Nicole Eccles

Class Year



La Mesa, CA


POE in International Advocacy

What makes being a piper at Alma College unique?

Being a piper at Alma allows you to experience all the different parts of the college. As a piper, I’ve performed with the band and the choir. I’ve been able to perform with these groups at some of Alma’s most popular concerts and in some really cool venues. I’ve also been able to go to events at the president’s house, participate in recruitment events, scholars summits, every Commencements and Convocations. One of my favorite experiences was being invited to play for the softball team’s tournament over Spring Term. I’ve never been very sporty, but the team was super excited for me to be there and even gave me the team cheer of support. Being a piper let me see and be a part of every element of the Alma experience.

What is the coolest aspect of Alma's highland arts program/pipe band?

I think the coolest aspect is being involved in the tradition of the school and the culture many of us grew up in. We have our own traditions in the pipe band, little rituals and inside jokes, but we also get to feel a part of the tradition of our campus. We are as iconic as Scotty in some ways, and it’s cool to feel like you represent something special about your school. In general, being a part of the pipe band makes you feel special and connected. 

Outside of pipe band, what were you most involved with on/around campus?

I competed with Alma College’s Model UN team for four years and lived in the MUN house for three. It was one of the hardest, yet best things I did at Alma. It provided me with a family and helped me decided what path I wanted to take in the future. Like many other Munners, I was also involved in Amnesty International and Literacy Beyond Borders. I was in the Kappa Iota sorority as the vice president and later the pledge mom and a sister of the Zeta Sigma Fraternity. I worked as a first year guide for three years and wrote/edited for the Almanian. I also spent a lot of time on student congress as a club representative for two years and the secretary of student congress my senior year. 

Describe your liberal arts experience in a few sentences.

My experience was filled with challenges and many opportunities. At Alma, I traveled to New York City four times and sat in the General Assembly Hall, played pipes on the battlefields of Scotland, took bucket showers in a Ghanaian village and wandered the crowded streets of Hanoi, Vietnam. My liberal arts experience not only taught me theories, histories and cultures, it allowed me to learn by doing and seeing it all for myself.

What's your favorite thing about Alma College?

My favorite thing about Alma College was that people were real life problem solvers. My friends and classmates weren’t just learning about inequality, they were going on alternative breaks to lend a hand, serving at the community café and collecting donations for Flint, the Ukraine and school staff who lost everything in a fire. We didn’t just complain about student debt we went to protests. My friends spent hours in the bog, at the St. Louis contamination site, down in Georgia protesting the School of the Americas, coaching Girls on the Run, raising money for diabetes research and helping refugees get resettled. There are always people Alma trying to make a difference at Alma and that was always my favorite part of being there.