With the beginning of spring quarter comes UCLA’s annual Bruin Day, a celebration where all newly admitted students and their families are invited to explore the campus and see what it has to offer. Walking through campus and seeing all of the eager students and parents left me with a feeling of déjà vu. It was only last year that I was perusing the same set of student organization tents while my mom tried to convince me to join every single one. What brought me back to my Bruin Day experience the most, however, were the little snippets of conversation I overheard throughout the morning. Whether you went to Bruin Day, or just visited for a tour, I think we can all relate to some of these.
1. “Look at how much walking we’ve already done. You’re going to get so fit here!” – Mom
2. “This place is like Disneyland!” – Little brother
3. “This is where the Student Activities Center is … but I’m just looking for the pre-med booths.” – Admitted student
4. “First, let’s just find the Bear.” – Mom
5. “I was thinking you could go in as an econ major and then switch to poli-sci or even double major.” – Mom
6. “I really like the idea of this whole quarter system thing.” – Admitted student
7. ” OK, meet me back here when you’re done. I plan on filling this yellow bag with as much free stuff as I can.” – Sibling
8. “Get in that line, I want to take a picture of you ringing the bell!” – Mom
9. “If you like lettuce, you’ll love the sandwiches here.” – Student volunteer and tour guide
10. “How do we get to the *re-positions map* Ackerman Student Union?” – Mom
11. “Could you see yourself going here?” – All parents
In honor of April being Sexual Assault Awareness Month, UCLA’s 7000 in Solidarity is hosting its own annual campaign in order to raise public awareness regarding sexual assault, as well as to educate the UCLA community on how to prevent sexual violence. One of the 28 events put on this month is BDSM 101: Sexy, Safe and Consensual.
In the last couple months, BDSM has become a popular discussion topic because of E.L. James’ Fifty Shades of Grey. Rather than keeping it a taboo subject matter, 7000 in Solidarity has teamed up with a professional dominatrix to discuss the BDSM culture, consent and how to engage in consensual bondage and submission play with your partner in a safe way.
Mistress Justine Cross has been a lifestyle and professional dominatrix in L.A. for seven years. She is the owner of two private dungeons: Dungeon West and LA Douleur Exquise, and she is a hostess of kink and fetish events and also a media personality. She came in to have an open discussion on the ins and outs of BDSM and how learning about it can help us eradicate rape culture – and here’s what we learned from her talk.
1. Weirdly enough, most people don’t know what BDSM stands for. So what exactly does BDSM mean?
BDSM is an overlapping abbreviation of Bondage and Discipline (BD), Dominance and Submission (DS), Sadism and Masochism (SM). Bondage is consensually tying, binding or restraining a partner for erotic simulation. All types of material can be used from ropes to saran wrap. Dominance is psychological restraining with the use of rules and discipline. Sadism is the tendency to gain sexual pleasure from the act of inflicting pain. Masochism is the tendency to gain sexual pleasure from one’s own pain.
2. How can you start getting into BDSM in a safe way?
In the words of Mistress Justine Cross herself, “throw glitter, not shade, and don’t yuck someone’s yum.” In other words, be open-minded and do some research into what you and your partner may or may not like. You can try going to lifestyle events, such as one’s at Mistress Justine’s very own Dungeon West and get an inside look at to what BDSM is about. But make sure to go with your partner or friend, if you’re just starting out. There are many ways to slowly ask your partner to engage in BDSM, but just doing it without his or her prior knowledge or consent is not okay. If you want to find out more information on your own, there are plenty of forums and social media networking sites that can also show some insight into different fetishes or “scenes.”
3. That leads me to question number three. What is a “scene”? And how do you prepare for one?
A scene is the time period of the BDSM activity. Before you begin, there should be an ongoing open discussion sharing one another’s limits, medical conditions, level of impact, etc. Like most people know, there should definitely be a designated safe word involved, whether it’s “popcorn” like in Family Guy or simply “red, green, yellow” like the stoplights. This prevents any nonconsensual acts and prevents sexual violence.
Surprisingly enough, both parties should make sure the other has eaten before so the chance of passing out is lowered. After a scene, there is a sense of disorientation as if coming out of a trance-like space, a feeling known as “subspace.” Mistress Justine suggests that the dominant partner needs to take care of the submissive in this state and cater to his or her needs, whether it’s getting ice cream or having sex, or maybe, nothing.
4. As a dominatrix, is BDSM all about sex?
BDSM certainly can be part of foreplay, the context for an entire sexual scene and indeed a sexual lifestyle. But contrary to popular belief, the act of intercourse is not a necessity and many “scenes” involve no sex at all. Mistress Justine does not have sex with any of her clients and BDSM does not always mean sex.
5. So what does this have to do with Sexual Assault Awareness Month?
BDSM emphasizes the importance of negotiation and consent. Those who engage in it properly are constantly discussing each other’s limits and checking in on each other throughout. People can engage and fulfill their sexual desires and fetishes in a safe way where both partners are on the same page. When participating in BDSM, the partners should be safe and make attempts to identify and prevent risks to health. Additionally, they should participate in the activities in a sane and sensible state of mind. And most importantly, they should have full consent of all parties.
Mistress Justine Cross is always available to talk if you have any more questions regarding BDSM culture, safety, or if you need some recommendations for places to buy toys!
There are many amazing student clubs and organizations at UCLA, but how can you tell which one is right for you? We rounded up a few of the clubs that are currently recruiting and asked some of their members what they think makes them special. Hopefully this will make your decision easier.
1. Project Literacy
Looking for a place to volunteer? Consider applying to tutor and improve literacy rates in the L.A. area with ProLit.
“I got involved with Project Literacy because I wanted something to do and … I love kids,” said Allie Hovsepian, a third-year political science and philosophy student. “I continued tutoring with Project Literacy because there’s nothing more fulfilling to my soul – my mom’s chicken soup is a close second though. … I often work with one of our more difficult learners, who is labeled as so, not because he is mean or rude but because he just cannot focus. … My go-to with him is a push-up contest to burn energy which let me tell you, he wins every time. Though many days are not successful, the days I can get him to sit down with a book of his choice mean a lot to me. But what means even more to me are the days he lets me read with him because I get to read out loud to him and have him also read out loud to me. He reads far below his reading level and I know this is why he refuses to sit down at site because frankly it is embarrassing, regardless of what age, to feel illiterate. Literacy is so fundamental to success of many kinds and is something that is tangible to equip all people with and I’m blessed to be a resource that is trying to make this happen.”
Info session: Wednesday, Jan. 14 from 3 to 3:50 p.m. in Ackerman 3516
Camp Kesem counselors fundraise during the school year for kids whose parents are affected by cancer to go to camp for free. There are two weeklong sessions during the summer, which incorporate both the fun aspects of any summer camp and the resources and support that the children, aged 6 to 16, need.
“We have the ‘empowerment ceremony’ where kids can share their story and talk about how Kesem helped them,” said Michael Ruder, a fourth-year cognitive science student and co-director of Camp Kesem. “One kid had recently lost his mother to breast cancer. He was probably 10 years old and said, ‘Kesem is the silver lining on the dark cloud that is cancer.’ The kids are very thoughtful and very special, which is why our counselors keep coming back.”
Info session: Wednesday, Jan. 14 from 7 to 8 p.m. in Geology 4660
If you want to stay at UCLA during the summer, being part of the orientation staff could be the job for you. You can be a part of Team Blue, working in the administrative side of “o-staff,” or Team Gold, advising new students directly.
“Being a part of orientation staff is definitely one of the most rewarding experiences I’ve encountered at UCLA,” said Yosan Kubrom, a third-year psychobiology student who was part of the 2014 program. “Not only do you develop your leadership skills and strengthen your ties to this campus, but you get to do it alongside some of the most amazing people … For the entire summer. We have a motto that says ‘Work and play mean the same thing here,’ and it’s 100 percent accurate, I’ve never had so much fun while getting paid at the same time.”
Info sessions: Wednesday, Jan. 14 at noon in Ackerman 2408 Thursday, Jan. 15 at 5 p.m. in Covel Commons 230
Bruin Woods is a family summer resort at Lake Arrowhead. As a counselor, you work (i.e. play) with the kids during the day and they go back to their parents at night. You get paid and have your room and board included for up to 12 weeks.
“Bruin Woods is a summer experience like no other,” says Kevin Patterson, a third-year English student who worked at Bruin Woods last summer. “You get to interact with Bruins of all generations and there’s no other place that would make you more proud to be a UCLA student. … The things you do at Bruin Woods can hardly be considered ‘work’ because of all the fun you have doing it. If you ask anyone they will no doubt tell you that after the 12 weeks the other staffs you work with become just like family.”
Info session: Thursday, Feb. 5 at 5 p.m. in Covel Commons Grand Horizon Ballroom
The CEC staff brings you speakers, concerts and free movie screenings every week and loves doing it.
“Before I became assistant commissioner I was on the speaker’s staff and we were scheduled to have our event for Greg Sestero (from “The Room,” by Tommy Wiseau,)” said Robert Osen, a fourth-year Design | Media Arts student.
“Apparently Tommy was not happy that Greg wrote a tell-all book about his experience on filming ‘The Room’ and was suing him for copyright infringement.”
“Basically to make a long story short, there were non-UCLA students trying to get into the event who turned out to be process servers. So when the event was over we tried to take Greg Sestero out of Kerckhoff Grand Salon … but the people saw us and began to chase after Greg, throwing the papers at him and yelling ‘You’ve been served’ but Greg Sestero kept running and got into his car and drove off. … It was honestly straight out of a movie.”
As for Greg Kalfayan, a fourth-year political science student and the Campus Events commissioner, his favorite story is simple. “When we hosted the cast of “Workaholics,” a student asked us to give her phone number to the celebrities,” Kalfayan said. “We didn’t, but we did send her joke texts for a couple days after the fact.”
If you’re into prank texts and wild goose chases (you know, and culture), there’s still time to apply.
The dudes from the MTV show “Jersey Shore” coined the term “GTL.” But given that it’s ninth week and finals are just around the corner, at UCLA we drop the gym and the laundry and substitute it with studying and learning. And that, my friends, is how #STL was born. (Yes, it’s a thing.)
This time of the year, the hill by Janss Steps and Kerckhoff patio get all of the love from those who like to avoid studying indoors. So for those of you who also prefer to enjoy the L.A. sunshine but would actually like to find a place to sit, here are nine outdoor study spots at UCLA where you can live up to the “study, tan, learn” motto. Ditch the library, leave your room and study in the great outdoors.
1. The Bombshelter
This place is officially called the Court of Sciences Student Center, but let’s be real, no one calls it that. The Bombshelter is one of the most highly underrated areas on campus. Plenty of outdoor seating and unlimited access to food make it the ideal place to study. Grab your course readers, devour a Subway sandwich and soak up some knowledge in the sun.
School is already stressful enough, but for most experiencing senioritis, all of the wonderfully annoying little details that come with planning graduation are making life even more painful.
Most of us have probably seen the endless social media posts of photos and announcements of graduations from those on the semester system, while the rest of us are still buried in our books, preparing for these last few weeks approaching finals until it is the quarter-system students’ turn to boast and celebrate.
Meanwhile, it is still important for those graduating to stay on top of the last deadlines to be fully prepared for the commencement ceremony. In case you need a checklist or are too swamped to remember what is left, here’s a helping hand so you don’t forget to pick up your guest or honors tickets. (more…)