During her senior year at Leonardo da Vinci High School, Mallory Barnes acted as Hamlet’s defense attorney. After reading the famous work written by William Shakespeare, her English class collectively accused the tragic Prince of Denmark guilty of his actions. With the classroom transformed into a courtroom, Hamlet and his defense attorneys, one of them Barnes, stepped forward, marking the beginning of the trial.
For Barnes, this began as fun and games to wrap up the end of her high school education, but it became an empowering experience that would lead to a passion for politics.
Now a junior, Barnes has just accomplished an important goal. On May 6 she was announced the president of the Student Government of Seattle University. Already having met with the rest of newly elected representatives, Barnes and her fellow officers have began brainstorming ideas, one of which is to engage more with the student body. During the three years she has attended this university, Barnes has noticed that not many students know or understand what their student government does, and this is a truth the organization has struggled with as well, according to Barnes.
“One of the big things we do want to focus on next year is outreach,”
She has already began making plans, such as meeting with students, engaging with clubs and setting up new programs that allow them to be more visible and approachable.
“Approachability is something we really want to be focusing on, and that is something I have taken and really developed plans for,” Barnes said.
For her, approachability and outreach are of equal importance.
Her plans involve starting to facilitate new relationships between administrators and students, closing the gap between the groups and making the bridge that SGSU makes between the two as small as possible.
She and her fellow officers don’t primarily see themselves as the link between the administration and the students.
“We really don’t see it that way, and one thing the group has talked about is that we need to be fostering more of a development so they can be acting and meeting without our facilitation,” Barnes said.
She looks to empower the students to be in the same room as the administration in new and dynamic ways.
This can be done by making weekly meetings more accessible to students, either by advertising on social media, tabling or setting up outside office hours where the students are, like at Cherry Street Market or somewhere in the Student Center. This not only ensures that the officers are fulfilling their office hours but that students are given opportunities to interact with them as well.
“We really do want to be hearing the student voice,” Barnes said.
She is looking forward to implementing big plans for SGSU and Seattle U. As for her colleagues, they too are looking forward to next year’s events. Carlos Rodriguez, a current sophomore who will be junior representative of his class, recognizes Barnes qualities as a leader.
“I really enjoy working with her,” Rodriguez said. “She is very approachable and very kind overall, which makes conversations with her easy and also working with her.”
Rodriguez noted Barnes’ efforts in creating a smooth transition between the old and new SGSU, emphasizing how her experience has helped with this effort.
Mark Vargas, one of the at-large representatives of SGSU who will not be continuing next year, also commented on Barnes’s work thus far. Vargas has recognized, even with the little time that he has had to work with her, that she is very proactive in the office, and agreed with Rodriguez that she is approachable.
“She served as the executive vice president last year at SGSU, and so this is her element. She is very experienced, and I think that she is definitely going to do a good job as president,” Vargas said.
It has been three years since Hamlet’s trial, and Barnes has made great strides since starting as a defense attorney. As a leader, she hopes to see SGSU work as a collective “we.”
“Leadership is never about one person,” Barnes said. “Even if it’s about the people who have helped that person to get where they are at, its never just about one person. It’s about every single person who
influences and helps.”
This is Bianca Sewake's fourth and final year at The Spectator, where she is the Online Content Editor and Managing Editor. She is equal parts excited and terrified that she is graduating with a BA in Journalism this spring. Unlike her hair color, Bianca's love for ice cream will never change.