When Student Involvement Vice-President Joseph Aratari was little, he wanted to be an astronaut. Every project he completed in school revolved around space.
Now a Utah State University junior in communication studies, Aratari has a passion for people and helping others.
“It’s been kind of a long road,” Aratari said. “I didn’t know what I wanted to do when I came here. I thought I wanted to be something medical or with engineering. I knew that if I wanted to be involved and connected to people, I couldn’t dedicate as much time as I wanted to be an engineer.”
The Herriman, Utah native applied to a couple other colleges and attended several tour days, but said nothing compared to how he felt when he stepped on USU’s campus.
“Right off the bat, I met people that I knew that if I chose to come to Utah State for school, would be my friend and would be looking out for me. People were just so nice,” Aratari said.
While Aratari has learned much in his time at USU, one of the most beneficial things he has learned is that not every day is full of sunshine.
“I struggle with mental health and have depression, so some days are harder than others,” Aratari said. “Sometimes you get discouraged and down on yourself, even about life, and it gets in your head a little bit.”
Aratari has found that although it has been a daily struggle, he doesn’t find those struggles to be a burden.
“One thing I’ve learned from this is that I really want to be an advocate for mental health,” Aratari said. “I want people to know that when they walk through this office, they can relate to me as they are going through things. My struggles are my way to connect with people.”
Aratari’s escape from the world lies in his obsession for music and concerts.
“I really like The Neighborhood, 1975, Chase Atlantic, just a little bit of everything,” Aratari said. “There isn’t really a band I don’t love. I just love a broad variety of music.”
Jakob Ambhuel, Athletics and Campus Rec Vice-President, said the best way to cheer Aratari up is to take him to Wendy’s.
“Aratari has eaten so many chicken nuggets from Wendy’s. His favorite meal is the number 10. If you ever need to cheer him up, you know what to do,” Ambhuel said.
In his time at USU, Aratari has been involved with many aspects of the university, which has translated well into his position as student events vice president. He has been active in everything from the Traditions committee, Student Alumni Association, social media, service, mental health awareness, and other areas in which he has seen a need.
One of Aratari’s main goals is to provide volunteer opportunities for incoming students.
“I think we’ve done an incredible job with that,” Aratari said. “We’ve increased our committee sizes to include more people, including transfer students, international students, and freshman.”
Meghan Tatom, the activities director for the Student Events Office, enjoys working with Aratari because he is go-getter, someone who is always asking how he can help and what he can do next.
“Joe’s a fun person to work with,” Tatom said. “He makes things fun when you’re in a stressful situation.”
Tatom said Aratari’s two hidden talents are his skills in both bowling and dancing.
“He’s secretly a really good dancer,” Tatom said. “He can also bowl like nobody’s business. I don’t know if this is a lie, but he told me he had eight years of bowling classes. We went bowling on a group date, and everyone hated going against him, because he’s just so good.”
Ambhuel’s first impression of Aratari occurred at a friend’s house. Aratari came into the house while on a date with a girl, where they were carving pumpkins.
“I remember thinking, this kid has incredible style,” Ambhuel said.
Ambhuel’s favorite memories of Aratari involved campaigning next to him during elections.
“It was just fun being able to see how hard he was working and talking to people,” Ambhuel said. “He really is just a fun person, but when you really get to know him, Joe has this incredible capacity to care for people.”
Aratari’s motivations in life center around his passions for helping others.
“I feel like my ‘why’ is to impact others,” Aratari said. “I am always looking to do things for others.”
Aratari finds time to decompress at Starbucks, indulging in his favorite drink, an iced chai.
“I’m pretty much a basic white girl. I like drinking Starbucks and watching New Girl,” Aratari said. “It’s a bad habit, but it’s one I will embrace.”
Aratari’s deep-rooted desire to help people has led to him find inspiration through the Student Affairs office on campus. He has yet to peg down his dream job but has aspirations of assisting in the upper administration of a university.
“With communications under my belt, I kind of want to go into some form of therapy or counseling to be there for people who have faced similar struggles as I have. I also want to help families with Alzheimer’s because I have a personal experience with that,” Aratari said.
Aratari’s advice to students would be for them to know there is a place for them here.
“USU is such an accepting environment. If you reach out to someone and say that you are struggling, or if you’re just not okay with where you’re at, there is always a place on the third floor of the TSC and in the student events office for you,” Aratari said.