and encourages shopping without feeling pressured to conform to a particular gender. The closet stocks clothing for queer people of all shapes and sizes.

“The clothing supply is abundant and versatile. [We are] trying to cater to all styles, occasions, and body types,” said Stymiest.

The Gender Affirming Closet has been open for over a year as a part of the Alma College AmeriCorps Vista program.

Previously located in Highland Blush, a coffee shop in downtown Alma, the Gender Affirming Closet was recently moved to Tyler VanDusen. The closet is now located across from the Center for Student Opportunity (CSO). The move into Tyler VanDusen creates easier access for students.

Students are excited about what the Gender Affirming Closet offers to the campus community. “I think that it is amazing that the Gender Affirming Closet is on campus. I truly believe that this resource can be used to better the lives of the queer community.” said Sam Bjordal (’23).

The affordability of “fashionable” clothes is often a barrier to access for queer people. The cute, gently used clothing available at the Gender Affirming Closet is a great way for queer people to express themselves without overspending.

The Gender Affirming Closet is in need of a few specific types of donations.

“We do have a need for more binders, unopened cosmetics, jewelry, paper bags and tote bags for ‘checking out’,” said Powers. “Otherwise, we have more than enough clothes.”

If you are looking for a local volunteer opportunity, the Gender Affirming Closet relies on volunteers. Volunteers can help with several of the closet’s different functions.

“I had the…opportunity to volunteer at the Gender Affirming Closet,” said Jacob Keeley (’23). “[I helped with] washing clothes, organizing their inventory and locating resources for the [communities served by] the closet.”

To sign up and explore volunteer opportunities with the Gender Affirming Closet, please visit Alma Connect or reach out directly to Sydney Powers in the CSO. You can also drop off any donations for the Gender Affirming Closet to the CSO.

Alma College community reacts to Yik Yak



Yik Yak, all drama or useful? Lately it has caused quite a stirrup on Alma College’s Campus. Yik Yak is an anonymous social media app that is used by many students here on campus to post things such as: student success, Fraternity Sorority life drama, Sports drama and dining successes and challenges in Hamilton.

Yik Yak has been popular on campus since Winter 2022 semester. Students most frequent Yik Yaks are about parties, complaints with the school or random blurbs.

“I do have Yik Yak and I might spend about 10 mins a day on it at the most” said Sawyer Hill (‘23). Hill is not the only student who is using this app often. Julis Gotaas (‘24) said “I have a Yik Yak and use it a few times per day.”

Hill said that he believes Yik Yak has led to behaviors in students such as “talking about issues students have with the school, which if faculty see that, [it] makes it a little easier for us to be heard.”

Gotaas said “Fraternity, sorority, and sports teams fighting each other are some of the behavioral patterns I observe most frequently on Yik Yak.”

“I think Yik Yak is just a vessel for common issues that occur at college campuses everywhere, especially small ones. Social media can promote misinformation and negative gossip just as much as it can allow for the sharing of news that people should know. The ability for Yik Yak to be anonymous just increases that tendency.” said Swalve.

Hill, who is the New Education Director of Sigma Chi, addressed the drama surrounding fraternities. He said “It serves very little purpose to see organizations having issues on the app. Many of us involved in fraternities are committed to the idea of [Fraternity/Sorority Life (FSL)] unity.”

Not only is there drama within the FSL organizations there are also arguments among sports teams.

“I don’t believe the conflicts between the sports teams on Yik Yak are reasonable because they frequently disagree on important issues,” said Gotaas, who is a member of the cross country and track teams.

Most students may not realize that Yik Yak does not only affect students but faculty and staff too. Natashia Swalve, Associate Provost and Associate Professor of Psychology, she said “I have heard of Yik Yak but I personally don’t have one. My students bring it up a lot in class.”

When asked, Swalve believes that faculty do have a right to be on Yik Yak. “Social media is not private and Yik Yak is no different, even though it’s anonymous. I could see it being useful to make sure that there isn’t an emergency others need to know about, or extreme misinformation being spread.”

It is faculty and staff’s right to have Yik Yak. Yik Yak is a social media platform just like any other. While students have to “worry” about their posts on there it is our chance as students to have a voice and not worry about the repercussions.

Yik Yak is appealing to students due to anonymity, drama and college updates.

On Yik Yak, users can upvote and downvote depending on your feelings of the post. Once a post gets downvoted five times, the post is removed. Like on other social media plastforms, the user is able to report posts to be removed.

However, some students refrain from getting it. “I have never had Yik Yak before, I didn’t know what it was. I haven’t heard anyone around me talk about Yik Yak” said Kennedy Case (‘25).

Case is adamant in the fact that she herself has never heard of anyone around her talking about Yik Yak or the posts contained on Yik Yak. Many Alma College students spend a considerable amount of time on the app. While Yik Yak has some controversy, it serves a purpose to campus life. Some drama, somwhat useful.

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