by Katie Galgano

Shortly after being elected Director of PR of the Student Government Association Junior Year, Honors student Michelle Barineau and the rest of the newly elected board met with Vice President Joe Biden as he visited the school to donate senatorial papers. Like Biden, who Michelle describes as “a proud Blue Hen,” Michelle has recently risen in political power: This year, she will serve as President of SGA. Unlike Biden though, Michelle does not intend to pursue politics after graduation. Her interest in student government stems solely from her desire to maximize the satisfaction of her fellow students, a desire that has strengthened as she approaches her senior year. Her position as President of SGA, combined with her position as Senior Writing Fellow in the Writing Fellows Program, will allow her to do exactly that, both across campus and specifically within the Honors Program.

Michelle (left) next to Vice President Biden with fellow Student Government Board members.As President of SGA Michelle will strive for increased visibility and transparency. “My concern is making students know they can come to us,” she explains. Michelle brings to her presidency experience from her previous PR responsibilities of updating the SGA Facebook page and website — experience that is evident in the SGA’s strides toward a new newsletter for the upcoming year early on in the summer. And while SGA, as a resident student organization, does not have access to a complete list of E-mail addresses for the student body, Michelle is not worried. She and the rest of her board are planning fun events like tie-dye socials to build community and raise awareness. That way, more students will know about SGA events like the open-invitation forums where leading administrators from such departments as dining, transportation, and public safety respond to student’s questions and concerns.

Michelle’s desire to improve her peers’ experiences at Delaware also extends into her involvement in the Honors community with her work within the Writing Fellows Program. The program, a select group of upperclassmen honors students who are trained to tutor honors freshmen in their writing, so profoundly impacted Michelle as a freshman that, for her, “it felt really natural to become a writing fellow.” Michelle describes the joy of seeing that same impact on her own tutees: “My favorite is when my students come back and I see the look on their faces when they realize that they’ve become better—not that they just have a better draft. You can see it on their faces—kind of like a look of relief and almost excitement.” This year, Michelle has been promoted to Senior Writing Fellow, a position she applied for after she “fell in love with the program.” As one of two Senior Writing Fellows, Michelle will observe and conference with the tutors to ensure that they continue to provide the best support possible to their freshmen “tutees.”

Michelle’s affection for the University is clear as she projects to her senior year: “I realized how fast my time at UD is going so I want to do as much as I can and make as much of a positive change that I can before I sadly have to leave.” With hope, this positive change will help to ensure that her peers are able to approach their senior years at UD with similar fondness.

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Kelli Lynn Shermeyer

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