SG speaker encourages freshmen to get involved

Santiago Rosales

What starts here changes the world. To all Longhorns, these six words are more than a familiar expression — they are a belief in the leadership, passions and innovation that the 40 Acres encourages. But what starts here? In spring 2015, after running under the slogan “What starts here?” two good boys started a lot here. During their terms as Student Body President and Vice President, Xavier Rotnofsky and Rohit Mandalapu started a story of love and laughs and activism that shook this campus.

Throughout their term, Xavier and Rohit and the RotMan administration brought a serious focus on student issues with a side of good-hearted humor to Student Government. In one year, the RotMan team and Student Government helped bring about the removal of Jefferson Davis statue from the Main Mall, the expansion of UT’s drug overdose forgiveness policy, the registration of thousands of new student voters and much more. Without a doubt, The University of Texas at Austin was better off because of those two good boys — though we never did get a Chili’s on campus.

I mention the story of those two good boys because their initial question still matters. What starts here in Student Government and on the 40 Acres? In the Student Government Assembly, there are over 40 student representatives from each of the colleges and schools at UT trying to answer that question. Some representatives are advocating for gender-inclusive bathrooms throughout campus. Some are working for research opportunities in the College of Liberal Arts. Others are researching and pushing for affordable textbooks. Though not all of the representatives in Student Government have the sense of humor of Xavier and Rohit, we are hopeful that we also start a lot here.

But for change to happen on the 40 Acres, “What starts here?” can and should be a question all Longhorns ask themselves as well. For those who want to find an answer to this question, especially first-year students, consider Student Government. Apply for the Longhorn Legislative Agency or run for First-Year Representative. Join the Freshman Leadership Organization. Let your voice be heard at SG meetings. Bring your energy, your perspective and your passions to Student Government. Bring your desire for social justice. Bring your love for all things burnt orange. Bring it all, because what starts here is up to you.

Rosales is a finance junior from Houston. He is the speaker of the SG assembly.