Scots Women’s Swim and Dive receive All-American Academic Honors




On Feb 3 the Alma College Women’s Swim and Dive team was named as a CSCAA All-American team for the Fall 2022 semester with a combined GPA of 3.6.

“I am so proud of the women’s team in and out of the pool, their ability to balance academics, practice, competitions and still ha ve time to have fun . . . I have the utmost respect for all the women and their hard work” said Nick Polzin head coach of the swim and dive team.

Not only did the women get the highest academic honors nationally in the swim circuit, they also had the highest GPA in the Michigan Intercollegiate Athletic Association (MIAA), where they compete.

“It’s never easy being a student athlete at a Division 3 level,” said Grace Ludema (26’). “I’ve only been here for one semester and made academics my number one priority, sometimes it would be so much easier to come back after practice and just go to sleep, but the standard that the women’s team has for their academics is a driving force for my academic performance.”

This isn’t the first time that the Alma College Swim and Dive team has been in the academic spotlight. The Women’s team received the same CSCAA Academic award for their performance in Fall 2020

“Being a part of two all American squads is an honor, the first one [in 2020] was a challenge, because it was my first semester here at Alma. Classes were online and it was hard at times to find the motivation to put in the effort with a busy swim schedule,” said Abby Taylor (24’).

The men’s Swim and Dive team is also looking to match what the women’s team has been doing both in and out of the pool.

“Seeing the way that the women balance their swim and school is inspiring,” said Eli Mull (26’). “I could see the men’s team becoming the academic weapons that the women are. I see a bright future for the men in the pool and in the classroom. Good grades and winning meets are no doubt in our future.”

The women’s team had an impressive 3.6 GPA as a group which is .6 over the minimum 3.0 needed collectively to receive the award. The women showed their drive competing exhaustively twice a day starting with practice at 6 AM followed by class and another practice later, leaving them with little time for school work. Impressively they still found a way.

The women’s activity in the classroom also reflects what coach Nick Polzin preaches in his team values.

“The values I build this team on are dependability, respect and growth. The women have exceeded my expectations challenging themselves to improve and grow in the classroom, at practices and in life. They have motivation and discipline and make sure everyday is dedicated to improving,” said Polzin.

Even though the lady Scots have ended their season in the pool this past weekend at the MIAA championships with season and personal best times, they will continue to work hard in the classroom and look to receive national honors yet again.

New clubs approved at StuCo



On Feb. 6, 2023, Student Congress approved four new clubs on campus: IPHS Club, Water Polo Club, Diversity in STEM and Squirrel Club. Typically, only one or two clubs are introduced during constitution committees. This was the largest number of clubs approved at a Student Congress meeting within the last few semesters.

IPHS Club, Water Polo Club and Diversity in STEM are new groups that were created and organized by their respective presidents and Executive Councils. Squirrel Club is a revived group that died out in 2019, previously called the Squirrel Watching Club.

Each club had unique reasons for wanting to become a student organization on Alma’s campus. IPHS Club is separate from the IPHS Honorary which is focused on students that pursue the IPHS program.

“The IPHS club is for all students interested in going into the health sciences, even if they are in a different major,” said Olivia Bunce (‘24), President of the IPHS Club. This organization hopes to build connections between students and the IPHS department.

“This club is important to Alma’s campus because it helps engage all the students in the department,” said Bunce. IPHS Club has current plans for CPR certification, volunteer opportunities and a combined field day event with the IPHS Department faculty.

Water Polo Club has been featured previously but had not been approved as a club until the Feb. 6 Student Congress Meeting. Once their budget is approved, they will start holding events and regular meetings.

“Water polo is [a] personal interest of mine as well as many of my peers and we are interested in introducing one of the best Midwest sports to the north,” said Madison Humphrey (‘23), President of the Water Polo Club. Members of the club stressed that students do not need to know the rules of Water Polo before joining, but it is required that anyone interested can swim 25 yards unassisted.

Diversity in STEM is a club focused on fostering a community for people of diverse backgrounds interested in STEM, as well as people who are interested in volunteering opportunities.

“Our student population here at Alma is growing in its diversity,” Said Rachel Kostrzewa (‘23), President of Diversity in STEM. “Our club aims to act as a support group for underrepresented students that have any interest in STEM.” They hope to host speaker sessions soon, as well as sponsor volunteer opportunities with special education classrooms at Alma High School.

“Many careers in the STEM field require some type of graduate degree, and many of these programs also require or prefer applicants to have volunteer experience pertaining to their field,” said Kostrzewa. By providing volunteer opportunities, Diversity in STEM hopes they can help students acquire the experience they need to go into STEM-related fields.

Squirrel Club’s was revived by Rylee Warchuck (’24) so that students could have a chance to enjoy Alma’s nature around campus. In the future, the club hopes to host a trip to the John Ball Zoo for club members, as well as have a “Nutty for You” Valentine’s event. This would be on top of their regular meetings, which have not been planned yet.

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.

Students react to the Learning Commons




On January 25, 2023, the Greg Hatcher Learning Commons opened for student use after 11 months of construction. Parts of the interior building, as well as the landscaping on the exterior, are still being renovated. However, the basement, first floor and second floor are all open to students.

The Learning Commons held a grand opening celebration on Jan. 25 that gave students the chance to tour the interior for the first time. Since then, students have been actively using the space despite ongoing interior construction.

Several faculty and staff offices moved into the Learning Commons since its opening. The library staff offices are located on the second floor, The Center for College and Community Engagement and Career and Personal Development moved from the Center for Student Opportunity (CSO) to the basement. The Student Success offices, also previously in the CSO, moved to the first floor. The Writing Center has moved from the DOW study rooms back to its previous location on the first floor, occupying the same corner as the Student Success office.

“Students were studying in the library space almost as soon as the doors were open,” said Matthew Collins, Library Director. Students ha ve had few options for study and social spaces since the construction began. Now that the space is available, students ha ve been using it consistently.

Students ha ve had mixed reactions to the Learning Commons since it opened. W hile students have been frequently using study spaces, ongoing construction and supply chain issues have impacted how students are able to utilize the Learning Commons. The most popular concerns among students have been the lack of doors for study rooms, as well as the limited cosmetic designs within common spaces.

“After understanding the need for modernization, I still think that the current Learning Commons could do with more color and decorative aspects throughout,” said Maxwell VanZant (‘23), Learning Commons Student Manager. There are currently plans to implement more college-related decorations, but those changes can only happen after all the construction is nearly complete.

“I hope the rest of the doors come in soon since I think that is the one thing many people have reservations about,” said Victoria LeCureux (‘24), a student worker at the Learning Commons.

Because of supply chain issues, most of the study rooms do not ha ve doors. Because of this, it is difficult to find a private space apart from any public areas.

Doors for study rooms had been ordered well in advance of the Learning Commons opening, but due to national supply chain issues, the order continued to be pushed back. While some of the doors arrived within the last few weeks, most of them have yet to be shipped in.

“Even with the heavy construction, the Lower Level remains the location with the highest amount of student traffic and is used for a myriad of events and activities,” said VanZant. Despite complaints they had about the space, students still use the Learning Commons as a vital resource.

Ever since the height of the COVID pandemic, students ha ve struggled with finding spaces to gather and form a community. The Learning Commons building has also served as the ‘heart of the campus,’ both in its location in the center of campus as well as its function as a social hub for students. Hopefully, construction will be near completion by the Fall 2023 semester.

Theatre presents “A Streetcar Named Desire”




Alma College presented Tennessee Williams’ play, “A Streetcar Named Desire,” on Feb. 16 through Feb. 19. The two-hour show took place at the Remick Heritage Center in the Strosacker Theatre and was directed by Alma College Professor and Director of Theatre, Scott Mackenzie.

The play is set in New Orleans, Louisiana, and follows financially troubled Blanche DuBois as she moves in with her sister, Stella, and her aggressive husband, Stanley Kowalski. It explores Blanche’s current and past misfortunes alongside her brother-in-law’s cold-hearted persona.

“‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ is a classic mid-20th century play that has not lost its relevance in today’s society. The play addresses issues of class, domestic violence, mental health and sexual assault,” said Mackenzie.

“I think that some audience members will be shocked to see how those issues were addressed when the play was written versus how we perceive those issues today. Tennessee Williams was ahead of his time,” said Mackenzie.

Since COVID, casting has been challenging. “In the past, we never bothered to cast understudies, but… we had to take some precautions by double casting most of the major roles and planning for emergency understudies if someone in a smaller role had to miss a performance,” said Mackenzie.

In addition to casting extra, the cast only had about one month to rehearse for the production. “We auditioned right before Christmas but didn’t start rehearsals until the second week of the new semester… It was for sure challenging to learn all of my lines and blocking in such a short amount of time,” said Mia Abate (‘23) who played the part of Stella Kowalski.

The controversial nature of the play has also been difficult for some actors. “A lot of my parts have been very similar to who I am as a person… and Stanley is not like that at all. He is a very violent person… so the biggest challenge has been getting in his head and trying to empathize with someone who is so intense all the time,” said Cody Diesler (‘25) who played Stanley Kowalski in two of the four shows.

Despite the challenges, cast members like Abate have enjoyed the process. “My favorite part of preparing for the play was working with an amazing cast and crew… This show covers some pretty serious topics, so having a cast and crew who all support and care for each other made for a great environment to work in,” she said.

The production would not have been made possible, however, without the hard work of the student-run crew who worked behind the scenes to make this show come to life.

“I call the cues during the show, and I typically just make sure everything runs as smooth as possible. I communicate with all the separate departments within the theatre department,” said Kiera Biland (‘23). Biland was the stage manager for this play.

“The hardest part is keeping track of all of the props and costumes during scene changes. I write a shift plot, which is where and when each scenery piece or prop gets moved. This show has a lot of props, so keeping track of their movements is pretty hard,” said Biland.

The crew oversees all the technical aspects and ensures that everything is in place for a successful show. Though difficult, “having the actors in costumes and [using] props and set pieces makes it all feel worth it in the end,” said Biland.

Though a rigorous process, the dedicated efforts of cast, crew and directors made for a successful four nights of shows enjoyed by Alma College and the community.

Update on Joe’s Place



At the start of the school year Alma College found troubling news about plumbing issue at Joe’s Place. The issue led to the closure of the facility during the fall term; however, the issues were planned to be solved by Winter Term.

At the beginning of the year students received this email from Sandra Gadde, “Unfortunately, due to plumbing issues that were discovered late in the summer, Joe’s will be closed for the duration of fall term. This closure has brought some logistical challenges that we are working to address.”

As the mid-point of Winter Term approaches no updates have been released on when Joe’s Place would open up once more.

“They haven’t told us what is going on since the start of the year. Though the addition of the Joe’s Retail Store has helped the issue of the closure it hasn’t fixed the issue in its entirety,” said Britney Hamilton (’23).

Since the closure of Joe’s Place, Alma College has been working on creating a new dining option similar to Joe’s place.

“There will be a new grill option similar to the old Joe’s set to be placed in the Learning Commons. The name of the new facility has not been decided, but the grill is scheduled to open in March,” said Micah Barman, General Manager of Campus Dining.

The new dining facility will offer similar amenities to the old Joe’s, such as a retail outlet store and a grill the Joe’s name will be changed.

“The name will change and has yet to be released. We ran a naming contest/survey to let the students name it. The contest has ended, the marketing team is going through the results to decide the new name,” said Braman.

Though plans were set to ha ve the new Joe’s open by the beginning of the winter term, construction on the project is getting delayed by a couple months.

“Construction is taking longer than expected due to supply chain issues,” said Braman.

There has been speculation among the student body upon why the old Joe’s location is not getting fixed.

“The workers at Joe’s told me the leak that shut Joe’s down had been occurring since last year. I think the only reason Joe’s was shut down was because of the introduction of Metz. If the school still employed Sodexo, Joe’s may have stayed open,” said Hamilton.

Due to the prolonged absence of Joe’s Place, many students have grown impatient and irritated with the situation.

“It feels like the school is ripping us off. I spend a good amount of money to attend this school and I hoped to be given numerous options for dining. The absence of Joe’s has left only the Hamilton Commons as a place to get an actual meal on campus. I miss having different meal options on campus,” said Hamilton.

“It is frustrating as a student athlete to have Joe’s closed for so long. Sometimes after practice I don’t want to eat in the dining hall and just w ant to eat in my room. I miss having the option of taking my meals to go from Joe’s,” said Marissa Luzac (’24).

To compensate the closure of Joe’s, the college created a late-night option in Hamilton. However, once the new facility that replaces Joe’s is finished this program will no longer continue. “Currently there is a late-night option in Hamilton to compensate for the old Joe’s being closed. With the new Learning Commons location opening it will offer food later so there will not be a need for Hamilton to remain open,” said Braman.

Overall, the new dining facility will act like Joe’s but with a new name and location.

What’s up with Scotty?




Scotty has long been a staple of Alma College’s campus community from the days of old when it w as a Scottish Terrier, to a more cartoonish figure to its current state as a masculine Scottish man. These changes over the years reflect a change in branding associated with Alma College the same as switching the school ’s nickname from the Fighting Presbyterians to the Scots in the 1930s.

Across campus students and faculty alike have seen changes in the way in which Scotty has been portrayed across campus this year. From his removal in the Admissions office to his decreased presence at athletic events, everyone has taken notice and formed opinions on the matter.

Nonetheless, students and faculty can rest assured that Scotty is not going anywhere and will retain his current form for the foreseeable future.

“I think the rumors [about Scotty] have been squashed at the cabinet level and Scotty is not going away,” said Sarah Dehring, Vice President and Director of Athletics at Alma College.

Melinda Booth, Vice President for Communications and Marketing agreed with Dehring stating that there are no current plans to phase out or replace Scotty in any way.

The rumors Sarah mentioned were ones started by students who were under the impression that Scotty would change his outward appearance and take on the likeness of a Highland cow or possibly even a squirrel. Posters ha ve sprung up around campus both in favor of and against the squirrel as a potential new representation of Scotty.

All of this comes as schools across the country have been forced to reconsider or outright change their mascot in the name of better reflecting diversity and inclusion.

Some of the pushback against Scotty as he currently stands is that he is not representative of Alma College’s mission of creating a diverse and inclusive community for all students. His overt masculinity is just one example of an aspect of his outward appearance that comes under scrutiny.

Other examples of things highlighted as problematic with Scotty include his Northern European likeness which to some may represent colonial values and oppression.

Jonathan Glenn, Director of Diversity and Inclusion could not be reached for comment on this article.

In terms of utilizing Scotty in athletics, he has never been a key part of any logo and according to Dehring, the Alma College community can expect to see the Plaid “A” being representative of Alma College Athletics.

“We are the Scots, we are in Scotland, USA, I don’t think the Scotty name will ever go away,” said Dehring.

The same may not be true for the Alma College tartan however at other levels in future Alma College marketing. One specific aspect that the Alma College community may see slight changes in is the Alma College plaid or tartan.

“The plaid is not being phased out of all marketing materials,” said Booth, “we have begun to use less of [the plaid] ondigital platforms like web and social media where it can look heavy or a bit dark.”

Others involved in making future decisions about Scotty as well as the Alma College tartan include Raymond Barclay, Chief Operating Officer of Alma College, who also could not be reached for comment on this article.

Despite swirling rumors, it seems likely for now that Alma College’s mascot will remain to be Scotty for the future.

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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