Get to know Hugo

The student body elected junior Hugo Dante to be the 2017-18 president of the Student Government Association Feb 22. “I plan on meeting everything that I campaigned on,” Dante said. “That’s my intention.”

Wednesday, Feb. 22, will always be a memorable day for junior Hugo Dante.

In the 2017 Student Government Association elections, 790 votes ensured Dante will be next year’s president.

“At first, I was absolutely blown away,” Dante said. “Bella (Martinez) was an awesome opponent, and it was really humbling knowing the support that we had.”

Dante said he was excited about winning.

“When I found out that I won, first there was this wave of relief,” he said. “After that, I felt so humbled and motivated, and I really just wanted to get started. I plan on meeting everything that I campaigned on. That’s my intention.”

Dante said he will make the Shoals area better connected with UNA so students will feel they belong here, according to his campaign site. In addition, he said he hopes this will increase the economics in this area to help local businesses.

“I have a vision in which no matter where someone might be in the Shoals, Purple and Gold reigns supreme and the roar of this university and community becomes inescapable,” he said.

Sophomore Baylee Smith said she has known Dante for six years, and he was one of the first friends she met when she first moved to the Shoals.

“He’s always been a friend that I knew I could rely on,” she said. “He always asks me how I am doing when I see him, and it means a lot to have such a good friend that carries over into college.”

Sophomore Blake Polson said Dante is one of the most dedicated individuals he knows.

“He not only dedicates himself to his friends and his family, but to his passion, and UNA is his passion,” Polson said. “I have known Hugo for the entirety of my college career, and he has been one of my largest inspirations.

“First of all, he not only cares about our university as a whole, but also each individual who makes UNA so great.”

Dante said he is a passionate individual.

“I really and truly just enjoy having new experiences and making the world a better place,” he said. “That’s why I have done a little bit of everything.

“I am involved in the Honors Program, Young Americans for Freedom and have worked in the International Office in the past. I am the (Interfraternity Council Vice President) of Judicial Affairs and have brought back the judicial board and written policies and procedures for the judicial process of the council.

“I am also involved in the Kappa Sigma Fraternity and have very much enjoyed my time in that.”

Dante said he enjoys drinking craft been and supporting the Alabama Craft Beer Industry.

“Last fall, I planned a beer festival with Jackie Hendrix from Party Pros and the Shoals Chamber of Commerce”

Dante said in his spare time he likes to read books about economics and law, play the saxophone and piano, or go to the gym.

He also stays active in the university outside of SGA.

“My parents pushed me to take piano lessons, and I loved it,” he said. “I’ve always loved music, so naturally joining band came easy.”

Dante said he started playing the saxophone in sixth grade and played through middle school, high school and his first two years of college.

“I had the incredible honor of playing in the Pride of Dixie for two years,” he said. “I marched alto sax and I played Baritone Saxophone in the Jazz Band, Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band during my freshman year.

“My sophomore year, I only marched and played in the symphonic band.”

He said he still plays the saxophone and piano on occasion, especially when he is with friends.

Dante’s girlfriend, junior Erin Hill, said Dante does not have much spare time because he is always working on a project.

“In the rare instances that he does have spare time, he will work out or do something nerdy like watch a documentary,” Hill said.

Dante said after he graduates from UNA in May 2018, he plans to attend law school to go into financial law.

He said he has not decided where he will attend school.

“I actually decided to go to law school last spring,” he said. “I found out that I am really passionate about law, government, and economics in SGA and my internship. That totally changed my life’s direction.

“I would love to work for a large financial company. Eventually however, I would like to run for public office and help serve my country and community.”

Dante said he believes there is a need for more fiscally responsible and honest policies in government.

Hill said Dante will make a great lawyer.

“When he expressed his ambitions to me, I was not surprised at all,” Hill said. “He loves the challenge.

“He’s always seeking ways to become well rounded and understand different perspectives and concepts.”

Freshman Chase Holcombe, a member of SGA, said Dante is an incredible individual.

“I’ve known Hugo for about a year, and I’m even more impressed every time I meet with him,” Holcombe said. “He is always concerned about doing what he believes is right. I’d say he’s somewhat of a visionary.

“If he sets his mind to something, he’ll find a way to make it happen.”

Dante said his ultimate goal in life is to make a positive impact and help make the world a better place.