Explore UT opens campus to public

Brendalys Lebron

UT welcomed over 50,000 visitors to campus on Saturday for its annual event, Explore UT. 

Explore UT, which is in its 17th year, offers potential students, teachers and parents of students a chance to explore the campus and participate in hundreds of free activities. Activities include tours, displays, lectures, hands-on projects and performances that relate to various disciplines across the University. Christine Sinatra, director of communications for the College of Natural Sciences — whose dean is chair for Explore UT this year — said the slogan for this year’s event was “Discover What’s Next,” to put an emphasis on the learning aspect of Explore UT. 

Director of Food Services Rene Rodriguez said the event is an educational experience for visitors. For Explore UT, Rodriguez oversaw the creation of special menus to cater to visitors as they explored every aspect of campus — including dining halls. 

“I think it’s a great event for the University,” Rodriguez said. “We get to showcase what UT has to offer for a lot of these students, and hopefully they get encouraged to attend any kind of university. Everything they go through, even our dining halls, they’re just really excited about the fact that they eat where the [college] students eat, and where hopefully they’ll be in the future.”

Sinatra said young people from all over the state come to the event.

“Explore UT is a chance for Texans to come discover what’s next, and we at the University of Texas at Austin are showing people a little glimpse of that,” Sinatra said. 

Many volunteers at the event were UT students, who helped at information tables and presentations across campus. 

“I think [Explore UT is] important because students like elementary, middle, even high school students or prospective students have an idea of what a college campus is like,” said biochemistry junior and volunteer Taylor Doan. “You don’t want to go in blind not knowing the campus or what we have to offer.”

Sinatra said Explore UT serves as an opportunity for individuals to experience the workings of a large-scale university.

“This event has always been called ‘the biggest open house in Texas,’” Sinatra said. “I think it’s more than just an open house — we want people to come and see it, but we also want people to really have that hands-on experience and that feeling of discovery you get when you come to a big university like this.”