Revolution erupts in Venezuela


The Venezuelan Government – a once prospering economy of South America –hangs in the balance as more protests erupt across the nation. Over the past four years, their economy has crumbled due to the massive rise of inflation and their GDP has fallen, making essential items like food and medicine inaccessible for many people living in Venezuela. With more people rising, the situation in Venezuela is becoming tenser as the weeks go by.

The first Presidential leader to take the nation of Venezuela in the direction towards a socialist government was Hugo Chávez. Chávez led Venezuela from 1999 to 2013 and was responsible for the implementation of many social-welfare subsidies to secure his popularity among the lower-class citizens of Venezuela.

“Hugo Chávez was the strong man from 1999 to 2013. As a youth, Chávez was in Castro’s camps, acting like a disciple. Castro was responsible for recruiting much Latin American youth to venture out to Cuba,” said Keith Wise, Professor of History and Religion.

Chávez returned to Venezuela and implanted many structures of government that he initially witnessed in Cuba.

“In the 1990s, Venezuela’s economy –its GDP –was wealthy when compared to all the Latin American countries combined because of its oil production,” said Wise.

Venezuela was once the wealthiest country in South America because of its massive oil reserves. The funding for these social welfare systems came from the economy around exporting Venezuelan oil. Thus, the foundation of oil prices became the foundation for Chávez’s socialist programs.

In 2014 – when Chávez handed over power to Nicolás Maduro – the price of oil dropped and the county could no longer afford to sustain the implemented systems of welfare that were set up by Chávez.

“When Nicolás Maduro took power, he brought his interrogators to help secure his power,” said Wise.

“When Chávez took power and when power transferred to Maduro, the low-income sector still liked him, but now they are living out medicine, access to food or medicine,” said Jessica Araway (‘21).

With the future of Venezuelan leadership hanging in the balance, the Russian Federation and China both support Maduro, while the United States and the more significant majority of the European Union overwhelming support the democratic leader, Juan Gaido.

An overwhelming majority of the population of Venezuela want Maduro out of office as many are starving and actively fleeing the collapsing government.

“A good friend of mine [Sergio Castillo] is from Venezuela, so he agreed to share his thoughts on the situation in Venezuela,” said Araway.

“Maduro is not a political leader. He’s a dictator, and he violated the Venezuelan constitution,” Sergio Castillo, a former citizen of Venezuela.

As the violence and unrest continue, more Venezuelan citizens are escaping into nonbordering Latin American countries like Equator, Columbia, and Argentina. Many have also escaped into Spain, as well.

“More than five million people have escaped the country because of lack of necessities, such as food and medicine,” said Castillo.

“People are leaving. There are people in Columbia, Equator and Argentina. Many people – including Castillo – have made their way to Spain,” said Araway.

As the present situation continues to unfold in Venezuela, many more people continue to leave the county or starve under the oppressive weight of the government controlled by Maduro.

“What I found is that the people will always eventually win,” said Wise.

When the people are oppressed, their opportunity to find a better alternative is to fight or to starve. The people are a great pendulum that eventually swings itself back into equilibrium, leaving behind the past dangers of socialism and their tyrannical leaders.

Scots track gets six firsts at Aquinas meet

By John Durga

Staff Writer

Alma College Track and Field had a very successful outing at the Aquinas Little Meet on Feb. 9. The Scots had six individual wins at the meet including three for the men and women respectively. This showing also earned two Scots MIAA Player of the Week honors.

Torres Ingraham (’21) was honored after he claimed two of the three victories for the men, doing so in the 60-meter dash, finishing in 7.12 seconds, and the long jump, landing in the pit at 6.76 meters. Ingraham reset the Alma College 60-meter dash with his 7.12 second time.

“Being player of the week as a freshman is such a blessing. It really shows my hard work towards my craft,” said Ingraham. “Despite me already holding the record in the 60, I plan to attempt to break my own record every time I step on the track to compete.”

“It does make me feel a little special,” said Blaire Showers (’19). “Last year alum Kaitlyn Arnold received it a few times, but because she had gotten it multiple weeks in a row and she was such an outstanding runner, I never really stopped to think about how neat of an award it is to get.”

Showers was named MIAA Player of the Week for leading the Scots to a victory in the 4×400-meter relay, running her 400-meter portion in just 65 seconds, while also taking the runner-up spot in the 800-meter run. Her 65 second time was just shy of her personal best.

“We gained some confidence tonight that what we’re doing in practice is paying off,” said head coach Matt Chovanec “We have two weeks until the conference indoor meet and our focus will continue to be about getting better every day.”

The Scots will look to continue their success as their season carries on towards the MIAA Indoor Track and Field Championships on Feb. 24 starting at 9:30 AM.

“I plan on continuing to get better by keeping up with my regular training regimen of running and lifting,” said Showers. “I will possibly be bumping up my weekly mileage going into the spring time.”

STUNT tumbles into winning record

By Joelle Fisher

Sports Writer

STUNT began its season in full force with two perfect performances on back to back weekends. The team sits at a 7-1 record with only one loss to Davenport by a 12-18 margin.

“STUNT season is my favorite time of the year because I love the atmosphere and energy that game days bring,” said Morgan Thompson (‘18).

“It’s an experience and feeling that I haven’t been able to find anywhere else,” said Thompson.

“It’s fast-paced and pushes both the athletes and coaches to strategize, think, react and perform under pressure,” said Michelle Sabourin, head cheer and STUNT coach.

During its 2016-2017 season, the girls lost to Davenport with a score of 14-17 at College STUNT National Championships in Dallas, Texas. The team’s achievements put them at second place overall at the tournament.

“Being involved in STUNT makes me a better athlete because there is a major emphasis on teamwork,” said Erica Kuiper (‘18).

“Every individual plays a role in the game and we all have to work together to produce the best outcome,” said Kuiper.

This season the girls are focusing on striving for perfect routines so that their only option is to win or tie. More STUNT teams have formed in the past few years which has lead to more competition and room for improvement within Alma’s team.

“As coaches, we try to treat each team and each season as a new start, and progress the team to grow and improve,” said Sabourin.

With the addition of nine new freshmen to the team, the girls are ready to chase their dreams and show off their hard work.

“I set a 5-year plan when I was hired, and my team met every goal in year two,” said Sabourin.

“Since that time, we have just worked on being the best we can be every day, having purposeful practices, and making the most of every opportunity to get better,” said Sabourin.

The team wrapped up their regional play on Sunday, Feb. 18. Alma College hosted the STUNT tournament at Art Smith Arena and invited University of Michigan, Michigan State University, Olivet College, Davenport University and Ferris State for competition. (See for results)

“I want the girls to withhold the culture that we’ve worked so hard to build and ensure that it continues after they are gone by teaching and mentoring the new members,” said Sabourin.


Spring teams prepare for break travel

By Hank Wickley

Sports Writer

Spring break is celebrated by college students everywhere. It is a time for relaxation and vacation.

However, for the student athletes on spring sports teams, this time off means something different.

Cheer and STUNT, men’s lacrosse, women’s lacrosse, baseball and softball all have this in common. All five teams will be traveling across the country to compete with other schools.

The cheer and STUNT team will be going to Oklahoma City for break. “We will be playing UT-Tyler, Drury, Independence CC, Oklahoma Baptist and The University of Oklahoma,” said head coach Michelle Sabourin.

Along with competition, the team has a few fun things planned. “We will be stopping in St. Louis on the way back and visiting the arch,” said Sabourin.

This trip marks the end of the STUNT season, and the beginning of the competitive cheer season, said Sabourin.

It may seem like a missed opportunity for student athletes to enjoy a week off of school, but many do not see it that way.

Sophomore cheer and STUNT flyer Jessica Hatcher (‘20) said, “I love it, it is nice being able to get the opportunity to travel with the team and spend time building unity and bonds between us.”

The men’s lacrosse team will be heading to the Raleigh Durham area in Virginia for a week. Head coach Michael Kinney said the team will be, “playing Ferrum College and Greensboro College before going to play Virginia Wesleyan over in Virginia Beach.”

The team has been preparing for this trip to kick off its season with a rigorous practice schedule.

“Luckily we’ve had a ton of opportunities to be outside because the facilities crew is awesome and keeps the field cleared for us,” said Kinney.

Off the field, the team has plans to watch some Division I lacrosse. “We’ll be close to UNC and Duke, so we are planning on catching a UNC lacrosse home game,” said Kinney.

The men’s lacrosse team opens its season at home on Saturday Feb. 17 against Illinois Wesleyan University.

The women’s lacrosse team is heading to Texas to play the University of Dallas, Otterbein University and Cleary University.

When asked what she thought about being unable to vacation for a week, sophomore defender Haylee Baetz (‘20) said, “I think it is a lot better than having a normal spring break.”

“I get to be with my best friends and play the sport that I love,” added Baetz.

The baseball team will be in Florida for the break. The squad will play the Milwaukee School of Engineering, Concordia College, Augustana College, Capital University and Rose-Hulman Institute of Technology.

Preparation has been the key for this team. “We practice 4:45am-8am in the Rec Center Monday, Wednesday, Friday and one of the days on the weekend,” said head coach Jacob Sabol.

“Our pitchers and catchers report to practice earlier than the rest of the position players for long toss programs/pre-throw activities/arm care/bullpens/live outings, etc,” said Sabol.

For their downtime in Florida, the team has a few things planned, but most of the focus will be on competition, said Sabol.

The softball team will also be heading to Florida for break.

“We travel to Clermont Florida which is outside of Orlando and play 12 varsity and four JV games during the week,” said head coach Dennis Griffin.

As for time outside of games, the softball team is strictly business.

“They have one day off of which they usually spend it with their parents/grandparents either shopping, going to Disney, Detroit Tigers game or just relaxing,” said Griffin.

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Advancement office conducts phonathon

By Caden Wilson

News Editor

Every year, the Alma College advancement office hosts an annual fundraising phonathon, during which current students are hired and trained to call and talk with alumni and donors to the college.

“It allows us to stay in contact with our alumni and friends and gives them an opportunity to support the college,” says Brent Neubecker, director of annual giving. “The annual fund supports the operating budget of the college.”

According to Neubecker, the advancement office looks to hire forty students who will be trained to operate phone lines and converse with alumni and other donors to the college. Additionally, the phonathon will also ensure that the college maintains accurate contact information with alumni.

Money raised during the event will go to the Annual Fund which pays for student aid, scholarships, necessities for campus organizations, and venture grants. The advancement office’s goal is to raise $1.45 million by June 30, 2018.

Although calling alumni may seem daunting, Neubecker stated that the students the office hires usually perform very well.

“Many of our students are nervous the first few times they call but we have a very good training program and once they make a few calls our students do very well,” he said.

For many of the students who have operated phone lines in the past, the event has been very beneficial. Aside from talking with alumni about their experiences, students develop social skills and learn about one-on-one interaction.

“I’m naturally a people person, so I had no issues talking to people,” said Gabrielle Alter (‘19), who has worked on the phonation for four sessions since 2015. “I really enjoyed listening to people tell how Alma positively changed their lives.”

Alter’s favorite part of the phonathon was listening to alumni describe how the college positively impacted their lives. On average, Alter was apart of eight shifts for every session she was apart of.

However, Alter stated that she disliked the negative attitudes of some alumni who were irritated when asked to donate, including some who verbally harassed callers.

“The only call I was nervous about making was the first one ever. During all of the following calls I felt comfortable,” said Max Stepanets (‘19), who contacted between 250-300 alumni. Stepanets stated that the best part of his experience was successfully convincing alumni to donate. His time spent calling was around ten hours a week.

“It was all a learning experience, whether the call was a success or failure,” Stepanets added.

Last spring, the phonathon raised $100,000, although Neubecker expects to break that record.

“Becoming a student caller helps build a student’s resume and helps them gain valuable skills to take with them after Alma,” Neubecker said. “It is also a lot of fun.”


Broadway struggles with accessibility

By Samantha Anteau

Staff Writer

In the past decade, as a result of the rise of the internet and a new resurgence in the popularity of musical theater, bootleg videos of Broadway productions have become a point of contention for many creators and fans.  

Some creators and actors, such as Lin Manuel Miranda of Hamilton fame, are vehemently against bootlegged videos. Opinions of why people shouldn’t bootleg vary, but much of it is about supporting artists or preserving the art in its intended form.  

I have always been in support of more accessible Broadway shows. There is very little chance that I will ever be able to go see a Broadway show; New York City is unbelievably expensive without the added expense of theater tickets.  

And with tickets that are still ridiculously expensive outside of New York, when shows go on tour, many people will never be able to see the shows at all. 

Theatre is a unique medium. With movies and television, there exist consistent forms. You watch The Avengers, and you’re going to get the same film, with the same actors. It doesn’t change and never will.  

Additionally, there are many ways to get it legally; if you don’t have the money to go see it in theaters, you can wait until it’s at your library, where you can get the content for free. It is the same exact content as everyone who was able to pay for it received. 

For obvious reasons, it isn’t the same for Broadway. I’m never going to see the original cast of Hamilton perform, because I didn’t live in New York and I wasn’t wealthy enough to get there (or get tickets to the show). The show will never exist in that form again; once it’s done, it’s done.  

If I do see Hamilton eventually, it won’t be the same show. Imagine the original cast of the Avengers playing their characters in the film version, but if you rented the movie later, the cast was completely different.  

Regardless of whether they are better or worse, it doesn’t matter. The movie is different because you no longer have Robert Downey Jr or Chris Evans. You get different content.  

Do I believe those in theater should be paid for their work? Of course I do. But the type of people who watch Broadway bootlegs are not the type of people who would watch them if they were financially able to go see the actual show.  

I feel pretty comfortable in guessing that no one has ever said, “Well, I’m definitely able to go see that show, but I’ve already seen a grainy, 480p video of it, so what’s the point?” If you’re going to scour the internet for bootlegs of your favorite show, you’re not going to turn away from the chance to watch it live. That’s not the theater kid way. 

A couple of shows have taken the initiative to be more inclusive and offer video recordings of their shows. Most recently, the show Falsettos released their recording in select theaters, and I went twice.  

I could shell out $16 for two movie tickets, so I did. I would do the same for any show that released a filmed version of their stage production, because I want to see the shows legally. I want to be able to share the things that so many other people have gotten to enjoy. 

People who love theatre want to support it, but they also want to enjoy the content. I understand that part of the theatre experience is the temporal nature of it, but that also creates a barrier of entry for people who can’t afford it.  

Releasing more professional recordings of Broadway shows is a great way to begin to allow theatre to become a more inclusive place, as well as giving theatre fans a chance to support their favorite productions. 

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Student Congress OK’s two new clubs

By Nathaniel Fryer

Staff Writer

Two new clubs are applying for Student Congress recognition. The new clubs are the Alma College PreVet Association and the Alma College Progressive Democrats.  

Last semester, Student Congress voted and approved five new clubs, including Short Stack, Alma College Gaming Guild, National Students Nursing Association and the Board Games Club.    

The Alma College Progressive Democrats was founded by Sam Nelson (’21), and a number of other progressive students, in order to get out the vote for the Michigan State Elections occurring in November of this year.  

Nelson says he, “hopes to support progressive causes in whatever capacity possible. A liberal arts campus like ours values action, and we hope to be a part of that.”  

If approved, the Alma College Progressive Democrats will be the eleventh chapter of the Michigan Federation of College Democrats, a statewide organization of liberal minded college students dedicated to progressive ideals like a single-payer healthcare, combatting climate change and promoting equal rights for all US Citizens.  

Lauren Kucharczyk (’19), is founding member of the Alma College PreVet Association. She believes that the association will “give other PreVet or Pre-health majors a group for resources since the school does not have official programs for these things.”  

The organization will provide students a skill based approach to achieving the mandatory 400 clinical hours required before veterinary school, by working with local veterinary clinics around Alma.  

Kucharczyk also stated that the process for becoming a recognized club was fairly easy, but you have to know where to look in the Student Congress Constitution, or potential campus organizations will be left in the dark.  

According to Student Congress Treasurer, Deve Wishart (’18), clubs are essential to Alma’s campus life because they work with the Alma community in providing philanthropy, and have an intrinsic educational value for students.  

“I do think that clubs are beneficial for the Alma community. Clubs may make our lives more hectic, but it allows us to apply ourselves to things that we believe are worthwhile,” stated Wishart.  

In order to apply to become a recognized club, the members must meet, formalize a constitution, and then send that proposed constitution into the Constitutional Committee. The Constitutional Committee then discusses the proposed constitution of a club, and votes on approving it.   

If the proposed constitution is approved, then those club representatives are invited to attend the next session of Student Congress. At that session, the club is then brought up and voted upon by Student Congress. If the vote passes, then the organization is officially recognized as a campus club, and given representation in Student Congress. 

Once a club is approved by Student Congress, they do not have a budget until the next school year, which is why so many organizations apply for contingency funds. Wishart works with club executives in order to ensure that each club is being held accountable for the financing that is appropriated to it.   

Wishart has also worked with college officials like Cassie Tennant, Director of Financial Services, to audit clubs and make sure that finances are being spent appropriately.

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