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Back on the block

The Pan Am & Parapan Am Games have reconnected Fulvio Martinez (BA, 2005) with his alma mater.

Call it a homecoming of sorts: Fulvio Martinez (BA, 2005) has reignited his relationship with the U of T Scarborough, courtesy of the 2015 Pan Am & Parapan American Games.

The 35-year-old UTSC alum is manager of community outreach and media relations with the Games, and his job often finds him on campus giving tours of the Toronto Pan Am Sports Centre to foreign journalists or touching base with student organizations to recruit volunteers and staff.

His positive experience at UTSC prepared him well for the position, he says. While pursuing a degree in international studies with minors in political science and new media studies, he immersed himself in extracurricular activities that would have a lasting impact on his life and others.

“I never made it just an experience of walking to a classroom and then going back home, digging into the books and keeping to myself. I always wanted more,” says Martinez.

For the active undergrad, “more” meant getting involved in student politics and becoming vice-president, student life where he was essentially in charge of all of the student activities that had a social or cultural component.

Martinez also formed U of T’s first-ever Latin American club to introduce the greater campus population to Latin American culture—everything from art and food to theatre and dance.

The founding of that club led to the establishment of the Organization of Latin American Students, a coalition that brings together Latin American student clubs from a number of post-secondary institutions, including Ryerson and York Universities.

“Fast forward 14 years later, it’s still going, students have embraced it, and there’s leadership there,” says Martinez. “I am actually happy to say that we – the Games – have reached out the clubs for support for volunteers and even candidates for jobs.”

When he applied to Toronto2015 for a junior communications position, his work in the Latin American community, his fluency in Spanish and Portuguese, and his marketing background made Martinez an ideal, if admittedly over-qualified, candidate. Within months, the UTSC graduate was promoted to the position of manager, which allows him to draw upon all of his experiences.

Martinez wears two hats for the Games: he is the primary contact for ethnic and foreign media, and he manages the community partnership program called IGNITE, reaching out to churches, non-profits, and other community groups to get them involved. Some of the diverse events planned through IGNITE include a culinary festival, soccer tournament, art exhibits, and dance performances.

The Games, of course, must come to an end, and Martinez is unsure what the future holds for him when that time arrives.  As a married father of four boys, all under the age of eight, he is conscious of the need for stability. However, Martinez is confident that he has a whole new set of friends and contacts—people who now know his passion, work ethic, and potential—who could point him in the direction of new opportunities. 

The native of Nicaragua is also not one to shy away from adventure.

“If the opportunity were to present itself, I wouldn’t put it past me to talk my wife and kids into selling our home and packing up and going to live in Rio de Janeiro with the Olympics or Lima (Peru) for the next Pan Am Games,” says Martinez. “I am loving this, and working in sports—especially amateur sports—has been an eye-opening experience.”

The former student’s renewed relationship with UTSC has also got him thinking about becoming a more engaged alum. But for now, Martinez feels his UTSC connection and the Pan Am job go hand-in-hand.

“I am passionate about both, and I feel that I can piggyback one on the other,” he says. “And now I get to promote this marvelous new building that’s on campus. It’s an amazing legacy.”

© University of Toronto Scarborough