For many athletes, spring break is a time for training and practice before their conference season. For Alma College’s Softball team, it was a time for the team to shine and set the pace for their upcoming conference season.
Over spring break, the Softball team traveled to Florida to compete in a total of eight games. While in Florida, the Scots were given the opportunity to put their skills to the test. They were able to practice outside on a field rather being confined to a gym.
“Having the opportunity to travel to Florida over Spring Break is really important because it allows our team to get out into some warm weather and play games. The weather in Michigan doesn’t typically allow us to play until mid-march and taking advantage of spring break to travel somewhere warm and play 8-10 games every year really helps us prepare for the rest of our season,” said outfielder Bryanna Chapman (’20).
Hence, the Softball team took advantage of this opportunity and the weather. While competing in Florida, the team faced teams from not only Florida, but Indiana, Ohio and Pennsylvania as well. Each game gave the Scots an opportunity to compete and put their expectations and goals to the test.
“Our expectations going into the spring games was to win. We all knew what our team was capable of and we were excited to be able to show people what we are going to be made of this year,” said second baseman Cassidy Tucker (’20).
With those high expectations, the Scots managed to walk away from the tournament with eight straight wins out of eight total games.
In each game, the Scots managed to win by a substantial amount of points with their closest scoring win being 5-4 against Capital University and their biggest wins being 22-1 and 18-0 against Northern Vermont-Johnson University.
Each win solidified their season expectations and brings them one step closer to conference season.
“Finishing 8-0 was really exciting for our team. We know we need to continue to work hard to be successful this season and going 8-0 was a great start and really made us all excited for what this team is going to do this season,” said Tucker.
Not only did the team walk away from their spring break with a successful record, but some players walked away with some personal achievements as well.
Freshman pitcher Daniella Little earned herself the title of being the MIAA Pitcher of the Week for her performance in Florida. She pitched two complete games against Hanover College and Capital University, where she struck out 12 batters in 14 innings and only allowed one earned run.
“Honestly I did not expect to be named MIAA pitcher of the week. I just went into spring break trying to do my best and help out my team. I, of course, could not have done it without my teammates supporting me and having my back,” said Daniella Little (’23).
Even as a freshman, Little currently leads the team in strikeouts and has only allowed 10 hits in a total of 15 total innings. With not only Little’s performance, but the performance of other underclassmen, the Scots, especially the seniors, look hopeful for what is in store for the predominantly young team.
“Our freshmen were fearless in Florida, looking at our team you’d never know that many had never played in a collegiate game before, and that was super inspiring to just leave everything on the field and give it all we had. Leaving my last spring break behind was easy knowing we still have so much to look forward to,” said Chapman.
With a current overall record of 10-3, the Scots keep prepping for their conference season with the goal of getting better every day.
Although they have had a successful start to their season so far, they still have plenty of season left to grow and keep moving forward.
“We were definitely excited about what we were able to do in Florida this past Spring Break, but we are definitely not satisfied. We have big goals for this season and we know those games are over and it’s time to focus on what’s next,” said Chapman
Starting March 16th, the senior art show commences in the Flora Kirsch Beck Art Gallery of the Clack Art Center here on campus. This show features the artistic pieces that the senior art majors have worked on diligently throughout the course of several years. It also serves as an opportunity to spotlight the hard work and dedication of these artists before they leave Alma College.
Each senior’s portion of the gallery showcases different themes and explores their individual inspirations and interests through their work. Some seniors chose to address important societal issues through their pieces. “My work generally, as an overview, interrogates consumer choices like mass production and my biggest interest is animal agriculture, mostly factory farming.” said Calum Clow, ‘20.
Many of the senior art majors drew inspiration from their personal experiences and backgrounds while constructing their artwork.
“I am making work based on specific difficult experiences and relationships that had a huge impact on who I am, how I accept myself, and how I love and value those close to me. I specifically take inspiration from night terrors I had as a kid, and combine that sense of fear with these specific experiences, which was kind of therapeutic and healing throughout my process.” said Paige Shaw, ‘20.
Others constructed their art projects with innovative, practical usage in mind — totally repurposing the way we appreciate art as a society.
“The idea that I had throughout working on my show is how we can potentially incorporate sustainable living into our homes through dual-use furniture. My favorite part of my show is the plausible implication of it into functioning homes.” said Ivy VanPoppelin, ‘20.
Working on the senior art show was not just a senior-year project for these artists. Many of the senior art majors have been working on these projects for the past several years, and they have spent even longer planning for it.
“I knew I wanted to do something with animal agriculture from the time I was a freshman, it’s something I’ve always been interested in making my work around. The recycling I’ve been implementing into my work over my four years here. Overall, I would say I actively started working on my senior show over the past two years.” said Clow.
Although constructing the senior art show involved countless hours of hard work from these senior art majors, they certainly enjoyed themselves throughout the process.
“My favorite part of working on this show was making works of art specifically for me. I also loved seeing my art family everyday. I’m going to miss them like hell next year.” said Shaw.
In addition, putting together this major show served as a learning experience for these artists, and they grew a lot as artists through the process.
“I figured out what I like and what makes me tick through working on this show. I know I like working with vibrant, technicolor stuff. I like more expressive mark making. I developed my own artistic vocabulary, and I feel like I learned about myself while working on this show.” said Clow.
Although the senior art show is a pleasure for all attendees, there are greater implications to viewing and appreciating the arts in the present day.
“With a lack of funding for the arts, this is a time more than ever that we need creative thinking. I always encourage people to come out and see the art.” said Clow.
With all of the hard work the seniors have put into this show, students can show their appreciation by visiting the gallery any time between March 16th to April 17th.
“I think all the senior art majors have done an amazing job on pieces and I hope everyone enjoys it!” said VanPoppelin.
This week I sat down with Dr. Harwood, Environmental Science and Biology professor, to chat about her work with research students and her role fostering retired greyhounds. Here’s the chat:
Chelsea: What was your pre-Alma experience, what lead to what you’re doing now?
Dr. Harwood: I did my bachelors degree in a small liberal arts college in Illinois. I joke that it was also very Alma-like, we were also the ‘Fighting Scots’ so I had pre bagpipe exposure, tons of plaid stuff already, I have some stuff from my old days that I could probably still wear here! But yeah, same principle of a small liberal arts college, then I did my masters and PhD at Southern Illinois University, became a toxicologist and then taught at a small liberal arts college in Springfield, IL. They actually ended their undergrad programs, so I ended up at Alma! This actually worked out much better because it was more of what I wanted for a long-term goal.
C: I know you do a lot of work with students, what is this research that you do, and how are students involved?
H: One of the reasons I want to be at a place like Alma is because I wanted to – my favorite thing to teach, I love classroom stuff, but I love to teach students how to do science. The best place to do that is with their own projects. My research is very student driven. I have a couple of main areas now, those being working at the Superfund site, doing research with predicting bioavailability. The other big one is road salt, I try to do community based, it might not be something we think about in Alma but it’s something we should be thinking about in Michigan.
C: I know you do a lot of work with Greyhounds, lets dive into that:
H: I do! I got into greyhounds a little over two years ago, actually my first greyhound’s gotcha day is March 17th, so two years ago. I was 100% skeptical, because there is a large fraction of them that are 70 pound cats honestly, very aloof, they kind of do their own thing, I was very skeptical. But my husband really likes sighthounds because his sister had a borzoi, but we wanted one we could adopt. That’s my style, all my dogs are pound dogs. The group that I volunteer with, Allyies for Greyhounds, they have these things called meet and greets, where you can go and meet the dogs, the last one I went to there was 15 dogs there. I learned that there is a much bigger range of personality, it is narrower than most dogs, they aren’t all as laid back, but they mostly are very calm, very well mannered. When we did our adoption, they brought three dogs to our house and you ‘bachelor style’ pick one, that one stays at your house and the other two go back with them. I asked them to basically send the three craziest ones because I wanted a very high energy dog. About a year into us having him, they put a call out for people to be foster homes. I thought, well should we try it? And we’ve been fostering for about a year now. Our strategy is that we don’t mind the high energy dogs, where most people want the super chill side of things, we talk to the adoption coordinator, and say ‘who needs to get out of the kennel’, and we go pick them up. We keep them in our house and teach them how to be a house dog until they get adopted! Another thing I do with greyhounds is give information and be an advocate for the breed. For example, one of the most irritating things about this is that people often ask if they’re a rescue, where we don’t say they’re a rescue, we say they’re retired. Once I started meeting trainers and people who have been to the track and been to the kennels and have now met hundreds of dogs, they are not abused. So, we don’t say they’re rescued, they’re retired. When they get injured, which happens to many athletes, they get retired. That is another thing, informing people how they are not this abused dog, they are a professional athlete who is no
longer doing that. Once you get into these groups you realize they are so tightly knit that you will never see a racing greyhound in a pound, because if one gets there, a group will come pick it up and bring it back into a foster home. They have a higher placement than your average golden retriever, they’re so regulated. A lot of people think they’re forced to race but you can’t force a dog to do anything, you certainly can’t force them to run as fast as they can. You’ll never see a retired racehorse run for fun, my ex-racing dogs run for fun every day! They love it, you can’t stop them.
C: What opportunities are within your department, and then at Alma as a whole that you don’t think enough students know about, that more should take advantage of?
H: I think students should take as many research opportunities, and summer research opportunities as they possibly can get away with. And another thing people often don’t realize is that you can do research during the school year. If you have to have a summer job, you can do research during the school year and you can get credits for that. The other thing is to try to get into research early, then if you have a few years of experience, some of your professors will take you to a conference. So, if you start with me as a sophomore you’re almost guaranteed to go to a conference.
C: Following up on that, if a student wanted to start research with you or any other professor, how should they go about that?
H: Knock on their door! Send them an email! That’s usually how most do it but know that they fill up fast!
On March 3, students and faculty alike received a call alerting them that an active shooter was on campus and to execute the procedures that they were informed of. Of course, it was just a drill that everyone was emailed about ahead of time to prepare, but nobody knew when it would happen.
The ALICE training is an active shooter training, and is represented by an acronym that stands for Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evade (or Evacuate). Alma College adapted their own version of this and sent a PowerPoint presentation campus-wide that explained the steps of what to do if a situation arises, along with a video. The email also stated the college’s two evacuation points: Alma First Presbyterian Church and Alma First Church of God.
“I think they should have made a more detailed PowerPoint to go with the email or had [professors] take–even just a little–class time to make sure everyone knew what was going on beforehand. The PowerPoint did a good job of explaining what to do, but not a good job of explaining when to do it,” said Katie Bailey (‘22).
She added that during her training as an FYG she was also trained how to go about the ALICE training, and was still confused then.
The drill occurred during the 8:00 a.m. to 9:30 a.m. time slot. If students did not have class, many were in bed, or at least in their dorms.
“I was in my room when it happened and I just stayed [there] and locked my door— but should I have left?” said Bailey, who was getting ready for class and wasn’t sure what to do.
Students were concerned about only being alerted by a phone call, especially if they were in their rooms or asleep.
“I got one phone call; I feel like two would have been cool,” said Mackenzie Hetzler (‘22).
Some people did not even receive a phone call and only knew about the training if their friends told them. Additionally, some professors were unaware of the training–despite the emails–or where to evacuate to.
“I heard from some friends who were in SAC at the time say that their [professors] had them evacuating by just going down the stairs. I know [one] step is to always try to escape, but if there was actually a shooter, I don’t know if anyone would actually risk the stairs,” said Bailey.
Students were also concerned about walking to the evacuation centers, as this would force them to walk in open areas unprotected, and lead to them being an available target for any danger if it did ultimately occur. Additionally, the fact that many people did not understand what to do–even after being sent the emails–led to frustration.
“There should have been a debriefing so that we could discuss what happened versus what should have happened or what could be improved in the future,” said Hetzler, who
even suggested campus sending out a survey to see what was understood and what was not.
“I feel like without the debriefing it’s not training; it’s just a thing that happened that the majority of campus didn’t even care about.”
Hetzler even commented that boys were outside her dorm room screaming, rather than taking part in the drill.
Even with the chaos and dissatisfaction of students and faculty at the way it was depicted, people on campus still understand the importance of the drills, just wish for improvements.
“I understand that it’s needed. I like that we do [ALICE training] instead of lockdowns like they used to make us do in high school,” said Bailey.
Regardless of whether it feels legitimate or not, everyone should still take these drills seriously. Although they are only drills, they are implemented to help prepare in case a tragedy does happen. School shootings are unfortunately very common today, and even though nothing can truly prepare you for the worst, practicing these methods and understanding the steps of Alert, Lockdown, Inform, Counter and Evade could potentially save a life.
Many do not realize that the month or March is Women’s History Month. On Monday, Mar. 8, 2020 it was International Women’s Day as it is every year now.
Women’s History Month is all about trying to get equality. Still to this day women are not necessarily equal to men, especially in the work field. Wage gaps range depending on gender, age and the job being done. It is estimated that it will take another 40 years for women’s pay to become even close to male’s pay in the workforce.
International Women’s Day is the focal point in the movement for women’s rights. Women still fight for the equality that they deserve. There are multiple topics that people would like to cover during this day and in general.
Female athletes still are not treated nearly as well as male athletes. Not only is the pay different for pro-athletes, but the media coverage for female athletes is not advertised nearly as much as male athletic events. It has been a question if women should be allowed to compete in male dominant sports because some sports do not have women’s teams, for example, football.
Currently, there are female football coaches but still not many women playing football on pro teams. As women continue to fight for equal rights to do what they love, they break the norms of the gender-stereotyped norms.
There are so many stereotypes, in the work place especially, that claim that men can perform better in the workplace. Many women work so hard on a daily basis and shape the lives of the future. Women still go to work while pregnant and dealing with other bodily issues that happen over time.
Empowering women through women’s health education is very important because even as a women you may not know everything about your own health. Many women go undiagnosed with multiple different health problems because they don’t know what to ask at the doctors office. There is a time to draw the line with women’s health because you can only go so long with being in pain due to what you think could be cramps.
Many doctors still do not immediately test for things like endometriosis, polycystic ovarian syndrome, etc. Endometriosis and polycystic ovarian syndrome is believed to effect 1 in 10 women in the world, however, many women remain undiagnosed.
Many women also push to increase visibility for women’s creativity. Women who have chosen careers in artistic fields sometimes feel undervalued and like their work is not as appreciated compared to a man’s according to several studies. For example, female authors are believed to not have their work appreciated due to many hurdles and struggle in best selling genres such as horror and science fiction. Many women, such as J.K. Rowling, have gone by initials and their last name or a made-up name that does not sound feminine just to get their work published and to try and reduce the fear that their work will not be appreciated by audiences.
Women continue to need the support in all different categories, this is just to name a few. Breaking the stigma and stereotypes of being a women continue to get harder as topics get deeper. We all have the power to change this.
Earlier this semester a student group on campus hung a red painted banner that read, “No War with Iran.” Shortly after the banner was placed outside the library, it was removed and later found in the trash.
This sparked quite a bit of drama not only around campus, but on one of the many Alma social media pages students use to anonymously vent. Alma Confessions, an anonymously run Twitter, was the page that saw the true heat of this argument.
Students from both the right and left took to Twitter to retweet, argue in the comments or just watch the show.
The banner and its removal lead to quite the political unrest on our small campus.
“The act of tearing down the banner, on its own, is a completely acceptable form of expression. That being said, it’s cowardly and also is the result of ignorance,” said Aristotle Karonias (‘22).
Some felt as though the students who tore down the banner continued their argument by hiding behind a screen. There was much argument over whether or not the removal of this banner was an act of free speech, or students just trying to cause a ruckus.
Not only were people discussing the banner on Twitter, slurs were being hurled from one direction to the next.
There were quite a few tweets posted by the Alma Confessions page in regards to the banner and its whereabouts, and others were in regards to students questioning why some had a problem with its removal, and yet others were discussing the issues with tearing it down.
Alma Confessions posted a tweet sent in by a student that read, “We 100% put that [redacted] banner in the trash. Then took it down again and brought that [redacted] off campus so it’ll never be found. Quit being [redacted] soft liberal pieces of shit. #NukeTfOutOfIran.”
Some of the students who put the banner up were bothered by the tweet being posted on this twitter, and arguments ensued. While some are angry, others tried to look at the situation with optimism and positivity.
“I do love everyone and stand to the fact that these people are still our peers and friends. What they did and believe in may reflect poor ideals, but they still have the right to those and expression, such as tearing down the flag,” said Karonias.
This entire issue brought forth a giant red flag, and not the one that was hung by the library.
Are Twitter pages like Alma Confessions more harmful than beneficial to our campus? Arguments can and have been made for both sides.
Pages like this one allow students a place to vent where they may not have otherwise been able to, which allows a certain kind of freedom that many students may feel they are lacking. On the other hand, this kind of anonymity can allow for the harassment of others with what feels like no backlash or punishment.
Already there have been tweets singling women out on our campus, and more will surely follow.
Pages like Alma Confessions must be aware of what they are posting, and can choose whether or not they will tweet or share something that may be harmful to their fellow students on campus.
Even after all of the arguments and posts found on the Alma Confessions page, students still feel as though it is more helpful than harmful on campus.
“Alma Confessions is a vital resource in the means of channeling our first amendment freedom of speech rights, in a way that somewhat can separate identity from message conveyed. For this reason, I think that to eliminate it would be an attack on that aspect of our constitutionally given rights,” said Karonias.
Only two weeks after returning from spring break, the campus was brought to an abrupt halt with the sudden onset of panic over COVID-19. Late Wednesday night, the campus received an email from Jeff Abernathy, president of the college, stating that classes would be moved online starting April 3rd, but reminding everyone that schedules would continue as usual until then. President Abernathy shared that there were two possible cases under investigation, one living off campus and the other under quarantine.
However, early Friday morning brought an even more abrupt halt to things as President Abernathy sent out another update stating that Friday would be the last day of in-person classes with the following Wednesday, March 18th, marking the start of online classes, and that commencement would be postponed until further notice. There was a mix of emotions on campus, including anger, sadness and confusion.
Despite the sudden change in plans, students quickly gathered together to say their goodbyes. Senior Laureano Thomas-Sanchez (‘20) quickly went to Twitter, announcing, “I’ll be playing pipes in mac mall at 11:30 today. Lets [sic] bring in a little music to these rough times and try to find some joy where we can.” A mass of students gathered around to listen as the sound of bagpipes filled the air. Many students cried, deeply saddened by the sudden ending and unsure of the future.
The college continued to send updates to students throughout the day, assuring those that needed spring terms that all would be taken care of. For seniors that need another spring term to graduate this spring, the S-course requirement has been waived. For all other students, spring terms would be figured out, but an S-course is still required in the coming years.
As classes came to an end at 5pm, the Alma College Choir rounded together on the library steps to give one last performance of “Loch Lomond” for the year. With emotions strung high, tears flowed freely, especially from seniors.
In terms of nationwide updates within the past week, the BBC reported that the US had banned travel to and from “26 Schengen countries – 22 European Union members and four non-EU.” Beginning Monday, that list has expanded to include the UK and Ireland. At a press conference on Friday, President Donald Trump said, “I don’t take any responsibility at all,” and continued to blame Obama-era administration for the failure of taking early action to test for coronavirus