Sunday, October 17, 2021

Cardinal Watch: Pageant Queen aims to increase campus diversity

Pageant queen Marissa Pierre, senior at SUNY Plattsburgh, is anticipating her graduation in a few months; preparing to leave a campus that changed her life. 

Originally born in Boston, MA, a diverse city of culture, Pierre took an interest in diversity and inclusion in the community. Moving to Ballston Spa, New York, later in her life opened her eyes to a lack of diversity within her neighborhood, and this became an aspect in her academic career: to help student affairs. 

“Plattsburgh is less diverse,” Pierre said, “I just missed the Boston atmosphere.”

Attending the undergraduate program for English Language Arts (fact check), Pierre got involved in the student community by becoming head RA in Macomb Hall as Head Community Advocate, worked with the Vice President under Academic Affairs, and made strides to win scholarships in five different pageants.

And she did. She started locally, competing against four different states in the Eastern Regionals and won representing NYACOA, and becoming Miss Black & Gold Eastern Region 2019. She became Miss Alpha East in the 2019 Regional Miss Black and Gold Pageant, and went on to compete nationally.

“I would’ve never pictured myself as a pageant queen,” Pierre said. “It’s like a bug: it just bites you and then you’re in.”

“I saw the persona when we started,” Tryphena Quaicoe, close friend, said. “She put herself out there to represent women of color [in the industry]. It’s like if she won, you could do it too.”

Pierre wasn’t planning on being in the pageant world until it was happening, she explained. She was involved in the Plattsburgh State Gospel Choir and had an internship under Brian Hartman, Vice President of Student Affairs. She also participated in being a summer orientation leader for incoming freshman,  within the past few summers. 

Through SUNY Plattsburgh’s Centre for Diversity and Inclusion, Pierre was able to discover the pageant life and become closer to the Alpha Phi Alpha Fraternity , whom she now calls her brothers. 

In her free time, Pierre likes to hang out with friends, relax, and watch a movie or two. Although she lives a busy life, she discusses how she’s enjoyed becoming a leader on campus that people recognize. 

“We went to this Greek life fair on campus,” Quaicoe said, “and a freshman asked her about her pageant life. Because she won, people are more interested in doing it.”

The kind of girl you could call at 3 am, Quaicoe said, Pierre was able to leave her mark on the SUNY Plattsburgh community. 

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