Uplifting Stories to Inspire us During Finals Week

Sometimes the best place to go for inspiration is outside of ourselves – especially during a time of high stress such as finals week. Inspiration can seem bleak when you’re looking from a library window. You look around, and realize who you are: you’re a 19-year-old college student. You’ve been in the library for seven hours now, living off of stale chips and desperation.

Go eat some food. Go drink some coffee. Then read this blog post for inspiration.

  1. Dear World on the Boston Marathon Bombingss-140411-dearboston-tease.today-ss-slide-desktop.jpg

As we all know, the Boston Marathon was a traumatic event for many. Some lost loved ones, some suffered serious injuries. Dear World, a non profit that recently visited SSU’s campus, asked some of the survivors if they would tell their story. As you can see, although this survivor lost her legs from the knees down, her “Dear World” story is that she is still standing and still beautiful.

Click above to see the full album of Dear World stories and pictures from Salem State University.

2. Who doesn’t love a good proposal video?

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From the Facebook page “How He Asked” comes this amazing proposal story. He planned an huge surprise for this teacher fiance, using people so near and dear to her heart: her students. After hearing what her students think love is – she saw it first-hand. Proposal videos are usually so cute that I cry – but at least this is crying at something besides finals! Who doesn’t need a good cry every once in a while?

.Dog Reunited with its puppies


Surviving a traumatic event, a proposal, and now PUPPIES?! This blog post is taking you through all the emotions today. This story is truly inspiring and it doesn’t hurt that it’s oh so cute. This dog mother was stressed about being displaced – until she was reunited with her puppies.

We hope that these beautiful stories inspire, or at least distract you from the stress of finals this week. However many tests and/or finals you have – you’ve got this! It’ll all be over in two short weeks– then comes a month of relaxation. See you in January!


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.


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.



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





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.


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.


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!


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.


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.


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!


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!


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.


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!



REGULAR PRICING AFTER FIRST 400: Students $20, Guests $25

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