Students in Power: Justis Lopez
Justis Lopez, an 8th semester education and history major, has in some way influenced the life of every current UConn student. Some have seen him host organization events, some have heard of his Facebook friend count of 4,941 and some have even had their haircut by him. Lopez knows a thing or two about getting the crowd going. He estimates that he has emceed or hosted between 60-75 events during his time at UConn.
"I've probably averaged about one event per week." Lopez said.
He has emceed some of the largest events on campus, including a national dance competition and a lip-synching contest. He works primarily with student organizations, however a state department of education representative heard of his work and hired him to host the opening ceremony of the state's teacher convention.
This packed history of emceeing for so many organizations and departments has led to a meteoric number of Facebook friends, which he insists are not just strangers.
"Throughout life I just interact with a lot of people. Whenever I'm hosting an event, I just started accumulating them over the years," Lopez said. "I actually do know pretty much everyone I'm friends with, it's reflective of meeting people."
His people gathering skills were put to the test when he became the campaign manager for Carlyle Bethel's 2014 USG presidential campaign. Lopez, who is a personal friend of Bethel's, thought that it was a good change of pace to have a non-USG perspective lead accommodate the race.
"I think it's important for individuals not directly correlated for USG to run campaigns, having an alternative perspective is important for achieving USG's goals." Lopez said.
He also postulated the possibility of any organization leader bringing their perspective to USG campaigns. "USG is not the only organization on campus here to make changes, any organization can be a part of the process," Lopez said.
Lopez said he first started to gain notoriety on campus with the haircutting business he began in Alumni Hall. While a Resident Assistant, Lopez purchased supplies from Wal-Mart and his old hometown barber to convert bathroom space into a personal barbershop.
"When I was a senior in high school, my barber was cutting my hair and I was fascinated by him, so he taught me how to cut in a barbershop like a little apprentice," Lopez said. "So I started cutting my own hair in the Alumni bathroom, one day and my friend Ali approached me so I cut his hair. The word started to spread in South Campus."
Lopez ended up gathering an elite clientele of football team players and professional soccer players. He has even cut the hair of a University vice president.
Over the years, Lopez has dipped his feet into many facets of University administrative organizations. He has been an RA, an orientation leader and a member of PIRLACC, First Year Experience programs, mentor programs, Legacy Leadership and Student Support Services.
"I look at it like giving back, everybody has helped to assist you to where you are today, nobody ever really got to where they are today," Lopez said. "When you love what you do things don't become necessarily overwhelming."
Lopez is graduating this spring and plans to continue his work in Student teaching.
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