Simona and Lynn are empowering students, Messin’ With Texas

Simona Harry and Lynn Huynh

One month ago, we never thought we’d be doing this. We hadn’t prepared for this our entire college careers, and we want everyone to know that. This isn’t a stepping stone in the name of self-interest or a new bullet point under the leadership section on our résumés. 

This has never been about that. While devoting countless hours in search of ways to enact change on campus and throughout the greater Austin area, we had simply overlooked the opportunity that already existed within Student Government, whether or not we felt it would welcome a pair of students like us. 

But isn’t that what this is all about? Because SG feels so inaccessible to students like us, it’s time to do more than just bridge the gap. It’s time to give it back. That’s what we’re here for, and that’s what we’re running for. SG should have never been taken from the student body and placed on this steep hill that marginalized students feel they cannot climb. This is our climb, and when we reach the top we will level out this landscape of disparity.

Imagine what we could do if we did not have to spend our hours banging on the University’s doors to be in rooms with the people who determine our futures on this campus. Imagine if we were already in those rooms — heard, seen and treated like we matter. Not just our presence in the room, but also the presence of the student groups advocating for the issues that we continue to fight to change.

 Before we talk about the solutions, let us start at a place where we can begin envisioning the future we want, the campus we want, the world we want: 1) Affordable and gender-inclusive housing. 2) Equitable and safe classroom environments. 3) More underrepresented faculty to actually be represented. 4) More opportunities for students seeking therapy to actually receive help in times of need. 

This is a campus that becomes more like a home. This is where we start to craft a reality that cares about its students rather than caring about profit and optics. Every meeting we have ever had, every conversation we have held, every coffee in the late evenings while working was what led to this moment. This moment exemplifies how committed we are to seeing something new grow on this campus that seems to thrive at the expense of students. It’s about time this campus reflected the needs of the most vulnerable students instead of forcing them to adjust to an environment that can be hostile, inaccessible and harmful. 

We want you to be heard. But more importantly, we want you to be seen and felt in your immediate surroundings instead of just being unaddressed and unconsidered. Anyone can say they want change, but we’re about making it happen. This one’s for you.

We’re tired of existing in the margins, fighting tooth and nail for a crumb of consideration or even a morsel of what inclusion looks like. We deserve more than that, and so do the students that we advocate for. 

This has never been just Simona & Lynn. It’s Simona & Lynn and everyone we’ve spoken to, had meetings with and fought for ­— every one of our team members who gave thoughtful and intentional feedback on everything we’ve ever put out, every single person who direct messaged us or stopped us on Speedway, thanking us for running a platform they see a little bit of themselves in. We hope you know this is for all of us, and we can’t wait to Mess With Texas with you.