Month: October 2017


Student Staff Member of the Month

School: University of Utah Region: IACURH
Nominee: Peter Velasquez Nominator: Galen Bergsten

On-Campus Population: 3200 Chapter Size: 32

Please explain the outstanding contributions of the nominee during the month of nomination

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 idea.

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 trying times.

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.”

Word Count: 598

Date of entry into database: 2017-11-01 21:47:50

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