Lafayette, LA – Members of UL's Team BeauSoleil received a nice surprise Tuesday morning when they received a donation from SGA.

BeauSoleil Project Leader Gretchen Vanicor, University of Louisiana Student Government Association The team stopped working on their solar home for what they thought was a $10,000 check presentation from the Student Government Association. Little did they know, they were about to receive a surprise worth five times that amount.

“We believe in this project and we believe that it adds value to our education,” said Dustin Domangue, SGA president. He along with his vice president and treasurer made the presentation(s) in the forms of three checks – the first two being part of the surprise.

“We just thought this was a great project students could support. It is the type of project that puts our university on a global level. They are doing such a great job,” said Domangue. “And, we wanted to surprise them.”

The initial check was written for $10,000, the second for $30,000 and the final for $50,000.

“I think it is incredible to have our student body support us,” said Project Leader Gretchen Lacombe-Vanicor. “This donation is amazing.”

Team BeauSoleil is one of 20 teams competing in the 2009 U.S. Department of Energy Solar Decathlon. It’s a worldwide competition in which colleges and universities are chosen to design, build and operate the most attractive and energy-efficient solar-powered home.

BeauSoleil team, University of LouisianaThe BeauSoleil home will be partially disassembled and transported to Washington, D.C., where it will be re-built on the Washington Mall along with the other competitor’s projects.

The team will then operate the home for the duration of the judging between October 7 and 18. The ten competitions of the Solar Decathlon test day-to-day life in the home.

The donation from SGA will help with costs for team travel and transportation among other things.

“We will be taking 25 students to D.C. for about 24 days,” said Dr. Geoff Gjertson, leader of Team BeauSoleil and associate professor of architecture. “I think it is perfect that this money will contribute team members travel. Some of these students may not be able to make the trip without this kind of help.”

The BeauSoleil team represents a collaboration between the UL School of Architecture and Design, the College of Engineering and the College of Business.

Architecture, design, business and engineering students along with community partners have designed and been building the BeauSoleil Solar Home over the past two years.

The team’s name, inspired by the Grammy-winning Cajun band, reflects the team's intent to relate the project to its Cajun roots. The home will employ renewable energy sources in a culturally resonant form.

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