Student Success

political science

Keeping an eye on the elections

During a politically-charged stretch from September to November, when an election loomed, the Salem State Political Science Academy (PSA) offered students and members of the community opportunities to meet candidates running for office and discuss many of the issues.

Under the watch of PSA president Sean O’Brien ’12, campus forums hosted US congressional incumbent candidate John Tierney ’73 on October 27, and his Republican challenger, Bill Hudak, on October 25. Governor Deval Patrick spoke on October 26, and two contenders for Essex County Sheriff, Kevin Leach and Damian Anketell, participated in a forum on October 13. 

Meanwhile, the political science department, the Bates Center for Public Affairs and PSA also sponsored a Current Political Issues Roundtable Series. The first featured a panel discussion on ballot question 3 (reducing the state sales tax from 6.25 percent to 3 percent). The panel included faculty from all corners of the campus, including Rich Levy (political science), Kevin Beckwith (economics), Carol Owen (social work), and Paul McGee (business).

Additional roundtables took place on November 8 (interpreting results of the recent elections) and November 15 (addressing America’s immigration policy).

residence life

National spotlight shines on residence life

The National Association of College and University Residence Halls (NACUR) recently awarded three national honors to Salem State University. NACUR recognized two Salem State residence hall student leaders and one of the university’s community programs for excellence.

Salem State’s RHA day of service won NACUR’s award for community service program of the month for September. History major Michael Ahern ’11, a resident assistant in the First Year Experience Program was named resident assistant of the month for September while business major Ryan Vinnicombe ’14 was named first year student of the month for September.

For its Day of Service, RHA organized students to collect items for the St. Joseph’s food pantry, clean the Lifebridge homeless facility and write notes and make origami flowers for senior citizens.

Salem State University was the northeast regional winner and was nominated nationally against programs from Ohio University, Central Michigan University, Southern Methodist University, Drake University, University of Colorado at Boulder, University of Virginia, and San Francisco State University.

Photo caption: Resident hall student leaders Ryan Vinnicombe ’14, left, and Michael Ahern ’11, were recently recognized by the National Association of College and University Residence Halls.

SGA president

New president for SGA

Introducing Erin Hadley ’12 as the new Student Government Association president. A commuter from Beverly, she transferred to Salem State from the University of Connecticut and is majoring in history.


Musiker looks to maintain forward motion as new MASSPIRG organizer

Jake Musiker, a Colgate University graduate, is the new MASSPIRG campus organizer at Salem State University, replacing Kim McCabe who is moving back home to Colorado. “Kim established some real forward motion on campus, and we're looking to continue this momentum toward a successful spring,” explains Musiker.

Under McCabe, and with help of the student government association’s (SGA) governmental relations committee, nearly 500 Salem State students registered to vote prior to the November election, and the Campaign on Hunger and Homelessness was initiated. For the latter campaign, students collected and donated food to the St. Joseph’s Food Pantry; organized a panel of speakers who were either previously or currently homeless to speak of their obstacles to a packed MLK Room; and organized the Hunger Banquet, an eye-opening event where students were randomly assigned a social status and then were served food based on that status. While some students enjoyed a steak dinner, most got rice and water. The impact of hunger was clearly demonstrated.

Musiker, who had been working with USPIRG since July, says he intends to continue Salem State’s fight against hunger. “We're already planning our campaigns for the spring, which will focus on combating hunger and homeless in the community and lobbying the state government to implement a zero-waste environmental initiative,” he says.

Musiker has traveled coast to coast with the PIRGs and played a key role in registering 1,000 students to vote at Colorado State University and boosted voter turnout by 35 percent at Temple University.

To keep MASSPIRG’s strong presence at Salem State, Musiker says the group is recruiting students interested in an internship. He can be reached at or 516.578.3444.