Alma might be a tiny town in the heart of Michigan, but the city is always buzzing with life. Here at Alma, we have something for everybody. Whether you love restaurants, getting fit, staying active outdoors or pop culture, we have it all. We take pride in our Scottish heritage but we also take pride in diversity, which is why we always welcome new things and ideas. Alma College is a fantastic place to gain a worldly perspective all while obtaining an outstanding liberal arts education and having fun. There is more to college life than going to class and pulling all-nighters, so here are some of Alma’s best attractions that incoming students must check out.
1. BRICKK Fitness Lounge
Anyone who loves living a healthy lifestyle is bound to love the BRICKK Fitness Lounge. BRICKK’s main focus is promoting others to live happier, healthier and more fulfilled lives. The BRICKK Fitness Lounge is famous for its healthy smoothies, soups, salads and sandwiches. Not only are these foods delicious, but they are made with natural ingredients because they take a 360-degree approach to fitness. If you’re not hungry, BRICKK has a plethora of fun group workout classes ranging from kettle ball workouts and kickboxing to yoga. If you’re still not convinced, visiting the BRICKK Fitness Lounge is a great way to battle the dreaded "freshman 15." If you need a little motivation or discipline to keep you in shape, the BRICKK Fitness Lounge is definitely the place for you. You can check out its class schedule here. To schedule classes, just download the MINDBODY app and book classes on there.
2. The Highland Festival
With the first Festival and Games taking place back in 1968, Alma celebrated the 50th annual Highland Festival and Games this spring. This festival has events for all ages, including arts and crafts, heavy weight athletics, dances, a 5k road run and more. If you’re artistic, you can even register to be a vendor at the arts and crafts show. If not, you can always browse through the booths while you enjoy your Celtic cuisine prepared by Chef Eric W. McBride. During the day, you can enjoy the parade as well as multiple piping and drumming performances. In the evening, you can swing by the entertainment tent for a wide variety of performances by well-known groups. In the past, The Rock Show, The Chelsea House Orchestra and many Celtic bands have performed at the festival. To top it all off, each year the festival has a pageant and crowns a new Queen of Scots. For more information and tickets, go here.
3. Pizza Sam’s
As all college students know, pizza is a major part of our diet. Pizza Sam’s is not your ordinary pizza place; it continually earns five-star ratings from all customers. Why settle for boring, corporate-owned pizza chains when you can have better-than-Chicago-style pizza? If you’re not into pizza, Pizza Sam’s has plenty of other tasty options including pasta, seafood, chicken, pork chops and more. Pizza Sam’s is definitely a great option for when you need a break from cafeteria food.
4. The Fred Meijer Heartland Trail
This attraction is for anyone who enjoys biking, hiking, running or just plain appreciating nature. In total, the trail is 41.8 miles long and has end points in multiple towns along the way. In the winter, the trails can also be used for cross country skiing (if you have never tried that before, I highly recommend it — it’s awesome). Even if you’re simply looking for a break from the stressful college life, walking down this trail is an excellent way to clear your mind. Additionally, the trail is completely wheelchair accessible.
Every year at the end of January, the Alma College Otaku Gamers (ACOG) hosts their very own version of Comic-Con on campus. This family-friendly anime convention actually raises thousands of dollars every year for the American Cancer Society to aid the fight against cancer. This past year, AlmaCon hosted around 1,050 attendees (a new record) and raised more than $10,000 for Relay for Life. The convention also features multiple artists, dealers and other vendors as well as cosplay groups, professional voice-over artists and more. If you’re not interested in anime, comic books and gaming but you still want to help out its cause, then you can always volunteer at the convention. For more information, you can visit their website here.
6. Gelston Hall
You might need to bring the Ghostbusters team with you for this one. Students claim that the hall is haunted by the ghost of Mary C. Gelston, the first dean of women at Alma College. Upperclassmen have told chilling stories of the ghost of Mary Gelston slamming doors, locking people out of their dorms and visiting rooms during the late hours of the night. If you don’t believe in ghosts, Gelston Hall still has something to offer for you. The dorms in this hall are generally larger than dorms in the other halls and most of the rooms are newly renovated. Also, you can get food from Joe’s Place located on the main level of the hall which is perfect for when there are snow storms, torrential downpours or just when you don’t feel like leaving the building.
7. The Model United Nations Group
If you are passionate about politics or solving international issues, then you should definitely get involved with the Model UN. This group is a political science class open to all majors in the winter semester without prerequisites. Being a member of this incredible team is a great way to gain a worldly perspective and build excellent leadership skills. During the semester, students research current issues and develop ways to solve real world problems. The class also participates in multiple conferences and competitions including one in New York City at the real United Nations Headquarters. Alma College’s Model UN team has won the national competition for the last 21 years in a row, making it the winningest school team in history.
Even though Alma is incredibly small, it has an abundance of interesting things to offer to its college students. We have so many wonderful things that you can enjoy while still remaining in the comfort of a quiet, small town setting. Don’t let freshman year slip away without experiencing everything on this list!