After months of consideration and planning, the University of Rhode Island Admissions Department unveiled its new informational brochure featuring junior global business management and Italian double major Paul Iturralde as its cover model this month.
The school’s handouts contain basic facts about the university that new students and their families would generally want to know before choosing to attend. Admission deadlines, course options, statistics and information about the student body appear next to pictures of Iturralde and two other students along with a description for each of them.
Iturralde, a dual citizen of both the United States and Ecuador, will have his picture displayed not only throughout all three of URI’s campuses, but also in mail to students considering the institution as an option. Though he never formally applied to model for the university, Iturralde said that he was excited and thankful to get the opportunity to represent his school and give back to the community.
“To be honest, I just received a phone call from the dean of admissions [Cynthia Bonn] and she told me that she really wanted me to be a part of this project,” he said. “I was unaware that I was nominated and I didn’t apply for it or anything. It was just something random.”
Iturralde is originally from the small city Fairfax in central Virginia, though his father is from, and still lives in Ecuador, and his mother is from El Salvador. He eventually moved to Providence at the age of 8..
He currently spends the school year between Providence and URI, and visits his father during the summer. This year he and his dad will travel through Italy, Spain and France after he completes his faculty-led summer program in Italy.
Being the face of the university is Iturralde’s biggest modeling accomplishment to date, but it wasn’t the first time he acted as a prototype here at URI. During his freshman year, he was asked by a group of students to take some pictures for the Multicultural Center’s “Africa” campaign for Diversity Week. The idea was to showcase students of all different races to show that everybody comes from the same place.
“I really just think, in terms of cultural and ethnic backgrounds, that even though we are all different people, we still have equal opportunities and we can all come together and just create more opportunities for everyone on campus,” Iturralde said.
Now that the brochure is completed, Iturralde said that the school’s plan is to send it to prospective students and provide copies to visitors of the campus. The Memorial Union and Visitors Center are already stocked with hundreds of pamphlets with the words, “Study in a small, beautiful place with some of the biggest thinkers in the world,” written next to his smile.
Iturralde is a campus tour guide, member of the Italian Club, planner of Diversity Week and captain of his very own intramural soccer team. He is also in the process of creating a new club that aims to provide support to developing countries called Volunteers Around the World. He said that the modeling process began about a week before final exams in the fall semester and lasted for a few days.
He took about 460 pictures overall that were then narrowed down to two over the following months by the admissions team. Aside from the front cover, he is also featured on the first page with a blurb about why he loves being a student here, noting the positive, energetic and interesting people here being the reason he felt so welcomed.
“It’s just nice to know that academically, I’ve been working hard and I’ve been involved in different activities on campus, and URI acknowledging that really does impact my life and really has made me feel different. I know that if you work hard, you will get recognized for it.”
Iturralde has been featured on thousands of brochures currently being circulated around the country as an ambassador of the university. He said that he doesn’t feel like a campus celebrity and has no plans to continue modeling, but would do it again in the right situation.
“I’m not really trying to be popular or anything like that,” he said. “It’s just more for creating diversity in this community. I don’t picture myself as a model, I just picture myself as an average student.”
Information pamphlets with Iturralde on the cover can be found all over campus and will be circulating until the beginning of the 2016 spring semester.