Clara Barton, founder of the American Red Cross, once wrote: “There
is nothing more valuable than a selfless person in a selfish world.”
Life at the University of Utah is so packed with events, coursework,
jobs and parties that it’s a miracle anyone has free time. Even more
so, lending that time to others amplifies Barton’s stance on the
rarity of selfless people farther than ever.|
It is without hesitation that I would call Peter Velasquez is the
most valuable person I know.
The First Year Board hosted Tie-Dye Palooza on October 18, at a
rather inopportune time in the middle of the day. Not only did Peter
join for set-up, but he actively recruited residents in the area to
participate in the event and leading it to be one of the largest
turnouts of the year. Using his phone as a resource, Peter quickly
learned the best way to tie-dye from the available resources and
spent the event teaching others how to do so.
Throughout the month of October, Peter has been an active member of
the Upper Division Board in the planning of Monster Mash Bash, which
took place on October 26. The highlight of the event was to be a
“Haunted House of Adulting,” where residents could come for a light
fright accompanied by information and resources to resolve the issues
that come with integrating between school and the modern world. The
haunted house was originally suggested by Peter, who pursued the
While set-up for the event was scheduled for 5pm, Peter began the
process two hours earlier, recruiting others to assist as they came.
He drafted a floor plan, set-up procedure, and order of events for
the room as the event progressed, and was the first face to greet
residents as they entered. Throughout the night, residents approached
the Upper Division director and myself, enthralled at how
professional and convincing the haunted house was, especially “that
guy at the start.” Thanks to Peter’s devotion to the project and his
boundless creativity, Monster Mash Bash has entered the record books
as the most well-attended Upper Division event in RHA history.
Beyond RHA, Peter has proven time after time to be an invaluable
member of the residential population. As a staff member at the dining
hall and coordinator of weekly “Super Smash Bros.” nights, Peter’s
smile truly makes housing feel like home - especially in recently
At 8:25pm on October 30, the University of Utah went into lockdown
procedures following reports of an active shooter on campus. At the
time, over 300 residents were eating dinner or socializing in the
Peterson Heritage Center, while Peter was working in the dining hall.
Over the next six stressful hours of lockdown, emotions and patience
were stretched to their absolute limits in a cramped building with
marginal information. Peter read the situation, and ventured
downstairs to bring board games to pass the time. He also helped keep
the food stations running throughout the night, and tried his best to
keep the mood light and provide residents with everything they could
need in the tense situation.
With countless sacrifices of time and energy, Peter has proven to be
one of the best student leaders on campus, despite holding no
official position or title. His dedication and compassion are
inspiring, but it is his pure selflessness that defines Peter
Velasquez. His stability as a dependable resource, and even stronger
friend, make him an unwavering rock in recently stormy seas.
It should come as no surprise then, that the name “Peter” roots in
the Latin word for “stone.”
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