Tea Room Manager receives Tricolour Award

Michele Romanow first solo recipient of spirit award

Michele Romanow won the Tricolour Award for her extensive involvement on campus, including her role in developing the Tea Room.
Michele Romanow won the Tricolour Award for her extensive involvement on campus, including her role in developing the Tea Room.

Michele Romanow, Sci ’07 and this year’s Agnes Benidickson Tricolour Award recipient, has a list of accomplishments that runs from volunteering with the AMS Kaleidoscope program, to being chief FREC during Frosh Week 2004, to serving as vice-president (communications) of the Engineering Student Societies Council of Ontario.

Romanow’s main project over the past three years, however, has been with the Tea Room. In the planning stages of the environmentally sustainable coffee shop, she was the director of the development committee.

Romanow is currently the Tea Room general manager and is recognized as one of the coffee shop’s founders.

Romanow got started with the Tea Room project in her second year, lobbying for approval and funding to get the coffee shop off the ground.

“EngSoc had this project, but wasn’t sure how to go forward with it,” she said.

Romanow said the idea of the Tea Room appealed to her because it provided a way to apply what she was learning in the classroom.

“It really came up with the engineering theme,” she said. “Can you create something that’s sustainable and profitable?”

Romanow spent last summer in Kingston working on the Tea Room overseeing construction and finding suppliers.

“Everything you see in here is a little bit of my imagination,” she said. “It’s done quite well this year, so it’s really exciting.” Finding suppliers with the products she wanted for the Tea Room proved to be a challenge.

“People would laugh at me when I would call and say I wanted biodegradable cups,” she recalled.

Having a service like the Tea Room on campus is important, she said, because it shows students that being environmentally friendly doesn’t have to be weird—it can be mainstream and welcoming too.

The Tricolour award is named after former Chancellor Agnes Benidickson, who received the award in 1941. Agnes Benidickson died last week at the age of 86. The award has been given annually since 1940.

According to the award’s guidelines, the Tricolour Award and induction into the Tricolour Society recognizes valuable and distinguished service to the University in non-athletic, extra-curricular activities.

Rector Johsa Manzanilla, selection committee chair, said Romanow’s many

accomplishments distinguished her from other nominees.

“Michele is such a phenomenal candidate and the fact that she is so passionate about Queen’s really resonated in her interview and in her large letters of support,” Manzanilla said.

This year was the first time in the award’s history that only one person was selected.

Manzanilla said it was difficult for the committee to decide on a recipient.

“The individuals that were nominated consistently inspire the student body with their passion, spirit and commitment to the betterment of the Queen’s campus. They have truly made a difference,” she said.

Manzanilla added that the number of recipients of the awards varies from year to year.

“The whole point is to admit the number of students appropriate, but not to lower the level of distinction of the Tricolour Society,” she said.

“The committee feels that [Romanow] set the bar really high, and we were really blown away by her.”

With files from Alexa Macdonald

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