Student Voice aims to make architectural improvements near UT


Jonathan Garza

Architecture junior Barron Peper informs the rest of the Student Voice members about their plans to renovate the Drag on Thursday afternoon. 

Amanda Voeller

While working in the studio, architecture students may also brainstorm about how to better their school and their community.

Students in a new organization called Student Voice aim to promote urban improvements on campus and in Austin.

“We want this to be a lasting mission — all of us are studying abroad next year, so we really need people of different majors and years to keep it going,” architecture junior Barron Peper said.

Architecture senior Patrick McGovern said he and a couple of other students were talking about architecture professor Sinclair Black’s idea of renovating the Drag and realized West Campus was not as community-based and cultural as it could be.

Peper said students studying architecture learn a lot about city projects, but Student Voice is an outlet for them to actually apply what they learn.

The group is organizing an event to raise awareness of its first project to renovate the Drag. Peper said members of Student Voice will mark with chalk or balloons where they envision trees and other improvements and compile a video of interviews of people’s visions of the Drag on March 29.

“It’s basically a very visual, interactive movement to get people to know about this,” Peper said.

The group discussed how it would answer questions about the project and pointed out that homelessness is a common question that occurs in discussions about the Drag. Peper said homelessness and improving the Drag are two separate issues.

There are also classes in the urban studies program with projects to improve Austin, said architecture and marketing senior Catalina Padilla. 

Another idea Student Voice members have proposed includes addressing waste water in the Liberal Arts Building, Peper said. 

To fund projects, Padilla said she thinks the group could get sponsors who would benefit from each specific project.