Serve Generously

A big part of life here at Alma is service. It is written right into our mission statement: Alma College’s mission is to prepare graduates who think critically, serve generously, lead purposefully and live responsibly as stewards of the world they bequeath to future generations.

We have several organizations that focus almost solely on service, as well as some that are multi-focused but include service. Service exists through so many organizations on campus in so many different ways, shapes and forms. Athletics teams participate in service and so do Greek organizations. Many students enjoy doing service as a part of a group, while others prefer to do it alone in their free time, or with a small group of friends.

I, personally, am a member of Alpha Phi Omega—a national service fraternity. Our current local chapter, Omicron Tau, has been on Alma’s campus since 2002. Through Alpha Phi Omega I have been involved in countless volunteer opportunities. Some of my favorites though are Kids Night Out, painting the Gratiot County senior center, and volunteering in classrooms in the Alma school district. I’ve also enjoyed making placemats for community café, creating door decorations for some of the residents of Masonic Pathways, and volunteering at the city of Alma Fall Festival each year.

Before coming to Alma, service was a part of my life. I have been volunteering in all aspects of my life since I was very young. I have spent time feeding the homeless and hungry on the streets of Detroit, doing volunteer babysitting jobs, and I was even a long-term volunteer with the Dearborn Animal Shelter, in my hometown.

I have always felt a strong urge to help. Upon coming to Alma, this need was only intensified. There were so many options to serve, and people here were taking part in incredible service opportunities —Alternative Breaks, P-Global trips (where they travel around the world doing service!) and the middle school mentorship program.

Being so involved with service has been an important part of my college experience thus far, and I know many other Scots will agree with me on that. Doing service is something that gives you such a good feeling—being able to know you are helping someone else with something they may not be able to do on their own or knowing you are taking some weight off someone’s shoulders—it is a feeling that is incomparable.

When I have a service event on my calendar, it is something I will forward to all week. Most recently I’ve been volunteering with a second-grade classroom at one of the local elementary schools. The connections I’ve made with these children in just a few short visits are incredible. They look forward to us coming, and tell us each and every time we arrive. They remember our names, even though we’re only there once or twice a month. We have been taking time to teach them what service is, with the hopes of getting them involved with service at a young age. We’ve had them help us create placemats for community café and many of these students were able to look for their artwork if they attended community café that particular week. They were able to see the direct impact and understand that they made something for someone else’s benefit.

The following month we made thank-you cards with the kids that they then gave to teachers in their school. We taught them the concept of giving thanks and giving back, and I firmly believe that at least a handful of them will carry this through their lives and give back at some point. Maybe they won’t remember the time with us, or the first times they did service, but maybe they will, and if they do, then I have served well by making a difference in a child’s life.

While I am at Alma, I am going to continue to take advantage of all the service opportunities presented to me. Though my time left in college is beginning to dwindle (Ok, kind of! One more full year left!), I know service will always be a part of my life in the future, thanks to the experiences I’ve had here at Alma.


Advertising and the Power of Social Media

As a student majoring in communication, I tend to be very alert and aware of all types of communication around me. I find myself focusing on marketing, advertising, public relations and social media. Yesterday I experienced some marketing via social media that I thought was very efficient and I wanted to take some time to share it.

It was around 4 pm yesterday afternoon and I was camped out in the computer lab working on lots of homework and completing some designs for my bulletin boards for February. I was casually hopping back and forth between the two, with a few minutes of breaks for my email and Facebook.

While scrolling down my Facebook newsfeed, I saw a post from Treasures, an antique/resale shop in Alma, which was displaying some new items it had gotten in over the past few days. Of course, being the shopper that I am and the interest I have in interior design and decorating, I had to stop and take a look.

My new treasure

My new treasure

In their photos I found an artistic piece that is a board for hanging photos (a frame with chicken wire and clothespins) that matched my room perfectly. Knowing that it was something that would sell quickly—and also something I had to have—I commented on the post asking what the price was.

Treasures responded almost immediately, and it was within a reasonable budget I could handle, so I commented back asking what time the store closed. Again, within minutes, Treasures responded and told me that the store would be closing at 6 pm. By 5:30 I had found a ride there, done some browsing and was heading back to campus as a proud owner of this new piece for my room. (I also saved a few dollars thanks to the Treasures student discount!)

The interaction I had with Treasures yesterday was a great example of marketing through social media. The page admin was very prompt and efficient when answering me. She did so in a timely manner so that I was able to get the information I needed in time to purchase the piece.

In a small town like Alma, that type of interaction through social media is essential for family-owned businesses. Those types of interactions, and the interactions you have while in the store, are the types of things that make me want to go to the “little guy” stores before the super department store. I have found this type of interaction with several other small businesses in the Alma community as well. Throughout all of these pages you can view interactions and conversations of people who know the owners personally, or not so personally, all of whom are supportive and excited for the business and truly care about its success. The Alma community exists in so many places, and the virtual Alma community is equally strong.

Treasures in Alma

Treasures in Alma

Thank you to Treasures for its great customer service. This is a business in Alma that I will be sure to visit again. If you are interested in visiting Treasures, it is located at 111 W. Superior St. and is open from 10 am-6 pm Monday-Saturday and 11 am-4 pm on Sundays. Also, be sure to check out Treasures on Facebook.

Tick Tock

I have previously blogged about the daily schedule of a typical Alma College student and what a typical day looks like for me. I have also taken time to explain how Alma students like to be involved in all the things, all the time. Lately I have begun to learn that it doesn’t always have to be like that. Let’s rewind and take another look at a typical day in my life as an Alma College junior.

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

8am – Rise and Shine. A cup of coffee and breakfast bar to go.  Finish up homework that is due at 9:30.

9:30am – MTH 116 – Statistics

10:30am – POL 111 – Comparative Politics

11:20am – 10 minutes free time – go grab a cup of coffee!

11:30am – ENV 110 – Environmental Geology

12:30pm – Lunch to go!

1:00pm-4:00pm – Work at Communication and Marketing

4:00pm – Quick 15 minute nap.

5:00pm – 10:00pm – RA Group Processing for Incoming RAs for 2014-2015.

10:00pm – Dinner

10:30pm – Homework and Reading

11:30pm – Zzzzzzzz….

And truth be told, I would consider Tuesday to have been a less busy day than others: more than some, but still less than others. What you don’t see through that schedule is that there were two other things I was responsible for attending that I completely missed due to time conflicts. I was supposed to work from 7-9 pm, which I got covered because I knew about group process. I also had an executive council meeting from 9-10pm for Alpha Phi Omega, and I did not make it to that either.

I’ve always been told that people really respect how when I commit to something, I do it 100%. However, missing a meeting and having to cover work isn’t really 100% or even 90% for that matter. I am letting myself down and letting others down, and that is something I am not OK with. However, I am the type of person who has a hard time admitting when I am in over my head or when I need a break. I do not like to resign or step down or let go of things I am involved with because I truly am passionate about everything I do. But sometimes something has to give.

I’ll be the first one to tell you that I am not the most credible person to be telling you that it is OK to let things go. I have yet to actually let anything go, but I know that the time has come. So I am writing this blog as a goal-setter.

I know that letting something go is something that I need to do for myself, and I need to do it soon. I need more time for my homework, more time to truly fulfill the duties I have taken on and I need more time for me. I am 20 years old and only have one more year of college left ahead of me. It is time to start looking forward. What comes next? More school? Summer internship? Enter the job force? Those thoughts take time. I need the time to begin planning for my future, otherwise when I finish here next April I’ll have no idea as to what comes next.

But what makes the cut? I am involved in so many great organizations that do so many wonderful things. I am working several jobs, all of which I enjoy (and I enjoy making money!). I have made so many friends in so many different things I have taken part in throughout my time here at Alma, and to let any of them down is not a good feeling. However, neither is letting down myself.

This is a personal message to myself, but also a challenge to every college student, everywhere: Make sure to make time for you.

The girls in Traverse City

Taking a girls' weekend away with my mom and sister, enjoying winter in Traverse City, Mich.!

My biggest stress reliefs are sitting down with some reality TV or a romantic comedy and a nice big cup of coffee or tea, or heading off campus and going for a drive. If I don’t take some time to do those things once in a while, I find myself feeling burnt out and want to do nothing else but take a nap. Also, it’s OK to spend a weekend away from campus. Go home; go visit people at a different school. Do whatever makes you happy.

I can honestly say that throughout my time in college thus far, one of the most important things I have learned is time management. Now I am learning that it is ok to say “no.” Ironically, as if I didn’t have enough already, it takes time to learn time management and it takes time to learn when to back down. It takes courage to admit that something has to go and in the end all that matters is you.

The time is now. Face yourself, and do what you need to do to be the best you can be.


Stepping Up and Reaching Out

The past few days have been ones of confusion, sadness and grieving here at Alma College as one of our classmates, friends and fellow Scot – Sean Murawske—is no longer with us.

If you aren’t aware of what happened, see this article for a summary.

When something goes wrong on a small campus like Alma’s, everyone is affected in some way or another. Some students were classmates, friends and even hall mates with Sean. Others never got the chance to meet him but were eager to help with the search efforts and hanging missing posters throughout campus and the community.

The thing is, nobody sat back and watched. The local police had requested assistance with search crews on Tuesday morning, but the 300+ people they had show up was far more than they expected.

To me, this shows something. This shows that we are a community, and our community—particularly the past few days—extends far beyond the borders of our physical location.

Some parts of this community I keep referring to are obvious—Alma students, faculty, staff, and administrators and well as people who live in the city of Alma. But beyond this inner community we also had people from Harbor Beach (Sean’s hometown), as well as concerned parents who were with us via phone, friends from home, and basically anyone reading mid-Michigan news who was sending support, positive thoughts and prayers.

I believe that this community and this support is one of the biggest positives about being at a small, private school. Professors not only understand what we are going through, they are mourning Sean’s loss right along with us. Some knew Sean better than most students did, in fact. Therefore, some professors gave their classes time extensions or a day off, just so students—the community—had the time to grieve and remember Sean.

As much as it is unfortunate that it takes a tragic event to help us see the strength of our community, it is nice to know the amount of support that exists here at Alma when things do go wrong.

Students will grieve in different ways and the school has set up every possible way to make them more comfortable and offer the support they need. The Counseling and Wellness Center has opened its doors for walk-in appointments and is bringing in the therapy dogs to bring some smiles back to campus. Prayer and remembrance services have been held for students to attend, most of which have been so full that there was standing room only. The chapel has also opened its doors to anyone who grieves better with prayer, which many students here do.

Another way students have been showing support around campus is through social media, where the hashtags #PlaidHeals, #FindSean and #AlmaStrong, among several others, have been circulating. Students have posted photos and sent kind words of hope and of sympathy to Sean’s brothers Jake and Dan, who also attend Alma College.

A Facebook page has been created in memory of Sean ( Many students are coming up with their own personal ways to remember Sean and to help his memory live on in the Alma College community.


Family, Food and … Shopping?

Well, we’re in the home stretch! T-minus one week (and a day or two, depending on finals schedules) until we will be headed home for three relaxing weeks with no homework, no deadlines, no meetings or projects or anything! I cannot express how excited I am for that, or how much I need it. However, getting away from campus last weekend and celebrating the Thanksgiving (and Hanukkah!) holidays with family and friends was so great. My break was anything but relaxing, though. It was busy, busy, busy!

Wednesday afternoon I left campus around 2 p.m. It took me until 6 p.m. to get home… when it should only take 2.5 hours. Traffic was terrible! I sat almost completely still on I-96 West near Okemos for over an hour. It was a nightmare. When I did finally get home, I was only awake a few short hours before heading to bed, because I knew all Thursday/Friday had in store.

A snowy and beautiful Detroit

A snowy and beautiful Detroit on Thanksgiving morning.

Thursday morning, my sister, my boyfriend and I headed down to downtown Detroit for the Turkey Trot 5k and the Thanksgiving parade. While I personally did not run the 5k, I operated my personal shuttle service from my aunt’s house in Midtown down to the start of the race (my aunt, uncle, sister and Nick all ran it… someone had to get them down there!). Then I spent the time during the race and parade with some of my cousins, watching the parade on TV and staying nice and warm inside.

After the race was complete, and the runners thawed out, we headed back down to my house to prepare for Thanksgiving dinner. I got through about an hour of cleaning and cooking before completely crashing for a two hour nap. Around 4 p.m. my family began arriving and we enjoyed a wonderful dinner and some quality family time together. Once the house began emptying out, we (my sister, Nick and I) decided we should go Black Friday shopping. I refuse to go to the sales that begin at 5 or 6 p.m. because I think everyone should be able to spend Thanksgiving (especially dinner time) with their families. However, once midnight rolls around, I am already ready to hit the stores for all the sales.

We arrived at Target and began filling a basket with tons of good deals. When we eventually made it to the back of the store, we saw a line like no line I have ever seen before! It wrapped up and down about 40-50 aisles of the store and was full of carts with TVs, iPads, phones, camera, video game systems and all sorts of other Christmas gifts that are going to make some people very happy. However, that line did not make us happy, so we decided to put our items back and head off to some other stores. We encountered the same problem at Kohl’s, but did manage to snatch up some deals at FiveBelow and Meijer.

Nick and I with the Christmas tree!

Nick and I decorating the Christmas tree!

I didn’t get any deals pre-bedtime on Thursday/Friday but as soon as we woke up Friday morning, Nick and I headed out for Round 2. I found lots of great deals! I found a deep fryer (don’t laugh… imagine all the things you can make with one!) for $10 at Macy’s, along with several other Christmas presents which I cannot mention here. I found a $45 pair of boots for $20 at Target, along with some $4 movies. Later on that night I got a sewing machine for $45, which I am super excited to learn how to use over Christmas break.

The next day the shopping continued. Old Navy had the entire store 40% off, and I got pants, a sweater, a scarf and some shirts for less than $30. Then I went to JoAnns, where I got a sewing machine tote bag (the kind on wheels!) that was originally $90 for just $15! I’m always looking for deals and love it when I find good sales. Saturday night we put up all the Christmas decorations in the house and got everything looking very cheerful and ready for the holidays.

I spent Sunday recuperating from all of the festivities of the rest of the break and packing to head back to school. The drive back took longer than it should’ve but it was better than Wednesday’s drive home so I can’t complain too much.

Since returning to campus, I have been running around trying to accomplish all of the things I have left for the rest of the semester. I am so close, yet so far from being done. I’ve completely finished two of my classes for the semester, and will finish another tomorrow. The other three, I am onto the final assignment for them, which for all three, happen to be large papers (12+ pages for each one!). So while it is nice to be winding down, I’ve got about 30 more pages of writing to do. I’ve got “to-do” lists written on every inch of my room, and calendars with all the things I need to accomplish by the end of the semester. I have no actual finals, like test or anything, so next week I will have plenty of time to finish my final papers.

Our new house, all decorated for Christmas!

Our new house, all decorated and ready for Christmas!

When 5 p.m. rolls around Friday, I will be so relieved. I am so looking forward to returning home, spending more time with family, enjoying Christmas in our new house, and not having to worry about the day-to-day responsibilities and tasks that come with being at school. Don’t get me wrong, I love being here and love all of the things that I do, but also I love getting a break from it all, too.

One more week. We can do it!

Mid-Michigan Explorations: Rozena’s Recipiez

Well, it’s my favorite time of the month again! Yesterday I headed out into the community in search of finding a blog-worthy local “hot spot” to feature for this month’s Mid-Michigan Exploration post. Thanks to Meghan Litwiller ’15, a local student who currently commutes from St. John’s, Mich., I found Rozena’s Recipiez in Ithaca, Mich.

Rozena's Recipes in Ithaca, Mich. Photo by Miranda Parker Photography.

Rozena's Recipes in Ithaca, Mich. Photo by Miranda Parker Photography.

“Eating at Rozena’s is like eating in your own kitchen. Home cooked food, and people who genuinely care about how you are doing and make the experience a personal one. It’s comfort food when you need a break from the busy Alma College life,” said Litwiller.

So I headed over to Ithaca and had the pleasure of meeting with Rozena and learning all about the store and her family. The first thing I noticed upon arriving at Rozena’s was the tagline one the front of the building…  “Where life is a little lopsided and moments melt in your mouth.” The second thing, the cupcakes display case! That case held some of the most beautiful and creative cupcakes I have ever seen.

Cupcakes at Rozena's Recipiez

Cupcakes at Rozena's Recipiez. Photo by Miranda Parker Photography.

I learned later that Rozena selects themes for each week, and she bases the cupcake designs around the theme. This week was Thanksgiving Dinner and there were cupcakes made to look like turkeys, and mashed potatoes, and there was even a vegetable cupcake!

Rozena and I had the chance to sit down and chat, so I could learn more about how the business began and the ins and outs of Rozena’s Recipiez. Her business is built on one thing and one thing only – family. Rozena began her business years ago when her family went through a rather large change.

“It was 8 years ago,” Rozena recalled. “Our family went from two children to six children through fostering and adoption, and it was expensive to have six school-age children who wanted to be involved and play sports.”

To help pay for the sporting equipment and other fees that come with being involved with organizations at school, Rozena began baking sweet treats in her house to raise some extra cash. She ended up doing so well with this that she was able to sponsor up to 11 students at one point in time. “Any extra money I raised would go to making treats for the sports teams,” she said.

However, that business she created in her home years ago has been through lots of changes since then.

“Four years ago, we received a call that would change our lives yet again,” said Rozena. Zoey, a very premature baby, was born into the world with no family. Doctors were not sure what her chances were, as she was born with several health complications including Cerebral Palsy. Rozena and her family were called down to meet Zoey and all baking ended at that point in time. Zoey was a fighter, and Rozena’s family officially adopted her. Not long after that Rozena restarted the business to help cover Zoey’s medical costs. 

Both Rozena and her husband (who also works at the St. Louis prison) work all day in the restaurant and never take a paycheck. Their children work in the business as well, to earn some cash to help pay for their things like phone bills and cars. Rozena knew that if she started slow, they’d be able to move up and grow, which is exactly what is happening with the business right now.

Rozena’s Recipiez is heading to a new location in downtown Ithaca. When the move is complete, you will be able to find them in the McCormack building – which used to be home to Sip-N-Knit and the mayor’s office (142 E Center St, Ithaca, MI 48847). This space will allow lots of expansion in the business. The menu will grow, sit-down meals will served, rental space for parties and events will be available, and they’ll be able to keep the shop open longer hours.

Currently, Rozena’s offers food “to-go” style, though you are welcome to enjoy it in shop. They have delicious (yes, I got a chance to try some!) sandwiches, pizza, and “Rozie’s Cozies,” which are similar to a pasty and so delicious! Her cozies come with several options of fillings like ham & cheese, club, walking taco… you name it!  She also serves soups and salads, has a full line of baked goods, and an ice cream bar, too! All of her meals are homemade, from scratch, and are fully loaded with flavor.

Rozena does large orders for special occasions, and she does cakes as well. She also has done lots of donations and charity work, some of her most recent being Mott’s children’s hospital and the Ronald McDonald house and also the new children’s museum in Mt. Pleasant.

Now through Thanksgiving, Rozena’s Recipiez will be collecting baking ingredients (flour, butter, sugar, sprinkles, etc.), which they will use to bake over 800 cookies to send to the troops – a project that they call Operation Confectionation.

Be sure to “like” Rozena’s Recipiez on Facebook to stay up to date with their daily specials and their moving process. Once they are in the new location, they will be open Monday through Thursday from 4:30 a.m. – 6 p.m., Friday 4:30 a.m.-9 p.m. and Saturdays from 7 a.m.-1 p.m. Right now, the new location is open from 7 a.m.-10 a.m. for coffee and toast, but it should be fully operational in the next few weeks.

Whether you’re looking for a sweet treat or a nice home-cooked meal, Rozena’s Recipiez will not disappoint.

Check out this YouTube video of the family and learn more about Zoey’s story.

Thank you to Miranda Parker Photography for allowing me to use some of her photos!

Timing is Everything

I’ve been sitting for quite awhile trying to think of a topic to write a blog about for this week. We’re in that awkward time of year where mid-terms are over but it’s not quite time to start studying for exams and hanging up the Christmas decorations. The weather has started to change into winter, but we’re not out playing in a foot of snow quite yet. Some leaves have fallen, and others are still hanging on. Then I realized that I haven’t written too much about my personal life this year. I’ve been focusing on campus in general and events going on around campus, but let’s be honest… most of my time is spent in classes, doing homework, working and being a part of some pretty awesome organizations. I’ve written blogs about an event I may have spent an hour or two at, but what about the other 22 hours?

This semester has been arguably my busiest semester at Alma thus far. I’m taking 18 credits (a full-load!) working several jobs, including being an RA—which is a 24/7 position, and am heavily involved in several organizations. Most days finding time to grab food or check my email is almost impossible. I attend approximately 10 meetings a week to be able to keep up with my jobs and organizations. That doesn’t even include time to do all my homework and study! My mornings typically begin pretty early, and most nights I’m not falling asleep until around 2 a.m. The concept of needing more hours in the day could not be truer with college students.

Most people can see the day-to-day items that I have planned out and know that I hop from meeting to class, to work to another meeting all day long. However, there are usually several things going on internally too, or other things I am trying to squeeze in, such as finding time to stop by the financial aid office and check on my finances, checking my mailbox, figuring out classes for next semester, doing a junior audit to make sure I am on track to graduate, finding time to work out, running to Walmart to grab snacks because I usually don’t have time for meals, remembering to pay my own bills and bills I owe organizations and the college… the list goes on and on!

Then, after all of that is done (or forgotten about, or put on the back burner for another day) I like to try to find some time to spend with my friends! A typical “hang out” for me is going to the library together to work on homework, walking to a meeting together, or stopping by for a quick chat. I don’t have time to go to the movies or go out to dinner, and when I do go out and do these things, my mind is constantly planning for when and how I am going to get everything done when I get back. It is a never-ending cycle.

However, there is a light at the end of the tunnel: Weekends.

I use my weekends to take time for myself. I try to leave campus every weekend, even just for a few minutes, just to clear my head. I have visitors come stay for the weekend, or take trips home when I have less events going on. I will be spending this Saturday doing all Phi Sigma Sigma things. We are heading up to CMU for State Day, where we will meet and celebrate our centennial with all of the other Phi Sig chapters in Michigan. Saturday night we have initiation, and after that we will be heading back up to Mt. Pleasant for dinner at Olive Garden to celebrate.

Next weekend I am going to Grand Rapids to volunteer at a 5K and spend some time with my boyfriend and his family. The following weekend after that is Thanksgiving, and I will be returning home to Grosse Ile for some family celebrations and lots of good food. When we return from Thanksgiving there will only be one more weekend before the end of the semester (That’s scary!) and that weekend will more than likely be spent studying and working on my final papers.

Taking these trips and making the time for myself on the weekends is what gives me the power to go, go, go during the week. I know that all of my hard work will be worth it when the weekend rolls around, and even more so, in the long term, after graduation.

Not everyone here at Alma is as busy as I am, though every day I meet more and more people who are, and we get exhausted just discussing our schedules. However, through all of the things I am doing each day, I am learning life skills that are relevant to what I want to do in the future. Everything I am involved with comes full circle and I find myself making connections between things, everyday. I guess that’s the liberal arts for ya!

Teamwork Makes the Dream Work

While we may not have football games broadcast on ESPN or athletic gear sold in every sporting goods store in the state, athletics are a big deal here at Alma College. The reality is, when coming to a Division III school you don’t expect sports to be on par with those of the Division I teams. Those schools have the resources to make a big deal of their sports – recruiting, marketing, runtime on large TV networks and radio shows.Scotty, the Alma College mascot

When asked why they chose a D3 school over a D1 school, most Alma athletes’ answers were “academics.”

Marie Zill, a junior education major from Chelsea, Mich., said “I came to Alma instead of a D1 school because I knew that academics was an important part of my life. Softball has become a release of energy for me rather than something I stress out about. Deciding to come here is the best thing that could have ever happened to me. At Alma I have been given the opportunity to discover my passions and get to know my professors rather than being constantly being on the road for a sport and simply being a number. Being close to my professors has made softball less stressful because most of my professors understand when I have to leave for a game and are willing to catch me up.”

As far as sports are concerned on campus, seasons are beginning to come to a close for most of the fall sports teams. Football has two games remaining – Nov. 9 at Kalamazoo College and Nov. 16 at home at 1 p.m. Men’s and Women’s Cross Country will be wrapping up their seasons with the Great Lakes Regional meet on Nov. 16 hosted by Calvin College, and finally the Nov. 23, D-III National Championships at Hanover College. The golf teams finished up in October with the women’s team taking 5th place overall at the MIAA championships and men’s taking a 5th place overall at its 8th and final Jamboree on Oct. 7 hosted by Calvin College. Men’s soccer ended its season with a 1-2 loss against Hope College to make their overall record 9-8-1 and women’s soccer will play in the MIAA Semi-finals today (11/7) against Hope right here in Alma at Scotland Yard. (Check our social media for updates on that!) Last but not least, volleyball finished on Nov. 1with an away match at Trine University, where the team had an end record of 13-14.
Talon Morris

Cross Country runner Talon Morris ’14 reflected on the season with a vivid memory of the weather conditions: “Even though our past two races, (The Oberlin Invite and The MIAA Championships at Hope College) have had rain, mud (a lot of mud), and spongy/soft running conditions, we’ve managed to get our fastest times at them. We definitely look forward to running a dry course at The Regional Meet at Calvin College on Nov. 16.”

Now that those sports are ending and most practices are heading indoors, a whole bunch of winter sports have begun practicing and games/competitions will be beginning shortly. The sports you have to look forward to are men’s and women’s basketball, cheerleading, swimming & diving, women’s bowling and wrestling.
Casimer Stryzinski

All of these teams have begun practicing and wrestling has even had its first match; The Alma vs. Scots wrestle-off. Casimer Strzynski ’15, a wrestler from Ludington, Mich., has a good feeling about this season. “Over the past two years the team has turned a lot of heads—now everyone is watching and we’re excited to prove ourselves,” said Strzynski. “Each year we have taken leaps and bounds in the talent category; now we just have to perform. If we can perform above expectations like we have the past two years, the things the wrestling team will do this year will shock you.”

Alma may not be a part of the Big 10 or have football players regularly heading off to the NFL, but we have athletes with passion and heart for both the game and for academics. We have team players, who are well-rounded and involved in other things besides athletics. Our athletes are able to work as Resident Assistants, participate in Greek Life and honors societies, work as tutors and in other jobs on campus, and so much more.

If frequenting sporting events isn’t exactly your thing, I suggest getting out and giving it a try. Sporting events are always a good time here at Alma because they bring together people from all different organizations and groups on campus. Who knows, you might even get to see Scotty shake his tailfeather!




Mid-Michigan Explorations: Sweet Rickedy Redo’s

It’s that time of the month again! Buckle your seatbelts, we’re going on another Mid-Michigan exploration. One thing I miss most while I am in Alma is options. When you live in a larger city, you always have options. Options of places to shop, options of places to eat, options of things to do and even options of which way to take to get somewhere—in big cities, options are a huge part of daily life. (Which has made me very indecisive, by the way!)

One option that really has begun to bother me over the years I’ve been at Alma is the one-stop shopping. Everyone seems to go to Walmart, and only Walmart. It is the easiest, cheapest and most all-encompassing store in Alma, no doubt, but what people don’t realize that in Downtown Alma there are several family-owned shops that carry a lot of the products that Walmart has and then some. There is a jewelry store, a musical instrument store, hair and nail salons, a sewing store, a shoe store, antique stores, thrift stores, a natural food/organic store, several delicious places to eat and so much more.

One shop that I happened to stumble upon while I was out searching for a place to buy my mom a birthday present is new to the downtown scene. Full of all sorts of interesting pieces for the home (and dorm room!) and also lots of gift options, Sweet Rickedy Redo’s quickly became one of my favorite stores in town. The minute I walked in the door, I just knew this store was going to be my go-to shop when I needed gifts or a new pick-me-up for my dorm room.

Sweet Rickedy Redo’s has only been open since July 2013, but it does not lack in selection or quality because of it. Every wall, corner, and shelf space in the store is covered with beautiful works of art. If you’re looking for a bright blue chair, or a wooden panel with a quote painted on it, there’s a good chance you can find it here. The owner has deemed it an antique, vintage gift shop, though some items are new as well.

“My love of vintage items started at a young age. Painting furniture came later. I’ve always wanted my own shop to sell fun unique items. As the business grows I hope to expand my lines of brand new items as well,” said shop owner Danielle. “I look for things everywhere; from estate sales to flea markets.”

If you have not been in to Sweet Rickedy Redo’s yet, be sure to take a few minutes to stop by, say hello and take a look at all the beautiful items that are for sale. I guarantee you will leave there with something, or at very least, with a wish list or a desire to do your own DIY project. The store is open Tuesday-Thursday from 10 a.m.–5 p.m., Fridays from 10 a.m.–6 p.m. and Saturdays from 10 a.m.–4 p.m. “My favorite piece in the store is the hutch that I sell my vintage fabric out of,” said Danielle. “I don’t really care if something is valuable or not, so long as it has character.”

Midterm Germs

I’ve got some pretty exciting news…. deep breath… you’re halfway done with the semester, Scots!

To some of you that might bring great relief, knowing that you’re halfway done and before long you’ll have a few weeks of rest, relaxation and celebration, but to others the thought of the semester being done might be completely terrifying. For me, since a lot of my classes are working on semester-long papers or research assignments, I’m leaning towards the idea of “What!? My time is halfway gone already?!?”

Something to keep in mind now that your stress levels are climbing and temperatures are dropping… cold and flu season is almost upon us and most of will catch the “Alma plague” sooner or later. Avoiding a cold or the flu is a little bit different when you live on a residential college campus (and unfortunately, quite a bit more difficult to avoid as well).

Even though I can’t say I am a champ at avoiding it (it’s actually had me out for the count for the past few days!!), here are some tips I’ve acquired to help you come out on top:

1)   Stay clean!  Here at Alma, staying clean is more than washing your hands. It’s washing your body, washing your clothes, washing your bedding… even cleaning as in cleaning your room and bathroom (if you’re on South Campus – North Campus people don’t have to worry about this thanks to fantastic housekeepers!). Every day or two, take out the disinfecting wipes/spray and wipe down surfaces, door handles, faucets… really anything you tend to touch on a daily basis. Do your laundry! Your favorite sweatshirt that you may not like to wash (you know, the one that still has the new-sweatshirt soft feeling on the inside) may have been exposed to the flu in the library the other day and you wouldn’t even know it. The longer it sits in your basket the better chance of other clothes being infected and, inevitably, you getting sick sooner rather than later. Be clean; it’s a good life rule.

2)   Keep your vitamin levels high.  A few good ways to maintain high levels in vitamins are eating fruits and vegetables, drinking lots of fruit juices and getting some sun exposure every day. By keeping your vitamin levels up, your immune system will also be stronger and will be able to fight off infections and illnesses easier. Getting outside may not always be the easiest to work into your day, but even something as simple as grabbing your homework and doing it outside, even for just 10 or 15 minutes, will help in the long run.

3)   Get sleep! While students joke that Alma is one of the most sleep-deprived colleges, it is true that college students get far less sleep than needed to function properly and fight off disease. I’m not saying get 8 hours of sleep every single night, but if you typically get 5… I’m challenging you to try to get 6 or even 7 a few nights a week. You’ll find yourself feeling better, trust me!

4)   Exercise. Studies have shown that getting out, working out and shedding some sweat for awhile is a great way to burn stress and keep your immune system boosted and able to fight off the flu. Stone Rec is open Monday—Thursday 5 a.m.–11 p.m – Friday 5 a.m.–9 p.m. – Saturday 10 a.m.–9 p.m. and Sunday 1 p.m.–11 p.m. Just be sure to clean your machine before and after use to avoid those germs!

5)   Open your windows. With the heat now being turned on in buildings, our rooms will be extremely hot and dry. Germs flourish in those types of conditions so open your windows and let some fresh air in every once in awhile. I like to leave mine open while I’m in class so that I am not around if it gets very cold.

6)   Bundle up! I know campus isn’t huge, but walking to class in a T-shirt and sandals when it is in the 30s is not a good decision. I hope everyone has boots, coats, hats, scarves and gloves on campus because snow is in the forecast for this week!

7)   Get a Flu Shot (Optional) I won’t convince everyone to get a flu shot—the choice is yours—but do your research. If you think a flu shot will be beneficial for you, go for it. It comes in many forms, so if you don’t like actual shots, a nose swab might be the answer for you. Some people don’t believe in getting shots, and that’s fine with me; just be sure to be paying extra attention to the other steps above!

Whatever it is that you do to help you fight off colds and flu, be sure to share those tips with your friends and roommates. The people you spend the most time around are the people you will share sicknesses with. If they have the same germ-killing routines as you, the chances of all of you avoiding some germs will be even better.

Though we are halfway to the end of the semester, we are just entering cold and flu season. Be sure you are aware of the resources on and around campus if you do happen to find yourself feeling under the weather.

Feeling stressed? The Counseling and Wellness Center is always available with some de-stressing activities, and a friendly staff who is available to talk you through your stress. Walk on down and stop in or set up an appointment by calling (989) 463-7225.

Feeling sick? The Wilcox Medical Center (aka, the Med Shed) is the place to go. A full-time nurse and physician’s assistant staff it at all times and can help with injury, illness, chronic pain, physicals or any other medical issue you may have. Call (989) 463-7181 to make an appointment. (However, if it is an emergency and you need medical attention very quickly – please call 911.)

“But it’s after 5? I can’t wait till tomorrow morning with this sore throat. ” If it is after regular business hours for the Med Shed, there are two other local options. If it is before 8 p.m. or happens to be a weekend or a holiday then you might try visiting the MidMichigan Urgent Care (Alma Location) which is just a few minutes away – located at 321 E. Warwick Drive Alma, MI 48801. If it is after 8 p.m., and it is very urgent, you always have the Emergency Department at MidMichigan Health hospital, just across the street from urgent care.

Take care of yourself, get some sleep, and good luck with the rest of your semester!