Tangible impacts made by advocating at The Daily Texan

Abby Springs

Editor’s note: Abby Springs is currently running to become the next editor-in-chief of The Daily Texan. For this column, she was asked to present her platform and vision for the Texan.

While talking with students over the past two weeks, I’ve been asked one question more than any other — Why should I care about The Daily Texan?

While the paper is always the first thing I check when I wake up, I know not every student shares my borderline-unhealthy obsession. But whether you’re a diehard reader or couldn’t care less about the news, The Daily Texan has the power to directly impact your life. I’m not running for editor-in-chief to make my life better. I’m running so I can help improve yours.

Tangible impacts are made when we advocate for students at The Daily Texan, and advocacy is the mission that will drive everything I do as your next editor-in-chief.

Last semester, you may have noticed a change in your core curriculum requirements: You’re no longer required to take two courses in the same science discipline. This change lets students save money by claiming more credits, and it was partly inspired by a column published in The Daily Texan.

You’ve also probably heard the outcry regarding professor sexual misconduct. Thanks to the important work of student activists, the University is finally being forced to confront the ugly truth of predatory behavior on campus. The Daily Texan’s editorial board helped bring this issue to light with their reporting in 2018 that has continued to this semester.

This is the work that Daily Texan staffers and columnists do every day — uncover problems at UT and push for solutions to those issues. By personally connecting with student organizations and activists on campus, I want to listen to your ideas and platform them so that changes like these can be made.

As the head of the opinion department, the work the editor-in-chief does differs from the rest of the newsroom in one key way: While other departments objectively report on stories, opinion staffers identify problems and offer solutions to fix them.

The Daily Texan has a massive platform. If you’re reading this right now, you might be a University administrator, professor, alumnus, parent, student or even President Fenves. This means that the ideas we publish on the opinion page get seen by the people who can make change happen. As we’ve seen before, change does happen. 

I want to connect with you to advocate for solutions to your problems. Whether you’re an engineering student facing unaffordable tuition hikes, a new freshman struggling with a lack of mental health care or a Riverside resident afraid of rising housing costs, I want to hear your story.

To accomplish this, I plan on regularly conducting outreach to different student organizations, such as advocacy groups, student government agencies or spirit groups, to learn about the issues that are directly affecting UT students. I’m aware that not everyone cares about The Daily Texan. That’s why it will be my job to come to you, not the other way around. 

Furthermore, I want to make sure that every student is represented and can participate in our advocacy. By reaching out to diverse groups and breaking down barriers that prevent low-income students from participating at the Texan, I want to make sure that all stories on our campus are told. You can read about my plan in more detail in my column from last week.

For four semesters now, I’ve been working at the Texan as an opinion columnist, associate editor and copy editor. I’ve written pieces advocating for graduate students, student workers, survivors, low-income students, mental health support, sustainability, admissions equity and much more. 

Next, I want to advocate for you.

Abby Springs is a government and political communications sophomore from Dallas.