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

Ten Tips to Eating Gluten-Free at K

Though I myself do not live by a gluten-free diet, I know there are an estimated three million Americans with celiac disease, a condition which causes adverse reactions to food products with gluten in them, and many more people who chose not to eat gluten for their own reasons. Adjusting to college life is hard enough without wondering how and where you’re going to find something safe to eat, so below you can find ten tips for eating gluten-free here at Kalamazoo College!


  1. First and foremost, it is helpful to check out daily and/or weekly menus, posted on the website and/or on the Kalamazoo College Dining Services Twitter and Facebook pages, to see what is available beforehand.
  2. When choosing meals at Welles Dining Hall or ordering something from the Richardson Room, keep your eyes peeled for a small, yellow circle with a symbol of wheat inside, which indicates that particular food product has gluten in it. This and other symbols are designed to help you know what’s in your food!
  3. There is a special fridge in Welles Dining Hall just for gluten-free students located in the corner by the vegetarian section. Here you can find gluten-free pasta, muffins, and other kinds of food saved just for you!
  4. The chefs in Welles Dining Hall will make gluten-free pizza upon request, so feel free to ask!
  5. Gluten-free bread is also available upon request at The Richardson Room, so simply ask for that instead when ordering sandwiches or a mini pizza!
  6. It is never a bad idea to keep your room stocked with your own favorite gluten-free snacks, like Cheerios, popcorn, even peanut butter, just in case you’re not interested in the college’s gluten-free options on any particular day.
  7. Be willing to try foods you may be unfamiliar with if they are gluten-free – you never know what could be your new favorite food!
  8. If you’re ever in doubt, all three campus eateries (Welles Dining Hall a.k.a. “The Caf,” The Richardson Room a.k.a. “Stacks,” and The Book Club) have salads available, which are usually guaranteed to be gluten-free.
  9. Never be afraid to ask K College Dining Services staff what’s in a particular meal or food product if you are unsure – it’s part of their job to be informed and help you out!
  10. And finally, don’t let your diet discourage you from partaking in activities on or off campus. Programs like LandSea or Study Abroad/Away are committed to accommodating students like you and work to ensure you have access to meals that are healthy as well as safe.

Good luck and happy eating!


– Addie Dancer, K’20

Landing at K with a Sea of Relief

In today’s society when you think of camping, you usually think of luxurious RVs or spacious tents, barbequing your dinner on a grill while the kids swim in a pond nearby, lawn chairs around a bonfire, and licking s’more residue off your fingertips as the moon ascends in the sky. We don’t tend to think about the kind of camping that involves sleeping under tarps, drinking water from a nearby stream that’s been filtered clean, swimming and bathing in lakes, waking up at 4 in the morning to climb the sixth tallest mountain of the Adirondacks, and stumbling up a hill in the dark with the assistance of your headlamp in order to find the perfect area of soft ground to dig a hole and relieve your bladder. Even though the latter idea seems incredibly strenuous, and slightly insane, I can personally say that it is one of the most rewarding and refreshing experiences one can partake in.

Landing at K with a Sea of Relief
One last beautiful day at Lake Massawippi before heading home

When committing to K and signing up for the LandSea program— an 18-day outdoor pre-orientation program in upstate New York— I convinced myself that it would simply be a way to pass the time as I anxiously awaited the first day of school. Little did I know that it would actually be one of the most meaningful moments of my time thus far at K. Spending 18 days in the wilderness, especially with no prior camping experience, is definitely intimidating, but personally, I enjoyed the challenge it posed. Though I knew nothing about how to pack a hiking bag, how to set up a tarp, or what a bear canister was, I soon learned all the ins and outs of the “backcountry.”

After a 14-hour bus trip, I arrived at the Lake Massawippi Boy Scout camp with about 50 other incoming First-Years. Exiting the bus, we were quickly surrounded by 20 leaders, chanting and dancing, welcoming us to the start of an entirely new adventure. We were split up into eight different groups, about five to six participants in each with two leaders, and were taken to our own specific base camp location to start our journeys. I will admit I was nervous and very hesitant the first day of the trip. I was worried I would be terrible at camping, that I wouldn’t get along with the members of my group, and that the entire trip would be something I would regret. Good thing I was wrong.

Landing at K with a Sea of Relief
The best deep dish pizza comes from the backcountry

The days seemed to turn into seconds after the first day passed and the entity of our group transformed from strangers into a family. Days spent hiking up mountains, canoeing across lakes and ponds, cooking various meals in a Dutch oven (including the best deep dish pizza I have ever consumed), and spending nights reflecting around a bonfire ended up giving me new friendships, skills, and a new confidence and sense of relief going into the school year at K. I am incredibly thankful for the opportunity that K provided me with that allowed me to grow not only on an individual level, but within a group setting as well. Take it from me, check out the LandSea program here at K. Don’t let price or lack of experience discourage you. I guarantee you it will be the first step of obtaining more in your four years here and more in your lifetime.

– Karina Pantoja ’20