Make Your Way to K

Here’s the thing, at this point in the college process, you are deciding where you’re going to end up for the next four years of your life. The next four years – it sounds scary and almost like a decision too big for an seventeen or eighteen year old, but let me tell you this, you’re going to end up exactly where you need to. However, while you’re calculating the distance from home or trying to figure out what school colors you’d look better in, you should read this list of 10 reasons why you should make your way to K:

1. Our entire campus lies in (barely) a mile-long radius. It will literally, at most, take you five
minutes to walk from one end of the campus to another. Do you know how great that is in the winter?

2. We have free food at every. single. event. I’m serious, we have so much food to offer you!

3. Downtown Kalamazoo is only a short walk away. There’s everything from a movie theater to restaurants to a museum and stores just a few minutes away!

4. We have the Arcus Center for Social Justice Leadership (also known as the best building on campus). You have the ability to get involved and attend various events with topics that range from Native American representation throughout history to resistance through art.

5. Jorge Gonzalez is the most wonderful, caring, and genuine man you might ever meet and he is also the President of the College (this is a fact). Come for Jorge, he’d love you!

6. We’re on a trimester system (three 10-week terms), which means we start school later (mid-September) and you get a six-week winter break (end of November until the second week of January) – it’s what you need, trust me.

7. The average class size at K is 13. Our small class sizes mean you get to make valuable connections with your professors, which comes in handy for recommendations and networking in the future.

8. STUDY ABROAD. I mean, let’s be real here, what schools allows you to study abroad for a full academic year and still graduate on time? (Hint: Kalamazoo College does.)

9. By the time you’re a sophomore, you have the opportunity to hold various leadership positions within student organizations. Typically, you wouldn’t serve on an executive board of a club or organization at a bigger university until your junior or senior year, but here at K, you can start as early as the end of your first year so you can go into your sophomore year holding certain positions.

10. You will literally get more in your four years here at K – from career development to study abroad to independent research, your work throughout your time here at K will put you on track to obtain more in a lifetime.

Now there you have it, ten reasons (although there are so many more) on why YOU should make your way to K. We hope to see you soon!

Karina Pantoja ’20

Good Eats

If you’ve decided to come to K and are anything like me, you may be wondering what food options exist in and around the city of Kalamazoo. Lucky for you, there are a wide variety of places in the city that are within walking distance from campus. So whether you’re looking for breakfast on the weekend, a small place to drink coffee and study, or if you’re wanting to escape the K bubble, here’s a list of some of the most popular food spots in Kalamazoo.

  1. Fourth Coast Café and Bakery/Crow’s Nest

The Fourth Coast/Crow’s Nest area is a popular part of downtown Kalamazoo and for good reason. The café on the lower level prides itself on its wide selection of coffee, its fresh baked bread, and its vegan organic desserts that are also offered. The atmosphere of the café creates a perfect place to go if you want to take advantage of the free WiFi and study.

Crow’s Nest, the restaurant located above the café, offers breakfast all day (their banana bread french toast is to die for) along with dishes from soups and salads to burgers and vegan options. They also offer the fresh bread sold in the bakery downstairs if you decide to take a loaf back to your dorm.


  1. Martini’s Pizza

On the other side of the building where Fourth Coast and Crow’s Nest are located is Martini’s Pizza. The small Italian restaurant is relatively cheap and is the perfect spot for a quick and casual lunch where you can buy pizza by the slice. Or, feel free to get a little dressed up with your friends and go for some pasta and a bread basket at dinner time.


  1. Black Owl Café

This café in downtown Kalamazoo is a hidden gem that has a more urban/industrial feel to it. It’s a place where you can go for a cheap cup of coffee and read a book, or to go grab a muffin and sit on the outdoor patio and soak in the sun. It’s one of the best places to relax and enjoy the energy and life of the city.


  1. University Roadhouse

Located just down the street from K’s campus,the Roadhouse is a great place to go for dinner or to catch the game. It offers everything from crab rangoons to potato skins. Make sure you show up on Tuesdays from 9PM to midnight for the famous “Chicken Tender Tuesday” special, or show up and see if you can finish the delicious and well-known Bombshell- Mackinac Island Fudge ice cream surrounded by crushed Oreo cookies and dipped in chocolate.


  1. Irving’s Market and Deli

The market portion of the building is a great place to grab fresh fruits and vegetables to take back to campus or to load up on snacks for those late nights in the library, while the deli portion of the building offers fresh deli salads to take home. Irving’s Market and Deli also offers a salad bar and a hot bar that offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner options. Overall, you can find almost anything in this market/deli combination!

Hopefully if you’ve never been to Kalamazoo before you feel better about the food options around in and around the city. Just hop on the bus, hitch a ride with a friend, or go for a walk to get to these well-known places in the city and enjoy some good eats.

– Karina Pantoja ’20

The Best Way To “Fall” In Love With Kalamazoo

School is back in session, and I can’t believe how quickly the first few weeks of school flew by! Because K College is such an academically rigorous institution, it’s easy to become overwhelmed, especially during fall quarter since we’re all readjusting to school after summer break. Now that I’m a senior, I recognize the importance of “fun time”, as well as how easily it is overlooked; therefore, I’ve compiled a list of some of my favorite things to do in Kalamazoo in the fall. Whether you’re planning an afternoon with your friends, a date with a significant other or some much-needed “me time”, these are all experiences that I think every K College student should have:

  • On the last Thursday of fall quarter, head over to Hicks for Cafsgiving, where the Kalamazoo College Dining Services puts on an elaborate Thanksgiving dinner for the whole campus. It’s the perfect time to let your school friends and professors know how much you appreciate them, and to celebrate before everyone heads home for winter break. (Just make sure you get there early—the line to get in usually stretches throughout the entire building!)
  • If you want a sight to behold, go to the Kalamazoo Balloon Festival at Gull Meadow Farms (October 27th-29th), which is the largest hot air balloon festival in Michigan. Admission to the festival is free, so you can pick apples, get lost in the corn maze, check out the petting zoo, and eat cider and donuts all while watching the balloons take to the sky.
  • The weekend of October 13th-15th is our Mid-Term Break this quarter, meaning that we have that Friday off—so, if you’re able to (and want to), why not surprise your family at home for the weekend? Everyone needs a relaxing weekend at home once in a while—and it could be worth it just to see the priceless looks on your parents’ faces when you walk through the door.
  • For a cheap deal on a good meal, make sure to stop by Chicken Tender Tuesdays at University Roadhouse. From 9:00 PM until midnight, you can get a basket of chicken tenders and fries for only $3, making it the perfect late night snack (and, if you’re still hungry, be sure to get a famous Bombshell for dessert—it’s worth every extra penny!)
  • If you want an opportunity to show off your best dance moves, be sure to participate in the fall Frelon show—and if you’re not in it, definitely go see it! Frelon, the student-run dance company here at K, is open to everyone, regardless of the student’s level of dance experience; they two shows they put on each year (fall and spring) are two of the most widely-attended events on campus.
  • And, of course, we can’t forget about the end-of-quarter a cappella show, which features all four a cappella groups we have here on campus (Premium Orange, The Limelights, The Kalamadudes, and AcaPOC). Performances usually occur on the Friday and Saturday nights of 10th Week, so support your friends as they put a new twist on some of your favorite songs.
  • If you’re craving a late night snack, a great place to get one (or many!) is the Kalamazoo Food Truck Rally, which takes place once a month and hosts a variety of local food trucks. The fall is the best time to go to the food truck rallies because they’re often centered around certain themes (e.g. Homecoming themed, Halloween themed), bringing members of the Kalamazoo community together for a “rally” good time!
  • Last but not least, we can’t forget about this year’s Homecoming (October 20th-22nd)! Cheer on the football team as they play against Adrian College, participate in the annual Homecoming 5K Run/Walk, and meet K College alumni who have come back to show their Hornet Pride!
Hot-air balloons at night during the Kalamazoo Balloon Festival
Kalamazoo Balloon Festival

Lauren Landman ’18

The Kalamazoo College Dictionary

Here at Kalamazoo College, we have a LOT of slang: we abbreviate everything and make up nicknames for what can’t be abbreviated. As upperclassmen, we utilize many of these terms every day—therefore, we’ve compiled a vocabulary list that we think all incoming students (and even some current students who haven’t quite got it down yet) need to know.

Behold! You are about to read the essential guide for understanding what all of the students are talking about on campus: the first edition of the Kalamazoo College Dictionary!

K: This is how we all refer to our beloved school. No one calls it Kzoo, and very rarely do people say Kalamazoo College. When off campus, the word College is usually added to the end to clarify for any non-Hornets.

DOGL: stands for Day of Gracious Living, a beloved tradition at K. It started a few decades ago as a volunteer day after a tornado, but has since developed into an annual, impromptu day off of classes in the last few weeks of spring quarter. To celebrate, the majority of students take a trip to the nearby beach in South Haven.

NOGL: Night of Gracious Living occurs the night before DOGL, commencing when DOGL is announced. Students can often be found swarming Walgreens down the road or a nearby Meijer for beach day provisions, and later many students gather to celebrate with friends. There’s no time for homework on NOGL. In recent years, NOGL has turned into a campus-wide event with variety of outdoor games, prize giveaways, and free food taking place on the Quad.

Lib: refers to Upjohn Library. Very rarely do people say this out loud, but it’s often abbreviated on social media, in text messages, and sometimes even on a class syllabus.

Stacks: The Richardson Room is the technical term for this on-campus sandwich shop; however, you’ll never hear anyone call it that. The school’s former food supplier was a company called Stacks, and the name was quickly adopted for the cafeteria alternative. Though the school switched suppliers in 2013, Stacks stuck with us!

Cavern: The basement of the Stetson Chapel. Student volunteers and the Chaplin work here, spiritual/religious groups meet here, and there is always free tea and cookies available for students. Fun fact: this is also the only study space on campus with no wifi!

Caf: The Cafeteria. Enough said.

Quad: the grassy area in front of Hicks Student Center. On nice warm days, many students can be found here studying, eating lunch, or just hanging out with friends. (And when it starts to snow, you can bet that we go sledding!)

Sev-Crissey Lot:  the parking lot where most students park their cars. Sev is short for Severn, one of the upperclassmen residence halls.

SIP: Senior Individualized Project; it’s a thesis/very large project completed during a student’s senior year that is required to graduate.

Stress Culture: A term dropped very often by both students and faculty, K students will often compete with each other about who is the most stressed. As easy as it can be to join, DO NOT FEED INTO THIS—you will feel much better if you don’t!

Book Club: The on-campus coffee shop located on the first floor of the library. It’s also a very popular study spot, or a good place to meet for group projects.

FAB: The Lights Fine Arts Building, home to the arts and music departments. You will often hear students saying that they “live in the FAB”, meaning they spend the majority of time there.

OU: refers to Olds-Upton, an academic building that houses the Psychology, Math, Physics, Political Science, and Computer Science departments.

K Bubble: (1) the campus; (2) the mindset acquired from spending time on our small liberal arts campus.

Zoo Flicks: Every Friday night, there is a movie shown on campus, complete with free soda and popcorn. Often, the movies are new releases (sometimes they’re even still in theaters!).

Zoo After Dark: Events held every Saturday night that are organized by different student organizations (examples include laser tag, roller skating, karaoke, comedy nights, mini golf, etc.).

Everything suddenly starts with “K”: If a word starts with a hard C sound, when you get to Kalamazoo, you’ll find you start spelling it with a K instead. If it’s an event that has a generic name, odds are there will be a K stuck in the front of it. (Many students even refer to the school as “Kollege” on social media, or when text messaging.)

K-Plan: What you do with your time at K; it’s the College’s individualized approach to the college education.

Frelon: (1) The on campus dance group—anyone can join, no experience necessary. (2) The shows put on by the Frelon organization every Fall and Spring.

Quarters/Weeks: Instead of a semester system, our schedule is comprised of three 10-week quarters. K students will often measure time by referring to the specific week of the quarter rather than the actual date. Example: “I’m going to present my SIP during the 6th week of spring quarter.”

CCPD: The Center for Career and Professional Development; a resource center that helps students with internship and externship placements, resume building, and many other professional services.

CIP: The Center for International Programs, which is the home for all things related to study abroad or study away. (It is spelled out like C-I-P, to avoid confusion with “SIP”).

Study Away: An additional option for students who want the experience of studying away from K’s campus without leaving the country. Programs are located throughout the United States, and usually involve an internship and/or a large academic project near the end.

Living Learning House: The closest thing we have to Greek life on our campus. Each has a certain theme chosen by the students who live there. Members of each house also put on community events related to their specific themes twice a quarter.

Tender Tuesdays: Another awesome food deal! At the edge of K’s campus is a restaurant called the University Roadhouse: all around awesome food, but their chicken tenders are to die for—and on Tuesday nights, you can get a basket of them for $3!

Sweetwaters: the famous 24/7 drive through donut shop in Kalamazoo. A car is needed to get here (its a pretty far walk, about an hour one way) but every once in a while, teachers will bring them to class. Occasionally, the caf will serve them for breakfast on Tuesday and Thursdays, and you can also find them in the Book Club at least once a week.

The Dungeon: The school’s black box theater, located in the basement of the FAB.

The Playhouse: refers to the Nelda K. Balch Playhouse, where most of the productions put on through the Festival Playhouse of Kalamazoo occur (located next to Dow Science Center).

Dalton: refers to Dalton Theater, the largest performance space on campus. It holds the capacity of an average-sized incoming first year class (about 390-400 people, located inside the FAB).

Monte Carlo: The biggest event on campus all year: a winter formal. Students dress up (cocktail party style), and student volunteers (along with faculty and staff volunteers) run “gambling” tables all over Hicks. There’s amazing free food, prizes, and a even a dance floor.

Meal swipes/Munch Money: Purchased with your meal plan at the beginning of each quarter, you use these to eat on campus. Meal swipes grant you access to the Caf, as well as meals in Stacks or the Bookclub. Munch Money is also on your student account, and can be used to buy snacks in Stacks, coffee and food in the Bookclub, and sometimes even used to order delivery from neighboring restaurants.

K-Fest: an annual event held on the quad at the beginning of every school year. All student organizations set up tables so students can add your name to email lists, see demonstrations from clubs, and other fun events. There are also a fair number of organizations from around the community who come to give information to students about off-campus opportunities. (And, again, there are lot of free treats!)

Hicks: The student center: a.k.a., the place that has everything you need to survive at K. Home of the bookstore, the mail center, the cafeteria, Stacks, the health center, the counseling center, the intercultural center, the security office, and student housing (there’s even a game room on the second floor!).

StuDev: Student Development, where all things related to student life occur (e.g. housing and support for student organizations).

ACSJL: The Arcus Center for Social Justice and Leadership, also commonly referred to as “Arcus”. This is the newest academic building on campus (it opened in 2014): it is also a community center for all things social justice related. Its location at the top of the hill, surrounded by a wildflower garden, makes it the ideal place to study.

Art Hop: The first Friday of every month, there is an art fair in the Parks Trade Center (located downtown), Local artists open their studios so members of the community can see (and purchase) everything from paintings to sculptures to metal work. There is also a studio owned by Kalamazoo College, where seniors often display their art SIPs.

The Arb: The Lillian Anderson Arboretum is a large area of land owned by K College: it offers a look into wildlife without leaving the city of Kalamazoo. A car is required to get there, but most people are willing to go so they can around the nature preserve. Be careful! The driveway is hidden and a little hard to find the first time you go (or the second…or every time).

Trow: refers to Trowbridge Residence Hall, one of the first-year residence halls. It is the oldest residence hall on campus.

Well, there you have it—all of the terms you would ever need to know, whether you’re spending an overnight on campus or all four years!

-Izzie Kerivan ’17 and Lauren Landman ‘18

Gracious Living

“The end of learning is gracious living.”

I remember the happiness that buzzed through the campus when a Day of Gracious Living was announced. (This was in the Paleolithic Era, so we didn’t have smart phones but were pretty good with smoke signals.) An entire day to head out to the dunes, fall back asleep, spend time with friends –or catch up on that assignment you were going to have to pull an all-nighter to finish. Thank you, Sweetwater’s, for providing the caffeine and sugar that allowed me to graduate.

I can’t recall exactly how I spent each Day of Gracious Living, and not because sometimes Bell’s was involved, but to this day I love the concept. A free day. You can reflect on your larger purpose; your future; life, the universe and everything –or you can choose to relax and enjoy the moment. The concept of gracious living told me that there is a point to hard work beyond acceptance into grad school or crafting the perfect resume. Your education and career are means to an end, and not an end in themselves. For years I was a little baffled by the phrase, “the end of learning is gracious living,” as I wondered why learning should end. Aren’t we lifelong learners? What happens after the end of learning?

In fact, it wasn’t until I wrote this that I realized the use of the word “end” is not in the sense of a finale or termination, but in the sense of purpose. The purpose of learning is to understand how to conduct your life in a gracious manner. The purpose of learning is to allow you to improve your entire existence, not just your resume or a GRE score. Learning opens the door into gracious living.

K gave me that.

-Corey Schultz ’97

First Quarter at the Zoo

I knew it was probably a sign that I had picked the right college when pre-orientation registration felt like an embarrassment of riches. There are a lot of reasons to attend any college or university, but for me, academics was key – I wanted to go somewhere where classes were not only thorough and enriching, but varied. Thus, when I saw all the first-year seminars available to me right out of the gate – Salem Possessed, Rock & Roll to Rap, Telling Queer Stories – I agonized for a week before my actual registration date about what to pick.

While I really couldn’t have really gone wrong with any class like those and others, I have no regrets about ultimately deciding on Religion and the American Presidency with Dr. Sabella. Though I had initially entered the class to indulge my geeky love of history, I found myself surprised at the variety of content a single seminar could contain. You would think “Religion and the American Presidency” would consist only of the two things, both found in the title. And yet, Dr. Sabella seamlessly infused each session with topics like current events, art, pop culture, and philosophy. Not one class was ever the same, and I never did I find myself without enthusiasm for awaited me next.

Addie Dancer taking a selfie with Kalamazoo College President Jorge Gonzalez
Selfie with President Jorge Gonzalez

Even so, the content actually turned out to be only a bonus in the grand scheme of things – in truth, I am grateful every single day for the first-year seminar I chose because of the incredible friends I found within. Today, those I met through my seminar, either directly or indirectly, are part of my life every single day. We blow up each other’s phone with memes in the group chat, we have nightly “family dinners,” we struggle through workouts at the Fitness and Wellness Center, and we study together at Upjohn Library as often as possible. In a matter of months, we have made countless memories, whether it be going downtown to grab dinner and a movie, driving out to the countryside to pick apples at a local orchard, attending political rallies and getting involved by volunteering on campus, even staying in to play Cards Against Humanity or watch The Office on Netflix.

In addition to my lovely seminar friends, our peer leaders (or peer “moms,” as we quickly came to call them), were also incredibly honest, helpful, and kind. It was my senior peer “mom” who encouraged me to get involved with The Index, K’s school newspaper, and continues to mentor me in matters both personal and journalistic whenever I need it. What’s more, K’s faculty and staff have blown me away with their friendliness and approachability; my French TA once walked me home in the rain when I was without an umbrella, daily trips to Stacks have me on a first-name basis with the people behind the counter, and a single bout with a nasty cough introduced me to the college’s remarkable professionals at the health center, who are as knowledgeable as they are considerate. Even K’s president, Dr. Gonzalez, who might seem to be the most “untouchable” person on campus, has become a familiar face to me; upon our first meeting, he generously provided a quote for my very first story with The Index and happily snapped a selfie with me – a selfie I treasure, which proudly hangs on the door to my room.

Ultimately, it was really the people that made K feel like home so quickly. The school touts its academic renown, and rightfully so – two quarters in, I have yet to dislike a class or the professor that teaches it. But above all else, I have met individuals at K with whom I have connected with in ways that have truly changed me as a human being. Some of these people are unlike anyone I have ever met, while others have managed to make me feel as if I have known them my whole life. And for that, there are no words to describe the depth of my gratitude.

– Addie Dancer ’20

But what is there to do in Kalamazoo?

When you first arrive to Kalamazoo, it may seem like there isn’t much going on in this town. Trust me, we have all felt that at one point or another in Kalamazoo. But we have gathered a list of fun things you can do in Kalamazoo!

Downtown Kalamazoo sign

  1. Downtown Walkers- Downtown Kalamazoo is only a mile away from our campus. Grab a friend and take a stroll down, check out the stores, coffee shops and restaurants. Nothing beats a nice walk to de-stress at the end of a long day. You can even take a book, sit down and read! Great place to explore for shopaholics as well.
  1. Foodies- Food is for friendships. You are new in town, you made some new friends and looking for things to do together. Everybody loves food! Take an Uber, or a walk to a variety of affordable food places in town. If you are a student in Kalamazoo and you haven’t been to Crow’s Nest, then you are missing out on some great food. We highly recommend the banana bread french toast! Craving burgers? Venture into The Union Cabaret and Grill downtown to enjoy food with live music. Don’t want to walk too far? University Road House is right next to our campus and serves a variety of budget-friendly meals. If you are looking for traditional Middle Eastern or Indian cuisines, Zooroona and Saffron are restaurants you need to check out. The ambiance is great and they are located only half a mile from campus.
  1. Caffeine Addicts- Fourth Coast and Water Street are the most popular student coffee joints within a mile from campus. Fourth Coast is open 24 hours a day. If you like the downtown setting, Cafe Casa is another cozy place you can take your laptop and station at. As part of your Kalamazoo experience, you must go to Black Owl Cafe.
  1. Art Lovers- For the love of art, go to ArtHop, one of the most popular fun and enriching activities that take place in Kalamazoo. ArtHop is a free, engaging and display beautiful work of many talented students and other artists. It happens first Friday of every month so if you miss one, there will be more to go to!
  1. Parks- Grab a book and take a walk down to the Bronson Park. It is located right before you enter the main downtown area. Half a mile tops!
  1. Yoga- Take a Yoga class downtown in Down Dog Yoga Center and let go of all the negativity in life. P.S. It can count as your PE credit for the quarter!
  1. Movie Junkies- The Alamo, the movie theater downtown, has a very different setting than other theaters. You can watch the movie and enjoy food at the same time. They also offer student discount. It is one of the MUST DO things in Downtown Kalamazoo.
  1. Museums- Kalamazoo Valley Museum displays multiple, amazing artists and is FREE! It is located a little over half a mile from our campus. Air Zoo, an aviation museum and indoor amusement park, is only a 10 minute commute away.
  1. Festivals- Throughout the year, Kalamazoo city organizes a variety of festivals. Kalamazoo Greek Fest is a three day long festival where the artists who come from Greece, play music, sing songs, dance and lots of great food. There are more where that came from! Check for the event calender.
  1. Bike Riders- Hit Kalamazoo River Valley Trail and enjoy the scenic 35 miles on your bikes, and it is FREE.
  1. South Haven Beach- South Haven has one of the best beaches in Michigan. It is a commute away but it is totally worth it!

Listed above are only a few things to do around here but if you are looking for more adventures, check the “269 cool things to do in area code 269”

By Azra Ahmad ’19