What does Lasell Chair winner Woo not do?
Senior business management and marketing major Michael Woo is a recognizable name and face on campus, yet he will be graduating on May 13.
During his time as a Laser, Woo has become the first-year and sophomore class President before serving as the student-body President of the Student Government Association (SGA) for the past two years. In addition to these responsibilities, Woo has been an Orientation Leader, Resident Assistant, three-year Blue Key Society member, and a significant contributor at the Donahue Institute. Among all of this, Woo anticipates he will graduate with a 3.9 grade point average.
Woo feels the effects of being this significant of a member of the Laser community. “It’s very humbling, especially when I see people who I had, for example, as an orientation leader, and now I see them as tour guides. So it’s like a full circle moment a lot of the time for me.”
Former student-body President Olivia Tata (‘21) noticed his leadership capabilities early. Tata is a person whom Woo noted alongside Jesse Tauriac and Karin Raye as influential people in his time.
“I think Michael embodied being a leader of his class at Lasell, as he strived to make connections with all students and really learn about what they wanted out of their experience at Lasell, which translated to his work with SGA,” Tata said. “Sometimes it can be difficult to challenge old processes or ways things are done and work with management to create that change, but Michael was someone who was eager to get it done.”
This leadership awarded him the Lasell Chair, an honor given to one undergraduate student each year. The university describes it as an “acknowledgment of an extraordinary record of accomplishment and contribution to the Lasell University community.”
“Receiving the Lasell Chair was very humbling. For me, it signifies the culmination of my service to the institution,” Woo said. “I’m incredibly honored and grateful. Thank you, Lasell.”
A major point of Woo’s legacy is the expansion of diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI). During his time, Woo has fought for gender-inclusive housing accommodations implemented last spring, a new executive board position for DEI in SGA, and changes to the instructor evaluation processes.
“Even though I was involved in helping to move that forward, people, you know, four years from now who don’t know my name will still have access to that,” Woo said. “I think that’s the impact, and that’s the legacy that I’m most grateful for and most humble about.”
Another major impact came from his inclusion on the Presidential Search Committee, which recently named Provost Eric Turner as the next President of the university. “Eric leads with distinction and leads by example,” Woo said. “He’s someone who is well admired on campus, and I’ve seen him in a lot of situations, especially as our Chief Academic Officer as Provost, where he’s really stepped up for students and really centered our voices. So I think he’s going to be a very collaborative and supportive President.”
Over the course of his tenure, Woo also had to lead and serve through the entire COVID-19 pandemic, serving on its task force.
“It made me appreciate that part of uncertainty because although there’s a lot of fear involved, there’s also a lot of happiness and a lot of connection that’s still maintained throughout,” Woo said. “So I’m thankful for that experience because it was unlike any other for everyone involved.”
Despite this impact, Woo would not recommend his college experience to other students in the future. “The best advice I wish I gave to my first-year self, and other first years, is it’s okay to say no, it’s okay to prioritize what you want to prioritize,” Woo said. “Burnout is real. And it can be a lot, especially schedule-wise. So make sure you know you’re doing what really fuels your soul and your heart.”
Woo said some of his favorite memories include making connections with friends he’s kept for a long time. This includes senior Emily Casella, whose comment regarding Woo’s socks at orientation sparked their long-time friendship.
“I think everyone feels a little anxious and nervous at orientation. Like, I don’t know who these people are, what are we doing. We’re all strangers,” Woo said. “But she said that, and then from there, we just had the best relationship, especially in the Blue Key Society.”
While Woo noted he is ready to leave the schoolwork behind, the relationships and work outside of class will truly be missed. “I think we have amazing folks on campus who really helped inspire me and move me to the place I am today,” Woo said. “They really allowed me to grow throughout my four years, so I’m really thankful for the mentors, the cheerleaders in my life, and also my fellow classmates.”