Freddy Velazquez Castellanos, who is the television studio and equipment engineer and livestream coordinator at Hope College, has been named the 2023 recipient of the college’s annual Vanderbush-Weller Award for having a strong, positive impact on students.
The Vanderbush-Weller Award recognizes and celebrates the work of Hope faculty and staff who make extraordinary contributions to the lives of students, exceeding normal expectations. The award is coordinated by the Dean of Students office and presented near the conclusion of the academic year based on nominations from the campus community.
Velazquez Castellanos has been a member of the Hope staff since July of 2013. His roles on campus include managing the college’s television studio and assisting with communication classes; and filming or livestreaming — or mentoring students as they film or livestream — more than 200 campus events each year.
As the broadcast engineer for the Department of Communication, he is responsible for nearly all of the college’s broadcasting and filming needs. He manages the television studio for all events, repairs video equipment, lights and sets up sets for video shoots, and researches and purchases equipment for the television studio and computer lab. He also trains and supervises six student lab assistants who help check out video equipment and assist students in the media lab. In addition, he assists with the department’s Media Production One class, helping teach labs covering camera operations, lighting and video editing; and assists students in the Media Production One, documentary and broadcast classes with technical needs or projects.
As livestream coordinator for video services in Public Affairs and Marketing, he coordinates and streams/records the college’s Chapel services; all home athletic events; dance, music and theatre performances, and poetry readings; lectures for numerous departments and campus organizations; major campus events such as Baccalaureate and Commencement; presentations by the Hope Academy of Senior Professionals; and other events such as the worship service for the college’s summer Awakening program for high school students, and the TEDx Macatawa conference held at the Knickerbocker Theatre. He also creates content for the video boards in the Richard and Helen DeVos Fieldhouse, and Ray and Sue Smith Stadium.
In addition to his many other roles, he creates videos for other departments around campus.
Velazquez Castellanos is a 2009 graduate of Ferris State University, from which he holds a bachelor’s degree in television and digital media. Before coming to Hope, he worked at Wyoming Kentwood Community Television as a producer, videographer, editor and motion graphic designer, especially for the local cable show “Wyoming 360.”
He has also spent time at Beechwood Church and Iglesia Alas de Aguila as a media specialist, designing, shooting and editing videos, and managing their social media accounts.
The “Vanderbush-Weller Development Fund” was established in honor of longtime Hope professor and football coach Alvin Vanderbush, who retired in 1972 and died on Feb. 20, 2005. First presented during the 1997-98 school year, it was created by Ken and Shirely Weller. Ken Weller, who died on March 18, 2022, was one of Vanderbush’s former players and also a former Hope faculty colleague, and was president emeritus of Central College in Pella, Iowa. Shirely Weller is a 1950 Hope graduate.