New king and queen crowned at game


Alma’s 2018 Homecoming Court, announced in the week prior to Homecoming, rode through the parade and onto Bahlke Field where the King, Christopher Nolan (‘19), and Queen, Najelle Gilmore (‘19), were announced.

This year’s court consisted of 10 nominees, five each for King and Queen: Ben Elliot (’19), Eric Ferrara (’19), Brian May (’19), Logan St. John (’19), Caitlin DeZwaan (’19), Emily Jodway (’19), Alyssa Mohr (’19), Marina Thornton (’19), Nolan and Gilmore

These ten students were chosen by their peers to represent Alma College at the homecoming parade and football game.

All the homecoming court members chose Alma for the friendly community and the understanding professors.

“I chose Alma for the professors. The very first professor I met here was Joe [Jezewski], who was head of the theatre department. He helped me through my first year so much,” said Mohr.

Mohr continued, “And Dr. Palmer, who was my FYS professor, was a huge guiding factor in me choosing English as my major. Though both of them are now retired, I think of them often and am always grateful for the guidance they gave me.”

For Gilmore, Alma felt like a family dynamic, and she said, “I visited campus and I was in awe of the community here. I come from a family of 11 and I knew as I was looking at different schools that finding a second family was important. Alma had that for me; it’s become my home.”

Another question that all the court members were asked was “What superpower could you have and why?” Elliot and Jodway chose invisibility, Mohr wanted to be able to be in multiple places at the same time, Nolan selected teleportation. “Flight, because flying would be pretty neat,” said Ferrara, to which Gilmore agreed.

Favorite quotes of the court varied from funny to meaningful. Thornton was excited to contribute hers, and said, “‘Number 15: Burger King Foot Lettuce.’ The last thing you’d want in your Burger King burger is someone’s foot fungus, but, as it turns out, that’s exactly what you might get.”

Thornton continued, “A 4Channer uploaded a photo, anonymously to the site, showcasing his feet in a plastic bin of lettuce with the statement: This is the lettuce you eat at Burger King.’ Chills, ‘Top 15 Mysteries Solved by 4Chan.’”

Mohr’s favorite quote is from a professor, and said, “‘You are enough.’ – Joe Jezewski.”

In regard to eating habits, the favorite foods of the homecoming court were also diverse. “I LOVE potato soup. My dad makes giant homemade batches,” said Gilmore.

Thornton’s favorite food is something other college students can relate to, and said, “My favorite food ever in the whole world? Definitely the Monterey Jack Chicken Taquitos from 7-Eleven. No doubt about it. I could eat those anytime, anywhere.”

Nearly all the members of homecoming court are involved in Greek Life.

“I’m in my fourth year in the sorority,” said Jodway, the president of Gamma Phi Beta. “I’ve loved every second of it and the friend’s I’ve made and what the sisterhood has done for my confidence, as well as what I’ve been able to do to benefit the sorority itself.”

The Homecoming King and Queen winners, Nolan and Gilmore, were announced at the game on Saturday. They were crowned and honored at the beginning of pregame. “It was a pleasant surprise,” said Nolan. “It’s an honor to be a part of the Homecoming Court and I’m happy that the student body thought of me.”

Alma’s thoughts on the outside world (Vote or Lose)


I am exhausted. We are exhausted. Our education is costly. Our labor feels undervalued. We are taunted by the complaints and threats of a generation that took advantage of every opportunity available to white America in the post-World War II way of life, all while we must live in a society they crafted that had no regard for our opportunity.

In life, we basically have two tools: what we do, and what we say. There is no doubt that we need to invest our labor and time into thoughtful institutions and communities – places that reward (and properly credit!) the perspectives that extend from our unique identities properly.

We need ways of life that can be sustained, ways that are resilient against violence and hatred. Democracy must be key to this, and when we demand more democracy in our education, work, and life.

We should also engage with our current democratic institutions. Maybe I sound like some old guy telling you it’s your civic duty to vote, but it’s more than that. To see real, material benefits from our society, we need to reject a political class that has a vested interest in working against us.

Anyone who cares about their bank account, healthcare, environment, education, and more need to look at the zero-sum game of our (effectively two party) democracy and make a decision.

Politics and ethics are worlds more nuanced, but in our system, your electoral loss is your opposition’s gain.

Here’s how you win that zero sum game.

1. Register to vote

By the time you’re reading this, you likely have about a week left to register if you plan on voting in Michigan, on or off campus. Go to vote, click on “How do I register to vote?” and follow those steps. In person or by mail, you’ll need your driver’s license, personal ID card, paycheck stub, utility bill, bank document or government document that lists both your name and your address (a photocopy of those if it’s by mail). Do this before October 9th!

2. Make a plan to vote

Experts working in redistricting and voter discrimination believe that state law requires that you either register in person or vote once in person before you can vote absentee in an effort to reduce the turnout of students and those with disabilities.

This poses a challenge, so be careful when you decide whether to register to vote on campus, or back home (you can choose either-don’t listen to those who say it will complicate things like car insurance, this address only matters for where you vote).

If you are voting on campus, identify your polling place. If you are voting back home, make sure you have a plan to get there in time , as the polls close at 8 PM. However, if you are in line by 8 PM, poll workers have to let you vote. If you choose to vote absentee, make that decision as soon as possible.

The final deadline is November 3rd, but you should make sure to have as much time as possible to get your ballot. The absentee application can be found on

3. Turn out to vote

Once you’ve made your plan, talk with your friends here at Alma. Talk to friends back home, or elsewhere around the country. Get as many of your allies out to vote on November 6th. Please, don’t sit this one out.

Students participate in arts throughout Homecoming


Alma’s Homecoming celebration featured performances by musicians, vocalists and artists.

The weekend boasted events that spotlighted many of Alma’s performance groups, including the Kiltie Marching Band, Percussion Ensemble, the Pipe Band and the Kiltie Highland Dancers.

Alma’s nationally renowned Percussion Ensemble and the Pipe Band kicked of Homecoming performances on Friday, Sept. 28.

“Honestly, these concerts are real bangers for everyone involved. This percussion ensemble performance tends to be a popular performance on campus. This is the first opportunity to see the percussion ensemble on stage, and it always leaves an impactful impression on the audience,” said Logan St. John (’19), a percussionist and trombonist.

Following the concert Friday night, there was a community-wide parade on Saturday morning, which brought opportunities to see organizations, sororities, fraternities, and more performance groups.

“I’m looking forward to marching in the parade,” said Ivy VanPoppelen (’20), another percussionist.

Halftime during a home football game might be a break for the players, but for the Kiltie Marching Band,halftime is a performance opportunity.

“My favorite part about the Homecoming weekend is marching on the field. I can’t wait to show the community our show. I find this show very interesting, compared to last year’s show. The idea of taking a unique twist on last year’s show will pay off. I’m sure that the audience will love it,” said VanPopplen. According to VanPopplen, this new show will be more in tune to the marching band’s older shows prior to last year’s show, “Born in Detroit,” which focused on music from the rock band Journey.

Rounding out Homecoming weekend was the Alma College Choir with a concert on Saturday night.

“We’ve put a lot of hard work into the choir concert, so I hope people enjoy it,” said Marina Thornton (’19), a vocalist.

The Homecoming choir concert called back alumni to perform once again with the choir, singing “Pure Imagination” from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate factory alongside the Alma Mater.

“I have always loved this concert because alumni come back to join the choir and sing, and I get the opportunity to sing with my dad, who’s Alma choir alumni,” said Sam Lindeman (’20).

Smith named Head of Athletic Training


This past July, Brad Smith was promoted to Head Athletic Trainer. With this position, Smith is now responsible for overseeing all activities in the athletic training room.

After working at Alma for a year as an assistant athletic trainer, Smith was excited for the opportunity to take over.

“Being named as the Head Athletic Trainer was a thrilling moment, and being able to continue working with the Alma College staff and students is very exciting.”

The athletic training room is more than just a place for athletes to stretch out; they also have access to injury assessment and therapy.

“We do injury evaluations, rehabilitations including post injury, presurgical, and post-surgical, recovery and therapeutic treatments,” said Smith.

Each student athlete is different and thus has different needs, said Smith, and depending on each specific injury, the training room has anything one might need. These different opportunities for recovery are crucial for student athletes.

“We are able to do electrical stimulation, ultrasound, intermittent compression, cryotherapy, thermotherapy, dry cupping, instrument assisted soft tissue massage/ manual massage,” said Smith.

In the process of trying to find the new overseer of athletic training, the athletic department did not have to look far.

“We did go into a national search for a new Head Athletic Trainer,” said Athletic Director Steven Rackley. “Brad Smith was the best candidate. He’s been here, he knows Alma, the coaches trust him, and most importantly our student athletes trust him.”

As for the future of athletic training, the plans are to continue taking care of the student athletes.

“The big plans would be to simply continue the great care that the previous athletic trainers have established, as well as continue to listen to the student-athletes input for any improvements that we can make as a staff,” said Smith.

Clapping in SAGA causes controversy


You may have heard the thunderous applauses every once in a while during meal times. The clapping and cheering occurs whenever someone drops a piece of dishware, loudly in the middle of Hamilton Commons. Once it hits the ground, people sitting in Saga might begin clapping, cheering and sometimes they might even give a standing ovation.

Not everyone participates however. Some have rolled their eyes, others have yelled out for it to stop, some just choose to ignore the noise.

“It’s more of a football thing, not a lot of people do it if they’re not associated in some type of athletics,” said Nahuel Juarez (‘21). “It’s something that people started before us that’s been carried on.”

According to Juarez, the tradition began many years ago when the football team started cheering for their teammates who had dropped something.

Some students feel that the clapping should only occur depending on the type of person who dropped the dish. “If I know the person who dropped something, I [clap]. I know my buddies, so I mess with them because I know they know it’s just a joke,” said Cam Ramirez (‘20). “I can see it bothering people, like upsetting them, that’s why I only clap for the people I know.”

Recently, some of campus has taken to social media to discuss the controversy over the tradition. They felt as though the cheering can be dangerous to students who have social anxiety.

“I dread walking my dishes to the back in fear of dropping something. I would most definitely be one of those people to freak out,” wrote Kara Denike (‘20) on a Facebook status.

Social anxiety includes fear of being judged by others, feelings of not being good enough, and high levels of embarrassment around large groups of people. “I’m not diagnosed with any anxiety disorder but I’m close with enough people to imagine how it feels,” said Bridget McCaffrey (‘21). “In a moment like that, all you hope is that no one noticed what happened and that you’d just be able to move on, but instead a whole cafeteria of people you’ve never met [have clapped] for a mistake you made. It makes the person feel like [dropping a dish] is so important and impactful that the whole room [needed] to point it out.”

Others disagree. They feel as though the situation is a light-hearted, meaningless joke that shouldn’t be taken so seriously. This is where the question of ‘should the tradition continue?’ lies.

“I understand people get embarrassed, but I feel like if you can’t handle clapping over a cup being dropped in Saga, life will hit you pretty hard,” said Juarez. “I do somewhat see how people think it’s rude though.”

Some wonder if a compromise will be made between the two viewpoints, whether that be to keep the clapping strictly between groups of friends and teammates, or something more, while others argue to keep the tradition going to honor the Alumni who began it.

“Some do it to be rude and others do it just to poke fun at their friends,” said Ramirez. “There’s two sides to every story.”

Dogs welcome visitors downtown


Puppy love can be comforting to many when they are far from home, and college students know that better than anyone. On a college campus, though, it can become difficult to find an outlet for this need for some dog affection.

Luckily, downtown Alma has a number of stores with friendly and accessible dogs. Since therapy dogs only come once a month, these dogs can be a much-needed resource for a college student needing a little break from the bubble.

Among those stores are Treasures, Terry’s Cycle and State Farm Insurance, with a schnauzer, labradoodle and golden retriever, respectively.

“The cheer team made my dog, Layla, a part of their scavenger hunt at the beginning of this year, which was really cool,” said Katie Tobias of State Farm Insurance on how much students have interacted with the dogs downtown.

“Not many students have a connection to the downtown area, so this is a nice excuse to get students wandering around down here.”

Baxter, a labradoodle, is often featured on Terry’s Cycle’s Facebook page, which has lead to quite the following for the dog. Between Baxter and Treasure’s house dog Katie Scarlett, they have an expansive fan club of community and students alike.

“Katie Scarlett, at Treasures is definitely one of the cutest dogs I have ever seen, and I encourage everyone to go see her,” said Emily Henderson (‘21). “I really enjoy talking to the owner of Treasures, so I go in for more than Katie Scarlett!”

Not only can students relieve stress and get some puppy kisses, but they can also create lasting relationships with community members. “I have several students that come down for a mom hug and some puppy love, which is really nice. Katie Scarlett has grown pretty attached to some college students, and she loves them – if a group of college students came in, and there was one nonAlma student in the group, she would know,” said Dawn Hall, owner of Treasures.

“Living so far away from my own dogs while I was a student at Alma was tough, but going down to visit Nala (Katie Scarlett) always helped propel me through my week, especially during exam times and other instances of particular stress,” said Alma College alum Naria FordThompson. “The dogs in the stores downtown never failed to put a smile on my face.”

Dogs are a part of many people’s families, and being away from family (especially such a cuddly member) can be even harder during times of stress. “Students are welcome to come visit Layla,” said Katie Tobias.

Budget decisions affect organizations


Student Congress has recently made budget decisions, and some students have strong opinions about them. Almost all student organizations have had their budget cut by 15%. Student Congress Executive Council and Representatives spoke out in response to this.

“Budget decisions are complicated in student congress. We want it to reflect how that club or organization is serving the campus or the students that are in that club,” said Bridget Flannery (‘20), Student Congress President.

“We do have a budget committee which all student organizations are either on the constitution committee or the budget committee, so it’s made in part by the students that receive the funding…We want to make sure that clubs use their money wisely and everything that goes with that,” said Flannery.

According to Samuel Nelson (‘20), Student Congress Treasurer, the 15% budget cut did not correlate with the amount of an organization’s budget spent last fiscal year.

“Student’s are entitled to use the entirety of their group’s budgets through the end of the fiscal year, on June 30th. This [was] not typical, but happened this year in May and June. The money spent during this time period had no bearing on the decisions regarding budget cuts, as that leftover money would have been saved in a separate account.”

“What prompted the cuts was the nature in which we build our yearly budget. The vast majority of students pay the Student Activity Fee (SA fee); however, students in non-traditional tracks such as high school students [who dual enroll] do not pay this fee,” said Nelson.

“What caused the budget cuts was a lower amount of Student Activity Fees paid than expected, according to Nelson.

“The number of students required to pay this fee totaled approximately 1,365, not the 1,444 that would have been necessary to meet the budget expectations resulting from last year’s committee. The 15% cut across the board was easily the best way to respect our needs and desires as a student body without putting ourselves in financial jeopardy. So I think it went all right.”

Student Congress Representatives responded to these cuts: “Overall, I think StuCo EC did well with accommodating to what the new across-clubs budget was,” said TiKilah Turner (‘19), Representative of the Multicultural Student Union. “I think the budget [was] handled much better, for the simple fact that the EC made an executive decision rather than asking each club representative, which would have ended in an uproar and been ineffective.”

Andrew Bach (‘20), Representative of Phi Mu Alpha, also spoke out in regards to the budget. “I think for future budget overspending issues, docking everyone’s budget by 15% is not necessarily the best solution.”

“[The] budget for AlmaCon is a fraction of what it was last year. They need better oversight on how clubs are spending their budgets,” said Jordan Bird (‘20), Representative of Alma College Otaku and Gamers. “We need to ensure an accurate projection of students, and in turn funds,” said Nelson.

According to Nelson, there are a few questions to be answered in order to improve budgeting in the future. “What [could] be done to maximize both students’ voices and effective use of our time? We must answer–how [would] we most effectively use our SA fee equitably, and in line with Alma’s mission? Should clubs start out with max funding, or should we prioritize contingency for special occasions and needs?”

Diversity through music


The Alma College Choir typically sings a wide range of music from different cultures every year—including classical, Middle Eastern, contemporary and gospel music.

Music is a great way to appreciate all of the world’s different backgrounds in an acceptable way. However, there is a fine line to be crossed when performing these kind of pieces in order to be culturally appropriate. T

his past Saturday, the top performing choir performed an African-American spiritual song titled “Wade in the Water.” The arrangement of the song is beautiful and really exemplifies the character of music that came from that time period.

“Wade in the Water” is a piece from the early 1900’s that is heavily associated with slavery and the underground railroad. Sections of this piece refer to “the man all dressed in white” and some historians refer to this song as a musical map to escaping slavery in the south.

However, there are some problems with performing this piece, and most of these issues come from the performers not being educated on the context of a song like this. Songs that come from a different culture can cross the line from appreciation to insensitivity if the performance is not accurate.

Performing these songs is very important for the exposure of world music. The music of other countries can educate in more ways than contemporary music in many circumstances.

Different rhythmic and melodic patterns diversify a concert and make it more entertaining for an audience, as well as more educational. These experiences make a well-rounded musician, but also a well rounded human.

It is the responsibility of the teacher to make sure their students are educated on the social contexts of the songs they are singing, whether that be a discussion in class or an assignment to work on at home.

The importance of education about the music that ensembles are performing is important in all of the arts. As a music department, the students and the professors should put more of a focus on this kind of education.

If you are interested in learning more about world music, the internet is full of selections—dating anywhere from ancient chants to African drumming and more.

Even if you aren’t a musician, educating yourself on the music of other cultures can help you appreciate all of the diversity that is in this country.

As a music department, Alma has to be held accountable for educating their performers on how to accurately perform these important contextual pieces.

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