Inside look at Alma Athletics

ALYSSA GALL
SPORTS WRITER

With sports’ seasons put on hold and social gatherings limited on campus, Alma College’s Athletic Department seeks to find new ways to keep student-athletes connected, even when they are off the field. One new way is through the use of the latest form of communication during this disconnected time: video.

While student-athletes may have to wait to put on their uniforms and see the field, the Athletic Department, along with the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC), has created a new way to get to know the athletes beyond their jerseys. In the new weekly video series posted to YouTube, Inside Scots Sports, each video takes a deeper look into the lives of some of Alma’s athletes.

“Our Inside Scots Sports videos are made to give athletes and faculty something to look forward to during this troubling time with no athletic events,” said SAAC Social Media Coordinator and host of the show, Hunter Nash(’22). “We aim to show that there is more to our student athletes here at Alma than just being an athlete. In saying that, I try to focus my questions not only on what made the athlete or faculty member come to Alma but what sparked their love for sports and competition in the first place!”

In these videos, each episode focuses on interviewing a student-athlete or even a college staff member within the Athletic Department. When interviewing, Nash dives into more than just questions about the athlete and their sport. Each video centers around getting to know the student-athlete on a more personal level rather than just being a number on the field.

“The idea for these videos was to give our community more information about our athletes here on campus to solidify a bond that athletes across campus all have with each other,” said Nash. “We want all athletes to look at the Athletic Department as a community where they can reach out to anyone if need be!”

With the aim being to strengthen the athletic community, it is no surprise that the push behind the formation of the videos stems from the Athletic Department’s own Sports Information Director, Matt Moran. The concept for the videos started as an idea to increase not only a sense of family amongst athletes, but to introduce the Alma community to the variety of students, who make up Alma’s 27 different sports’ teams. All Moran had to do was pitch the idea, find a host, and the rest was history.

“The idea is something I came up with as I wanted to feature our student-athletes more on a personal level,” said Moran. “I was suggested to reach out to Hunter because he has a passion for these kinds of projects. Hunter basically took the idea and ran with it by coming up with the name of the show and deciding what questions would be asked. I then worked with Hunter as well as our Assistant AD Kiana Verdugo on how we would go about putting it all together.”

When it comes to the production of these videos, Nash was eager to accept the challenge as the host with his interests in the business field and wanting to focus on his professionalism in public speaking. In each seven to ten-minute-long video, Nash interviews a different student-athlete to not only get to know them as an athlete, but a student as well through his wide array of witty questions.

“A typical video consists of some easy questions to get to know why the individual started playing their sport and how they found their way to Alma,” said Nash. “I then like to get into some questions about them so that myself and the community can learn more behind their name on their jersey. I then like to keep it light and fun by throwing in some weird and out of the box

questions to make it interesting and something to be talked about around campus. Finally, we have a speed round to see how many quick off-the-bat questions the participant can answer in 60 seconds!”

Just like how Nash switches up his questions to keep the interview interesting and participants on their toes, he also looks to interview student-athletes from all across the athletic community. This is notable in the videos posted, which consist of interviews featuring Men’s Soccer junior, Jarod Arendsen(’22), Volleyball and Softball Junior, Haley Ullrich(’22) and Men’s Golf and Tennis senior, Tait Morrissey(’21).

“I started the first couple interviews by interviewing individuals from other sports teams that I know, but it is completely open to anyone who wants to participate, so if you want to be on the show….Send me an email!” said Nash. “However, if I do not get volunteers, then I plan to make my way through the Athletic Department and hit someone from every team before going back through.”

With the future of sports’ seasons up in the air, it is important to take this time to reflect on not only what these sports mean to athletes, but to acknowledge what these athletes mean to the sports and athletic community. Thanks to the Athletic Department, Moran and Nash’s push for the Inside Scots Sports videos, it helps give the community something to rally around and learn more about the athletes, who they will cheer on when sports go back into action.

“I think it’s important, especially during this time, that we feature the members of the Alma College family,” said Moran. “With no competitions going on, it gives us more time to do these projects and tell the stories of these people. At the end of the day, I hope people are entertained by them and that they learn something they never knew before about the person being featured.”

COVID-19 updates on campus

MADDISON LUEBKE
COPY EDITOR

PHOTO BY LIZZY DERMODY

As the school year continues, policies regarding COVID-19 have adapted both statewide and here at Alma College. While some restrictions have been eased across the state, measures from within the college have been further reinforced.

At the beginning of October, news spread that a group was filing a lawsuit against Governor Whitmer saying that the policies implemented to combat COVID-19 over the summer were unconstitutional and an overreach of her power.

The Michigan Supreme Court overturned many of Whitmer’s policies, including social distancing measures and mask policies. Courts drew the line between safety protocol and total government control.

“I completely understand that she was in a hard spot, but at the same time, I think that there were other alternatives that she could have gone with that would have caused fewer restrictions and fear,” said Nicki Crump (’23). “I do feel she overstepped her powers, but I can also see how she was doing her best in a bad situation.”

The conflicting opinions on these policies are not just a statewide concern, but a concern of our own community.

”Alma Public Schools set the state record for K-12 outbreaks,” said Kathryn Blanchard, professor of religious studies. “And there’s been a huge spike in state cases, which seems to have come about 2 weeks after the court struck down the governor’s authority; lots of people seem to have taken that as a sign that they didn’t have to wear masks or practice social distancing anymore (if they ever did).”

While the statewide regulations have become less restrictive, Alma College has reverted to Phase 1 of the Return to Campus plan. Immediately after the move back to Phase 1, the third round of campus-wide testing resulted in 31 current positive cases on campus.

“The third round of testing was a wake-up call,” said Blanchard. “Alma students, like people everywhere, are getting “Covid fatigue” and not being as careful as they were before. I guess we’ll see if this wake-up call changes people’s behaviors or if it’s just the beginning of a bigger spike in cases.”

While many are very concerned about the number of cases, many students have brought up the impact the Return to Campus Plan has had on their mental health.

“They are hurting the students more than helping,” said Crump. “We are stressed, tired, and lonely enough as it is, the policies are only making it worse. We want our freedom back.”

This past week, President Abernathy released a statement saying that the campus had run out of quarantine rooms for students. Students that have been exposed will not be asked to quarantine for 14 days at home, rather than keeping them on campus.

While the campus looks for answers to all of these problems in the last 4 weeks of the semester, some believe that there is no perfect solution.

“I know the administration is doing its best, and campus-wide testing is a very good thing, but we already ran out of quarantine space once and students were forced to move; I suppose that could happen again,” said Blanchard. “I’m also not sure that small housing is a good idea, because if one person tests positive, a whole house full of people can’t go to class for two weeks. That’s really disruptive.”

The staff of The Almanian encourages all Alma College students to continue following the Phase 1 guidelines and keeping our campus safe from any further outbreaks. Daily temparture checks and following the rules are the best way to guarantee we can continue classes on campus this year.

Campus community reacts to academic program cuts

JORDYN BRADLEY
SPORTS EDITOR

PHOTO BY RAUL RIVERA

On Friday, Oct. 16, President Abernathy issued a statement regarding the phasing out of certain academic programs and disciplines at Alma College due to budget cuts.

The programs affected by this change are as follows: both the French and German majors and minors will be phased out, but courses in the languages will be offered to fulfill language requirements; the Religious Studies major will be phased out, but the minor and Pre-Ministry program will be retained; the Bachelor of Music in Music Performance and the Alma Symphony Orchestra will be phased out, but the B.A. in Music and B.M. in Music Education will remain intact; the Bachelor of Fine Arts in Art will be phased out, but the B.A. in Art will remain; and the Anthropology program will be phased out completely.

This decision was made by the Task Force on Reducing College Costs, which was composed of six faculty and six staff members. Half of the task force were elected, and the others were appointed to establish diverse representation within the group.

“The aim was to ensure that Alma College thrives long into the future while honoring the college’s mission, vision and values and supporting the overall student experience,” said President of Alma College, Jeff Abernathy.

However, not all students and alumni feel the same way.

“I no longer feel the initial pride I felt when I said I was an Alma Scot because of how the administration has taken the mission statement and thrown it out,” said Gabrielle Alter (‘19).

The task force was formed in April and began its collaborative work in May, but Abernathy says that the Coronavirus pandemic was not the sole reason for these cuts.

“The pandemic was a catalyst for this phase of the process; however, this was the final phase of an extensive budget review the college has undergone over the last three years to help to ensure our long-term financial vitality, reduce yearly tuition increases and expand student financial assistance,” said Abernathy.

An academic sub-committee of Alma College met and considered quantitative and qualitative factors when making recommendations regarding programs, positions and initiatives to help the college financially.

“Qualitative factors included items like impact on institutional identity and priorities; quantitative data included such considerations as departmental costs, average class size and overall program enrollment,” said Provost and Vice President for Academic Affairs, Kathleen Dougherty.

Dougherty said that the sub-committee worked to find reductions that would have the least impact on students and faculty, as well as the ongoing ability to deliver academic programs Alma College is known for.

“Achieving the necessary cost reductions required some difficult decisions regarding the phase out of academic programs that have seen reduced enrollments and in which the institution cannot continue the necessary investment to promote academic excellence,” said Dougherty.

Many students who choose to attend Alma do so because the idea of a liberal arts education appeals to them. According to Oxford Languages, liberal arts generally covers three areas: sciences, arts and humanities. With this academic program update, many people in the campus

community question whether Alma College can still consider itself a liberal arts school, as the academic programs that are being phased out are in both the arts and the humanities.

“I chose a small liberal arts college because I wanted to be able to learn about things that didn’t fall into my major,” said Najelle Gilmore (‘19).

“Alma provided me with the opportunity to get an expansive education, discover new passions and pursue multiple interests. I am really disheartened to hear that they had to come to this decision. These classes are at the heart of who we are and I don’t know what Alma College will be without them.”

Another alumni, Ellie Woertz (‘20), had similar beliefs.

“Alma is supposed to be a liberal arts college, but the programs that are being cut seem to be the programs that show our liberal arts,” said Woertz.

Professor of Religious Studies, Kate Blanchard, believes that Alma can still call itself a liberal arts college despite the budget cuts to the arts and humanities programs while maintaining funding for STEM and pre-professional programs.

“But it will also be incumbent upon the college to keep making the case that the label of ‘liberal arts’ still fits, especially the farther away it moves from traditional orthodoxy,” said Blanchard.

“If we don’t offer humanities majors, what role do the humanities play in the curriculum overall? What makes an Alma business major or pre-med graduate different from business major or pre-med graduate [at a different school]? We’ll have to keep thinking about how we answer that with integrity.”

Joe Tighe (‘21), a student with an interest in German–one of the language programs that are being phased out–described the effect he believes these changes will have on campus.

“I feel like [Alma is] going to see smaller classes coming in [and] retention rates drastically changing for the worst,” said Tighe.

As previously mentioned, many students choose to attend Alma for specific programs, and many of those include programs in the arts or humanities.

“Alma needs to realize that some of the new changes they are implementing are not what is best for its students. Alma College is acting more like a business making business decisions than a place that teaches and inspires students to be great,” said Tighe.

“I loved my time at Alma, but I will only be able to speak about Alma in the past tense,” said Gilmore.

“A change of this magnitude that directly contradicts a part of what it means to be Scot proves to me that I don’t know Alma. I couldn’t in good conscience encourage someone to attend Alma because I would be speaking to an experience that no longer exists.”

Blanchard has been the only faculty member of the Religious Studies department for over two years, and she has been trying to make the case for another person to be hired since her colleague Brian Stratton left. She argued that she cannot offer a Religious Studies major on her own, despite help from occasional adjunct instructors.

“I was notified over the summer that they weren’t prepared to fill Dr. Stratton’s position, which meant the Religious Studies major had to go,” said Blanchard.

“I chose the Religious Studies program as one of my majors because of how it allowed me to choose my own path and how all ideas were accepted,” said Alter.

“As someone who was able to engage in a fair amount of religious exploration through this major, others are being denied the same opportunity.”

Luckily for Blanchard and those interested in Religious Studies, courses will still be offered, and a minor can still be obtained in the program. The same thing cannot be said for the Anthropology department, which is being phased out completely.

“I am saddened by the elimination of the Anthropology department here at Alma College,” said Anthropology major, Eryn Corinth (‘21).

“Anthropology allows for expansion of world views and a global perspective through looking at the past to better understand the present and future. Losing the Anthropology department at Alma means losing a key integral aspect of the humanities and social sciences of which cannot be obtained through any other discipline.”

Alma College is not the first campus community to be hit by a decision like this. Adrian College–a fellow MIAA private liberal arts college–recently announced that they intended to eliminate the history, theatre, religion, philosophy and leadership departments due to budget cuts. This decision was set to be implemented before the beginning of the 2021-22 academic year. However, Adrian College received a large public outcry demanding the programs remain, and the president of the institution, Jeffrey Docking, reversed the decision.

Many are wondering if Alma College will follow suit.

“I believe this is a decision Alma College administration should look into more deeply, because to fully participate in the liberal arts arena, students need a background from an array of disciplines that will challenge normative expectations and expand horizons,” said Corinth.

Alma College Administration stresses that the decisions that were made were not easy to come to.

“We acknowledge that these changes are disappointing for members of our campus community, but by making them, we are ensuring our ability to promote vibrant and engaging academic programming, and securing our long-term financial viability, so that students can attend Alma College for generations to come,” said Abernathy.

Alma Confessions faces backlash

JORDYN BRADLEY
SPORTS EDITOR

If you’re an Alma student with a Twitter account, you’ve probably seen tweets shared by Alma Confessions (@scotscandals), an anonymously-run confessions page. Since its debut in January of this year, the page has been the talk of campus for multiple different “scandalous” Twitter threads that have come out of it.

“It was kind of just an idea my friend had and it was supposed to be a fun little account where people post weird and I guess scandalous things about themselves like secrets and whatnot. We did not think that the page would take off or still be active months later either,” said the anonymous person behind the Alma Confessions Twitter page.

The anonymous creator adds that they have been shocked at many of the topics brought up on the page.

Part of the appeal of the Twitter account is how easy it is to post your opinions anonymously without repercussions or people finding out: the account provides a link in a pinned tweet takes you right to the anonymous submission form. However, many students find the easy accessibility and the page in general toxic.

“I do not approve of most of the things that the Twitter page comments on, mainly because it’s not an open-to-discussion type of page,” said Kiersten Rebhun (‘22).

Rebhun added that people use the page to get their opinions across and only their opinions, not to have a discussion about why they believe so or to listen to different opinions.

The Twitter page has seen a variety of posts, from those asking for advice to those fully confessing something anonymously.

In the past, people have asked for advice on their mental health, classes or even relationships; but there have been a variety of posted confessions relating to politics, the COVID-19 pandemic or body image that spark more controversy.

“Not gonna lie, it’s a pretty mixed bag. Sometimes people post funny stuff, others personal, but then recently with all the weight stuff, it can be really toxic,” said Gabe Zerbe (‘21).

The most recent debate that occurred on the page was regarding fatphobia on campus. Many students anonymously took to the Twitter page to shame plus-sized students by calling them lazy and telling them to simply eat healthier. These tweets were met by an array of students supporting plus-sized students and calling the anonymous writers bullies.

“I think it becomes toxic when that’s the only thing being posted. I’d say it’s just someone being a jerk if it were one or two posts, but the sheer amount got absurd,” said Zerbe.

Cyber bullying has gotten very real on the Alma Confessions page–even the creator agrees.

“One person [could send] in an anonymous message about how they are feeling and the next moment I get sent stuff by people that are basically bullying that person because they don’t believe the same thing as [them]” said the anonymous owner of the account.

Yet, the creator still posts what they get sent.

“I understand that we don’t want to do censorship because we are a free country and we have the right to talk about whatever we want [and] that’s a really cool thing that we have.

[However,] talking about it and just saying it to say it and be mean [is] just bullying,” said Rebhun.

“I still post about it, even if I don’t agree with it because that’s what a person who runs this kind of page should do: have their own feelings about the subject but still be unbiased and post everything” said anonymous.

The creator of the page did want to note that there have been instances where they have not posted a tweet that they were sent. However, out of the over 2,500 messages they have received, the number of ones they haven’t posted is around 20. This has been due to names being mentioned, the tweet being too out of bounds or it was on a matter that was posted about too much, all three of which are subject to the opinion of the anonymous account owner.

Even though Alma Confessions posts dozens of confessions, they stress that the opinions are not ones that they hold, and that they just post what is sent.

Regardless of your beliefs on the page, the page still stands and people continue to submit confessions and opinions about things that, to be frank, do not need to be discussed. People have no right to comment on other people’s bodies and don’t get to choose who has the correct political opinions. Each person has a different mindset, and it’s funny that people are surprised at this concept.

Nisbet Hall Renamed in Light of KKK Connection

CHELSEA FABER
STAFF WRITER

Following a review conducted by the Michigan State University Board of Trustees, President Abernathy announced on September 5 that it was discovered that Stephen Nisbet was a member of the Ku Klux Klan (KKK), a notorious white supremist group.

He went on to explain that in light of these findings, the Alma College Board of Trustees’ Executive Committee have voted to rename Nisbet Hall. Similar action was also taken by Michigan State University after discovering that a building on their campus was named after a KKK member.

Nisbet was an Alma alumnus and who sat on the Alma College Board of Trustees for 40 years in the mid-1900s. He also served on the Michigan State University Board of Trustees as well as holding other positions within the two colleges.

The revelation of his membership was particularly disturbing considering his notoriety within the state of Michigan to be a supporter of many charitable causes.

The space formerly known as Nisbet Hall has been temporarily named Brazell West until a new name can be confirmed. Nearly every reference to ‘Nisbet’ has since been changed to reflect this change—including outdoor signage, directory references and housing assignment listings. The purging of any reference to ‘Nisbet’ is the first step in a long journey of reevaluating many aspects of our campus.

In the official statement, President Jeff Abernathy stated, “Alma College denounces racism in all forms and is committed to creating a climate where everyone is safe and free to grow intellectually, spiritually and emotionally. We will move forward in these efforts together.”

In the midst of the Black Lives Matter movement, colleges across the nation have begun to reevaluate who is memorialized, why they were important and who they were in the greater scope of the world. Alma College has begun its own audit process in which they will review the campus environment in relation to diversity, inclusion, and equity.

This process is led by administration and students working on the Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Board and aims to make our campus a more equitable space.

“There are representatives from student organizations as well as faculty in order to have a voice on what is happening,” said Darian Jones ’22. Jones also explained that the goals of the audit reach past evaluating the climate of Alma College. She said she hopes students can “have harder conversations, understand and see perspectives that have been overlooked and not heard for a long time. Our campus is very specific in not hearing specific voices, and we as a campus have decided we are no longer okay with that, which is great, but I think we can push it even further.”

Students are being invited to join focus groups as well as other activities within the audit so that the auditors can gain a complete picture of how students view the campus environment in terms of equity and inclusion.

Beyond diversity and inclusion efforts done by administration, students are being called upon to learn about how to create a more just campus and take personal steps to become more aware of these issues.

“Students should take their own initiative to learn and understand what these things mean. It’s been easy in the past to write things off and ignore them, but it is time to call things what they are and get to the point as soon as it happens to change the culture,” said Jones.

Students who are interested in joining the aforementioned focus groups or other diversity efforts should contact Dr. Blake or any Diversity and Inclusion Advisory Board member for more information.

Mental health in the age of COVID-19

BAILEY LANGBO
STAFF WRITER

The idea of mental health has long been placed on the backburner of our current society, often ignored in favor of illnesses that can be seen. The idea of an unseen illness can be too easily brushed off by those that go unaffected.

However, with the emergence of self-isolation in the age of COVID-19, mental health has become a pressing problem for people all over the world. While the circumstances of disease prevention have become stricter as the pandemic progresses, all of humanity has found itself quickly adapting to change.

While this might prove easy for some people, few could be prepared for the months spent in quarantine while the world as we knew it fell apart. With little to no warning, COVID-19 took over our daily lives and disrupted our plans—the aftereffects of which can still be felt around the world.

As college students, we know all too well the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, especially when considering the lives we gave up earlier this year when we were forced home in the middle of the semester. Despite the fact that students have been allowed back on campus, things are still not back to normal, thus causing added stress.

“I feel like being back has only made [my mental health] worse,” said Abigail Zerbe (’23). “It sucks that now I’m so near my friends, but I can’t actually spend any quality time with them.”

The newest issue within our campus community is keeping each other safe. While mandatory health screenings have become a part of our everyday lives, wearing masks and social distancing have become the new norm in classes, meetings and events. These measures, however, have caused debate among students, faculty and staff alike; whether or not they’re necessary has suddenly become a hot topic.

“Keeping people healthy and safe has become politicized,” said Natalie Walsh (’22). “It’s scientifically proven that social distancing and wearing a mask can save lives. A lot of people tend to think this is false and will only wear a mask if it’s being required by law but will complain the entire time. A lot of people that associate with the Republican party think COVID-19 is a hoax and refuse to wear a mask or will wear it incorrectly. I would like to add that not everyone who is Republican believes that, but I’ve gotten into arguments about whether or not we should wear masks, when it’s a health issue, not a political one.”

While many people struggled with the idea of self-isolation during quarantine, others used the time for some much-needed R&R, taking time to check out new recipes, work on crafts or binge the newest Netflix series.

“I’m an extreme introvert. I really have to plan out my people time accordingly because there will be a point that I hit a wall and need to go into hiding,” said Nicole Yost (’21). “I was given so much alone time for schoolwork that I really had the chance to improve my mental state. After school was over, I was able to do nothing with no other commitments that I needed to give my time to, which really helped me recharge. It really helped me feel the best I have since freshman year.”

When faced with something that cannot be changed, it’s often best to take it in stride and look at the positives. This could be, for example, taking time to relax after a stressful semester at school, or using quarantine to learn a new hobby or read a book you’ve been putting off to the side. While a global pandemic is stressful for a variety of somewhat obvious reasons, it’s important to remember the good. A global pandemic won’t go away on its own, but it can be slowed down by students remembering to follow safety precautions.

Now, more than ever, it’s important to lean on friends and family for support (while still adhering to social distancing regulations). With a combined effort, the spread of COVID-19 can be slowed and life can return to normal.

Theatre department prepares for upcoming show

ALIVIA GILES
STAFF WRITER

With the new school year in swing, the Alma College theatre department is preparing for their first show of the season, Ron Carlson’s, Bigfoot Stole My Wife (and Other Stories from News of the World). The show will be performed four times, with two separate casts each performing twice. In total, the production will feature 18 students.

For most theaters, COVID-19 has put a halt on productions, but for Scott Mackenzie, Professor and Director of Theatre, this was an opportunity to do something a little different. Bigfoot Stole My Wife is not written as a traditional play, but rather as a series of monologues.

After watching his sister perform in a production of Bigfoot Stole My Wife at the Ann Arbor Civic Theatre in 1988, Mackenzie knew it was a show he had to direct. This opportunity finally came in 2006, while he was serving in Iraq with the Army Reserve.

Mackenzie wanted to direct a show and he needed one that would accommodate the hectic schedules of the performers. “I [had] to find something that could still go on, even if a performer was called out on a mission during rehearsal, which did happen, or during a performance, which did not – thankfully,” Mackenzie said.

With that experience in mind, Mackenzie knew Bigfoot would be a great option for this year’s unique situation. With the show being entirely in monologues, each actor will be on stage alone, making social distancing easy.

Along with that, the preparation for this show has been very different from that of past productions. This year, rehearsals are held every night for three hours, with each performer coming in to work on their monologue for a half hour two days a week.

Bigfoot Stole my Wife will be Lucy Woods’s (’24), first show at Alma College. Woods plans to major in English Education and Theatre. As a Freshman, Woods has used this production, not only to strengthen herself as an actor, but also as an opportunity to make friends. “I have only been able to meet some of my fellow [cast members], but the ones I have met are all very sweet and cool people,” Woods said.

Being unable to rehearse with the entire cast has been new for Woods, and while it has been difficult, it has also come with surprising perks. “It’s exciting because the rest of the show will be fresh for me as I watch from backstage,” Woods said, “I have seen a couple ‘sneak peeks’ of the [other performers’ monologues]. The show is going to be fantastic.”

Woods will be performing the monologue, “Baby Born with 2,000-Year-Old Bracelet”. In this piece, Woods plays an obstetrician. “My character talks a little about [the baby] and a little about life,” Woods said, “It is one of the more serious monologues in the production.”

According to Woods, the most rewarding aspect of being involved with this production has been seeing herself improve as a performer. “Dr. Mackenzie gives me lots of immensely helpful pointers and advice,” Woods said.

David Troyer (’24) will also be making his Alma College theatre debut in Bigfoot Stole my Wife. Troyer plans to major in Biology and Theatre. Troyer is excited to get back into theatre after taking a break from acting for a year. “Now that I’m in Bigfoot, it feels like I’m making up for those lost opportunities,” Troyer said.

While Troyer has enjoyed being a part of this production, he has also been faced with some obstacles. “I think the most challenging thing is trying to find a unique way of presenting the character,” Troyer said, “I’m not the only one who has this role, so I try to find little things that make my interpretation of the character my own, which isn’t always easy.”

While difficult at times, having another actor playing the same role has also been beneficial for Troyer. “Since I have a partner, so to speak, we both get to try different things, and we learn from each other,” Troyer said.

Under the direction of Dr. Mackenzie, Troyer feels that he is beginning to break his habit of changing lines. “In high school, I was notorious for adding little things here and there to make it ‘flow better’,” Troyer said, “[In this production], I [have been] encouraged to find the flow in the words that are there and how I say them.”

With COVID-19 restrictions in place, performances of this show will look very different from productions in previous years. Normally, the Strosacker Theatre can seat about 190 audience members, but at this time, that number is down to about 30.

Auditorium seating will be limited to Alma College students, faculty and staff. The production will also be livestreamed, although, at this time, Heritage Center management has not decided on a streaming platform.

Performance dates for Bigfoot Stole my Wife are set for Oct. 1-3 at 7:30 p.m. and Oct. 4 at 2:30 p.m.

Alma proceeds with second round of COVID testing

ELLA BRIGHT
STAFF WRITER

New rounds of COVID-19 testing for students, faculty, staff and contract workers began on Monday, Sept. 14 and continued into Thursday, Sept. 17. The testing was conducted on the Dunning Memorial Chapel lawn and was held each day from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Testing was split between students alphabetically according to last name. It was conducted in the same way it was when students moved onto campus: polymerase chain reaction via a nasal swab. The testing was completely free to students and mandatory to attend.

Similar to the first round of testing, students would not be informed if they tested negative. They would only be informed if they tested positive for COVID-19. Students who are attending Alma solely online and are not student athletes were not required to be tested.

This new round of testing was not a surprise to most students at Alma; though necessary, it was not necessarily welcomed with open arms. “The first time we did it, I had my mom to hold onto,” said Mishaye Hearn (‘24). “[The test] became so painful to the point where I was physically taking his wrist off me.” When asked how she felt about this new round of testing, Hearn honestly said, “I’m terrified!”

Kara Sutherland (‘24) shared some of the same fears. “[I’m] nervous,” said Sutherland.

She also shared how she felt these tests were necessary. “[It’s] necessary to make sure that the measures that have been taken to protect the students are accurate and proven effective,” said Sutherland. “I am ready and capable to be tested again.”

Hearn also shared that, despite her fears, she felt this new round of testing was extremely important. “It’s a 50/50 thing,” said Hearn. “I know it’s necessary, so I’m okay with it.”

The testing followed an email from President Jeff Abernathy on Friday, Sept. 11, that stated there was recently an increase in likely cases. The email said that while ‘unfortunate’, this uptick in cases was ‘not entirely unexpected’ after the Labor Day weekend.

As of Sept. 17, there were 17 positive cases on campus. As a result of the recent uptick in cases, all non-classroom activities were limited to no more than 25 people. President Abernathy stated in the email that once all the campus-wide testing results were received, this restriction will be reviewed.

At the end of his email update, President Abernathy stressed the importance of social distancing, wearing face coverings, washing hands, completing the daily health screening form and staying home if you are feeling sick.

“It’s up to those of us who are not in isolation or quarantine to stay focused and serious about COVID-19, so as to not overwhelm our campus resources and the local healthcare system,” said the email.

With rising cases in schools all over Michigan, this campus-wide testing will provide a clearer picture of what further steps Alma needs to take in order to ensure the safety of students, staff and community.

“I think that if we’re doing what we’re supposed to be doing and what we’re told to do, we should be able to get back to some sort of normalcy,” said Sutherland.

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