PHOTO | Tennyson Douglas
It was late August, orientation week had just finished up with an engaging evening performance from hypnotist Doug Thompson, and I was terrified at the world of possibilities my first year of college was about to present to me. I was unsure if I even belonged at college or if I could stay committed to my education.
As I was leaving Tucker Coliseum, I would meet someone who would come to not only become an acquaintance of mine but a fixture of my time at Tech. While I was trying to return to my dorm room in Paine Hall, I heard a loud greeting from beside me. Expecting to see an old friend or former schoolmate, I was introduced to Peter Unwer instead.
At first Peter might strike you as your average kind of guy, his kind demeanor and helpful nature would be expected of almost anyone. Sporting a plethora of past times is part of his charm, but isn’t what defines him like with so many others. Whether it be juggling, exploring, or treasure hunting, there isn’t a hobby Peter hasn’t experimented with during his time on campus.
Don’t let these colorful activities fool you though, as he isn’t just a gimmick-salesman peddling his various talents. Once you actually get to know Pete it’s immediately clear that he truly is one of a kind.
Originally from Harrison, Pete came here to Arkansas Tech pursuing “its scholarships and academic opportunities”. After his relocation to the campus, Russellville became a new home for Pete, with some of our local attractions being at the forefront of Pete’s mind. Pete couldn’t help but show love to surrounding businesses, with direct references to local food truck Tito’s Tacos and Chloe’s Bakery to name a few.
When describing what these businesses meant to him, Pete didn’t waste any words, simply stating that they were “wonderful places to eat.” Though he made sure to show his appreciation for local restaurants and businesses, he also directed his attention to Tech’s campus.
“One of the wonderful things about Tech is its clubs,” Pete commented. “If there’s something you enjoy doing, there’s probably a club for it.”
It’s clear that while originally there might not have been a particular reason for his arrival to campus in 2019, Pete has grown to view ATU and Russellville as his home.
Though Pete’s appreciation for campus is obvious after a brief conversation, learning he is a Resident Assistant for M-Street makes his devotion even more apparent.
Facing many difficulties amongst his dealings with incoming freshmen and lackluster communication from the administration, Pete still didn’t let these problems hinder his dedication to Tech. His time as an RA made Pete “more empathetic to people,” while also leaving him “seasoned” in regards to the administrations situational responses and method of fixing things.
Of course the majority of Pete’s time is spent with new freshmen in M-Street. When asked about his interactions with students new to campus, Pete said he found them to be “a bit bold with their decisions.” Pete describes his job as building community amongst members of the same floor.
He points out how important being readily “contactable” in the case of a resident’s emergency really is. Being an RA isn’t just a college job to Pete, but an actual duty with responsibilities.
Pete isn’t just an interesting RA with a plethora of past times and helpful advice on local businesses or cool hobbies to pursue, but a representative of the best parts of life at Arkansas Tech. His overall helpful nature has uplifted me during bad times, and reminded me of what really matters about our lives during this transformative time.
Staying together and “building community,” as Pete would put it, is what really matters about our college careers and lives in general. With years to look back on that fateful night in Tucker’s parking lot, I realize just how afraid and uncertain about my future I was. Pete reminded me then that my future was just beginning, and that I had no reason to be so unsure about what it may hold. I can only hope that after my time on campus has passed, new students will have an influence like Pete during their time at Tech.