Student Spotlight: Kevin Velasco named Colorado’s Student Leader of the Year 

UCCS is known for being a campus that encourages leadership among its students. However, one particular student — Kevin Velasco — stands out among the student body for his outstanding involvement with campus leadership and focus on community building and growth. 

In addition to being a double economics and political science major in the Chancellor’s Leadership Class (CLC), Velasco has many responsibilities across the UCCS campus. He is co-president of the Latinx Student Union, SGA’s director of finance and a voting member of the University Budget Advisory Committee

In March 2023, Velasco was recognized for his leadership efforts and named Student Leader of the Year by the Colorado Leadership Alliance (CLA). 

“The CLC director Cody Parish nominated me for the CLA Student Leader of the Year,” Velasco said. “It’s an award given to a student that possesses leadership skills, abilities [and] philosophies … and I was honored to end up winning it.” 

As an intern at the El Paso County’s Government Affairs Department, Velasco hopes the award will help open up career opportunities for him.  

“I’ll be graduating this May, and my immediate plans are to pursue a master’s degree in public policy,” he said. “I’m a big advocate for educational rights, civil rights and liberties for people and communities across different legal statuses, ethnicities, races and socioeconomic statuses.” 

Velasco has already been accepted to graduate schools across the country, including Georgetown University in Washington, D.C. “I think it’d be a great privilege to be representing UCCS and my community in D.C., whether as a graduate [student], a fellow or as someone working over there in public policy,” he said. 

Growing up in Dallas and Colorado Springs, Velasco and his family faced many challenges due to their low-income status. His parents immigrated to the U.S. from Mexico, and had difficulties navigating the welfare system and obtaining affordable housing.  

Because of the minimal resources available to them after graduating high school, Velasco’s parents were also limited in their capacity to assist Velasco academically. “They tried to help me out with my homework, or even plan for colleges, but they … didn’t have the same resources that I did growing up,” he said. 

As a future policy maker, Velasco aims to mitigate some of the social and financial obstacles that he and his family have had to wade through. “I believe that education, livelihood, economic stability and economic progress should be granted to everyone,” he said. 

On the cusp of graduating, Velasco said his experiences at UCCS have shaped who he is today. Although it was hard for him to find a community at first, being a campus leader and joining the Latinx Student Union have made UCCS feel like a home away from home. 

Velasco hopes that the cultural and community-oriented aspects of the university that have helped him evolve over the past couple of years will continue to develop in his absence. “I know that the university has invested tons of money into … helping students find a community — but I believe that more can be done and more should be done,” he said. 

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