Athletes partake in the buddy system


At Alma, student athletes not only hold important roles as athletes for their specific sports, but also through their involvement with their buddy teams.

“In the beginning of the year, teams from different seasons are paired up to support each other during games and or other events they might have going on,” said a member of the Women’s golf and lacrosse team.

Too often athletes get caught up in the thrill and busyness of their season, that they rarely get the opportunity to branch out and support their fellow athletes. Therefore, buddy teams were put in place as a way to encourage involvement on campus and between the various sports teams.

“The purpose of having buddy teams is to have more Scot-on-Scot support. It gets your team to learn more about the other sports on campus,” said Jennifer Kowalczyk (’20), a member of the women’s golf team and the Special Event Coordinator for the Student Athletic Advisory Committee (SAAC).

Buddy teams enable athletes to not only have a reason to take a break from their busy schedules and support each other, but it allows them to become more familiar with sports they may not have taken any interest in before being paired together.

This is why fall and spring sports are often paired together, such as tennis being paired with softball and track with women’s basketball.

Kowalczyk, whose golf team was paired with men’s lacrosse as their buddy team, said, “the buddy teams are selected based on opposite season (men’s lacrosse is in spring and golf in the fall) thus allowing the teams to attend more of each other games/ matches.”

Pairing teams with different sports’ seasons gives each team the opportunity to attend each other’s games or events to learn more about their particular buddy team’s sport. It helps athletes branch out to different sports that are outside of their season.

On top of this, having a buddy team is like having a permanent support group at many or all games and events to cheer each other on despite only one event attendance being required.

“As a team, you are required to attend at least one event of your ‘buddy’s events’, often times teams support by bringing game day goodie bags and posters,” said Kowalczyk.

On top of buddy teams attending each other’s events, they often times bring treats or signs to help root on their fellow athletes as an added bonus. Doing this not only adds to the overall support but shows that their buddy teams are supporting them on and off the field through signs and gifts or sideline support.

“We give our buddy team notes and a small snack and then we try to make it out to many of their games. We often make these team events so that our team bonds as well. I think this has an impact because it allows for both teams to realize that outside of our own inner circles, there are other people rooting for us,” said MacKenzie Chevailer (’20), a member of the Women’s lacrosse team.

The goal of buddy teams is to show fellow athletes that Alma’s athletic department is a community – one full of constant support from every sport. Whether it comes in the form of a Gatorade and a note or a sign, each team is rooting for each other, even if they realize it or not.

“In the past, we had women’s soccer and during our season they made each one of the players individualized posters and brought them to our game to support us; I still have mine as many of my teammates do,” said Chevalier.

Team-on-team support goes deeper than some people realize. It even carries on into the seasons to come.

Therefore, the buddy team system not only opens the door for more people to become informed about certain sports, but enhances the opportunity for unity among the teams to grow.

“Being able to support another team and start building connections with them, I believe, is very important. It brings different athletes together as well as bring up more support systems throughout the athletic department,” said Benoit.

Athletic department welcomes new coaches


Since last May, there have been several new coaching positions filled, bringing lots of new faces to the athletic department.

Many of the coaches on staff have brought in new assistants, or have moved from assistants to head coaches. Ultimately, there is a new wave of people in the coaching offices that many students have not yet had the chance to meet.

For example, Ryan Clark, previous women’s basketball head coach, has taken over the men’s team. With this, Samantha Stormont has stepped in as the head coach of the women’s team. Adam Nycz has stepped up from assistant coach to head coach of the men’s lacrosse team, and Brandon Trefil has become the new head coach of both men’s and women’s golf teams.

Along with these new roles being filled by both new staff members and previously existing ones, many assistant coaching spots have been filled.

Some of these assistant coaches include: Ryan Duncan, who will assist with the women’s basketball team, Tara Lierman has stepped on as new assistant for the women’s soccer team and Tyris Hill has been named a new assistant coach for the football team.

Along with these, several other new assistant coaches have come to join the Alma family, with more to be announced soon.

A few alumni have also decided to come back and help coach for their old teams, including Brehanna Ramos (‘19) and Kennedy Hilley (‘19).

“It’s cool how adaptive everyone has been, and supportive. They all stop in and make sure to say hello,” said Hilley. It can be difficult for an alum to earn the full respect of their team while stepping into the coaching role.

“As an alum, respect is a big thing with the student athletes and I think that they respect me enough that things are going really well,” said Hilley. All of the new faces in the athletic department have said that they love the energy in the offices.

“It’s been amazing! Everyone gets along really well, and they are all really welcoming and always there to help if I need,” said Tara Lierman.

Student athlete perspectives on all of the new faces in the athletic department are equally as important, and senior athletes have seen plenty of change in their years at Alma.

“Throughout my years at Alma, I have seen a lot of turnover from the coaching staff,” said Steve Harvey (‘20).

“It’s sad to see these faces familiar to Alma leave us, but at the same time it’s always good for a fresh start to rejuvenate a program. These changes can be integral in setting the foundation to shift the direction of a program,” said Harvey.

“I have seen a lot of coaches come and go, but one thing always stays the same: they love their athletes and the people here,” said Georgia Miller (‘20).

“I can’t speak for all sports, but this summer specifically, I have seen the volleyball program change in terms of motivation to win and support,” said Miller.

“I think Sarah Dehring has done a great job at supporting all the sports teams and really promoting a positive, inclusive environment for everyone in the athletic department! She sees our potential in Alma athletics and is really putting her visions into action,” said Miller.

From coaches to athletic directors to student athletes, everyone is excited for the direction the athletic department is headed with these new staff members.

“I think Alma is definitely headed in the right direction. Athletes are creating a buzz around campus about the excitement they have for these fresh starts,” said Harvey.

Alma college prepares for art prize


This week, student artist groups will take over campus and bring their Art Prize displays to life.

This year’s theme revolves around movement, challenging students to work outside the canvas and bring pieces to life. With only one word provided as a theme, a broad stretch of pieces can be created with different perspectives being accounted for.

“It is sometimes hard to narrow down exactly what you want to do, as it is always up to your personal ideas what to create,” said Logan Retell (’20).

This event gives students the opportunity to present pieces they have worked on, as well as challenge themselves to create large scale displays. Retell also said, “It is always a fun challenge to theme your work and cooperate with other artists.”

Alma Art Prize takes what students are doing in their classes—or their spare time—and turns it into a large-scale display. Joe Devroy (’21) said his favorite part of the event is being able to make whatever he wants. He said, “Not everyone comes into Clack, so coming outside brings it into the general campus.”

Artists can bring a new life to old spaces through their work. “It brings joy to people to walk places you have been before and see something new,” said Devroy.

“It allows up-and coming artists to showcase their work and gives other students something new to look at,” said Rettell.

The artists aren’t the only ones excited for Art Prize; Alma students are ready to see the works their fellow classmates have tirelessly worked on and exhibited. Sam Nelson (’21) is excited to see the campus come to life and to “see the landscaping in the middle of Mac Mall in a new light or to greater appreciate even something as simple as a hallway is a tremendous gift.”

Works that take common spaces and reimagine them to be something new and refreshing are a fan favorite among students. “I enjoy pieces that use their environment. My favorite piece used the tree in the middle of Mac Mall my freshman year, and nothing has beat that piece for me,” said Hannah Gibbs (’21).

By participating in Alma Art Prize, artists can have a sense of self-expression through their works. Nelson emphasizes the main takeaway of the event being the free expression of students to showcase their works. “It brings me great joy to see pieces made by my peers,” said Nelson.

“This event is one of the many avenues students get to express themselves, and it brings out the best in the art department,” said Gibbs. “It’s a great way for aspiring artists on campus to get their ideas out in the world for everyone’s interpretation, which is amazing.”

Allowing students to make their mark on campus has been a highlight for artists and students alike.

“Students get excited for events like this and participate a lot of the times. I feel like events like this could up enjoyment of the campus for students in all classes,” said Gibbs. There is a mutual benefit through the event, Alma artists get to display works they have spent hours crafting and the college itself gets an invigoration of creativity.

Although the art is temporary, the effect it has on students will last far longer than the works are on display. “I think this sort of thing is just exactly what we should be doing whenever we have the chance” said Nelson.

Alma Art Prize will be on display starting Monday, Sept. 16th.

Campus emphasizes self care


As fall semester enters its third week, Alma College students are forced to put their summer clothes away and get back into the school schedule. Many students can be affected by the drastic change in schedule, causing their mental health to deteriorate as the semester goes on.

Students have different ways of taking care of themselves with a busy school schedule. “When I get overwhelmed, I shut down,” said Kirstyn Cotton (’21).

“I try to take half an hour every day to listen to music and chill. It helps me destress when school stuff becomes a lot to handle.” Students are encouraged by staff members to reach out for help in order to achieve academic success. That assistance can come from signing up for a tutor, going to professors’ office hours and making an appointment at the Counseling and Wellness Center.

Kali Prillwitz (‘21) takes a different approach to balancing her busy schedule. “I tend to go into a routine. I schedule my showers, and I make sure I go home after lunch to relax. I make sure that even though I might have a lot of stuff to do, that is my time,” said Prillwitz.

Sometimes simple things can help you manage a busy semester. “Keeping a planner is always good,” said Prillwitz. “I bought a watch last year; I use it to keep track of my time and stay on schedule by setting alarms and timers. I also take Sundays to do my homework, but I don’t touch it on Saturdays. I like to keep my Saturdays open for friends, football games and extracurriculars.”

There are a variety of things students can do on campus to relieve stress: going to therapy cat/dog night, going out with friends or just taking a little extra time before bed for themselves.

Sometimes students need a little extra help when it comes to taking care of themselves. David Weir from the Counseling, Health and Wellness Center encourages students to reach out for a variety of situations.

“Students at Alma College seek counseling for a variety of reasons,” said Wier. “These include stress, anxiety, homesickness and adjustment concerns, perfectionism, depression, grief, drug and alcohol concerns, suicidal thoughts, relationship and roommate issues, sexual and gender identity, intimate partner violence and sexual assault and abuse.”

Fears can emerge within college students when they think about making an appointment with a counselor. Wier hopes students who are nervous about making their first counseling appointment can view their mental health the same as they do their physical health.

“If you have a physical illness or break a bone, you go to the doctor without hesitation,” said Wier. “If you’re feeling down, struggling in an area of your life, or just don’t feel like yourself, a counselor can be a great resource to help you identify the problem and develop solutions to it.”

Even though many students have not been to the Counseling and Wellness Center, they know that it can benefit them. “I’ve never been, but I’ve thought about going often,” said Prillwitz. “I think it would be nice to have another person to talk to outside of my professors.”

The Wilcox Medical Center has gone through some updates this summer, which includes the combination of the Medical Center and the Counseling and Wellness Center. Students can contact the Counseling and Wellness Center Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. –5 p.m. at 989-463-7225

Michigan regulates flavored vapes


At the beginning of this month, Governor Gretchen Whitmer announced her plan to place a ban on all flavored e-cigarettes after six people died due to vaping related illnesses.

While it is now well known that smoking cigarettes causes a slew of diseases, vaping is a relatively new phenomenon. Many researchers know the effect vaping has on the body, but there are still many people who believe the claim that vaping is better for you than the classic cigarette.

There is currently some controversy over the actual culprit. Some experts say that the true villain in this saga comes not from e-cigarettes, but illegal THC cartridges being smoked.

“There are a lot more pressing issues that affect a lot more people than the six people that have died, not through flavored vape, but through contraband THC cartridges,” said Ethan Zalac (‘22).

Many citizens are angered by this ban, feeling as though the government is attempting to stifle their freedom.

“I feel like it’s our citizens’ right to have if it’s legal, but at the same time, if it’s causing a lot of harm then it should probably be regulated,” said Chloe Sheler (‘21).

Not long after Governor Whitmer declared this ban, President Trump announced his plan to place a nation-wide ban on these products, deeming them unsafe for public use.

While these bans are being planned in the wake of recent deaths, the true reason behind them is simple — the fight to end teen vaping. Governor Whitmer turned to Twitter to back-up her recent ban.

“Right now, companies selling vaping products are using candy flavors to hook children on nicotine and misleading claims to promote the belief that these products are safe. That ends today,” wrote Whitmer.

Currently, this ban will last for six months, and at the end of this time another ban can be put into effect.

Some students feel as though there is a similarity between this state-wide ban and the ban that Alma College recently put into place, disallowing smoking on campus.

“It’s like when the college banned cigarettes. I think it’s [someone’s] legal right to be able to smoke. I don’t agree with it, per say; I think it’s very deadly, it could make you sick, but at the same time, it’s still their right to choose,” said Sheler.

While many citizens will now be forced to quit their vaping habit, it must be asked what will become of the stores that make most of their revenue from selling e-cigarettes, especially those with flavors.

“A lot of vape stores will probably go out of business,” said Mason Priest (‘21).

While some believe these stores will be forced to close their doors, others are already thinking about the avenues some of these businesses may be able to take. “They’re going to have to find another way to gain revenue. They’re going to have to find something more appealing that adults will like. Maybe, I know it sounds weird, but some adults would like wing flavors or maybe beer flavors,” said Sheler.

Others believe that these businesses may attempt to give this ban the run around.

“I’m sure they’re finding ways around this ban as we speak,” said Zalac.

Money, what’s that? A look at college debt


When walking around the campus you never really stop to think who is paying for college straight out of pocket, who is only here because of scholarships, who is paying for everything by themselves, who is having their parents pay their way for things, etc. Many students are having struggles with money, and you’d never realize because we all are all struggling when you look at the grand scheme of things.

As a student worker who was part of the Work to Earn Program during my first year at college, I was constantly getting asked why I needed to have an on-campus job. Many people did not realize that a large percentage of students on campus are paying their way through college and need a job to buy basic necessities and groceries. This is something that needs to be discussed.

When adding in the factors of rising tuition, groceries and all general necessity prices, things are getting quite costly and stressful to maintain. Many students have no clue how much their loans are going to end up costing them in the future. As interest increases on loans and tuition increases, the amount of debt that current students will see down the road also increases.

With the increase in tuition, many students are no longer able to afford to continue going to college. Being unable to pay for school is definitely a factor in some students’ decisions to leave college campuses across the country. It’s sad to see fellow classmates having to drop out simply because tuition prices are far too pricey.

Looking for jobs around Alma that will match with your busy class schedule can be seemingly impossible, especially if you do not have a car on campus. Handshake can be helpful, but mainly at the beginning of the school year. However, most students do not start look ing for a job before assessing how much of a workload they have with their classes, so they do not overload themselves.

Minimum wage is another factor that can be conflicting in paying for everything. Most jobs that college-age people can get are based around minimum wage, which is only $9.45. You definitely cannot forget Uncle Sam’s cut in your paycheck, so that brings the money you earned lower than what minimum wage is!

Although not everyone’s financial situation is a problem for them, there are quite a few students who have their parents or family helping them out along their college careers. Many of those students have all they need and can get by just fine without getting a job. Some of them, however, still have a job so they do not have to ask their parents for more money due to knowing the tuition price is so high.

There’s a common theme throughout the campus when it comes to finances. Tuition is increasing and it already is high as is. What is going to happen if it continues going up? Are students going to keep dropping out because they cannot afford it?

Tuition prices are over $50,000 a year and continue to rise. The college does not help when it comes to limiting how much money is being used on water, electricity, food. The lights in Hamilton Commons, Swanson Academic Center, the library and several other buildings are constantly left on overnight when no one is in the buildings. Food is constantly wasted because there is an overabundance made, and most students refuse to eat and Hamilton commons due to various dietary reasons.

There are several different ways to cut down college costs. Some college-age students are struggling for no reason because some people do not know how to live life cost-efficiently. We want a change in the tuition, so why not be the change.

Taylor Swift: Love it or leave it?


Taylor Swift’s most recent album—Lover—was released Aug. 23, 2019. This is her 7th studio album and is the next iteration in her progression as a musician.

Most of the songs on this album are exactly what we expect out of Swift. “The Archer” and “Soon You’ll Get Better” have teenage girls teary-eyed. “You Need to Calm Down” and “ME!” are the radio pop anthems that just scream ‘drunk party girl.’

The music on this album is what I assumed it would be at this point in Swift’s career. Her transition from country to pop was gradual, but now she is essentially the pop vocalist of our generation.

“You Need to Calm Down” became the white girl anthem for Pride 2019. While we love this kind of representation for marginalized communities, the source being Taylor Swift makes the conversation a little more complicated.

Swift has been criticized for preaching a non-inclusive type of feminism that excludes members of the LGBTQ community. This kind of accused feminism has been known on the internet as ‘white feminism’ for its exclusion of people who are marginalized for race, gender or sexuality.

There are a ton of easter eggs hidden throughout this album, and many die-hard Swifties have claimed that Swift is trying to tell listeners more about her sexuality. As soon as this became a popular idea, people immediately came in to criticize her for taking advantage of the LGBTQ community.

Some people think that she is using this album to try and take back the mistakes she has made over her career. She is trying to reach a bigger audience by focusing her songs around more diverse topics, but it reads to a listener as, “here are songs about the same things, but we’re gay now!”

This is not me saying that I hated this album. Sometimes I can bop to some Taylor Swift when I’m getting ready in the morning; sometimes a bubblegum pop song puts the pep in my step before my 9:40 class.

As a society, we just need to remain critical of the media we consume. Is it authentic, or is it major pop stars pandering to the new trend? It seems like Swift and her writers think being gay is the new trend.

Social context aside, “Lover” is a decent pop top100 album. It hits all of the basic pop requirements, but I think it might be time for us to expect more out of Swift.

A major win for 9/11 responders


After over a decade of battling with the nation’s government, surviving first responders from the attack on 9/11 have been presented with the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund, which, this time, is here to stay.

The fund originated in 2001 and was in place until 2004 to help the families of those who were sick, injured or killed due to the terrorist attacks on 9/11. As first responders continued to get sick after the fund was deactivated, however, it was re-established in 2011 because of the James Zadroga 9/11 Health and Compensation Act of 2010. The act was coined after James Zadroga, an NYPD officer who fell sick with respiratory disease after spending weeks around the attack site. Zadroga died in 2006.

According to the World Trade Center Health Program, another component of the Zadroga Act, more than 70,000 first responders who worked at ground zero have enrolled in the program. More than 32,000 of them have contracted diseases related to the attack, including diseases of the respiratory or digestive tracts, as well as cancer. Over 1,000 first responders have died of these illnesses since then. Experts predict that, at this rate, the total number of deaths will outnumber the people who died on 9/11.

In Feb. 2019, the budget for awards was slashed by 70 percent in an attempt to help with budget concerns. Thus far, five billion dollars have been paid to 21,000 people, and there are still tens of thousands of more claims to look at.

The fund has been permanently reauthorized due to a bill President Donald Trump signed earlier this year. The fund promises over ten billion dollars to cover the next ten years, and more money on top of that to last until 2090, which will virtually fund the survivors for the rest of their lives.

NYPD Detective Luis Alvarez was one of the first responders at the World Trade Center after the attack and spent months on the scene. In 2016, he began a battle with stage four cancer. Despite his struggles with illness and taking on 68 rounds of chemotherapy, Alvarez never stopped lobbying for the September 11th Victim Compensation Fund. He appeared before the Congress multiple times to defend his stance.

Although Luis Alvarez died before he saw the fund renewed, thousands of others are still around to reap its benefits, and many others are inspired by Alvarez’s determination. One of these people includes comedian Jon Stewart, who has lived in New York for most of his life.

Stewart, a large proponent for the fund, devoted an entire episode of The Daily Show to the issue in Dec. 2010 when Senate Republicans seemed as if they were going to shoot down the idea of the Zadroga Act. Stewart heavily criticized the Republicans in office and brought first responders from 9/11 onto the show to speak. Less than a week later, the Zadroga Act was passed.

In 2015, during the reauthorization of the fund, Stewart was once again a fierce advocate, criticizing those who reportedly failed to support the fund. He specifically targeted Kentucky Senator Mitch McConnell, who later responded to the allegations by saying that he had never failed to support the fund.

On Jun. 11, Stewart once again went viral for putting McConnell on blast, urging him to reauthorize the bill sooner rather than later. The next day, the House Judiciary Committee passed the Never Forget the Heroes Act, which extended the fund through 2090. The House of Representatives passed the bill on Jul. 12, which left the decision to Senate Republicans. The bill was, as promised, voted on and reauthorized last month, despite protest from Senators Rand Paul and Mike Lee about budget concerns. The final vote came out to 97-2 in favor of the fund.

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