A gander at Germany


Germany is one of the most economically influential members of the European Union. Germany has the world’s fifth largest economy. Large companies contributing to the economy are companies like Siemens (industrial conglomerate), Volkswagen Group (automotive), and Fresenius (medical equipment and supplies).

“Travel in Germany is actually super easy. They have a ton of public transportation options like busses, trains, trams, subways and taxis,” said Anna Dobyns (’20). “Also, pretty much everyone there bikes all the time. You have to be careful when you’re walking through the cities because of the amount of bikers on the sidewalk. They even divide the sidewalks into walking lanes and biking lanes in most places.”

Germany also has an expressway-like road called the “Autobahn,” which is known for its lack of a permanent speed limit in a lot of areas. The recommended speed limit is 130 km/h (about 81 m/h).

Another service that you can use to get around the country quickly is the German Intercity-Express (ICE). These trains travel inside Germany and into neighboring countries. The speeds of these trains can reach up to 300 km/h (about 190 m/h).

Eryn Corinth (’20) commented on the food of Germany. “German cuisine is really hardy, there’s a lot of breads and meats.”

Dobyns had a similar experience. “Cuisine there was pretty much what you would expect from Germany. Lots of brats, potatoes, sauerkraut, pretzels, pork and beer. What I loved about their food though was that everything was so fresh. It was a nice break from all of the processed food we’re used to in America.”

Germany is a democracy that has a parliament. One house of parliament, known in German as Bundestag (which translates to “Federal diet”), is much like the United States of America’s House of Representatives. It’s counterpart, the Bundesrat (federal council), is comparable to the Senate.

Germany has some cultural views that differ from ours. “In general, Germans are quieter and more reserved than Americans. For example, after we had landed in Munich and were in customs and immigrations for our passports to be stamped, the building was absolutely quiet, and no one was speaking,” said Corinth.

“There’s a lot of social differences but the one that came to me first is the difference between our views on alcohol. In Germany, they can drink wine and beer starting at 16 and liquor at 18,” said Dobyns. “Due to this, a lot of the alcohol abuse that we see in the US, especially in young adults, isn’t as much of an issue there because they’ve been taught from a younger age how to properly approach drinking.”

When asked what her favorite memory in Germany was, Corinth said, “My favorite experience in Germany was visiting Wartburg Castle and being able to see the room and desk where Martin Luther transcribed the Bible from Hebrew and Greek to the vernacular German”.

Germany is highly recommended for anyone who is going to Europe. If you have any questions ask Corinth or Dobyns.

Breaking the Alma bubble


For years students have been primarily housed on campus, limiting campus and community relations and creating what is known as the “Alma Bubble.” However, this fall, students began occupying the newly renovated Opera House, a project that has been conceptualized for many years.

Alma College students had a unique opportunity presented to them last spring, living in a building that once was a hub for Alma entertainment and helping to revive Alma’s environment. Opera House resident Anna Lauer (’21) was drawn to live there for its historical value and the appeal of living in a new space.

Being farther from campus may inspire students to seek out alternate spaces to study. Lauer liked Highland Blush’s atmosphere and being able to use Munch Money to purchase food and drinks there. “I would use (Highland Blush) as a study space instead of the library,” said Lauer. “The shop’s proximity to the Opera House makes it a prime location for students to visit.”

Local business owners are ready to welcome students on a more regular basis. “When everything started to get finalized, excitement started building downtown,” said Highland Blush owner Damian Sanderson. He mentioned the changing demographic of downtown visitors and the different events that could be offered based on this new audience.

Popping the Alma Bubble can benefit both students and the overall community. Lauer recounted opening her apartment window and hearing events happening downtown. “Being out of the Alma Bubble reminded me that there are people living lives outside the college, and I feel more connected now than I was before,” said Lauer. She said by utilizing the Opera House to host campus events, the community can be integrated into Alma College in ways not attainable in the past.

Sanderson also had positive thoughts on popping the Bubble. “The Bubble exists because there are limited reasons to pop it.” He mentioned that students usually will find nothing of interest to do downtown. By hosting inexpensive, accessible events, he hopes to encourage Alma students to step out of campus and attend events beyond college sanctioned activities.

Students can help break the Alma Bubble by staying connected. Sanderson encourages students to become active with local businesses through social media. “You never find out about free events if you don’t connect yourself on social media,” said Sanderson.

Sanderson mentioned the twofold relationship students have with downtown businesses. If students want to see intriguing events happening in the area, mutual support needs to be shown in order for them to reoccur. He hopes that through the Opera House, downtown shops can gain a stronger relationship with Alma students.

Breaking the Bubble will have to extend farther than just the downtown area. During orientation week, Meijer hosted a Back to College event with activities for Alma students and much more. Madison Amlotte (’20) attended the event. She said, “it brought an energy and excitement into Meijer that usually isn’t in that space.”

“Students got to shop for any items they might have forgotten or wanted for their rooms,” Amlotte added. The event aimed to market to students in an engaging way. Amlotte noted there were also games, dancing and activities, that resulted in prizes being awarded to students.

Regarding the success of breaking the Bubble, Destiny Herbers (’21) was unsure of the success. “In my experience, Meijer is very much a part of that Bubble,” said Herbers. She also said that Meijer is visited often by Alma students already. She suggested it would be more impactful to include more local businesses.

Tragedy hits family, local coffee shop gives aid


On Aug. 20, 11-yearold Addison Redman was shot to death in her home in Arcada Township, just south of Alma. Her body was found on Tuesday morning by a relative, who then called 911.

Redman was about to begin the sixth grade at Alma Public Schools. She was involved in the county fair as an award-winning 4-H member, and she took second place at the Large Animal Junior Showmanship Sweepstakes just a few weeks before her death.

Redman was known for thinking about and helping her competitors, despite knowing that helping them would make the competition tougher for her. Redman was also a member of the Alma Strikers, a local soccer team.

Police say that the pathologist ruled the case as a homicide, although investigators still believe that the shooting could have been an accident. Police have declared that they have a person of interest in the case, but that no conclusions have yet been reached.

A candlelight vigil was held on Aug. 26 at the fairgrounds where Redman loved to compete for so many years. Visitation took place on Aug. 29 at the Dewey Funeral Home in Alma. Along with these services, friends and family are paying tribute to Addison on social media, and counseling services are available at Alma Middle School.

Heather Abdulla works at and manages Biggby Coffee, located on Wright Avenue. For the past six years, ever since the Alma location opened, Matt and Mary Redman have been regular customers.

Mary Redman owns a bakery, where she makes cakes for Biggby staff going-away parties, and several employees are friends with the Redman family on Facebook.

When the staff heard what had happened to the Redman family, they launched into action.

“I had baristas reaching out to me, and people who hadn’t worked here in six years were asking if we were doing anything,” said Abdulla. “Everybody needs help once in a while. We decided to help the only way we knew how.”

On Aug. 26, the Alma location of Biggby Coffee launched a fundraiser called Coffee for a Cause, with donation jars out on the counters instead of the usual tip jars. “We put a picture of Addison and Mary on one, and Addison and Matt on the other,” said Abdulla. I

n addition to the proceeds made from the donation jars, the store’s owner decided to donate fifty percent of their net sales from that day to the family.

“We know a lot of people throughout the community,” said Abdulla. “We’re big on helping people here.”

As the Gratiot County continues to heal from Addison Redman’s death, the family asks that instead of flowers, donations can be made to the Addison Redman Memorial Fund at any Commercial Bank. Checks can also be mailed to Commercial Bank, 1690 Wright Avenue, Alma, MI 48801.

New policies ruffle returning students


While students were home for the summer, Alma College made significant changes to both their parking policy and their decorating policy. As emails went out to students notifying people of the changes, some students were upset with the new policies.

The changes to the parking policy include many of the individual dorm and house parking lots being combined into one pass for different sections of campus. Freshman now have access to buy a north lot parking pass upon enrollment at Alma.

The main south campus parking lot behind Wright Hall now has the same parking permit as all of the Greek Life houses and other small-housing on the south side of campus. If a student purchased a Maroon parking permit, they can park in almost any campus owned space on the south side of Superior St.

The parking lots located in the west side the north campus dorms have been combined into one parking pass. The new Teal Lot used to be 3 different parking lots, with people only being able to purchase specific parking passes based on room location and grade.

“I lived on South Campus this year, and the fact that they’ve changed it all to one parking permit makes it pretty difficult to find parking next to my hall,” said Laney Alvarado (‘20). “I get why it could be easier for some people, but personally, if I’m paying $300 for parking, I’d like to be able to park by my hall.”

Many students in small housing are having similar complaints. “I live in Maccurdy this year, and another problem with parking is our back-parking lot,” said Gracie Lloyd (‘22). “It is a parking lot directly behind our house, but anyone with a maroon parking pass is allowed to park there.”

Small housing students feel like the people living in their house should have priorities for the parking spots next to their house. “I feel that any small-housing that has a lot [of residents] like we do should be able to have those spots directly assigned to them,” said Lloyd.

The changes to the decorating policy include the banning of tapestries and many kinds of adhesives that students use to put things on their walls. Hanging anything from the walls is banned in the newly renovated Opera House.

The email to students outlining the new policy was sent to students on Aug. 15, which was also the day student move-in started for the fall semester. Many students already have the decorations set for their room before their planned move-in day, and the lack of personalization has some students upset.

The personalization of a student’s room is one of the things that can make a college dorm room feel like home. “Coming to college can be so stressful and uncomfortable for some, and to tell people that they cannot make their rooms their own is saddening,” said Lloyd.

Many of students’ complaints are not just about the changing of policy, but the lack of communication between administration and the student population around these changes.

“I get why they want to enforce those rules but from a student perspective, it just seems like the school is starting to take away more stuff than giving,” said Alexia Miller (‘20). “We pay a lot of money to go here. We should be able to decorate our rooms and hang stuff up.”

More information about these new policies can be found on the Alma College website, or through contacting a housing staff member.

7 Star storms campus


Alma welcomes a new convenience store to take the place of the old 7/11. “7 Star,” is the name and it is an original title by Store Owner: Sky Butrus.

“I feel pretty good about the new store,” said Butrus. He also owns Boomer’s Party Store and a few additional party stores in the surrounding area.

The property and building where the 7/11 once sat had been abandoned since last year when the enterprise’s corporate office decided to close down the store and board up the building they leased from a retired physician in town; that’s when Alma College was approached about the purchase of the building.

“The owner of the property came to us and said he’d like to do something for the college, and he agreed to sell us the property at below market value,” said Senior Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Alan Gatlin, who is primarily responsible for the business aspects of the college.

Alma College jumped on the deal presented to them and started looking for a tenant to rent the business space to.

“Alma College reached out to local businesses in the area about leasing the space, and I happened to be one of them,” said Butrus.

“7 Star” will be the closest convenience store to campus, sitting only a block away on Wright Avenue, right next to the Starbucks and Alma College Bookstore.

“It feels good getting the new store. It was disappointing to see the 7/11 go, so it is nice to see something else like that,” said Jordan Jackson (‘21).

Alma College has now expanded its property even more into the town with their purchase of the building.

“It is a key piece of real estate for the college to own because we already own the Starbuck’s property there on the corner, so it was a nice addition. But the most important thing was to get a convenience store back. The last thing the city needs is a boardedup building,” said Gatlin.

The store will be carrying tobacco and other nicotine products. Alma College is now a smoke-free, tobacco-free and vape-free campus as many know, but students do not think this will increase the frequency of policy violations in any way.

“I think that those who are [using nicotine products] are going to do it regardless of the store being there or not,” said Richard Scroggins (‘21). Faculty members do not seem concerned about an increase in violations of one of the newer and more major policies on campus.

“I think that tobacco products are always available, and whether a convenience store is right on the outskirts of campus or not is really not going to have a major impact on whether or not students comply with the policy,” said Gatlin.

The store will also be a closer access to alcoholic beverages for students.

“I think as long as the store does a good job of checking ID’s, [alcohol] won’t be a problem,” said Joseph Vondrasek (‘21).

It is still undetermined if Munch Money will be able to be used at the “7 Star” or not. If Munch Money does go into effect at the new store, this will be the first convenience and grocery-type store to accept Munch Money.

“We are talking about [implementing Munch Money], but we haven’t determined that yet; a lot of factors go into it,” said Gatlin.

The store is currently at a soft opening; there is limited stock on the shelves and it is cash-only while the computer systems are getting established. An official opening date for the fully stocked and operated store is set for Oct. 1.

The horror, the horror


It was a Saturday morning when the world unexpectedly endured two events of terrifying proportions. Despite being vastly different in each of their effects, their causes remain depressingly similar.

On August 10th, just as a Manhattan prison guard began to open a jail cell, fires began spreading in the Amazon rainforest. Shocking images of destruction began to circulate, especially among young people on social media. Too much deforestation of the Amazon would cause the rainforest to reach a tipping point where it would be permanently damaged beyond recovery, this would be dire because the Amazon rainforest helps slow down climate change by absorbing greenhouse gases. As the chaos grew, it quickly became apparent that this wasn’t just a Brazilian crisis, but a global one.

On August 10th, just as a tree in the Amazon began to catch fire, multimillionaire and international sex-trafficker Jeffrey Epstein was found dead by a prison guard in his Manhattan jail cell. Epstein made friends with famous and powerful people including, Bill Clinton, Donald Trump, Prince Andrews, Tony Blair, Bill Gates, Alec Baldwin, Kevin Spacey, Bill Cosby, and more. The source of Epstein’s vast wealth was shrouded in secrecy, although many alleged that at least some of it was from the smuggling of underage girls to his wealthy friends. Just as Epstein was once again charged with sex trafficking and poised to name his influential clients, he mysteriously died from an apparent suicide.

The Amazon wildfire was the result of the Brazilian government pushing it to happen. The far-right Brazilian President, Jair Bolsonaro, is a climate change skeptic who campaigned on opening more of the Amazon rainforest to industrial development and agribusiness. Once in office, Bolsonaro cut the budget of Brazil’s environmental agenc, and began supporting the hunting of endangered rainforest species. When a Brazilian space-agency official estimated that the number of forest fires were eighty-three percent higher than they were last year, the head of the space-agency was fired. In addition, Bolsonaro’s hatred for environmental protections intersects with his hatred for Indigenous people, who he has repeatedly made racist remarks about while proposing to seize their land for commercial use.

The crimes Epstein committed were the result of the American government allowing it to happen. In 2007, Epstein was facing a 53-page federal indictment for trafficking underage girls from around the world and facing the possibility of spending the rest of his life in a federal prison. Just as the case seemed surefire, Epstein was able to reach a bizarrely lenient plea deal with federal prosecutor Alexander Acosta for only 13 months in a county jail. The plea deal also granted immunity to “any potential co-conspirators” which shut down the ongoing FBI probe into whether there were other powerful clients. For years afterwards, eye witnesses say that Epstein was frequently seen ushering clearly underage girls onto his jet in order to fly them to his private island as authorities did nothing to stop him.

In Brazil, there was virtual certainty that the fires were intentionally set. President Bolsonaro blamed environmental groups who he claimed were trying to make him look bad. The truth

turned out to be much less complicated, the fire was set by farmers trying to signal their support of the President’s environmental policies by clearing land for development. Unsurprisingly, the Amazon wildfire is good for business.

In America, there was virtually no certainty that Epstein committed suicide (only 33% of Americans believe he actually died by suicide). Epstein was inexplicably taken off suicide watch after an earlier alleged attempt, both of the guards assigned to watch him supposedly fell asleep at the same time, and the two cameras outside of cell turned out to both be broken. Republicans blamed the death on Bill Clinton (who had taken several rides on Epstein’s private jet, which was nicknamed “The Lolita Express”) and Democrats responded by blaming Donald Trump (who nominated Acosta as his Labor Secretary and said that Epstein “likes beautiful women as much as I do, and many of them are on the younger side”). The truth is much less clear, but it’s unambiguous that many wealthy and powerful people had an interest in making sure Epstein didn’t testify about them. Unsurprisingly, Jeffrey Epstein’s suicide is good for business.

The facts of both the Amazon wildfire and Epstein’s life/death are so alarming that they run the risk of driving people insane if they stare too long. You are either reduced to standing on the street corner holding a sign reading “THE END IS NIGH” or you devolve into a tin-foil hat wearing conspiracy theorist ranting about a secret and powerful cabal of pedophiles. It can make you feel powerless and incredulous. Why would people purposefully light the earth on fire? Why would people allow the rape of children?

That answer is simple: it’s profitable.

Powerful people will always try to get you to blame someone else, especially as the world gets increasingly horrific. The scapegoats they chose will always range from environmental groups, indigenous people, immigrants, Jews or Muslims. Sometimes they’ll try to convince you that a problem is solely the fault of everyone in a certain political party, whether that is Republican or Democrat. If you really want to know what’s going wrong, find out what morally reprehensible actions are profitable, find the wealthy people who are profiting from that moral rot the most. Those are the people responsible for the horror.

Healthy eating for athletes


For athletes, a healthy and balanced diet is critical for performance in competition. Eating healthy on campus, although it may not seem easy at first, is absolutely accomplishable. “Athletes at any level should want to treat their diet seriously and want to eat healthy,” said Zeke Nave (‘20).

The dining options on campus and a part of every student’s meal plan include Hamilton Commons (also known as SAGA), Joes, the Dow cart, Starbucks, Highland Java, Highland Blush, El Vaquero, Jimmy Johns and Pizza One.

While these options may not all seem the most healthy, many athletes find ways to eat balanced diets.

“Students don’t realize there are plenty of options at Saga, even if your goal is to eat healthy,” said Nave. Eating healthy at Hamilton Commons can be done simply by using all of your resources and customizing your meals.

“You can make most the the options healthy by yourself! Make salads, take the bun off of burgers and eat the veggies,” said Ally Wentworth (‘21).

“For breakfast, I am a huge smoothie guy. I use everything that they put out at the smoothie bar as well as my own protein and then peanut butter to top it off,” said Nave.

“The Mongolian station is one of my personal favorites, it provides all of the veggies you would want, a good source of protein from the meat and a healthy carb from the rice,” said Wentworth.

“At the My Zone station, you can order chicken breast, burgers or turkey burgers. I enjoy this because you can mix it up and eat it with a lot of other things offered around Saga,” said Wentworth.

Self-control can also be a huge part of keeping a healthy diet while on campus, and athletes know that struggle better than anyone.

“I think the two things I try to avoid are the main lines and the pizza bar. As much as I love Taco Tuesday and popcorn chicken, I love the reward of eating healthy and feeling great just a little bit more,” said Nave. “Limit the desserts, but don’t be afraid to indulge every once in awhile,” said Wentworth.

Successful athletes are often a product of their diet, and many athletes at Alma are happy to help younger students figure out their best options.

“I would advise the younger athletes to try to change their eating habits early on and build a routine of making good eating decisions before they begin making the typical college kid decisions of late night binge eating,” said Nave.

“Start trying new things on the salad bar, check out MyZone and all that it offers and don’t be afraid to be the friend who refuses to eat a slice of pizza,” said Nave.

“Take advantage of the to go fruit station; the apples, oranges and bananas are great snacks for when you’re on the go and great for you right before practice,” said Wentworth.

Eating on campus does not have to result in the ‘Freshman Fifteen’, in fact, it can be the opposite.

With all of the options for customizing meals in Hamilton, choosing healthy snacks from Joes, and the occasional Pizza One cheat meal, student athletes have all of the tools they need to make their diet the best it can be.

Greek Life confronts alcohol concerns


Crossover, traditionally, occurs the night before classes start and is when the first parties of the school year occur. For such events to happen on campus, there are rules in place specifically to protect students’ safety.

On Sept. 3, Greek organizations on campus attended a training required to host events on campus with alcohol. It was put on by Matt Jones, assistant director of Greek life, and was similar to the training Resident Assistants and First Year Guides received prior to the start of school.

Topics discussed included intoxication risk factors— such as weight, gender, rate alcohol was consumed as well as others—and behavior cues. The cues started at lowered inhibition and increased to loss of judgement, slowed reactions and loss of coordination. Members were also advised on what action to take when someone is at each level.

All campus organizations are required to follow Alma College’s policies, which are in the student handbook under “Alcohol-Related Events Policy” and the alcohol policy. A few rules in place include hours events are allowed, the banning of drinking games, the requirement of security at events that have alcohol as well as color-coded wristbands representing those attendings’ ages.

Additionally, each organization has their own security measures in place and have to follow the local laws. This includes no drinking under the age of 21.

The fraternities on campus range in the number of parties they have from one a year to one or two a month depending on their organization. They are subject to the same rules regardless of frequency.

“Our risk manager will assign brothers to security for the party a week in advance, and then the day of the party, all of the brothers will meet and go through a run through on how we want the party to go,” said Tait Morrissey (’21), president of Sigma Chi, on how they prepare for events.

During gatherings, brothers at Sigma Chi are stationed around the house watching for safety issues. They also count those who come in and out to stay below capacity and have a brother stationed on the front porch.

Colin Englehart (’20)¸ president of Phi Mu Alpha, said his fraternity reaches out to alumni for events like homecoming when there are more brothers around for additional help. They also have sober brothers in every room that is occupied to watch out for safety hazards. “I personally feel that we make safety our number one priority, especially when it comes to parties,” said Matt Leppien (‘20), president of Delta Gamma Tau. Before parties, they have a meeting to establish who is working security as well as go over plans in case of an emergency before preparing the house.

As the event occurs, the brothers of Delta Gamma Tau communicate frequently through their phones. They are constantly on the lookout for unsafe situations and occasionally walk around to make sure “nobody is doing anything they aren’t supposed to be doing while in our house,” said Leppien.

Englehart, Leppien, and Morrissey suggest going out with a group of friends that you know. “I would say trust your gut and know your limits. If you feel like something is wrong, chances are it probably is,” said Leppien. Englehart suggests having a plan with friends before going out, including if there will be any drinking before it happens.

“As college kids, we all know people will drink before coming to parties but be responsible,” said Morrissey. “It is important to know limits and keep track of what has been consumed because it will assist in getting the right care,” he said.

“Don’t be afraid to communicate with whoever is running the party in a situation where you may need some assistance,” said Leppien.


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