Meet Ricky Vasquez. He’s an Honors College student who’s learning how to organize mega-sized sporting events.
Vasquez, 21, is studying sport, event and tourism management in the UTSA College of Business.
This fall, he will begin an internship with the local planning team for the 2018 NCAA Men’s Final Four Championship. The basketball series is scheduled March 31 through April 2 at the Alamodome in San Antonio. UTSA will serve as the host institution.
“The Final Four is in the realm of the Super Bowl and the World Cup,” says Vasquez. “For San Antonio to win a bid for an event like this is huge, and it gives us a good chance of holding another event down the road. I’m really, really excited to learn what goes into hosting mega-events like this and making sure everything goes well.”
Vasquez’s internship will begin this fall. He will assist with the NCAA’s university engagement program and volunteer recruitment initiatives in addition to other duties that are assigned by his supervisors and mentors.
“We are going to need about 3,500 volunteers out at the Alamodome over the course of that week,” says Vasquez. “To make those numbers, we’re collaborating with six different San Antonio universities, especially UTSA as the host university.”
The Roadrunner isn’t new to the Final Four. Through the UTSA Sport, Event and Tourism Management program, Vasquez worked with the planning committee this spring through an independent study opportunity and contributed to the volunteer handbook for the Final Four’s university engagement program.
As an honors student, Vasquez prides himself on his work ethic. He has interned and worked at a variety of places over the last two years, including the UTSA Athletics Program, where he raised scholarship funds for student-athletes through memberships, events and fundraising. He also worked in the Fiesta Texas marketing and sales department for 11 months and this summer, he worked at a local Gold’s Gym, where he opened the facility six days out of the week.
“I’m proud of my ability to work hard and consistently,” Vasquez says. “It doesn’t come easy for me, but the best way to develop good habits is to do things every day, making sure you do what you need to do, no matter what.”
A San Antonio native, Vasquez enrolled at UTSA right after high school. He initially majored in accounting but along the way he switched his course of study to sport, event and tourism management. It interested him because of its focus on teamwork and coordination.
Since enrolling at UTSA, he has already completed Business Honors. The first-generation student will complete his general honors requirements this semester.
“Switching my course of study was probably the best decision that I could’ve made for myself,” Vasquez says. “It has such a focus on the things that I find most exciting in a career – sports, working together with a team and challenging yourself to pull off something huge.”
He says that being a part of the Honors College has added to the challenge of college in the best way. He says the resources that the Honors College has offered him are second-to-none as he makes his way out into the world.
After graduation, he hopes to professionally coordinate sporting events, and his dream is to work on mega-events for other sports on the same scale as the NCAA Men’s Final Four.
“College is about pushing yourself. It’s all about effort,” says Vasquez. “I’ve loved my time at UTSA. I’ve worked with a bunch of amazing people who have pushed me to be my best self, and I’ve been a part of some truly inspiring teams. It’s shaped me as a person and, hopefully, a future leader in my field.”
– Jesus Chavez