“Devote yourself to your community and it will give everything you need back the community as a whole at UNH and your own smaller community.”

When an individual is in the presence of Victor Florez, they are in the presence of a man with convictions and integrity. Victor has developed a strong sense of who he is and what is important to him. He is a man of action, not just words, and is making a difference in the lives of many students here at UNH through the work he does.
Victor will carry this into his life after college and make a difference in the world around us.

Victor immigrated with his mother and step father from Bogotá, Colombia to Concord, New Hampshire when he was just 14 years old. His step father was an American engineer
(a UNH graduate) working in Colombia when political turmoil struck in the country and things became too dangerous for him to remain.

Life was good in New Hampshire and Victor soon found himself as an undeclared first year student at UNH with hopes of majoring in Psychology. As an undeclared student he had the opportunity to take Professor Corbin’s Political Science course. It was in this course that Victor found his true calling. He realized that he was interested in politics. He thought back to the political turmoil that riddled his country, how his mom was the secretary for Colombian President Ernesto Samper and how his aunt is the Secretary of the Colombian Consulate in Toronto, Canada. He declared Political Science as his major in the beginning of his sophomore year.

When Victor arrived at UNH, he decided that he wanted to make this place more comfortable for the Latino community on campus. He became involved in Mosaico and the Diversity Support Coalition and began having conversations with Sean McGee the Director of the Office of Multicultural Student Affairs to discuss how Victor could help others. Victor decided that he wanted to work for the Admissions Department as a Diversity Ambassador.

In his position as Diversity Ambassador Victor feels he can “help prospective students see UNH as academics, not as white – that there may be bumps in the road but here you are the community” and you can make positive change. Victor believes success in his job is key to the success of his Latino community on campus and thinks you should, “devote yourself to your community; it will give you everything you need back – the community as a whole at UNH and your own smaller community.”

Victor is driven to help students. He applies what he learns in class to the work he does in the Admissions Office. Political Science has taught Victor what diplomacy is. He believes his knowledge helps him represent first year Latinos and students of color to the University community. He also believes the diplomatic skills he now has helps him represent UNH to perspective students. He is looking for the better good of the community. Will the student fit with UNH and will UNH benefit the Student? Victor offers many students and perspective students the “real view of UNH through the eyes of a Latino man.”

Victor also applies all that he is learning through the contact he has had with the different organizations on campus and his job to his classes. He feels there is no better information to put in a paper or presentation than what he is learning in his work. It is the diverse personal thoughts and ideals that he has encountered that add so much to his academics.

Victor freely admits that he made some poor choices in the past. Since coming to UNH he feels like he has grown up a ton. Victor says he owes much of his success at UNH to his partner Laura. When he hears the old saying, “behind every good man there is a good woman” he thanks Laura for being the woman who has helped him get the most out of his UNH experience. Victor realizes how incredibly lucky he is to be here and understands the choices that he now makes can have a great impact on his time at UNH and the community he has worked so hard to build and develop. Laura has been the backbone of Victor’s life at UNH and taught Victor when you are your true self people see you for who you really are, not some “stereotypical Latino man” and that his community is not just based on his own ethnicity but based upon trust and respect, and loves her for that.

Through his current course work Victor is beginning to see his own political philosophy
in a sense of “disagree-ence”, that there is always room for argument. Victorbelieves that you don’t always have to be right, but you do have to be just.Victor is now a senior and has decided to pursue a Masters in Public Administration and eventually a Juris Doctorate in International Law. He believes these degrees will give him
the ability to fine tune his own philosophy and apply it to today’s society both nationally and internationally.


2012 - 2013 CYOS Honorees: (left to right) Brittany Zorn, Laura Gardocki, Peter Callahan, Merhawi Wells-Bogue, Molly Hunt, Larry Rackliff, Lauren Banker, Ben Claxton, Alex Freid, Jihyon Im
 
 
“Students are the focus of everything we do.”

Dept of Residential Life
13A Hitchcock Hall, 5 Quad Way-UNH
Durham, NH 03824
last updated 10/18/2011
Need More Information?
Ruth Abelmann, Associate Director
Department of Residential Life
University of New Hampshire
Phone (603) 862-2268