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Wednesday, April 17, 2013 // The Statement
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or LSA seniors Josh Booy
and Stephanie Hamel, their
film endeavors began in
middle school, with a class
project entitled "The Afren-
chists," which depicted French kings in
the style of the television series "The
This was the first of Buoy and Hamel's
many film projects.
As a freshman, Buoy developed an
interest in filmmaking, creating Filmic -
the University's go-to source for promo-
tional and educational videos. After Buoy
asked Hamel to work as the producer,
Filmic launched. When approached by
the 'University administration to create
videos for the University, the team began
with four PSAs for the Office of Student
With the help of their Filmic team,
Buoy and Hamel created iconic Univer-
sity videos like "The Bus Musical" with
Billy Magic, "The Letter 'M' " and "Stay
in the Blue" with Heisman trophy win-
ner Desmond Howard.
"We just really wanted to produce
high quality, student-produced stuff,"
Buoy said. "We are now responsible to
ensure that the student experience is
maintained and preserved."
Filmic serves as only one of their co-
founded organizations. After serving
on the Student Safety Commission for
two years, Buoy and Hamel helped cre-
ate Beyond the Diag - an organization
dedicated to defining and creating a com-
munity for off-campus housing. The duo
defined different neighborhoods for the
program and created community ambas-
sadors to promote safety and connection.
"The trust and opportunities we've
been given as undergraduate students is
really incredible," Hamel said. "We've
been doing things that graduates and
professionals would be doing so we've
really been challenged and pushed.
Michigan puts a lot of faith in us to do
While the longtime friends work col-
laboratively in almost each of their orga-
nizations, Buoy aspires to be a filmmaker
and Hamel plans to continue her studies
in pharmaceutical sciences.
Before attending the University, Buoy
and Hamel did not expect to create -
let alone get involved with - these spe-
cific organizations. As the opportunities
came, the two took full advantage.
"We're here, and we might as well
become very well-versed," Buoy said.
"We constantly think how we can do this
at the level that will earn respect from
peers, administration and the commu-
nity. We never want to half-ass anything.
It's amazing how that's led from oppor-
tunity to opportunity."
While Buoy and Hamel carried their
friendship from middle school to high
school to college, the two said they are
pleased with their legacy left at the Uni-
"As we're leaving this campus, leaving
a legacy is very important to us," Buoy
said. "We've been given the opportu-
nity to share the story of Michigan that
hasn't been shared before. This campus
is so big, and everything that we've done
makes this place smaller, connected and
inec the mioment Trey Burke, an
LSA sophomore, committed to
playing one more season April
2012, the ensuing 12 months
seemed toicomeiout of a fairytale.
There was his sweep of the National Play-
er of the Year awards, the program-record-
tying 31 wins and the NCAA Final Four.
It was easy to forget that on the opening
page of this season, in an exhibition against
Northern Michigan, Burke was sidelined by
a suspension stemming from off-the-court
behavior that remained undisclosed - at
least until felklw teammates, coaches and
Burke himself began talking in the lead up
to the Final Four about how that incident
shaped the sophomore's magical season.
"It was something that definitely allowed
me to grow up from," Burke said.
Burke not only grew into Michigan's
second-ever AP National Player of the Year
winner - the first since 1966 - but into the
team's unquestioned vocal leader. Just a few
months into the season, Beilein named him a
"Being that guy's teammate is an honest-
to-God blessing," senior co-captain Josh
On college basketball's biggest stage at
the NCAA National Championship game,
Burke scored the Wolverines' first seven
points en route to his 24-point performance,
but it was a play on the defensive end - a
seemingly-clean block, called for a foul, that
could've sparked a miraculous comeback in
the game's final minutes - that will live on
While, his title-game heroics ultimately
resulted in a loss, fans will never forget his
game-tying 3-pointer in the final moments
of regulation in a win over Kansas the week-
The shot, which left Burke's hands more
than nine feet behind the 3-point line, was
summed up best by Bartelstein, who called it
"an iconic shot from an iconic player."
Though Michigan fell short of its first title
since 1989, Burke will forever be engrained
in Wolverine basketball history. When the
Wolverines were expected to bea fringe top-
25 team before the start of last season after
Darius Morris decided to forgo his final two
years and depart for the NBA, Burke instead
led Michigan to its first Big Ten Champion-
ship since 1985-86. This season, Burke aver-
aged 18.6 points and 6.7 assists per game
while playing in the one of the country's
strongestconferences in years.
Almost immediately after announcing
his plans to forgo his final two seasons at the
University, talks swirled about retiring his
number by raising the No. 3 to the rafters - a
move endorsed by Beilein.
If the school retires his number, Burke -
who pledged to complete the remainder of
the semester rather than jumping into draft
preparation - hopes that when fans see his
name in the rafters, they'll remember more
than just Burke the athlete.
"Just a guy that left it all out there on the
court, 100-percent effort at all times. A guy
that wanted to represent the University the
right way not only on the court, but off the
court," he said.
On June 27, Burke will almost assuredly
be a lottery draft pick, putting a cap on a sto-
rybook path that wound through Atlanta and
will end with amulti-million dollar contract.
But after calling his life at the moment
"surreal," the All-American shifted his
attention to the cynics - perhaps the same
ones that said he'd never be a high-caliber,
Division I athlete, or win at Michigan, or
have a shot at being drafted.
"A lot of people are doubting me now,"
he said, pausing as he shook his head and
cracked his boyish smile. "Just like they
doubted me coming into Michigan. It's just
goingto make me work harder to become the
best player I can be."
Attracting other lead-
ers is what I've done
and disarmingly mod-
est in manner and speech, Public Policy
senior Kevin Mersol-Barg does not resem-
ble your typical political figure. Whereas
some great orators have relied on theatrics
to get their point across, Mersol-Barg's
speech patterns are completely and utterly
Yet this lack of drama might in some
sense be Mersol-Barg's greatest strength.
"He doesn't need to be at the center in
order to be a leader," said LSA senior Amy
Navvab, who ran alongside Mersol-Barg
in the 2012 Central Student Government
elections. "Kevin really works to bring out
the best in the people around him."
Mersol-Barg's resume boasts an
impressive collection of experiences. To
name a few: College Democrats, Human
Rights Through Education, a columnist
for the Daily and presidential candidate
for Central Student Government. His
greatest achievement, however, is the cre-
ation of the Coalition for Tuition Equality,
a group of affiliated human rights organi-
zations whose mission is to extend in-state
tuition towards undocumented stude ts
Over the past year, CTE has become
widelyknown across campusfortheincen-
diary nature of its political message. The
organization's efforts to change Univer-'
sity policy for undocumented immigrants
culminated at a breathtakingly emotional
Regents meeting last December.
More than 150 students with red tape
plastered over their mouths huddled
in the Anderson Room of the Michigan
Union, calling attention to the 29,000
undocumented students residing in the
state of Michigan deterred from attend-
ing the University due to the steep price
CTE is a youthful organization. Its offi-
cial birth date, October 2011, roughly cor-
responds to the time Mersol-Barg began
his tenure as an LSA student government
One of his platforms was "diversity,"
but Mersol-Barg admitted, "I didn't real-
ly know what I was talking about at the
After talking with various students
from minority backgrounds, Mersol-Barg
found tuition equality for undocumented
immigrants to be an important issue.
"It just kind of struck me at a time when
I was looking to do something meaning-
ful," Mersol-Barg said.
Perhaps one of Mersol-Barg's great-
est virtues is his eagerness to collaborate.
CTE's website bears little mention of Mer-
sol-Barg's name, and he modestly credits
the leaders of other progressive organi-
zations like Migrant Immigrants Rights
Advocacy and the American Civil Liber-
ties Union for the success of the coalition.
"Instead of imposing my rule on this
group, I've kind of broughit together a lot
of other brilliant people and found a way
for all of us to work toward this common
Mersol-Barg expressed a desire to push
against the inertia of the status quo. He
believes in actions rather than speeches,
an attitude not unlike that of the progres-
sive student activists of the 1960s.
"You can go day in, day out, and not
really develop a new approach," he said.
"That kind of static feeling doesn't feel
"cWhat can I do
now, in my
going to cre-
ate something impactful?"
Sripriya Navalpakam isn't just an entre-
preneur: She's an activist.
A Business sophomore, Navalpakam
knew she wanted to go to business school
when she was in eighth grade.
She joined the University's MPowered
Entrepreneurship program her freshman
year - to work on social justice issues -
and was given the tools and training to
become an action-based person in the
world of business.
"I've always had this love for microfi-
nance in the developing world," Naval-
She came across Lend for America,
an organization that seeks to empower
upcoming social entrepreneurs to build
business and communities through inno-
Navalpakam took what she learned
from her fellowship with that organization
in Rhode Island and brought it back to Ann
Arbor, where she and Business sophomore
Niranjana Kannan started ReSource Fund.
"My passion personally for ReSource
Fund comes from the fact that I go to an
elite business school - where we learn
so much about business and its effect on
communities and things. like that - but
I've always thought: How can I use that
to empower the community members in
my area?" Navalpakam said. "This is the
perfect solution for it: providing financial
resources to a low-income community
member to help them develop a toolkit of
skills to lift them out of poverty."
At the center of Navalpakam's work is
the intersection of business and activism.
To her, social entrepreneurship means the
work she's doing should always'be action-
A large part of ReSource Fund is con-
nectingwith the community. Navalpakam
and Kannan sit down with people in the
Ypsilanti area and talk about what keeps
them up at night, what they want and then
try to design their product around these
In addition to Navalpakam and Kan-
nan, ReSource Fund is made up of a team
of financial coaches, who are all University
students. The coaches work one-on-one
with clients on issues like banking, debt
management, credit building and other
personal financial services. ReSource
Fund charges a program fee of $120 to
the client, spread across $10 monthly pay-
ments, and then uses that money to facili-
tate a conversation with the credit bureaus
to show that the client is making time
efficient payments to help increase their
"So the cool thing about the program is
that not only are we working on financial
issues with the client, but we're also at the
same time increasing their credit score,"
Navalpakam said. "It's a really unique
Her feverish passion to fight preda-
tory lending is what drives Navalpakam's
desire to help low-income families with
their financial problems. She's confi-
dent that ReSource Fund can grow, and
between her classes and other commit-
ments as a University student, she's still
looking for ways to improve the organiza-
tion's services and touch more members of
"That's what social entrepreneurship
is at its heart: doing something that has
purpose, and at the same time, creating a
sustainable way to go about it."