Athletes prepare to spring into new season


Athletes prepare to spring into the new season

With the beginning of the new semester starting, Alma College’s 2020 Spring sports teams prepare to kick off their seasons within the next upcoming weeks.

While Fall and Winter sports’ teams dominated much of the Fall semester, the new winter semester welcomes the beginning of Spring sports’ teams, such as Softball, Baseball, Men’s and Women’s Lacrosse, Track and Field, and a few others.

Unlike the other teams, who work on most of their pre-season workout in the spring and over the summer, Spring sports teams begin their pre-season workout in the Fall with it intensifying over winter break and the Holidays.

“We have a short fall season. I believe it lasts for about a month or two. We practice four days a week during that season and we also host a small tournament with 3 teams, including us. During the whole fall semester, we are in the weight room with Fletcher [the team’s strength and conditioning Coach] 4 days a week working on our strength training,” said Softball player Hannah Cambe (’21).

For many Spring teams like Softball, they ease back into the school year with a short “fall season.” This is primarily a time to refresh the fundamentals and start bonding as a team with the new incoming players.

At the end of the “fall season,” teams typically compete in a tournament or a friendly match to put their fundamental work to the test.

“[Fall practice] is mainly a time for people on the team to prove themselves and show what they can bring to the table. We also get one play date against another college during the fall where we get the chance to show coaches and ourselves how we can compete in a game,” said Baseball player Logan Huff (’20).

Following these fall practices, each Spring team begins to move into weight lifting. Each team is assigned a strength and conditioning coach to map out a specific workout plan for them. These workout plans vary between each team but can consist of four lifts a week until the start of the team’s season.

Each workout plan is molded to meet the team’s needs and to get them in the best shape possible for season. Some teams also set up team workouts to add to their training.

“In the offseason, we do team workouts four days a week at 6:30am before classes. We have certain hitting and fielding groups that we work with during the off-season as well,” said Huff.

For Spring sports, extra team workouts without their coaches, due to MIAA rules forbidding coach and athlete sport interaction until season, help the team gel and prepare the fundamentals for the season.

Some Spring season coaches also offer one credit classes in their particular sport during the last seven weeks of the Fall semester for not only their team, but any Alma College student to take. This allows players to not only keep their skills fresh, but for any student interested in that sport to learn more about it.

“Denny, our coach, teaches a 1 credit softball class that is an option for girls with room in their schedules,” said Cambe.

At the end of the Fall semester, all of the teams extra training and conditioning typically does not stop. It actually begins to intensify as teams inch closer towards their season with their strength

and conditioning coach providing them with a workout plan to follow over winter break until the start of their season.

“Over winter break, Fletcher provides us with a 4-day per week workout plan. We also do what we can as individuals to get into the gym to workout. The few weeks before we start is usually when girls start getting back in the gym and working on their swings, playing catch, etc,” said Cambe.

Teams start to get back into the swing of things when the Winter semester begins. They receive new season workouts from their Strength and Conditioning Coach to lessen their weightlifting for the season. Athletes also continue to work out on their own to work on personal goals and skills.

“I mainly follow the team workout and hitting plans, but I do like to practice tough throws on the run and eating healthy as way to keep myself ready for the season,” said Huff.

With personal goals in mind and continuous practice from the beginning of the Fall semester, Spring sports have spent the majority of the school year prepping for their season. Their constant emphasis on hard work in the off-season not only pushes them to excel in their upcoming Spring season, but to meet the expectations they set for themselves after their last season.

“One of the biggest things our coaches are hoping for this year is for us to really come together as a team and to work together toward a common goal. We as a team are really preaching the idea of ‘serving’ each other,” said Cambe.

Small fish, big pond: how transfer students adapt


When I first arrived at Alma College as a transfer student, I had no idea what was in store for me. I was nervous and excited, and I was dreading the Michigan winter, which had a reputation that preceded it all the way back to August. Now, with a semester under my belt and a long, restful winter break, I’ve had time to reflect on my experience.

Transferring to a school like Alma from an out-of-state community college is a unique experience and one that I’m really grateful for. And at last, I finally feel like I have an answer to the question I’ve been asked more than any other, “why Alma?”

Aside from the usual boilerplate answers I usually gave people, I couldn’t put my finger on it. I cherish the time I spent at Salt Lake Community College (or “Slick” for you Salt Lake City locals), but Alma had something unique to offer: the sense of community that comes from all the students who live on and around campus. The community of learning at Alma College is one of its greatest amenities and one that I think goes under-appreciated. However, becoming a part of that community and taking advantage of everything it has to offer isn’t always easy.

As many of us remember first-hand, the first few weeks at school can be overwhelming for incoming freshmen. It is an avalanche of new information—new faces, new places, and new expectations. It really does feel like being thrown into the deep end of the pool on the first day of swimming lessons, except this time you’ve got a $300 stack of books and a hundred other kids splashing around with you.

It’s a lot to handle and the college knows that, which is why there are so many resources available to freshmen, especially in those first few weeks. Things like orientation and the first-year seminar classes that all freshmen have to take are life-preservers to help keep everyone’s heads above water.

Transfer students, thankfully, are equipped to deal with a lot of the stress that plagues first-year students. They have already gone through that crucible, and they know what to expect.

But that doesn’t mean their transition is painless. There’s still a lot to learn and, in some cases, a lot to un-learn.

Unfortunately, most of the resources for new students aren’t perfectly suited for transfer students. Even the resources that would be really helpful can be hard to find. That is why Alma has the Transfer Assistance Program (TAP).

“The transfer program is supposed to give you a sense of belonging,” said Johnnie Upshaw (20), a TAP mentor and a transfer student himself. “The first time I actually left my room in my first semester was for a TAP event and I met like four people that I’m still friends with today,” said Upshaw.

My personal experience definitely affirms that goal. When I arrived Alma, it was immediately clear that I was an outsider. However, I didn’t feel excluded. Quite the contrary—I felt welcomed by both the staff and the students, largely thanks to outreach from the TAP mentors.

For some students, transferring from a community college to a four-year school can improve the experience overall.

“It gives you a transition from dependence to independence. At community college, you’re still under your parents’ roof. You have more independence on campus, and then you go back

home to being dependent. When you come to a university where you stay on campus and you live there, it’s like full independence. You’re learning adulthood.” said Upshaw.

Campus prepares for winter months


January marks the midway point of influenza season, but that doesn’t mean that the infection rate of this illness will slow down. Winter is prime cold and flu season, but that’s not the only ailment that may affect the students of this campus.

As daylight hours lessen and become overrun with darkness, many faculty members and students alike may begin to feel a little down in the dumps. Alma College’s Health and Wellness Center is ready to tackle any issues that may arise during this season.

There are many measures that each student can take to ensure their mental and physical health is in tip-top shape this semester. One step that those in the Wilcox Medical Center encourage everyone to take is receiving the flu vaccine.

“I think [the flu vaccine] is very valuable because the flu can become deadly, so I think it’s important that we’re vaccinated to try and help prevent that and the spread of influenza. It is highly contagious,” said Allison Neyer, Simulation Technologist in the Nursing Department.

Some may feel as though there is no merit in receiving the flu vaccine this far into influenza season, but those in the Wilcox Medical Center disagree.

“We do still have [flu] vaccines available at Wilcox. They do take 2 weeks to be effective, but we still recommend getting them. Flu season goes typically through April, and last year’s flu season came late in our area and the surrounding counties, so I recommend even now if you haven’t received it you come in and get it,” said Renee Kern, family nurse practitioner.

Not only is the influenza more common this time of year, common colds are also seen more often.

The flu vaccine is the best way to fight against influenza. There are other methods that students can use to keep the common cold at bay.

“Hand-washing is the number one way to prevent illness year-round and especially this time of year, so wash your hands often,” said Kern.

While the Wilcox Medical Center is available for all of your sickness-related needs, those who may be feeling a little worse for wear in the emotional sense can find help in the Counselling and Wellness Center, located in the Wilcox building as well.

“SAD stands for Seasonal Affective Disorder. SAD is a form of depression that occurs around a specific time of year typically in autumn and winter,” said David Wier, one of the counselors at the Counseling and Wellness Center located next to Hogan.

Many students may begin to feel a lull in their day-to-day life, which can be a common occurrence due to the limited sunlight in the winter.

The Counseling and Wellness Center has a sun-light that is available for all students to use whenever they need it. Along with that students can receive a one-on-one counseling session to discuss whatever they need to.

Many students may feel embarrassed or awkward when wanting to try the resources this center offers, but it is much more common than many may know.

“Of the 2019 graduating class 49% of students accessed mental health services at some point during their time at Alma College,” said Wier.

Many students may not be thinking about things such as mental and physical health so early in the semester, but it is important to keep them in mind during these cold months.

Keeping good hygiene as well as being open about the state of your mental health are both important for each student to practice during these cold winter months.

“We’re always happy to see you in Wilcox if you have any concerns about your health,” said Kern.

Winter recruitment is among us


In the coming weeks, sororities and fraternities all over campus will be anxiously awaiting the arrival of their new members. Sorority recruitment started on Saturday, Jan. 18, and will conclude with walkouts on Friday, Jan. 24. Fraternity recruitment starts on Jan. 22 and goes through Feb. 5. Runouts is on Feb. 8.

Sorority recruitment occurs in three rounds. The first, which took place on Jan. 18, is known as the open house. Potential new members are divided into groups and taken to each sorority house, where they get to know the basics and meet the members of each organization.

The second group is known as the philanthropy round, where potential new members are invited back to get to know the sisters of each sorority better and learn about their philanthropies. This round took place on Jan. 19 and again on Jan. 20.

The third (and last) round is known as preferencing, which will take place on Jan. 22 and Jan. 23. It is known as the last chance to make a good impression on both sides. Potential new members are able to spend one last round getting to know the sisters of the organizations they’ve been invited back to and make a lasting impression on them. On the other hand, as well, members of sororities work hard to make a good impression on potential new members as they launch into preferencing after the last round.

Recruitment for the fraternities, on the other hand, is a bit different. The fraternities on campus do what’s known as an open rush system, so that any fraternity can hold an event at some point during the rush period, as long as it doesn’t overlap with another fraternity event.

This new system has recently come about due to Michigan’s newly passed laws concerning the smoking age across the state.

“Greek life has completely changed my life,” said Blake Jonassen (’22). “It has allowed me to grow close to so many people that I never would have gotten the chance to and has given me so many opportunities that have completely opened up the world to me.”

“Not only do I get to spend even more time with people that I absolutely love, but I get to spread my love for Greek life to anyone and everyone who is willing to hear it,” said Jonassen.

The process of recruitment can be overwhelming for some, specifically in the beginning. Learning about every sorority in such a short amount of time can cause the day to be stressful for potential new members, especially if they aren’t sure if they want to commit to Greek life.

But Greek life has its positives. Being in a sorority or fraternity can have a great impact on their members.

“I was interested in Greek life because I wanted to find an organization [that] I truly felt at home in. Being in Alpha Xi Delta has helped me discover parts of myself I didn’t know were there,” said Lexy Maas (’22). “This sorority is turning me into a leader and showing me I’m capable of a lot more than I thought.”

“Beyond that, the sisterhood I found is incredible. I truly feel connected to every girl in the chapter,” said Maas. “Having a group of people that loves, appreciates, and supports me is what gets me through a lot of hard and stressful times.”

While the bonds Greek life creates are undoubtedly strong and long-lasting, there’s no shortage of other great things to be offered. Many people involved in Greek life comment on the many opportunities they receive to work on their leadership skills.

“I had the opportunity to take on a leadership role in my sorority, and because of that opportunity I was able to make connections with alumnae and even got an internship at an automotive company that one of our alums works at over the summer,” said Cheyenne Hansen (’20).

Students are encouraged to sign up for recruitment, even if it’s something they aren’t sure they want to pursue. Despite being unsure, potential new members might find themselves to be pleasantly surprised.

No more war nerds



Do you feel clueless about what’s currently happening in Iran? Have you felt confused about why the US is even involved in the middle east for almost your entire life? When you were young and people told you that soldiers fight for our freedom, were you ever puzzled as to how that even worked? Recently, have you quietly muttered “Who the hell is Soleimani?” Did you ever feel like all of this was common sense, and that one day when you grew up this would click for you? If you said yes to any of these symptoms and we’re afraid or embarrassed to speak up or ask questions, then you have been unfortunately infected by the loathed War Nerd.

It’s not your fault, most people have been infected by the War Nerd (including myself), but the first step to seeking help is knowing more about what bit you. And that starts with finally asking some questions.

So, what is a War Nerd? They are not your average Republican or Democrat voter, people interested in military history, they definitely aren’t your enlisted family members. They’re not even the people who tore down the “NO WAR WITH IRAN” banner hanging in Mac Mall.

War Nerds are the wealthy sell-outs who pretend to be smart so they can personally get richer off of warfare. They are the suit-wearing talking heads who appear on the news to tell you that this war is definitely a good idea and that anyone who disagrees is either ill-informed or a terrorist. War Nerds are parasitic creatures who have one singular goal: making you divert trillions of dollars away from improving your country and instead towards their careers and the careers of their friends, no matter the bloodshed it takes.

They use a variety of tactics, but the most common is making you feel stupid. When Trump launched a missile strike and killed an Iranian commander named Qasem Soleimani which put us on a path towards violent conflict (most likely in order to get reelected), the War Nerds came crawling out of their holes with their thesauruses and hastily scrawled note cards. “Soleimani (whom the vast amount of Americans had never heard of) was one of most evil men in the entire world!” announced the smug War Nerds on their slated cable guest appearances. The clear implication is that if you don’t know who Soleimani was, then it is you who is the ignorant one, it is you who isn’t American enough.

Since you not knowing about Soleimani is a you problem, so you shouldn’t embarrass yourself by asking questions or pushing back. “Prepare to ship out your children and your friends to die in Iran, because we must defend Freedom,” proclaims the War Nerd from his comfortably air conditioned television studio. He doesn’t mean his children or his friends, but that is left unspoken.

That isn’t the only fact that gets left unspoken when War Nerds start calling for violence. Take this article by Stephen Hadley (pictured in the top row, third from the left) in the Washington Post for example. The article opens with a byline that describes Hadley as a former national security advisor, then Hadley takes 914 words to say that these dangerous aggressions might be good because they could lead to the possibility of diplomacy. Nowhere in the article is there a disclaimer that the author also makes hundreds of thousands of dollars every year serving on the board of directors for Raytheon, a defense contracting firm that stands to make enormous amounts of money if we go to war.

On NPR, Jeh Johnson (top row, first from the right) was introduced as the former Homeland Security Secretary and treated as an objective source before the host began asking him questions about Iran. Johnson responded by “sensibly” scare mongering about what Iran could do to retaliate against us. Nowhere in the NPR story is a disclaimer given that Jeh Johnson also makes hundreds of thousands of dollars every year serving on the board for Lockheed Martin, another defense contractor that has the potential to make serious cash if people die. Both Raytheon and Lockheed Martin have seen their stocks shoot up following Trump’s missile strike.

The poisonous effects of War Nerds can even spread to anti-war advocates. On the day after Trump heightened tensions by killing Soleimani, Congresswoman Elissa Slotkin (MI-8) composed a 10 tweet long thread in which she talked about how evil Soleimani was before saying that the strike wasn’t strategic enough. In an effort to seem “reasonable,” you may also be tempted to add these disclaimers to your condemnation, you’re actually just further propagating War Nerd talking points. The average American doesn’t care about who this man was, they care about their kid coming home for thanksgiving instead of for their funeral.

“Aha!” says the smug War Nerd, “Did you know that Soleimani killed American troops in the middle east? I did, because I’m smart, unlike you.” This is where the mask of reasonableness completely slips off the War Nerd, because they always seem to forget why our soldiers were in the middle east to begin with. Maybe if they remembered to tell us that we sent Americans over there because War Nerds like Ari Fleisher (bottom row, first from the left) lied to us, the American people wouldn’t keep having War Nerds like Ari Fleisher on to lie to us again. War Nerds want to blatantly use their past mistakes to justify future ones.

If you are a fellow student on this campus, then you know our country has been at war for our entire lifetimes because older generations decided to listen to these leeches. We are not making the same mistake.

You don’t have to be a political science major to know that killing random people across the world––and getting our own soldiers killed in the process––so some corporate tool can make a couple more dollars is psychotic. You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows. We’re not going to listen to War Nerds anymore, we are going to shove these blood-sucking monsters back in the locker where they belong.

Climate change versus industry


As of Jan. 3rd, the Trump Administration ruled that industries no longer need to account for climate change when assessing the environmental effects of major infrastructure projects. Previously, the half-a-century old National Environmental Policy Act served to both limit the entry of planet-warming greenhouse gas into the atmosphere, as well as properly assess the effects of global warming such as rising sea levels and increased temperatures on the infrastructure projects themselves.

The government plays a major role in environmental policy changes such as this. According to Dr. Amanda Harwood, professor of environmental science, “At the most basic level, the legislative branch makes decisions, and the president or governor will veto those decisions. On the national level, the president selects cabinet members such as the head of the E.P.A. Those higher officials are not chosen necessarily because they’re superior scientists, but because of politics.”

Because politics so heavily mingle with environmental policy, major changes to policies may be made without the main goal in mind — safety. “The main thing about policy is that it’s supposed to protect you. You don’t want to have to think ‘Can I breathe outside today?’ or ‘Can I drink the water from my tap?’ because, hypothetically, the Safe Drinking Water Act should be protecting you,” said Harwood.

Proponents of the changes to the National Environmental Policy Act may not know the environmental risks associated with large infrastructure projects. In some cases, environmentally negligent shortcuts may be taken to complete infrastructure projects as quickly as possible. “There are lots of different things that could happen with big infrastructure projects from chemical spills to habitat destruction. The effects are site and project specific. Generally, impact statements must be done before starting major infrastructure projects,” said Harwood.

Many disagree with the Trump Administration’s ruling on the changes to the National Environmental Policy Act, and feel that it favors the interests of big businesses over environmental concerns.

“Of course, industries should take climate change into consideration before major infrastructure projects. Especially with the extent of how the climate crisis is going at the moment, I definitely believe we should not be giving outs to companies, and there needs to be more restrictions with everything going on in the country and other countries as well,” said Monika Tomica, (‘20).

The battles between environmentalists and big businesses often seem never ending. In order for one to thrive, the other must suffer as they compete to either build-upon or conserve the same plots of land. “We have to prioritize. We have to decide where our compromise is. Do we care that we have clean air and clean water? To what degree are we willing to sacrifice habitats to build a bridge or a pipeline?” said Harwood.

In spite of the government’s heavy hand on environmental policy, citizens of the United States still have a large role in selecting the people who make these major decisions. Voting for environmentally conscious candidates ensures that environmental concerns are addressed with thoughtfulness and care. “You can drive policy when you vote. If you want clean air, clean water and clean food, you have to vote for people who want you to have clean air, water and food,” said Harwood.

UMC proposes split


The United Methodist Church has announced a proposal to separate into two denominations, a decision stemming from a 2019 vote regarding same sex marriage and LGBTQ+ clergy. The plan was announced on Jan. 3 and is set to be voted on at the General Conference in May 2020.

Passage of the resolution would separate the church, introducing the Traditionalist and Progressive denominations. “Simply stated, the Traditionalist approach looks more to ‘moral absolutes’ and an inerrancy in the words of the bible’s writers to inform morality and behavior,” said Pastor Chris Lane of Traverse City Central United Methodist Church.

In contrast, he explained the other side as well, “the Progressive approach seeks to appreciate that what the Bible’s writers addressed to their original audience may not apply the same way to modern audiences,” said Lane.

The components of the proposal have been in progress for decades and came to a critical debate after the 2019 General Conference. “This was a tipping point moment for our denomination, no longer seeing how we all might live amicably in the same denomination, despite our differences,” said Lane.

The issue of same-sex marriage has been a topic of contention between other religious dominations as well, “the conversation is already happening in every denomination, even if it is less obvious,” said Andrew Pomerville, Alma College Chaplin.

“We went through similar conversations about same-sex clergy within the Presbyterian Church and also wrestled with this topic,” said Pomerville. He continued, “for those of us who have gone through it, we are watching our brothers and sisters in the Methodist Church, praying for healing and for hope, and are saddened that they have come to this conclusion to split.”

Generational divide appears to be playing a significant role in the decision. “As the generations shift, we see conversations that result in these changes… what one generation thought was believed by all, is not what their children and grandchildren would support,” said Pomerville.

Splits within denominations is not a new concept. Daniel Wasserman, professor of history, explained the effects of the Protestant Reformation of the sixteenth century. “The primary impact of the Reformation was the division of Christians into several different churches. That reality often produced intense conflict within families, neighbors and church members,” said Wasserman.

Wasserman also explained the debate surrounding dividing religious affiliations among experts; “It’s been argued that the spawning of more divisions (and thus new Christian denominations) has led to a ‘hyper-pluralism’, with so many different groups and views that the larger government or society has difficulty functioning.”

In regard to whether this separation will create more division rather than solidarity, both Pomerville and Wasserman gave insights to how the future may play out for Methodists. “It’s not hard to see that the historical conflicts among Christians often have led to many Christians becoming disillusioned with their churches… many parishioners may be alienated by these divisions” said Wasserman.

Pomerville explained, “Anytime we split, it is sad because at one point somebody was together, and they had to decide not to be together anymore, it’s tough… it’s hard to say as a Christian, witness of our mission is helped by any splits, regardless of how necessary it may be.”

Pastor Lane is optimistic about the future of the Church. “I look forward to the day when I can, without reservation, celebrate the marriage vows of a couple who are in love and who see God’s Spirit at the center of their love, and who just happen to be two men or two women… this is an exciting time to be part of the barrier-breaking movement of love that Jesus began two thousand years ago. I feel blessed to be part of it.”

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