Model UN team earns victory in New York

By Sasha Dudock

Staff Writer

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If you have noticed the campus feeling a little bit empty over the past week, you may have been missing the students on the Model UN team who were in New York City for their final competition of the season.   

The team continued their winning streak, being awarded the highest honor of the conference, the Outstanding Delegation award, for two of the three countries they represented.  

The third country representing winning the second highest honor of the conference.  

Alma’s team has been competing for 29 years and not long after starting, the program began to gain high honors, amounting now to an impressive 25-year streak.  

Now Alma’s team has more outstanding delegation awards than any school in the 95-year history of the conference. 

The National Model UN competition brings students from all over the world together to collaborate and address real world issues.  

More than 50% of students at the conference were from outside the U.S.  

“The experience was life changing. My favorite part was meeting all of the international students. I got lunch with a boy from Venezuela and we had an eye-opening conversation about opportunities and privilege,” said Destiny Herbers (‘21).  

Besides the perk of spending a week in New York City, the MUN team, as well as all the other school’s teams, were allowed into the United Nations General Assembly for the final awards ceremony.  

The general assembly being where all countries in the United Nations work together to correct world issues, and thus an amazing opportunity.   

Model UN, also known as MUN, is a rigorous set of winter courses, led by Derick Hulme, professor of political science and nationally competitive scholarship advisor.  

“I think that Dr. Hulme is incredibly knowledgeable. He demands a lot, but if we put in the work, he can prepare us for success better than anyone else could,” said Herbers.   

The MUN team prepares extensively through weekly tests and speeches, but since the class is only once a week it allows for students to create their own style of learning researching and the material.   

“I practice my speeches until I can deliver them with ease. I find documentaries on the issues I’m researching. I dive into these topics and research them so thoroughly in preparation for my office presentations with Dr. Hulme,” said Paige Bartkowiak (‘18).  

Office presentations are common occurrences within the MUN team, where students explain their topic and research to Dr. Hulme as a quiz.  

According to Bartkowiak,  

“These presentations are the one thing I believe makes our team different and makes us stand out in conference.” 

The New York conference was an especially difficult time for the MUN seniors.  

“Sitting in the UN General Assembly [Hall] the last day knowing it was my last MUN [conference] was a bittersweet feeling,” said Bartkowiak.  

“I left everything I have to give in New York this year and I am so happy with the future of our team. I know we have prepared the next generation of MUNners who will continue to persevere and figure out how to make a difference in this world.” 

Upperclassmen will continue to help teach the new members, leading the team.  

This makes preparation, as well as the conference, a real bonding experience for the MUN team.  

MUN is a fantastic way to gain a community of truly caring people while also becoming a better global citizen.  

“It’s a lot of hard work, but you get out of it what you put into it,” said Blaze Wilson (‘18). 

Spring dance concert rocks Presbyterian Hall

By Sasha Dudock

Staff Writer

What do Queen, Highland dancing and a live orchestra all have in common? They were all part of the Spring dance concert last weekend in Presbyterian Hall.   

The dance department has been busy this past semester preparing for the concert, which featured an array of students from the dance department as well as the Kiltie Dancers. They preformed to a variety of songs including selections by Queen, Colin Payne and Wolf Stone.   

The concert mostly consisted of modern and contemporary dancing, except for the song Pas de Quatre, a ballet, which was Victoria Coy Kendall’s senior thesis. The story behind the dance is back in the 1800s – the four greatest dancers of the time were called to dance together for the ballet, Pas de Quatre.   

The show was short lived because the dancers did not get along with one another and only performed four times in 1845. Kendall restaged this ballet for six of the dancers here on campus.  

The dance department starts working toward the spring concert the first week after Christmas break.  

“We have auditions and then we start rehearsing 24/7,” said Somerton DeGraffenreid (‘19), a dance minor. Each night is a rehearsal with a different dance instructor, each instructor focused on a different style of dance she explained.  

“Ben [Munisteri] specializes in modern,” explained DeGraffenreid. “Rosely [Conz] does our ballet and modern, and Kristen [Bennett] does our jazz and contemporary style.”  

The process can be stressful for dancers, especially the week leading up to the concert.  

“The week leading up to the show we run the whole show over and over again to get the order right, get everything running smoothly, it’s a lot of physical activity and strain, but it’s all worth it in the end,” said Allison Boulware (‘20).   

Although the dancers put in a lot for the concert, there is also so much going on behind the scenes that makes sure the show runs smoothly. This concert in particular had an intense lighting scheme.  

“The lights for this show are very complex. Last night we had a very smooth final rehearsal. So I’m really excited that I was able to conquer the light cues,” said Stage Manager Aeriel Stroven (‘18).  

Stroven also gave insight on how the dance department invents each concert.  

“Production staff, the choreographers, the stage manager, Ben [Grohs] for lighting, and Tina [Vivian] for costumes get together and then up until the show we have weekly production meetings.”  

“At the production meetings we just talk about what each piece is about, what’s inspiring them, and then Ben [Grohs], as the lighting designer, finds photos that he feels represents [the dance] that help to figure out the colors that he wants. Then, Tina [Vivian] is there to help with costumes and inspiration.”  

There are many ways to get involved in dance at Alma without being a major or a minor. The Alma College Hepcats is the partner dance group here on campus, and members teach East Coast Swing, Lindy Hop, and blues dancing every Saturday from 8 to 11 p.m. in the Band room.   

Another great opportunity to get involved with dance is to join the cheer and stunt team, the Kiltie Dancers, or the Kiltie Color Guard that works with the Kiltie Marching Band in the Fall and by themselves in the winter.  

Overall, the concert was a hit and, this one being the last for seniors, left them on a positive note.  

“I am ready for the last show but at the same time it’s just something I wish I would’ve gotten into sooner, but my time in the company has been amazing and I’ve loved it,” said Stroven.  

Active Minds spreads mental health awareness

By Sasha Dudock

Staff Writer

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Last Wednesday, Active Minds put on the event Create Your Own Coping Toolbox where students were invited to make and paint personalized recovery tool boxes.  

The recovery toolboxes contained coloring pages, stress balls, tea, chocolate, mini notebooks, crayons and other relaxing items.  

Active Minds, the sponsor of the event, “is an organization that works to spread mental health awareness and to fight the stigma on mental illnesses,” says organization president Mandy Menosky (‘18).  

“The goal [of Active Minds] is to break the stigma on mental illness and to allow people to feel comfortable with themselves and sharing their stories.”  

Active Minds has done many events on campus this year prior to Create Your Own Coping Toolbox.  

It put on Cupcakes for a Cause and Suicide Prevention week that included the Field of Flags, depression screening and Question, Persuade, Refer suicide prevenion training, as well as having speaker Alison Malmon, the founder of Active Minds, make a visit to campus.  

“Create Your Own Coping Toolbox was our most successful event . . . we got a lot of positive feedback.” added Menosky. 

“It was so successful that we are going to be doing it again in April before finals.”  

Students also felt that recovery toolbox building was a success. 

“I thought this event was awesome. Not only did it promote mental well-being, but it was also a great opportunity to get together with a group of people and have fun,” said attendee Julia Ettema (‘21).   

Some students even felt that programs like these should be more commonplace around campus.  

“I thought it was a fun experience and I enjoyed meeting new people.” said Rebecca Fredenburg (‘21). I think the campus should do more events like this and open them up to more people,”   

Active Minds is putting on more events later this year, next being the screening of a movie relating to eating disorders on Feb. 20. Later in April it will sell butterfly tattoos to provide awareness and support to self-harm survivors.   

There are many resources on campus that promote and restore mental well-being, the best being the Counseling and Wellness center.  

Students can make appointments and talk to professionals in a safe environment for free.  

Confidentiality is maintained and visiting the Counseling and Wellness Center does not hurt a student’s academic profile in any way.   

The Counseling and Wellness center works in tandem with Active Minds to provide resources on various different mental illnesses and coping methods that are always available to students and the community.   

Another less formal way to relieve stress and meet new people is to visit the therapy dogs and cats that come to campus once a month, courtesy of the Counseling and Wellness Center.  

With midterms quickly approaching, stress is at an all-time high and staying mentally healthy can be challenging.  

There are many simple ways to combat stress on campus without taking up too much study time.  

Buying a hot chocolate from Highland Java, going on a walk on the community trail or playing card games with a group of friends can all help with mental health.  

“We want everyone to be educated and to feel like they are able to talk about their mental illness and what they are going through.” said Menosky. 

We want people to start the conversation about mental health and stop feeling shame,” said Menosky.

Social activist comes to campus

By Sasha Dudock

Staff Writer Screen Shot 2018-01-23 at 4.17.36 PM

On Jan. 17, Campus welcomed the daughter of Archbishop Desmond Tutu, guest speaker Nontombi Naomi Tutu, in celebration of Martin Luther King Jr. week.  

Tutu’s father was a world-famous social rights activist in South Africa during the time of apartheid—a time in South Africa when policies of segregation were heavily enforced.  

Having lived through the injustice and tumult of apartheid, Tutu spoke about the importance of being a social activist in the midst of not only political turmoil but also in every day life. According to Tutu, being a social activist is not so much a career but a state of mind.  

Her speech began with convincing the audience to discover their own individual talents and passions, and then going a step further to use them for the good of the people.  

Tutu’s advice for determining a passion was to look out into the world and discover what about it evokes extreme emotion. 

“What is it in our world that when you look at it it makes you very, very angry or very, very hopeful?” asked Tutu. 

From there, Tutu broke down social activism into small things that everyone could do to become a social activist. Tutu’s main suggestion was “Having the courage to speak [out against injustice] even when you think it’ll make you unpopular.”  

Even on a small college campus there are dozens of opportunities to get involved with students, such as joining Amnesty International, the Multi-Cultural Student Union or Active Minds.  

“Social activism is possible on campus and is also always happening on campus . . . I think it’s because [there is] a good environment for it,” said Laney Alvarado (‘20).  

Getting involved in helping the community can be as simple as going on one of Alma College’s many alternative break options as opposed to going home for breaks. Many students on campus believe that Alma “at least on some basic level . . . [is socially active because] we are at a liberal arts college,” said Eryn Corinth (‘21). 

As Tutu’s speech continued, it centered around the causes that were not only two core themes in her life, but became the themes of her activism: race and gender.  

Tutu explained how her life as an African woman was effected by apartheid and how that moved her to want to fight racism and sexism abroad, as well as how her motivation was not just her faith but also her family. 

Being a student, it can seem daunting to tackle big issues such as racism or sexism, but being on a college campus does not limit one’s ability to make a change, according to Tutu when asked about how to make be a social activist on campus. In fact, she believes that bigger changes can be made in smaller communities because more individual voices are heard.  

She also spoke about other significant aspects in a social activist’s life, such as finding a supportive community and being hopeful for the future.  

One important trait Tutu spoke of is self-care and mental health. Tutu reminded the audience the importance of taking time to rejuvenate and relax because progress will be slowed or even halted if one is always fatigued. 

Overall, Tutu’s message was to stress to students that, especially in the current international climate, it is necessary to be a social activist and that becoming one does not have to be difficult.  

“Anyone can be a social activist,” said Alvarado, “It doesn’t matter who you are or where you come from, everyone has something that they’re passionate about and will fight for.”

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