Texas Exes needs to promote more student, alumni history to inspire current class

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Photo Credit: Riya Anand | Daily Texan Staff

Correction: An earlier version of this column mistated the job position and title of Jim Nicar. Nicar's position has since been updated and corrected. The Texan regrets this error.

While UT’s legacy can offer perspective on where we have come from as a campus and where we are heading, some bits of history have become largely unknown and forgotten. 

UT should promote its history to bring more notoriety to past student endeavors and contextualize the campus’ role in history. In order to highlight past student accomplishments at UT, the Texas Exes should promote University history on its main social media platforms and website. 

Jim Nicar, author of The UT History Corner, has a personal website where he documents UT’s extensive history. 

“(Preserving this history) helped me get connected to the University community,” Nicar said. “It’s very easy for the University to seem like a big and impersonable place. For me, when I was there in the ‘80s and there was this emphasis on the University’s history … it taught me that I had become a part of something bigger than myself.” 

One of Nicar’s posts documents a crowd of students protesting against dorm segregation in front of the tower while shouting its inscription: “Ye shall know the truth and the truth shall make you free.” This post mirrors current events such as national protests against police brutality after the killing of George Floyd, where many students are continuing this history of fighting racial injustice. 

However, Nicar should not be the only one showcasing UT’s extensive history of activism and accomplishments. 

Currently, the Texas Exes website only has a basic history of UT traditions, such as the history of class rings, Longhorn Friday and the Texas Fight Rally — none of which offer the same introspective look into the campus that Nicar’s website provides.

Texas Exes can do more for students by using its website and social media to share and publicize UT’s lesser-known history. 

Exercise science senior Enebong Ephraim had previously not known much about UT’s history, and said Texas Exes could do a better job promoting the work students have done on campus. 

“This should definitely be something the University should take pride in,” Ephraim said. “I feel definitely that they are lacking the aspect of showing incoming freshmen that this school has promoted student activism.” 

We’re losing some stories over time. Stories like the University protest against the Vietnam War or the 8,000-student march downtown in 1944 following the dismissal of popular UT President Homer Rainey are not being told. Events like the “Freedom Rally” in 1967 that was held to fight for free speech and political activism are being forgotten. 

I asked Dorothy Guerrero, the vice president of communications for Texas Exes, if she thinks posts that highlight student history should be better promoted on the main accounts.

“Absolutely,” Guerrero said. “We welcome story ideas (about UT’s history) from alumni and students alike.”

Currently, most of the tweets from the Texas Exes account are about football, but they could be so much more.

Showing students this history would be very empowering because it emphasizes that students are the driving force behind UT. It demonstrates the power and willingness previous Longhorns have had and contextualizes how it has been left to students to continue that legacy in the future.  

Texas Exes could bring a renaissance of school spirit and make us feel a part of something bigger in these times where it is easy to feel so small. 

Something as simple as a post or even retweeting some of Nicar’s tweets takes little effort from Texas Exes. However, the information that it spreads holds the potential to inspire thousands of students and alumni around the world. 

Vidales is an English freshman from Houston, TX.