Author Archives: Allison Tinsey ʼ14

About Allison Tinsey ʼ14

Allison Marie Tinsey Kalamazoo College | 2014, Philosophy and French Editor-in-Chief of the Index Hometown: Grand Ledge, MI. Study Abroad: Budapest, Hungary

A Fluffball-a-Day Keeps the Doctor Away: Why Small Pets Should be Allowed on Campus

By Emily Pizza, Opinions Editor

Dewey the dog poses in Crissey Residence Hall (Photo by Emily Pizza)

Next door to me lives a dog named Dewey. Every time I see his owner, one of the residential life area coordinators, walking him down the hallway my heart always skips a beat as I reach down to pet him.

Too bad the feeling never lasts.

Due to school policy, students are not allowed to have pets on campus, unless they plan on bonding with a goldfish. While the policy was put in place to protect students with allergies or a fear of animals, as well as the dangers they may pose, I feel the school needs to create some leeway.

I agree with the school’s policy for dogs and cats, animals that people are often allergic to or afraid of, but it creates a very narrow scope of animals allowed on campus. There are many animals such as rats, guinea pigs, hamsters, or lizards who do not pose this sort of threat.

That said, no animal should be brought onto campus without the roommate’’s consent, and if that consent is broken the animal should be removed within 24 hours. That way, roommates can still be comfortable in their living spaces.

As Dana Jansma, the Associate Dean of Students understands, pets have many benefits for students.  According to a survey in Science Daily, “…found that nearly a quarter of college students surveyed believed their pets helped them get through difficult times in life.”

Considering that 1 in 5 undergradruatess are consistently stressed, according to NBC News, the worst thing you can do is destroy one of our coping mechanisms.

While organizations such as the Zookeepers help bring students closer to animals, the organization can only do so much. When a student is pacing in their room, terrified about their upcoming test, being able to cuddle with a hamster or let a snake slither up their arm could be the solace they needed.

One study reports that “when people were presented with stressful tasks in four different situations – alone, with their spouse, with their pet, or with both their spouse and their pet – they experienced the lowest stress response and the quickest recovery in the situation where they were only with their pet.”

This means that while talking to one’’s roommate may be helpful, the best type of de-stressing is with a furry companion. If the College is willing to put money into the Counseling Center, the least they can do is allow students to find their own coping mechanisms, as well.

No Direction Home: CIP Lacks Communication with Kalamazoo College Students During Kenya’s Biggest Terrorist Attack Since 1998

By Colin Smith, Contributor

Shortly after 12:00 pm, Andrea “Buffy” Satchwell ’15 sat in a public van on her way to downtown Nairobi, Kenya, until it stopped across Westgate Mall. As local Kenyans disputed in Kiswahili, an older gentleman finally informed her, “there’s been a robbery.”

On Saturday, September 21, 2013 after police arrived 30 minutes later, they realized the Somalia-based terrorist group, Al-Shabaab, attacked Westgate. Cited as a retaliation for Kenya’s invasion of Somalia in October 2011, the terrorist group hopes to push Kenyan forces out of their former territories by moving the focus to Kenya.

During the mall’s four day assault, Kalamazoo College students were isolated at their host-family’s homes, which are scattered across the city’s metro region. Nicole Caddow ’15 only lived a few streets away from Westgate Mall and she would go to sleep hearing gunshots and helicopters.

As we students were given orders to not leave home, we occupied our time with the Kenyan media which displayed corpses and blood on the mall’s steps. As the cameras rolled, the television networks reported at least 72 people were killed.

After a full 24 hours, Hannah Heenan ’15 called the Center of International Programs (CIP) to know their plan of action, but with no answer she left a voicemail. When she called back she was greeted with the question, “So are you in Senegal?”

When mentioning the terrorist attack, the CIP staff member responded, “Oh, I haven’t checked the news yet, it’s early.”

Despite it being the largest terrorist attack in Kenya since the 1998 US Embassy bombing, we expected communication, or at least the acknowledgement of the attack.

The study abroad program directors from the University of Nairobi eased our anxieties while they scrambled to see if their loved ones were okay. Given their detached position from the crisis and their duty to follow news in given study abroad regions, we expected the CIP to be informed of the attack the day it happened.

Failing our expectations, the CIP’s only responded until resuming its business day, Monday, September 23, which was the third day of the siege.

All our of claims were immediately dismissed as emotional. The lack of respect and contact contributed to the already high anxieties, ultimately prompting three students to leave the program.

After the threat of being sued by at least one parent, Provost Michael McDonald intervened and personally apologized. Soon afterwards Dr. Joe Brockington decided our parents would receive weekly updates, compensating for this lack of communication.

Although the CIP would acknowledge our stress, they lacked the comprehension of what we were experiencing. When Heenan replied with a page long e-mail regarding the CIP’s handling of the situation, she was responded with one sentence asking if she would like to see a counselor.

Please warmly welcome our friends back to campus.

Biking Made Easier on Campus this Year

By Annah Freudenburg, Contributor

Students’ bikes chill on the racks by the Facilities Management Offices. Bike registration and rentals are available to all students this year. (Photo by Allison Tinsey)

The bikes are back. And if you plan on cruising this quarter, you better remember to swing by the Security Office. That’s right: registration. The person behind the security desk will hand you a card to fill out, including the bike’s brand, make (i.e. mountain or road), and serial number. Once you have filled this card out, return it to Security and they will give you a sticker bearing your registration number. This sticker goes on the bar beneath your seat.

Don’t have a bike? Don’t worry—Kalamazoo College has got you covered. In the basement of DeWaters is the Bike HUB, short for Helping Understand Bikes. HUB is currently home to thirteen bikes, not including four more that will be operational shortly. Most of the bikes are single-speed road-style, but there are several mountain and cruising oriented bikes available as well. There is also one tandem bike coming soon.

Nino Nocita ’14, currently HUB’s only employee, offered the low-down of HUB’s history: “Campus Security would cut bikes off the bike racks and bring them to us,” Nocita explained. “But recently, like last year, we realized that wasn’t working, because the bikes that we would get would be abandoned because of how poor quality they were in. So we got new bikes, all of the same type. We’re trying to build a more cohesive fleet.”

“It’s an awesome program,” said Utsav Adhikari ’14. “[The bikes] are very easy to use, as well, so you don’t need great experience.”

“Definitely awesome,” continued Sara McKinney ’17, “especially for freshmen who don’t have cars and need to get places.”

HUB has, in its time, grown in ambition. HUB’s goal this fall is to host events on bike maintenance for all K students. On top of this, a Kalamazoo Cycling Club is about to be started.

“I’ve gotten texts from random people being like, ‘When are HUB’s hours?’” Nicota said regarding HUB’s popularity. “I’m pretty excited for this year.”

The Multiplier Effect: Entrepreneurship by Accident

By Colin Lauderdale, Contributor

Bridgett Blough ‘08 is the owner and operator of The Organic Gypsy, one of a growing handful of food trucks in Kalamazoo.  The Organic Gypsy straddles the realms of small-scale, local agriculture and downtown service industry, which allows Blough to make her living exactly how she wants: nourishing bodies and growing a resilient local economy in southwest Michigan.

Blough calls what she’s doing “living the multiplier effect,” and firmly believes that the growing local food economy in Kalamazoo is the city’s path to prosperity.  “Small businesses,” she says, “are what drive local economies.  Local communities stay together and healthy and vibrant through local small businesses.”

Blough graduated from Kalamazoo in 2008 with a degree in economics.  She looks back on college fondly, but can’t quite figure out how much of her success as a small business owner is attributable to her college education, and how much to her own identity as a “creative solution finder.”

K does not necessarily have a strong technical curriculum for entrepreneurship.  But, according to Dr. Tim Moffit, Associate Professor of Economics and Business, the College does have a strong tradition of producing entrepreneurs.  “Probably our most effective business outcome is entrepreneurship – by accident.”

Moffit chalks this up to strong self-selection (K students are motivated, hardworking risk-takers) and a global, liberal arts curriculum.  “Mix an ambitious, overachieving student with holistic thinking, and you get an entrepreneur.”

Moffit refers to Blough’s entrepreneurial way of thinking as “genetic.”  As much as she has used her K education as an asset, she brought an awful lot to the table when she came to college.  She comes from a large family with parents, aunts, uncles and siblings who have all started their own businesses.  “Career-wise,” she says, “it always made sense that I would become an entrepreneur.”

Many aspects of Blough’s K education haven’t contributed directly to her work.  Her economics degree didn’t include a single marketing class.  Much of the material covered in her courses was “a lot of fluff” – highly theoretical, lacking in technical skills or concrete details.  She estimates that, from all the economic terms she learned in her major, she uses about five on a daily basis.

But she also credits K for helping her develop into the entrepreneur she is today.  A small business owner needs a diverse skill set, creative problem-solving ability, and effective strategies for coping with stress.  Kalamazoo College was fertile ground for developing those skills.

Blough identifies one skill in particular as critical to her work: “Being able to see small, right in front of you, and then lift your head up to see big.  In my truck, I’m making an awesome tomato sandwich for you today and it’s nourishing your body, but it’s also part of something much bigger.  What I really learned at K is we’re part of something much bigger.”

This is the first installment in our series on the effects of Kalamazoo College’s education in the City of Kalamazoo.

Tech Support: How to Get the Wi-Fi Working for You

By Kamalaldin M. Kamalaldin and Raj Bhagat, Contributors

Even after ushering in an improved Wi-Fi configuration, Kalamazoo College still receives complaints regarding its on-campus internet connectivity.

The first difficulty students encounter is getting connected to the Wi-Fi. “The Wi-Fi login process is very confusing and cumbersome,” says Prachi Goyal ’17. “I wish they helped us with it during orientation.”

In regards to this issue, there is very little the College or anyone can do. Built in a metropolitan area, “K College must provide students and staff protection against outsiders,” cites Greg Diment, Chief Information Officer at K. “K’s security system insures that devices have the proper anti-virus before connecting them to the network.”

To allay the issue, the College is trying to make the Wi-Fi password more accessible to students by streamlining the verification process.

Another major complaint is the performance of the Wi-Fi. “Sometimes, when I’m trying to play a game online, I get horrible connection and that ruins the entire experience,” remarks Andrew Buisson ’17.

Although the Wi-Fi may be lethargic, the performance is nothing that can’t be remedied. Students typically don’t exceed 200 mbps in usage at any given time. The school’s upgraded internet usage ceiling this year is 240 mbps.

There are brief peaks that exceed 240 mbps, but the students’ use of the internet remains below estimates. “Plugging a computer to the Ethernet port will always provide a faster connection than Wi-Fi,” says Diment.

A second helpful technique is to simply avoid high internet traffic. Data usage peaks between 10:00pm and 1:00am, and between 8:00am and 12:00pm.

StuComm Brief

By Allison Tinsey, Editor-in-Chief

During the executive reports, six first-years took their oath of office after being elected in last week’s election. Two subcommittees were created, business and residential life. The Business Subcommittee will deal exclusively with the Business Office and Vice President for Business and Finance Jim Prince. The Residential Life Subcommittee will work with RAs to gage student attitudes and sentiments as they interact with students more closely than the Commission. They will also work to formalize the relationship and mission between the Commission and residential life.

After Sophomore Commissioner Ogden Wright expressed concerns in the procedure of choosing non-commissioners to work on sub-committees, Secretary of Finance Kelly Ohlrich cited that due to a lack of continuity across campus groups, the people appointed are likely to change year to year, but the goal is to keep these members involved over the remainder of their time at K. Four non-commissioners were appointed to be involved with subcommittees including Community Council and the Student Life Advisory Committee.

Student Commission discussed buying BrandK compliant apparel for all the commissioners. Vice President Cameron Goodall questioned the efficacy and high cost of the apparel. Junior Commissioner Emily Sklar remarked that StuComm’s former apparel was noticeable on campus. More questions were raised about the transparency and elitism of the Commission.

“We are the student government of Kalamazoo College. There is a difference between what we do and what other student organizations do,” said President Camilleri. With a 13-10 vote, $1100 was allocated to spend on StuComm sweaters. However, the Commission is seeking a cheaper alternative.

Students Out of Work Raise Concerns

By Mireya Guzman-Ortiz and Viola Brown, Contributors

Left: Sophomores Edwin Salvatierra and Steven Sexton working for Facilities Management through work-study. Salvatierra works three-hour shifts. Sexton just began his work with FacMan. (Photo by Allison Tinsey)

Considering the large number of incoming first-years, questions have been raised regarding how Kalamazoo College has prepared for such an influx. Concerns have been raised regarding the availability of on-campus employment for those who are work-study eligible.

The Provost urged departments to add more employment opportunities if possible, citing that this should provide more than enough jobs for the students who are work-study eligible.

In past years the percent of students eligible for federal work-study was around 40-45 percent. According to Marian Stowers, Director of Financial Aid, this has not changed much. For the 2013-2014 school year, it sits at 41 percent.

With a high percentage of students eligible for work-study, K has made a visible effort to broaden the employment opportunities for students. This year there have been more than 580 hire requests directed toward the Human Resource Office, all coming from different departments across campus.

According to Joan Hawxhurst, the Director for the Center for Career and Professional Development, “Many campus employers are still in the hiring process, so there a lot of openings still being filled.”

Neither Stowers nor Hawxhurst has heard any concerns about the lack of jobs on campus. Such concerns should be announced to the Business Office. According to Hauxhurst, “…their frontline staff said they have not received more inquiries or frustrations from students.” This suggests that there are enough jobs to go around.

However, with this being only the third week, there is still a possibility that the unemployment rates on campus are bound to rise. Hawxhurst plans to “wait it out a little bit longer to find out if we have any issues on campus.”

“It’s a world problem”: Terrorist Attacks in Kenya Affect K

By Olivia Nalguya, Contributor

Kalamazoo College Juniors studying abroad in Nairobi, Kenya. (Photo courtesy of Hannah Heenan)

September 21, 2013 strayed far from merriment in one of the most affluent and festive cities in East Africa.  This day marked the beginning of a 4-day upheaval in Westgate Mall situated in the heart of Nairobi, where a terrorist group idenitified as Al Shabaab went on a shooting spree and held hostages. According to Daily Nation, a local newspaper in Kenya, 67 people were killed and 61 are missing.

Kenya is one of the countries that have contributed troops to the African Union against Al Shabaab in Somalia, thus the attack was perceived as retribution.

Shortly after they invaded Westgate Mall, Al Shabaab tweeted: “The attack at #WestgateMall is just a very tiny fraction of what Muslims in Somalia experience at the hands of Kenyan invaders.”

Kalamazoo College Professor of English Babli Sinha commented, “They seem to be more about power and sadistic violence than about the religion.”

There are K students currently studying abroad at the University of Nairobi. The Center for International Programs (CIP) has confirmed that all of them are safe and several steps have been taken to maintain their safety.

“Our first priority when an event like this happens is we want to first assure the physical safety of our students so we work closely with our onsite staff,” said Dr. Margaret Wiedenhoeft CIP Associate Director.

Students were given the choice of continuing the program or coming back to K for fall quarter. President Eileen Wilson-Oyelaran added, “The first issue was our own students.”

President Wilson-Oyelaran further indicated that when such events occur, “People want everything to be clear and it can’t be clear.” She also advised that it would be apt for the College to gather as a community to “talk about what this means.”

Currently, K sophomores are thinking about applying for study abroad programs, including Kenya. It is imperative that students are not discouraged from the program just because of the incident. Ms. Wiedenhoeft advised that students thinking of the program should take time to familiarize themselves with the region to better understand the context of the event.

Dalmas Odira, a visiting-international student from Kenya cautiously remarked, “Terrorism is a world problem so people should not confine it to Kenya.”

Student Commission Election Results

Student Commission Election Results


First-Year students vote in Hicks Student Center during last week’s election. (Photo by Allison Tinsey)

The election for the six remaining positions on Student Commission after last spring’s election of seniors, juniors, and sophomores was held last Thursday, September 26, 2013. The results are as follows:

First-Year Commissioners: Chido F. Chigwedere (254 votes), Andrew Kim (206), and Jose Lopez  (175)

Commissioners-at-Large: Amanda Johnson (169), Samantha Weaver (161), and Steven Fotieo (144)

Campaign to Raise $125 Million Goes Public

By Allison Tinsey, Editor-in-Chief

On the evening of September 24, 2013, Kalamazoo College launched the public phase of its fundraising campaign. The campaign, which began in 2010, has already raised $84 million toward the $125 million goal. This is the largest campaign in the College’s history.

In her address to trustees, faculty, and students during the launch dinner in Kalamazoo, President Eileen Wilson-Oyelaran said that reaching this goal is the “key to our continued success.”

“[This success] is limited only by its financial resources,” remarked Charlotte Hall ’66, Chair of the Board of Trustees.

The $84 million raised during the “quiet phase” was brought in through approaching a smaller group of individuals and corporations to gain momentum for the public phase of the campaign. Gains from the quiet phase included the $23 million grant from the Arcus Foundation to initially fund and further endow the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership.

In an interview, Vice President for Advancement Al DeSimone stated, “It becomes a more broadly based initiative now that we have moved into the public phase.”

With this launch, the Advancement team plans to travel throughout the United States to locations with high concentrations of K alumni. The goal is to introduce the campaign to a greater number of people and communities. Barely a week after its announcement, there is already great enthusiasm and energy surrounding the launch.

“People see what K is trying to accomplish and what impact these things have on our students,” said DeSimone. “We want people to make a thoughtful decision on why they are giving.”

Current students are asked to share their stories via social media and may be asked to participate in promotional events. “We want students to tell their K story…and our students really respond,” expressed DeSimone.

The campaign has so far brought renovations to Hicks Student Center and the new athletic fields and complex. It has also contributed to the Posse program, the establishment of the Guilds, and endowed faculty positions.

Seniors will be asked to consider a contribution to the Kalamazoo College Fund, which is a part of the overall campaign. DeSimone remarked that this is not a practice unique to K, but that graduating students at K are asked to go beyond charitable giving and consider gifts in other capacities after their time at K is through.

“For me, campaigns are a means to an end,” concluded DeSimone, “I believe this campaign will help Kalamazoo College do the things that it does so well and do them even better.”