Earning your vote

Edwin Bautista and Addison Ptomey

Editor’s note: This column was submitted to the Texan by members of the UT community. 

We’re writing this op-ed not because we want you to give us your vote; we’re writing this because we want to earn your vote. We’ve spent some time reflecting on the 2022 Executive Alliance Debate, and we quickly realized we were the only campaign not currently affiliated with UT SG. All the other presidential candidates are deeply entrenched within UT SG, which we commend and appreciate. What we wish to convey is that, although we’re currently UT SG outsiders, we believe we’re strongly positioned as graduate students and former UT undergrads to make an impactful change through our platform, knowledge and unique perspective. 

Our platform consists of 3 pillars: People, Planet and Prosperity. The 3 pillars are enhanced by our educational backgrounds as well as our personal and professional experiences, which together work to create solidarity that will help guide and empower us to Imagine UT Austin! We’re committed to ensuring that every student’s voice is heard. We’ve both experienced numerous challenges as college students. The adversity we faced not only inspired us to campaign for UT SG, but also to envision solutions for the concerning obstacles Longhorns face. 

The People pillar emphasizes housing and livability. The rapidly increasing cost of living in Austin is a financial barrier for many current and prospective Longhorns. We are committed to working on ensuring that both on and off-campus housing is affordable and accessible to all students. We fully support JR 21-09 passed by The Legislative Student Organizations (LSOs) and are eager to work with them and the University on developing solutions. We will advocate for increases in student employee wages and a decrease or freeze in the cost of tuition to reduce student debt. We will also collaborate with the Graduate Student Assembly to advocate for child-care support through funding and advocacy efforts. We will support Services for Students with Disabilities initiatives through funding and advocacy efforts. We will advocate for LGBTQIIA+ inclusive environments and support the Gender and Sexuality Center through funding and advocacy efforts. 

The Planet pillar focuses on sustainability. We must consider the needs of students today along with the needs of future generations. We want to ensure these needs are being met in sustainable ways that conserve resources. We will partner with the Office of Sustainability, UT Farm Stand and UT Outpost to support their initiatives through funding and advocacy efforts. We will push for healthier, affordable and diverse food options on campus. We will work to advocate for climate change resiliency on campus and urge the University to divest from destructive energy sources and identify opportunities to invest in green energy and jobs on campus. 

Our third pillar, Prosperity, focuses on increasing opportunity and social capital. UT-Austin has a vast amount of resources at its disposal. We pledge to work with the University and LSOs to harness those resources to expand opportunity and social equity to all Longhorns. We support First Generation Longhorn initiatives through funding and advocacy efforts. We will advocate for social diversity and inclusion in Student Government and across campus. We fully support the UT-Austin community opposition to the proposed “Liberty Institute” and will urge the University and State Legislature to reappropriate the funds towards advancing equity on campus. We will work to increase campus safety and mental health resources. We will work to uphold the Continuity Committee, which was established by the 2019-2020 Executive Alliance to ensure that the “visions of previous administrations are seen through, even after the leaders who initiated them leave office.” 

Please visit our website for more information.

Bautista is a first year community & regional planning graduate student from Wichita Falls, TX. Ptomey is a first year community & regional planning and public affairs graduate student from Austin, TX.