Monthly Archives: March 2016

Guest Post: Raspberry Swirl Does it Again

by Patrick Braley, Raspberry Swirl co-host and Alliance Member

Raspberry Swirl is an annual charity event run by the Gender and Sexuality Alliance (the LGBTQIA+ focused group here at SSU that promotes acceptance and understanding of all identities). Raspberry Swirl has been a long-time tradition here at Salem State University. With 2016 marking its 15th year, it is always something to hotly anticipate for both SSU students and those in the broader community alike. With each passing year, attendance seems to be increasing, with this year marking the first year with over 100 show goers. The trend in recent years for Swirl has been bringing in a famous drag queen from the hit show, RuPaul’s Drag Race to headline the show. The person booked to headline the show will typically perform about 3 to 4 song/dance routines and may even host a mini-game which requires and encourages audience participation. This year, the Alliance was very fortunate to have Pearl (real name Matthew James Lent), breakout star of season 7 of Drag Race, as the headline act.

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Pearl, the headliner and a host for the Alliance’s “Raspberry Swirl”. 2016. Courtesy photo.

Pearl was a graceful presence both on stage and off. She was dressed in some fierce outfits ranging from a futuristic-looking multicolored jumpsuit to an all black evening gown (which went perfectly with the spooky vibes of Salem). She sang and moved with expert precision and her passion for performing really showed through. In addition, Pearl also helped to host a mini-game titled “Fiercest Walk” in which members from the audience were chosen to strut their stuff down the length of the center isle. The winner won the right to brag to all their friends that they had the fiercest walk in the whole place.

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Performer at Friday’s Raspberry Swirl. 2016. Courtesy photo.

There were also two other mini-games during Raspberry Swirl that were hosted by the event’s two hosts Patrick Braley and Eric Donnovan (better known by their drag names Ophelia Oats and Chamele, respectively). One of the most memorable mini-games was titled “Lip Sync For Your Life.” This game was inspired by the iconic last chance challenge at the end of every Drag Race episode in which the two lowest ranked queens are pitted against each other in a lip sync battle to determine who is able to stay on the show. During Raspberry Swirl, four audience members (two vs. two) went head-to-head to claim the title of lip sync champion. The first round had two audience members belting out Adele’s “Hello.” Although everybody sang their hearts out, there was only one winner in the end.

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Local drag queens at Raspberry Swirl. 2016. Courtesy photo.

In addition to having Pearl perform, the Alliance was able to gather several kind, local drag queens and kings from the Salem State, North Shore and Boston drag scenes. Our stage was graced with so many talented acts! The crowd witnessed everything from sickening death drops to glitter flying everywhere. Audience members clapped, hollered and “YAAASSS”-ed in approval of all of the performances. After the show ended some folks had the opportunity to take a picture with Pearl herself during the meet and greet portion.

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Salem State studen showing off their stuff at Raspberry Swirl 2016. Courtesy photo.

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Local drag queens at Raspberry Swirl. 2016. Courtesy photo.

At the end of the day, however, Raspberry Swirl is about much more than dancing queens or who has the best look; when it comes down to it, Raspberry Swirl is and always has been all about fostering a sense of community, donating to local charities, and above all having a lit, lit, lit time.       



Women’s History Month Impacts Salem State

During this year’s Women’s History Month, SSU is studying how women impact society. Every year, or day for that matter, is an important time to celebrate the continuing impact of women on society. This year’s Women’s History Month, however, is especially important because of the upcoming legislation regarding a women’s right to choose.

Another theme to keep in mind this women’s history month is intersectionality. Intersectionality is the concept of the intersections of our identities and how it may cause us to be affected by multiple oppressions. Under this school of thought, a woman of color may see more oppression than a white woman.

At the 10th annual Women’s Leadership Conference on Monday, March 7, the intersections of our identity as women were discussed, along with the struggles that arise because of our varying identities. Many powerful stories and examples of overcoming these struggles were discussed both by keynote speaker Jasmine Rand and the panelists.

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From right to left: Sociology Senior and Beantown Society Anadarys Barragn, writer, stylist, and farmer Christi Guthrie, and ALPFA President Migdalia Diaz. Picture by Nikki Vergakes

Our keynote Jasmine Rand delivered many powerful messages through her insightful stories from fighting her way into law school, to breaking social norms, to standing up against racial inequalities. Some sage advice she left us with was:

“The best thing you can be in life is authentically you.”

“I constantly refuse to be any man’s or woman’s stereotype of who they think I should be.”

“There’s more than one way to be a woman.”

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Keynote Speaker: Legal Analyst and Civil Right Lawyer Jasmine Rand. picture by Nikki Vergakes

Everyone in attendance at the conference was touched mentally and emotionally by Rand and her remarks.




Guest speakers and members of the planning committee.

The following day was International Women’s Day. The Women’s Center and the International Student Association teamed up to celebrate women’s impact on a global level. There was also a panel of influential international women students. Though the fight for equality for women is far from over, the gender roles are much more strict in some countries such as Pakistan, Iran, Nigeria India, and more. They have not made as much progress as the U.S. has. The panel and guest speakers brought these issues to light.


panel of International women and a representative from the U.S. Photo by Tyler Carlton.

Women’s History Month is about celebrating the impact of all women and those who identify as so no matter their race, sexuality, or identity. Congratulations to Salem State for supporting a great movement!

Career Fair Virtual Tour

“Career Fair” was a buzzword around campus yesterday thanks to Career Services’ undertaking in the Gasset Gym. “Are you going to the career fair?” was a frequently asked question, and most of the answers to it were yes! If you missed it, here’s a wrap up and some resources we garnered from Career Services to help you snag a job.


Career Services would like to thank Enterprise as their sponsor for this event.


Upon arrival to Gassett, there was a long line for student registration. After registering, you were given a map and a name tag.


Two tables were in front of the gym where the fair was held – a resume drop-off and a grad school table.

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If an employer couldn’t make it or you couldn’t make it to their table, there was a convenient resume drop off. If you were interested in taking your education to the next level at SSU, there was a table for that as well.


And we were off! There were so many tables to get information from. Big names included Walgreens, the FBI, Everett Public Schools, Wicked Local, and more.


If you needed a headshot for your LinkedIn, there was a convenient photo booth!e8422acf-6476-4996-affb-0618a77a9414.jpg

Ample connections were being made!

Missed the career fair? Here are some helpful resources!:


Learn about walk-in office hours

Make an appointment, get your resume looked over, or search job postings.