Dustin Domangue and his Fleurish Party swept into power in the UL Student Government Association at the end of the Spring semester. ultoday.com spoke with the new SGA President recently.

Dustin Domangue, President, Student Government Association, SGA, University of LouisianaTell us about yourself.

I'm originally from Dutchtown, Louisiana. I moved to Breaux Bridge in high school, and I graduated from Breaux Bridge High in 2005.

I did speech & debate for eight years; I placed fourth in Nationals last year. My treasurer, Justin Cantu, was my partner and we did policy debate.

I originally got involved in student government in high school, I was Student Council Vice President my junior year, and President my senior year.   When I came to UL, I ran for freshman senator... I ran against 21 people and lost by 4 votes. For senate elections at UL, the winner is decided by a plurality.

In 2005 I was nominated by then SGA President Tremaine Thomas to be one of the seven Justices on the Judicial Branch of the SGA. I served in that role and I became Chief Justice in 2007.

I became the Vice President of SGA in 2008, and in 2009 I was elected SGA President.

Explain the Judicial Branch.

The Judicial Branch runs the elections, listens to student grievances, insures that the SGA is following the Bylaws and the Constitution. We also oversee student fees, to ascertain that they are being used for the right purposes.

You're the first in your family to go to college.

I'm an Interpersonal & Organizational Communication major, with minors in sociology & mathematics. I'm also on the student orientation staff.

My mom works for the President's office, and she also worked in the Bush administration.  She meets a lot of the key players, and a few days ago I got a letter from Rob Portman.  He was the head of the Office of Management and Budget under President Bush, he's now running for the US Senate in Ohio. He congratulated me for being elected SGA president.

What is interpersonal & organizational communication?

Interpersonal communication is about how people interact one-on-one.  It involves interviewing theory, small group facilitation, and a lot of the theory behind small groups.

Organizational communication is all about making organizations that work together. Our definition of an organization is any group of people who are working toward a common goal, or have a common purpose, and organizational communication is all about making them work better.  This is particularly applicable to businesses and official organizations, for human resources issues, and training & development.

What have you learned being in Student Government so far?

I tell a lot of freshman discussion groups that you should always get involved, because there are so many lessons that are not in the classroom, things that you learn by being involved.  Just by being SGA President I feel like I've learned time management skills.  I think it's also made me more professional, because before I would always tell people exactly what I thought, and now I realize that isn't always the best approach.  I've learned so many things about leading people, dealing with people, and working with a budget. Also project management-- that's a big one.

Beausoleil Solar Home, Student Government Association, SGA, University of LouisianaWhat are your goals for the year?

That's a never-ending story. Every time I wake up, I'm thinking "What can I do next?"

My first big project was to get $50,000 to the Beausoleil Solar Home project, and we did that. Then one of my big goals is to work on the public relations of the SGA.  When I was campaigning, so many students said, "No offense, but I don't know what the SGA is."

So one of the things we've done, is for orientation we bought 4,000 water bottles with UL and SGA on it, so that every student and parent who comes in gets one. We also re-designed the SGA bulletin board, right away, in the Union. That tells students our contact information. We also have our website currently under construction, and we are hoping it will be up prior to July 15.

We're also working on hosting an SGA week, tentatively planned for the second week of school.  We'll have a whole week where we're going to use a whole lot of UL logos.

The other thing is that we're trying to get a class project for each year. For 2008-09 we made the grant to Beausoleil for $50K. This year we're hoping to re-landscape the Quad. Our big idea is to pull out the center, and put a gigantic fleur de lis fountain. We have a budget of $250K for the year, and this will be a very expensive project.  We hope to have lights inside the fountain, and on special occasions-- such as football game days-- we want red lights. We have some other ideas on re-landscaping, but we're working on it.

We have lots of things.  The other thing we're working on, we want to do what Southeastern does: they rent textbooks, they don't buy them.  We're also getting new furniture for F.G. Mouton so that the lobby will look professional, without torn furniture.

Those are our big list of projects. We also have various small projects that are in various forms of development. Currently those projects listed are tentatively planned.