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Q&A: Michelle Seu

Michelle Seu, one of the candidates running for the SGA presidential seat, highlights several points of her platform. Some of her goals focus on student-run emergency medical services and opening up new avenues of communication with the student body.

UMBC is in the midst of another election season. On April 20 through 22, students will be able to vote for the candidate they hope to see in the SGA presidential office. Michelle Seu, a junior biology and interdisciplinary studies double major, is currently the director for the department of academic affairs within SGA.

What will you do to open communication between students and SGA?

There’s no cohesive, centralized unit for all the SGA departments. This could be solved by having maybe more technical personnel on board for SGA. I want there to be one place, just one place for access for all kinds of SGA departmental information. It, ideally, would also define a social media presence in addition to the myUMBC presence. If there is something that you believe could be helped or prevented via SGA legislation, I would like people to feel comfortable enough to just tell us their concerns about that. Additionally, I just want small organizations to feel as if they can just come in and talk to us at any time. 

What is SGA doing specifically that you want the student body to know?

For example, with my department, there is the plus and minus grading initiative. With plus and minus grading, it would be a little different, with an A plus being more than a 4.0 whereas a regular A would be lower. You wouldn’t have a 4.0 if you earned a 93 in the class. It’s a sticky situation, but there are a lot of faculty – mainly I know Toboleski in mechanical engineering – who are for it. SGA has plenty of connections with various organizations on campus. I just think it goes under the radar a lot. (Editor’s note: Seu followed up on this point, clarifying her position: “I worked on the +/- grading initiative as Director of Academic Affairs and it has absolutely nothing to do with my potential presidency. I personally do not support +/- grading and neither does most of the undergraduate student population, according to a survey the department put out about 2 years ago. Not much has been done on the initiative as of late because the faculty senate that is for +/- grading hasn’t been particularly responsive.”)

In terms of the 24-hour student run emergency health service, what type of training will be put into place for those involved in the program?

Dealing with anxiety attacks that are brought on by drug overdose, drug usage — I know those are issues that happen and, a lot of the time, I think people end up contacting the hospital or police. Or they don’t, even though they’re in danger, because they’re anxious about it. Verbalizing issues is incredibly difficult for a lot of people. We want people who are personable and have a professional work ethic, and people who express an interest in pre-professional fields in medicine.

How large will the program be? How many will be allowed to participate?

I’m not sure how large our program could become, potentially. It shouldn’t be too small that it would be inconvenient. Let’s say someone on campus calls for help, and we only have 10, 15 people on the team. If you have a small pocket of people, it’s just going to be harder to reach people in need. But, you also don’t want to be too big, because it can be too chaotic. For example, let’s say someone calls for help, a bunch of people say “I can do it.” How can you narrow it down from there? There are tiny technical issues we need to handle.

What other strategies would you employ to encourage students to stay on campus?

Part of my second initiative was improving the campus environment. There’s a lack of aesthetic taste across campus. A lot of what I would like to do in my administration, if I could, would be to make small changes — or whatever changes we could within SGA — to make student spaces more bright and inviting to make people feel more happy and comfortable with staying on campus.

What are your plans for reaching out to other populations within the student body outside of the STEM community?

There aren’t many resources for students entering guidance counseling. The internships that they offer are mostly for graduate students. To better serve the undergraduate population, I think that I would add, if you would could call in for anxiety attacks, people who are interested in guidance counseling. This would be part of the EMT program, supplementing it to include psychology majors. But, unfortunately at this time, we haven’t developed any initiatives specifically geared towards humanities and arts.


Editor’s note: In the process of editing for clarity of speech, an employee of The Retriever Weekly altered the wording of the plus and minus grading segment of the interview. The wording of that section has been restored. We apologize for any misunderstanding.