Messages of Hope

After the election, the climate of the country has been anything but stable. The Salem State community has attempted to make this campus a safe space, however, and there have been multiple ways in which the campus has addressed this. Along with emails informing the community that SSU cannot tolerate hate and bias, the student involvement and activites office has taken it upon themselves to make a statement.

The theme of #ChangeMakersWeek was letting your voice be heard. As stated below, we have given multiple outlets to raise our voice. One of these outlets was hosting Dear World during Leadership Weekend. The Dear World project travels across various college campuses, conferences, and more to find the stories inside people and tell them to the world.  They have covered Hurricane Katrina, the Boston Marathon bombings, and more.

Even if you don’t know someone at all, hearing a simple story from them can shed some insight on their true selves. Stories bring people together, even in the darkest of times. At the Student Leadership Conference on Sunday, we heard the stories behind five students’ pictures. Though not everyone knew those students personally, the crowd had the privilege of hearing a few deeply personal stories about them, giving us all a sense of closeness.

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Here are examples of outlets available to the campus community:

Campus-wide “brave space” sessions were held to open up the conversation in a non-judgmental space.

The Student Involvement office recorded videos of students committing to not tolerating hate and bias.

The Student Involvement office gave opportunities for students to leave messages of hope on sticky notes in the campus center.

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Students, faculty, and staff were given the opportunity to tell their stories through the “Dear World” campaign.

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Get involved in the University’s strategic plan

One of the best things about attending Salem State University is the incentive to involve students in the university’s development process. In other words, YOU have a say in the direction that the university wants to grow in. Want more social justice initiatives? Want more diversity? Want more civic engagement? The university is giving us the chance to weigh in on its future, and the futures of the incoming students. This is not an opportunity to be taken lightly.

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Picture courtesy of salemstate.edu

The collaboration committee has surveyed faculty and staff about what changes they would like to see in the future. It’s the student’s turn now to speak up.

Currently, the mission of the university reads:

“Salem State’s mission is to provide a high quality, student-centered education that prepares a diverse community of learners to contribute responsibly and creatively to a global society, and serve as a resource to advance the region’s cultural, social and economic development.”

The strategic plan is essentially the vision for the future of the university with specific tactics the university plans on taking action on – all supported by the mission. The new strategic plan for AY 2017 is focused on keeping up with the ever-changing world around us. This new plan is being constructed to reassess the priorities and goals of the university that will eventually lead to tangible changes.

The strategic plan of 2013-2016 focused on student success, diversity, and sustainability. This plan aligned the academics and engagement of the university with social justice and change. Some of the fruits of this strategic plan included the implementation of the new general education curriculum,  more combined 4+1 masters and bachelors programs, the veterans services center, the center for civic engagement, and more. These are tangible examples of how the university benefitted from its last strategic plan.

Now YOU can have a say in what will be in the next plan. The office knows that surveys aren’t the best way to get opinions out of busy students. They also acknowledge that the best way that students voice their opinions is in a room full of their peers, where they can bounce ideas off of one another. That’s why they’ve organized just that.

The planning committee formally invites you to:

Strategic Plan STUDENT FORUM

Date: Tuesday, November 15th

Time: 4:30 PM

Location: MLK Room

Please come out and provide ideas and thoughts on what should be included in the new Salem State Strategic Plan! Student voice matters!

Speaking of change please register for the Student Leadership Conference. Take time on Sunday to grow your leadership skills and hear from the powerful group “Dear World” as the keynote.

The Center for Diversity & Multicultural Affairs also invites you to “STEP Afrika” tonight in Vets Hall at 8 PM. Come see this transformative step group perform.

What it means to be a university

There’s much more to the difference between a university and a college than just the title. That’s why we celebrate so fervently during #OrangeCrushWeek, and especially #UNITE!

To celebrate #UNITE this year, we stayed true to the theme of Salem: Halloween. All over campus there were treats including BBQ food, fried carnival food, lemonade and more. At night, there were tricks. There was a murder mystery party at night. We celebrated 6 years of university status with tricks and treats.

Becker College’s website offers a great description of the difference between the two. They are essentially the same in the way that a student is still earning a degree either way, and they both can be either privately or publicly operated. The quality of your degree really depends on the program, and how much the student applies themselves.

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What’s interesting is that Becker states that colleges are more hands-on and classroom settings are more intimate. That’s not the case with SSU, however. Salem State University prides itself on its intimate classroom settings where barriers between students and professors do not exist. Most classes are between 20-30 people on average here, so that the professors can pay close attention to each student’s needs.

Further, professors are not only educators, but also mentors to their students. Students and professors can build a strong and mutually beneficial relationship. Professors can be advisors to student organizations and can give access into their Rolodex of powerful connections. Students can give professors insights on the live and interests of millennials. These insights can benefit research and projects that they need the help of students for.

For Salem State, however, being a University is more than just the prestige. It’s about community. Students will be more inclined to stay on a campus where they feel there is a community that they feel welcome. Being a university is a mindset of an accepting culture where everyone wants to see everyone else succeed.

Thank you for all of this last week with us! The more events we come together for as a student body, the more we foster the sense of community on our university’s campus. With such a diverse and inclusive campus, being a university unites (pun intended) us even more!

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We were in the Halloween spirit!

Hannah Brencher Reminds Students Leaders that They’re Going to be Okay

Entrepreneur and writer Hannah Brencher shared with a group of SSU student leaders on the evening of Tuesday, September 27 that whenever she’s feeling anxious, she repeatedly tells herself that she’s okay. This advice isn’t telling yourself that you’re mediocre – it’s telling yourself that whatever you’re stressing over is temporary and things will get better.

“I’m okay, I’m okay, I’m okay..”

Brencher was the perfect speaker to talk to a group of student leaders that are just beginning a semester that will be full of fun and productive events and meetings – but also full of stress, uncertainty, and many things to balance nonetheless. Being a senior, her kind words helped ease my mind about figuring out what jobs to apply for as graduation approaches. Her approach on life was a mix of old-fashioned and progressive. While she studied and worked in the ever-changing communications industry, at the same time, she yearned for face-to-face communication and real conversations that our society lacks nowadays.

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Brencher started the company “The World Needs More Love Letters in 2011” after an experience on the train commuting into work in NYC. She saw a distressed woman and wrote her a letter. She never gave it to her, but this experience made her realize that the world needs more love letters. She started writing people letters on her personal blog. In 2011, she launched this business and now its writers have sent over one million letters to those in times of need. It has reached all 50 states, 70 countries, and has a chapter on 70 college campuses.

The letters that have come from her company have touched millions of hearts. They’ve been sent to elderly people missing loved ones, cancer patients, and more. Brencher is an inspirational and barrier-breaking leader of her industry. She combines the handwritten and typed word to touch many lives.

This speech taught student leaders many lessons. For themselves, it teaches them that going back to basics can be therapeutic in times of stress. With that same idea, going back to a simpler time can advise us when we’re dealing with a crisis in our student organization. Sometimes we take a much-too-complicated approach on things. Stepping back, and putting things into perspective can help us govern any group under any dicey situation.

What Hannah Brencher advice will you use to lead your student organization?

10 Phases of a GrooveBoston Show

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In January 2015, the second semester started off with great vibes when GrooveBoston’s “Cohesion” tour came to campus. For hundreds of SSU students, the flashing lights, music, and being surrounded by good friends was better stress relief than five massages in a row. Going to one of these concerts, however, isn’t just a fun two to three hours. It’s an experience like no other. That’s why we’re going to document every different phase you will pass through at PROXIMITY on October 22 at the Twohig gym, in case you’ve never been and don’t know what to expect.

1. The Dashing Deal Finder

When SSU hosts these events, we always offer some great deals on tickets. The trick is getting to the info desk in the campus center to get the good deals. At this stage, it’s about one month out from the event and you’re gathering your friends to go. This means you may be buying multiple tickets. This planning is just starting to get you excited for the event!

Right now, we currently are selling the first 200 tickets for $10, and the second 200 for $15.

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2. The Countdown

You count in days. You count in the amount of classes left. You count in episodes of American Horror Story. The countdown to PROXIMITY has begun!

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3. The Outfit Panic

It’s a little less than a week to the show and you realize that you don’t have anything to wear! Who keeps neon-colored shorts and bandanas laying around their dorm? It’s probably time for a trip to Target! Why Target, you ask? Is that even a question?

4. The Planning Process

Now it’s time to coordinate everything – from when your out-of-town friends are getting here, where they’re staying, who can sign who in, and most importantly where are you ordering pizza from after??

5. Peaceful Preparation

Everything is coordinated and now there’s just the preparation for the night. You’re getting ready and getting excited. Listen to some jams to get pumped up, grab your tickets AND YOUR SSU ID AS WELL AS YOUR LEGAL STATE ID, and go!

6. The Journey to O’Keefe

Don’t get me wrong – getting to O’Keefe is a journey in and of itself. Will you wait for the shuttle? Will you take an Uber? Will you brave the cold and just walk there? Getting there can be half the fun!

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7. Sweet Relief

FINALLY! You made it in. You’re taking in the lights, music, and friends. Take a deep breath and dance.

8. The Endurance Race

How many hours can you last dancing? Can you out-dance your friends? Perhaps you challenge a new friend that you met to a dance-off. You never realize how much dancing brings people together.

9. Way Better than a Zumba Class

Who would’ve thought you’d get a workout on a Saturday night? Sure, Zumba classes are great to take at Gassett, but you’re soon realizing that this is a workout like none other.

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10. HUNGER!!!

You’ve danced your heart out, and now it’s time to eat your heart out. There are many places around here that you can order pizza from after the show – and many take ClipperCash! Domino’s and Sammy’s are open until 2 AM! After a night of dancing and fun, reward yourself with some eats, and play the waiting game until the next huge event at SSU!

 

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FIRST 200 TICKETS ARE $10
SECOND 200 TICKETS ARE $15
REGULAR PRICING AFTER FIRST 400: Students $20, Guests $25

MAXIMUM 4 TICKETS PER STUDENT
All students must show their clippercard, all guests must show their legal ID

Twohig Gym in the Gassett Fitness Center!
Doors open at 10, close at midnight

TICKETS ARE ON SALE AT THE INFO DESK Mon – Fri 10 am to 4 pm

 

Career Worksheet to Assist the Pre-Graduation Panic

Whether you’re an anxious senior starting to imagine the “real world”, or an excited freshman thinking about your future, there’s never a bad time to think about your career path. Even if you’re already working within your career, you still have to figure out the path that will lead you to your destination. Will you stay with your current company and work your way up? Will you hop around from company to company? Will you own your own business, or become a consultant?

Picking a major and/or minor is like picking a path that may eventually lead to what you are going to do with your life. No pressure or anything. You can easily pick a major and minor (if your degree allows) by answering a few introspective questions.

The goal of choosing a career path is to hopefully end up in a profession that matches your passion. Have you ever heard the phrase, “Do something that you love”?

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Some careers are easy to match with a passion. Love dancing? Be a professional dancer or dance instructor. Love art? Become an artist or art teacher. Want to help others? That’s a bit more tricky. You can help people by becoming a teacher, social worker, higher education faculty, psychologist, police officer and so much more!

Thankfully, the professional development blog, The Prepary, has a “career brainstorming worksheet” for you to fill out! You can either print it from these pictures or download it here. Hopefully you finish it with a clearer idea of the direction you might want to take in the future, and how you can use your time here at Salem State to get you there!

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After you’ve done some introspection, it’s time to act on it! Visit the Majors and Minors Fair on October 11th in Vets Hall from 3-5 pm to see your future in action.

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Diversity and Inclusion a Major Focus for Student Leaders

On Saturday, September 10, representatives from every student organization gathered in the Ellison Campus Center to be equipped with the information and skills to make them the best student leaders they can be in hopes of making this a successful school year. The program began with an introduction, then went into breakout sessions for each different position. Every executive board involves varying concerns and roles, so different training for each position is key. After lunch, there were two breakout sessions. The day ended with ice cream and a discussion on diversity, which tied into the themes of the day.

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The “Preferred Name Policy” breakout session focused on a new development in University Law: the Preferred Name Policy. Students may have their name on the class roster, canvas, door decks, and more that they prefer to be called. Why would a student prefer another name? There are many reasons. Some of those presented by Julia Golden-Battle, Assistant Director and LGBTQ Liaison of Diversity & Multicultural Affairs, included: gender identity, unsafe circumstances, and international students seeking to use their American name. Julia then delved into a discussion on gender identity and pronouns so that student leaders can set a progressive example for the students they lead on campus, as well as the campus community as a whole. Learn more about the preferred name policy here.

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Image courtesy of transstudent.org

To wrap up the day, we ended with diversity and some ice cream. Rebecca Comage, Director of Diversity & Multicultural Affairs introduced herself and what her office does. Through their professional, graduate, and undergraduate staff, they educate the greater university community about the different populations found here on campus and throughout the world.

According to the school website, the office…

“…strives to lead Salem State University in sustaining an active campus community that embraces difference, and values the significant contributions of all its members. Through examining the intersections of identity, our community is challenged to think critically about issues relevant to diversity and social justice. By creating strategies that support historically marginalized student populations in achieving their goals, we cultivate an environment where diversity, academic excellence, and holistic student success are inseparable.”

After a discussion on why this is key to the SSU community, the student groups discussed how they could involve more diversity in their programming, and why it’s important for them.

College is a big change, and an even bigger community. For some students, it’s a much bigger community than their high school. Joining a club or organization can help students find a group that they feel that they belong to within this vast environment. They can find their school of fish in the big ocean of college. The more inclusive said group is, the more students may feel that they belong. That’s why the emphasis on diversity during this student leadership training was so important.

How will you include diversity in your group’s programming? If you already do, how will you emphasize it more? Why do you think it’s important?