Fiefia a Dedicated President
Thursday, Jan. 23, 2014
(photo from the USU Statesman Online)
The Student Life section of Utah State Today highlights work written by the talented student journalists at Utah State University. Each week, the editor selects a story that has been published in The Utah Statesman or the Hard News Café or both for inclusion in Utah State Today.
Fiefia a Dedicated President
Trying to decide what questions to ask Doug Fiefia, president of the USU Student Association, wasn’t the hard part; narrowing them down was. For the 24-year-old former football player, his goal is to show that it absolutely is possible with dedication and drive to reach one’s goals, whatever they may be.
With a family who came from the Samoan islands, he learned the value of hard work from his resilient father and the value of family from living in less-than-ideal conditions.
“There were many times as a boy I didn’t see my dad because he was working so many jobs,” Fiefia said. “But, I remember him telling me ‘Son, the reason we work so hard is because you can have a better education.’”
Fiefia is known campus-wide for several reasons, including his successful campaign for USU/SA president last year, which included blue leis and a social media storm which led to a term that so far has been called successful by staff members and students alike.
After a shrug and a light nod, Doug did admit to feeling this term has helped improve the relationship between administration and the student body as a whole.
Fiefia keeps busy. Along with being student body president, he is the president of the Utah Student Association. Along with being USU’s student body president, he is the president of the board of executives, which is comprised of all the student body presidents from the schools all around Utah.
This board represents all 180,000 higher education students to the governor and the state legislature. His position as USU/SA president and USA president are different, though.
As president of USA, he deals primarily with “more boards, such as the Board of Regents and the governor while bargaining for lower tuition and laws that help further our student’s education.”
Being the USU/SA president deals more with the people at the university and working with the staff already in place. However, both offices come down to one thing — the welfare of college students who are paying thousands of dollars to further their education.
As Fiefia said, “In both offices we really have to lobby for the students. What the students want becomes your initiative.”
Fiefia wasn’t always as involved as he is now, though. He took a semester off and did not participate in anything. He called it “the worst semester of my life.”
In his work at USU, Fiefia has also become involved in several new initiatives, including MyVoice, which launched Oct. 2013.
“In the next few weeks we want to make this process much more streamlined. We received a huge influx of 600 to 700 responses and we want to make it possible to have each of those concerns to the people that can change it within the same day,” Fiefia said.
When asked about how he feels the process has gone so far, his response was simple.
“Without some of the responses we received, we never would have known the problem was there,” he said.