Contraceptive cakes


Contraceptive cakes

UHS hosts educational Condom Cake-Off

As part of a nationwide initiative to provide contraceptive education, students have the opportunity to design their ideal condom in an unconventional setting.

The lights are dimmed. The tables are all set. The penis cakes are ready.

In the darkened Lower Flat Tuesday’s, groups of students are seated around a dozen or so tables. On each table, there is some frosting, some sprinkles and a penis cake. Some are chocolate, some are vanilla. Some are funfetti. Each  cake sits in a mold, ready for decoration.

This is Bedsider UMBCs second Condom Cake-Off, held with support from University Health Services. After a rousing event last year, the program has returned to teach safe sex to students through the universal medium of cake.

Students have the task of decorating their penis cake with their best possible condom. Then, they must explain what makes it safe, and, as a reward, they get to eat the cake.

As students decorate their peniscaked, the Bedsider website is projected on the wall behind them. Bedsider is an online birth control support network, designed to help empower women and prevent unplanned pregnancies.

The organization has partnered with campuses around the nation to bring fun and quirky educational events to college students, a group at risk for STDs and unwanted pregnancy. Its goal is to provide knowledge about contraceptive methods to students.

This year’s Cake-Off is really the whole package. From the different flavors of penis cakes to a table set up with prizes, the event provides a nice evening for students to enjoy. It has attracted all kinds of students, who are all thrilled to get into the decorating.

Some participants arrived because they knew the event leaders, while other students came to learn. Some people were present mostly out of desire for baked goods.

“Yeah, I don’t know,” said Emerson College graduate James Murray, when asked why he attended the Cake-Off. “I figured there’d be cake,” he laughed as he and a friend crafted their design.

The benefit of an event like this: it attracts people with cake and walks them through contraceptive education. Even if students are only putting a frosting condom on a cake for the sake of eating it later, they’re still thinking about condoms more than they used to.

For the second year in a row, Bedsider UMBCs Condom Cake-Off has been the perfect mix of learning, cake and penises. No word yet on if the tradition will continue, but it has a promising start. It is sending an effective message to the community and it’s popular among students.

“After all,” said senior biochemistry major Steven Wist, “Who doesn’t want to decorate a cock?”


Compiled by the Retriever Weekly Features Staff

Virgo- You’ll try to get out of bed, but there will be no login servers available.

Libra- You’ve learned a lot about friendship this semester. Too bad you’re not majoring in friendship, huh?

Scorpio- It’ll be a nice week to soak up some rays. To the physics labs!

Sagittarius- Your plan to graduate early by hiding under someone else’s gown will be a great success.

Capricorn- This week, you’ll try to rub True Grits for good luck, but you won’t be able to find the dining hall’s nose.

Aquarius- You won’t be able to believe the semester is over. It seems like just yesterday that you fell through the time rift. Wait, was it yesterday? Or was it tomorrow?

Pisces- This week, you’ll forget your roommate’s name for the final time.

Aries- You’ll round out the semester with a solid 4.0 (BAC not GPA, sorry.)

Taurus- This week, you’ll finally figure out what that random light switch in your apartment does (it launches the missiles).

Gemini- On the bright side, the random extra arm you are growing will let you finish your exams twice as fast.

Cancer- You’ll finish your last paper just over your sigh/groan quota.

Leo- This week, you’ll help set the bittersweet end-of-semester mood by blasting “Closing Time” by Semisonic everywhere you go.


Anime Marathon

An animated gathering

UMBC Anime Society’s non-stop anime marathon

Students powered through the UMBC Anime Society’s non-stop anime marathon Saturday night. Fueled by ramen and potato chips, many students made it through the whole event.

The UMBC Anime Society held its biannual 24 hour anime marathon on Friday night, May 8. Attendees prepared for the long night, and brought pillows and blankets. The club provided soda, chips, popcorn and ramen to help fuel people through the event. In the morning, they offered homemade doughnuts with icing and powdered sugar toppings.

UAS has hosted the anime marathon at the end of the Fall and Spring semesters since the club’s inception in 1994. Rachel Crane, a junior who is double majoring in social work and sociology, is the outgoing secretary and will be next year’s president of the club. Crane felt that UAS and the marathon offered a great way for the club to connect with the community.

“There’s a stigma that people who watch anime don’t talk to other people,” Crane said. “Here everyone can get together and share common interests.”

The event was certainly well attended. By 7:30 p.m., close to 35 people were enjoying One Piece, a show about the misadventures of a group of friendly pirates. The viewing lineup was chosen carefully by the UAS marathon committee based on suggestions from club members. They attempted to show titles that people would enjoy watching, and also hoped to introduce new shows to people.

There was also opportunity for the attendees to decide what to watch. Seven of the time slots were dedicated to viewers choice, where people could nominate a show they wanted to watch, and the group voted on it. The only stipulation was that titles had to have a TV-14 rating, since the event was open to the public.

Jason Hughes, a freshman majoring in mechanical engineering, heard about UAS from a friend in the fall. At the last marathon, he left around 2 a.m. to sleep, then came back the next morning.

“I brought a pillow in case I want to sleep this time,” Hughes said. By midnight, he was still awake and enjoying the viewing.

Adding to the festivities, a TV was set up in the hall behind ENG 027 for people to play Smash Brothers 3DS, a fighting game featuring characters from various Nintendo titles. Club officers brought card and board games as well. A small group played Cards Against Humanity in the hallway around midnight.

By 3 p.m. on Saturday, fifteen people were still in the audience. There was much less enthusiasm than the night before. Some fidgeted in their seats from tiredness. Hughes had gone back to his dorm room to get some sleep, and came back rested and ready for the rest of the event.

Crane felt the effects of sleep deprivation. Much more soft spoken than the night before, she was able to catch an hour and a half of sleep Saturday morning in the back of the room. Running a 24 hour anime marathon is exhausting work, but Crane’s spirits were high.

“This is probably one of the best things I’ve ever done,” Crane said of the marathon and her involvement in UAS, “I’ve made a lot of friends here.”


Marina and the Diamonds

FROOT review

The third album from the sing-songwriter, Froot, heads in a direction vastly different from her 2012 release Electra Heart.

Those who know Marina Diamandis as the cute star with a tiny black heart on her upper left cheek will be shocked to note the evident transformation from her sophomore album, Electra Heart, to her 2015 release, Froot.

Gone is the fictional diva, Electra Heart, that Diamandis created as a satirical representation of pop culture. Instead, Diamandis has finally decided to uncover who she is in the form of this third album.

Froot is full of ballads and pop jams, all mixed together in an effort to capture what Diamandis really cares about. She told Time that “Froot felt symbolic of how I feel now: ripe and ready as an artist and as a person, like I’m ready to really enjoy things.”

The first track on Froot, titled “Happy,” is a piano-based ballad showcasing Diamandis’ powerful voice. She mentions that she has finally “found what I’ve been looking for in myself.”

Similarly, she expressed in the song “Froot” that she’s “Hanging like a fruit, ready to be juiced,” continuing with the album’s theme of Diamandis finally being comfortable with who she is.

“Can’t Pin Me Down” is another one of the songs on Froot that showcase Diamandis’ unique perspective on matters like feminism. Though she admitted that there are “all these contradictions pouring out of me,” she is quick to attribute that to the fact that she is “just another girl in the 21st century.”

The song itself takes on a slower pace, and Diamandis’ powerful voice takes on an echo-like quality that makes it stand out even more against the background instruments. When there is an important message Diamandis wants to emphasize, she uses the technique of a quieter instrumental to make her words, and therefore her message, louder and clearer.

Though Diamandis claims that she is not a political person, her interest in reforming society is explicit throughout Froot. Her song “Savages” is about how she fears man, not God, because these days, another day means “another tale of rape.”

She told Time that she believes “horrendous” actions like rape are natural to humans. She wrote “Savages” because she has seen how prominent rape culture has been these past few years, and she thinks it’s “sickening” that rape related incidents are always in the news. Diamandis thinks that we need to “start a conversation on why these things are in our human traits.”

Abandoning the Electra Heart character meant for Diamandis that she would get to re-enter the music industry, in a sense. Though some of her lyrics are still comedic, the satire is no longer what stands out in her songs. Now, Diamandis is ready to express who she is without hiding behind ambiguous words or fictional characters.

Photo credit:


Coming together for student mental health

Speakers shared their stories at the Mental Health Awareness Panel

Students and faculty came together in the library’s gallery to hear four individuals share their challenges with mental health and their roads to recovery.

Many students would agree that juggling a full course load and responsibilities outside of school is not always easy. Still, students aren’t the only ones who face obstacles involving their mental health, as these issues are overwhelmly common in today’s society.

This month is Mental Health Awareness month and the Mental Health Awareness Panel was hosted in the library’s gallery on May 6. Student and alumni speakers shared their stories involving their struggles with mental health, as well as some advice on how to approach and overcome mental health issues inside and outside of school.

Dr. Jason Schiffman, associate professor and director of clinical training, said, “The goal of this panel is to bring people together to discuss issues related to mental health that include both challenges and sources of strength and hope.” Youth First (Youth Focused Identification, Research, and Service Team) has been established and is comprised of Schiffman and his research lab of graduate and undergraduate students.

Youth First was one of several sponsors of the panel, who produce meaningful and useful research in order to better provide clinical services. Their research lab is located right on campus, where they are also training future leaders in psychology.

The team with Youth First primarily focuses on creating mental health programs which provide education and awareness to their community. They have trained student consumer speakers, organized campus flashmobs and hosted awareness panels, such as this one.

Jordan Geddes, a UMBC alumnus and speaker at the event, said, “I spoke on the first panel we did two years ago as well. It’s a chance for students and former students to share their experiences with mental health in an honest and open way.” Geddes shared his experiences with being bullied and struggling with depression. It has been a long road to recovery, but he feels like he has finally made it to a better place.

Today, Geddes is the Youth Engagement Supervisor for the Maryland Coalition of Families, and helps run the youth advisory council, Taking Flight. Taking Flight is a diverse group of young leaders from different backgrounds who fight to make positive changes, such as promoting acceptance and reducing stigma.

Every single one of the speakers admitted that seeking help was daunting at first, but committing to it made all the difference. Many people are afraid to share what they’re going through out of the fear of being judged, but it’s important to remember that there’s someone out there who understands and is dedicated to helping those who suffer with mental health illnesses.

Sayeda Khan, a senior biology major and speaker, said, “this was my first time sharing my full story. It felt great. I remember feeling so alone, but I realized you don’t have to go through these issues alone. There’s always someone who’s willing to listen and help.” Khan stressed how she has people who are there for her even when she doesn’t want to talk, and  they have really made the fight worth fighting for.


Cartoons cause major uproar

“KAL” Kallaugher bashes Cartoon Wars

Kevin “KAL” Kallaugher, a local political cartoonist, shares his thoughts on freedom of speech sparked by the Cartoon Wars and Charlie Hebdo Massacre.

After a decade long decline of political cartoons, cartoonists are slowly garnering attention once again, but not in a positive way.

Kevin “KAL” Kallaugher, a local political cartoonist, shared his thoughts on the fight for freedom of speech brought on by Charlie Hebdo and the controversial Paris massacre.

Kallaugher has been a political cartoonist for the Economist Magazine for 37 years, and is currently contributing work to The Baltimore Sun.

Although he has won many awards, such as the 2015 Herblock Prize and The Grand Prix for Cartoonist of the Year in 2014, he knows this field of work is rather controversial.

He explained that today’s society consists of many taboos and cartoonists have a habit of pushing boundaries. Gun control, war and religion are just a few of the matters that cause heated discussion. Kallaugher believes proper communication is key in dealing with such topics.

In 2003, the “Cartoon Wars” began after cartoons of Prophet Muhammad were being distributed. These images were rejected because they were offensive to some readers. Protests and strikes took place in areas such as Germany and Bosnia, and reprints of the images began to creep up, including Hebdo’s 12 reprints of Muhammad and other political and religious figures.

Although Kallaugher does not agree with some of Charlie Hebdo’s work, he does not discount what he did with reprinting such controversial images. That was what sparked the debate on issues concerning freedom of speech and the press.

But where exactly do you draw the line? This was when Kallaugher went up to the board, and started drawing a cartoon in a box. “The wall behind you” he said, “is the first amendment and the line in front of you are societal pressures.” According to Kallaugher, as a cartoonist, you need to learn how to balance these two influences. In the end, it’s ultimately how we phrase things.

Kallaugher believes our generation will change the ideas of freedom of speech.

He said, “It’s not what we say it’s how we say it, and to make a change we have to fight for it.”

Photo credit: Patrick Alejandro