First female Scouts to achieve Eagle Scout Status


This past February, Scouts BSA, formerly known as Boy Scouts of America, inaugurated a class of nearly 1,000 females into the National Eagle Scout Association. The Eagle Scout ranking is the highest ranking in the Scouts BSA program. This is the first inaugural class to include females since the organization’s founding in 1911.

This is not the first radical change to come to the Scouts BSA program in recent years. In 2019, Scouts BSA officially began accepting female membership. At that time, Scouts BSA changed their name from “Boy Scouts of America” in an effort to reflect their newly inclusive membership.

“I see this as a welcome change, especially after years of regressive and abusive sex, gender and sexuality policies by BSA,” said Dr. Prathim-Maya Dora-Laskey, professor of women’s, gender and sexuality studies.

Accomplishing the rank of Eagle Scout requires a lot of hard work on behalf of the scout, regardless of gender. Eagle Scouts must earn at least 21 merit badges and complete an extensive service project of choice. At the present, 2.5 million scouts have been inducted into the National Eagle Scout Association.

“Of course we should celebrate all new Eagle Scouts and the first 1,000 girl Eagle Scouts. I’m happy to know that so many girls decided to sign up, were able to thrive and made it to the pinnacle of scouting achievement,” said Dora-Laskey.

Although many feel excited about the inclusion of girls into the Scouts BSA program and the National Eagle Scout Association, many also feel concerned about the future of the Girl Scouts and the continuation of the two separate scouting organizations.

“I think girls are a valuable addition to The Scouts of America, but many families and girl scouts may not want to see their girl-centric spaces vanish,” said Dora-Laskey. “There’s plenty of research emphasizing enhanced leadership opportunities and development for girls in girl-centric spaces.”

The separation of the scouting organizations based on gender may be arbitrary in our modern society as traditional gender roles progressively recede. Additionally, the goal of both the Girl Scouts and Scouts BSA programs are very similar.

“Ultimately, both girl and boy scouts set opportunities for social interaction and encourage an appreciation of the outdoors, but because of the way we make gender so binary, we may end up reinforcing gender socializations,” said Dora-Laskey.

As the Scouts BSA and the Girl Scouts reassess who should be permitted to participate in each respective program, they may also need to reassess scouting as a whole to ensure inclusivity to all scouts and provide equal opportunities for the growth and success of participants.

“Perhaps there needs to be a mission change. What can be done to make scouting feel welcoming? Are there ways in which scouting is an activity not predicated on gender designations whether arbitrary or self-chosen as well as a place where children are encouraged to collaborate on projects and appreciate nature and do something caring every day,” said Dora-Laskey.

Regardless of how people feel about the separation of scouting organizations based on gender, the Scouts BSA program made major changes in recent years to become more inclusive to all scouts. Will the Girl Scouts follow suit in the near future?

“The Girl Scouts had always seemed like the more progressive scouting organization. They set up troops in homeless shelters, support reproductive rights, welcome transgender members, etcetera. I’m sure they can do it,” said Dora-Laskey.

Updates within the Biden administration


Joe Biden has served as US President for nearly two months. In this period of time, he has addressed the COVID-19 pandemic, foreign policy and the environment, all by signing over 40 executive orders.

Executive orders are not the same as laws. The Heritage Foundation says that, “an executive order is a type of written instruction that presidents use to work their will through the executive branch of government. Congress and federal courts can strike down executive orders that exceed the scope of the president’s authority.”

“A large portion of President Biden’s initial executive orders are focused on reversing policies of the Trump Administration,” said Jacob Keeley (’24), president of the Alma College Republicans. “While [it is] within the powers of the President to take such steps, it is important to note that a Presidency based on undoing… sets a dangerous precedent [and leaves] the nation stagnant in terms of leadership and divided politically.”

Biden, as promised, has enacted policies to combat the effects of the pandemic. First, Biden signed a $1.9T relief package which extends unemployment aid, distinguishes the first $10,200 in jobless benefits tax free and allocates $20B for vaccine distribution. Lost in this provision was the minimum wage increase, which House democrats were hopeful to pass.

Biden has also allocated $250M to encourage COVID-19 safety and vaccination in underserved populations, according to the Department of Health and Human Services.

Biden has also taken foreign policy action. He has placed sanctions on Myanmar with the support of the UN and has ordered airstrikes against Syria, escalating tensions in already-stalling negotiations with Iran.

“President Biden’s executive order taking economic action against those involved with the military coup in [Myanmar] was an important action for the United States to take,” said Keeley.

The strikes in eastern Syria were reportedly in response to Iran-backed militias who instigated a rocket attack on Feb. 15 which harmed American citizens. Despite this, Biden still intends to reopen negotiations regarding the Iranian nuclear deal tabled by the Trump administration, according to the NY Times.

Biden’s environmental agenda aims to guide the US towards net-zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Climate-related executive orders included, but were not limited to, directing 40% of federal sustainability investments to disadvantaged communities, rejoining the UN Paris Agreement and WHO and halting the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline. These policies were popular with activists on the left and generally disliked by Senate republicans.

“[Biden’s steps] to stop the U.S’s withdrawal from the World Health Organization… should be [a unifying] factor for the country; however, it is important that President Biden recognizes and grants the republican minority party opportunities… to voice its input and make suggestions on these matters,” said Keeley.

Biden’s Presidential campaign was largely based on unity and bipartisanship. Despite the high volume of executive orders, many remain hopeful that compromise and the interests of everyone will remain at the forefront of his priorities.

“The Alma College Republicans stand by the President as he attempts to lead the charge for unification,” said Keeley on behalf of the Alma College Republicans. “Unity in the United States requires President Biden to…establish policy that works for all Americans”

Positive Updates 3/15/21


This Wednesday celebrates the 390th St. Patrick’s Day, with the earliest known celebration being held on March 17, 1631 along with history dating the holiday back more than 1,500 years. As many already know, common symbols of this Irish holiday include the shamrock, the leprechaun, rainbows, pots of gold and, of course, the color green. Many of these symbols originated from Irish myths and religion. For example, the shamrock was a sacred plant that symbolized the arrival of spring, according to the Celts. But one symbol has an interesting and fun history, earning them their own holiday on March 13th – the leprechaun. Leprechauns are likely based on Celtic fairies, which are small bodied men and women who use magic for good and bad. Usually, these “fairies” were depicted as cranky old beings responsible for mending the shoes of the other fairies while using trickery to get the “pot of gold”. So remember to where green on Wednesday to show support for the “little guys”!

The importance of celebrities


According to Brady United, roughly 316 people are shot everyday in the United States. Of these 316, on Feb 25, was Ryan Fischer, Lady Gaga’s dog walker. Fischer sustained a bullet wound to the chest and was met with millions of Instagram comments expressing sympathy.

Fellow celebs called him a hero, telling him how amazed they were with his bravery. When scrolling through the comments, one in particular stuck out. The comment told Fischer that he was a “Hero of History,” and I can’t help but wonder if that is the society we now inhabit. Do we all believe that one man’s survival of a bullet wound makes him heroic? Or is it because he was Lady Gaga’s dog walker?

“When something tragic happens to someone who is famous it’s akin to a family friend experiencing a tragedy.” Said Elizabeth Pecota (’22).

“There is a lot of tragedy that happens across the country on an hourly basis, but these cases that are very real to those experiencing or in proximity to the situation; however, they are only a statistic to everyone else. Unfortunately, without that personal connection, we feel sympathetic or apathetic.”

The godlike worship that is placed on celebrities and their extremities seems to have become the societal norm. Regarding every celebrity as a watered-down hero seems to be indicative on what is valued as important.

To be clear, nobody deserves to be shot, and Ryan Fischer, just as everyone else, should be given the time and space to heal from that traumatic experience. However, it should be noted that he is only receiving this time because he is in the favor of the public eye. Where is the heart filled messages and money dedicated to the recovery of the other 315 victims?

“Not to shoot a man while he’s down, but the only the only reason Ryan’s shooting has reached any level importance is due to the fact that his boss goes by the name of Lady Gaga.” Said Bennett Hendrickson (’24),

“What Ryan did was a circumstance thing, it’s nothing that is heroic or historic. The only thing pushing this story is his boss and her Grammy’s.”

The deeper question lies within the importance we place on celebrities, and how it parallels with a classist society. Social media is filled with stories similar to Fischer’s and is overflowing with other trivial grievances. Keeping up with the Joneses has morphed into Keeping up with the Kardashians as we progress in this digital age.

“I believe the reason why we are so concerned about celebrities is because they become so close to the American family opposed to the average man.” Said Pecota (’22), “We can put a face to the name and we become enamored with them as they entertain our family. We feel like we know these people despite never meeting them.”

As celebrities continue to be highly regarded, it is important to question why. Why is the life of Ryan Fischer perceived as more important than the lives of other dog walkers? Or why do we as people care so deeply about the lives of people we do not know?

“I think we want to be them, we look at their nice fancy cars, and massive houses and cant help but admire. They are living these perfect lives and we are now able to see how they are living it at all times with social media. So, we can’t help but be in awe of them,” said Hendrickson.

Much of what Hendrickson and Pecota say rings true. Through media platforms, our society has made connections to these famous strangers, giving them a sense of importance in our lives. We want to be them, know them and act like them, that is why we glorify them. They are no longer people, but standards.

Understanding parking on campus



As is likely common knowledge, Alma College allows students who have vehicles to park on various locations on campus. At larger universities, it is not always possible for students to have a vehicle on campus, much less to have the ability to park in such close proximity to residential halls.

Alma College offers two different types of parking passes. Students are able to park in maroon or teal parking, silver parking or in magenta parking at the First Presbyterian Church located one block West on Superior Street. Maroon and teal lot parking passes cost $300, the silver lot passes cost $250, and magenta parking passes costs $150.

The Center for Student Opportunities (CSO) is where students are able to pick up their parking passes. When a student purchases a parking pass, they will be charged to their student account.

You are able to register for a parking pass from either the student portal ( or the parking office. The parking office is located in the CSO and has open hours from 1pm-3pm on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Campus security addresses all parking violations by distributing online tickets while the parking office handles appeals. If a student has any concerns regarding parking, students can email

Bailey Allison (‘23) is the parking assistant who handles all appeals and parking inquiries. Allison says that “Students who want to appeal tickets can either do so through the parking tab in their Alma Portal or they can email [].”

Students are able to view a map of where their pass allows them to park on the Alma College website, or at Here, students can see all options of parking which can also impact which parking pass is best. Allison adds “Students can also find parking rules and regulations on campus website for parking.”

Alma College is currently looking to update policies regarding parking here on campus. The Student Congress President, Will Brown (‘22), is currently an acting member of the Policy and Planning committee and intends to “examine current policies and work with faculty and staff to make any necessary changes that will benefit the parking experience for all of us here on campus.”

Brown is encouraging all students who would like their voice heard on the matter to email him at Any and all suggestions brought forward will be included in the discussion surrounding Alma College parking policies.

The Spanish flu at Alma


Young College men – some in uniform – wearing cloth masks to help prevent the spread of the Spanish Flu in 1918.

“Fashions change, even in war times.” These were the opening words within the December edition of the Weekly Almanian. At this point in time, Alma College emerged into a new chapter of its history. President Woodrow Wilson declared war on Germany and a deadly form of influenza was spreading globally. Faces familiar to students—friends, family, professors and neighbors—were either off to war in France or covered by a cloth mask.

Amid The Great War, Alma College quarantined in an attempt to slow the spread of the deadly respiratory infection known to millions as the Spanish Flu. By 1918, the Spanish influenza virus had claimed the lives of hundreds of thousands worldwide. Its arrival signs were felt around the state, from Detroit, Ann Arbor, Traverse City, Lansing and even here in Alma.

Masks became a necessary measure to combat the spread of this respiratory disease. Even over one hundred years ago, the Alma College student body’s reaction to masks has remained constant.

“Now must the eyes smile instead of the lips. Now must the forehead and the ears blush in place of the cheeks. Truly the eyes must bear the heaviest burden of expression.” The college was handling the pandemic well in 1918. Students and faculty were more than happy to help their neighbors in a time of social and political upheaval.

Therefore, it comes as no surprise that Alma College students would uphold the college’s mission statement values. For students to “think critically, serve generously, lead purposefully and live responsibly as stewards of the world they bequeath to future generations.” The generation that lived through the pandemic performed all of these values and more to help stop the spread of the Spanish flu. Today, our campus follows in their footsteps.

Life changed at Alma, and the graceful way the writer recorded the campus—despite the circumstances—brings a smile to one’s face.

“Dr. Brokenshire wears his mask as he attends to everything—religiously. He never pushes it to one side or up or down, nor does he sneak breath around the corner, but always sees to it that his voice and every breath is carefully strained.”

Student men of the SATC—Student Army Training Corps—sang at Alma College’s Chapel in December 1918, adorned with cloth masks distributed by the Red Cross.

“Chapel was, at first, the place of many amusing sights. The seats were filled with mummies who had been embalmed in sitting postures in order to watch the world revolve. Soon, however, there was much discomfort when, as they sang, the notes would re-echo and roll around inside the masks awhile before finding the outlet over the right ear or under the left eye. Sometimes this process would cause an unpleasant sensation called a tickle, so that the unfortunate person forthwith sneezed. Whereat the righteous drew away and whispered influenza.”

These values will always have relevance. Even in a society battling over masks, Alma College has always done what is right for its community.

Alma College honors women


March is Women’s History Month. The month, which is centered around International Women’s Day on March 8, is celebrated with global events honoring the achievements of women and raising awareness for women’s equality.

While International Women’s Day has only been recognized as an official United Nations observance since 1975, its origins date all the way back to 1908, when thousands of women took to the New York City streets to protest working conditions.

In 1909, the U.S. celebrated the first National Women’s Day, honoring the women involved in the protest the year before. Russia joined the celebration and many other nations followed suit not long after.

In 1978, Molly Murphy MacGregor, a schoolteacher from Sonoma County, California, decided to create a Women’s History Week within her district. The idea caught on and suddenly schools across the country were celebrating Women’s History Week.

In Feb. of 1980, President Jimmy Carter proclaimed the week of March 8 National Women’s History Week. In the years following, President Reagan issued an annual week-long celebration as well.

Women’s History Month, however, did not get its start until 1987. The Women’s National History Project lobbied to extend the holiday. Finally, Congress passed a proclamation and Women’s History Month was established.

Over the years, Alma College has been fortunate to have many great women on campus. One of these inspirational women is former Alma College librarian, Helen MacCurdy.

Helen MacCurdy donated her home to the college to be used as a residence for Alma College women, as well as a resource center, providing information about women’s and gender rights and history.

The residence is home to an extensive collection of literary and media resources. When the building was renovated in 1992, retired Michigan State University women’s studies coordinator, Dr. Joanne Rettke donated her own collection of resource materials.

Today, residents of the MacCurdy House are tasked with creating and organizing volunteer opportunities. Over the years, the house has welcomed many guest speakers and writers, including Eve Ensler, Lucille Clifton and Dorothy Allison.

Kaitlyn Stymiest (’22) admires Professor of Religious Studies, Kathryn Blanchard. “She is an extremely great professor and one of the wisest, kindest people I have met,” said Stymiest.

Another influential woman in Stymiest’s life is her sorority president, Lexy Maas. “How she manages [the sorority] is a mystery to me, but she does it with grace. She is overall such a hard-worker and such a light in our lives.”

Alma College history professor Liping Bu has also been a positive influence in Stymiest’s life here at Alma, “I adored her class. She carries herself with the greatest dignity and a sense of humor to match.”

Women’s History Month is an important time for Kayla Schmitz (’21). “[It] means making extra time to appreciate, learn about and empower women from all walks of life,” Schmitz said.

Schmitz admires Professor of English and Gender Studies Prathim-Maya Dora-Laskey, who doubles as Schmitz academic advisor. Schmitz also feels fortunate to have learned from former Professor of Communication, Joanne Gilbert.

In addition to her professors, Schmitz looks up to her boss at the Alma College Bookstore/Mailroom, Ashley Strawn and the women custodians she worked with at Facilities and Service Management.

Schmitz also adds, “I try my best to be my most authentic self, to consistently educate myself and others and try to stand up for myself in any situation. That is what I have learned from these women and what I try to emulate on a daily basis.”

Seniors discuss commencement


The campus community received word via an email from President Abernathy that as long as COVID-19 cases on campus and in Michigan remain low, the graduating class will have an in-person commencement ceremony on May 1, 2021 outdoors and on campus.

Many seniors are grateful for the opportunity to have an in-person commencement ceremony, especially since the class of 2020 had a virtual commencement last July.

“I think that it’s awesome that we actually get a ceremony to celebrate our efforts and [our] time commitment,” said Savana Shellman (‘21).

“I am glad the administration finally told us the plan [regarding commencement], and hope they keep us informed during the next few weeks,” said Elizabeth Flatoff (‘21).

Due to commencement being over a month and a half away, it is unsure whether or not guests will be permitted to attend the in-person ceremony, and if so, how many.

“It would just be nice to know if we are allowed to bring guests or not sooner rather than later,” said Nolan Kukla (‘21).

“I wouldn’t be [upset] if we can’t have guests, but I’d rather just know. Some people’s parents work weekends and would have to take time off. Additionally, some parents might have to make travel plans and I’m sure it would be better if they figured it out sooner rather than later.”

According to President Abernathy, the wait on the decision to have guests is due to health department regulations on attendees based on the type and size of an event.

“I am open to visitors, [but] it would be amazing if people could get tested before coming to [commencement],” said Michelle Malkowski (‘21).

“I think [that would] give everyone peace of mind.”

“[If guests are allowed at commencement], I think [they] should be limited in order to not have an outbreak on campus,” said Shellman.

A decision regarding guests will be made in the coming weeks but regardless of the outcome, commencement will be livestreamed for people unable to attend.

In the email sent out to campus by President Abernathy, he also reminded graduating seniors to order their caps and gowns from Jostens before the deadline on Mar. 20. Many seniors have issues with the price of the caps and gowns.

“I just think that over 80 dollars for a basic cap and gown is excessive,” said Flatoff.

“I know the school is going through a third party to get them, but especially during this time where guests aren’t guaranteed for graduation, 80 bucks is a lot to drop on a piece of fabric I am using once.”

A graduating senior who wished to remain anonymous also had an issue with the price of the caps and gowns through Jostens.

“Caps and gowns are advertised as $70, but with taxes and shipping it’s $87,” said anonymous.

“That is almost $100 to walk at [a] graduation that we have been working for for years.”

With the pandemic, many students have been unable to return to off-campus jobs during the school year, due to the campus COVID-19 policy of not traveling outside the greater Alma area.

“So many students typically work off-campus as opposed to on-campus,” said anonymous.

“With a limited number of on-campus jobs, how do you expect full time students to just find the money to pay for this? It feels as though this is just another disadvantage that students with no financial support from [their] families have to constantly face.”

Regardless of the protocol and what is to come, the spring 2021 graduating class have an in-person commencement ceremony to look forward to following the end of the winter semester.

“I’m glad the college is actually putting on a ceremony for us; [it feels] like our senior year has just revolved around COVID-19,” said Shellman.

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