Courtesy of Albert Perez
Editor’s note: This column was submitted to the Texan by members of the UT community.
Content warning: Mention of sexual assault
In all of us there are three types of people: a student, a worker, and our future self. These three people are the life of UT Austin and as such should have proper support. The student is the person who tries to obtain their degree. The worker is a person who’s just trying to manage their time, money and relationships. Both people feed into the vision we have for our future self. As a student-entrepreneur, a transfer-student, and a person heavily devoted to making UT Austin the #1 public school nationwide, myself, Albert Perez, and my running mate, Raymond Vasquez, believe that our focus should be aimed to cultivate an environment in which students’ social, academic and professional life can see success.
Being a student is a unique experience, one that we only get to enjoy for a short amount of time. Therefore, we should have a student reward program in place that allows students to receive a 15% discount for merchandise at the Co-Op, a point system that rewards students who are heavily involved in on campus activities and utilizing the Texas Longhorns app to place discounts in one place. As well, our campus is in the center of #2 Job market in America. Our curriculum should match that. For example, blockchain jobs grew over 395% in 2021. It’s an industry worth over $2 Trillion. Yet, UT Austin does not fall within the top 50 blockchain programs in the US. Lastly, a group ride share program through Fetii should be implemented to ensure student safety. Many Greek life organizations already have this partnership established, extending it out to the rest of the student body just makes sense. Students deserve more.
Our second pillar is about empowerment. As workers, many of us are employed outside of campus to maintain the lifestyle we desire while in college. Student wages should be a minimum $15 per hour. If In-N-Out can pay you a minimum of $15, why can’t the university pay that same amount? Students contribute over $700 million annually in tuition alone. Working directly with administration, a priority should be to include as many student voices as possible in our student government by establishing solid communication channels with the rest of the student body. This empowers our collective potential. We all get text messages about basketball games, taco discounts and other activities but when have we been notified about our student elections?
Out last pillar is about Greek life. Sexual assault and hazing are an issue for all Greek life around the country. As the number 1 University in Texas, we should be the model campus for Greek life activity nationwide. Change begins with the new member process in Greek Life. Considering the high turnover rate in Greek Life, equipping new members with proper education around sexual assault and hazing should be done with facilitated roundtable discussions. Let’s keep the conversation going. Student-run organizations that combat sexual assault, should have expanded budgets to feed this educational process. Greek Life contributed nearly $1 million in philanthropy events in 2021. By encouraging partnerships and collaboration amongst student organizations, we can set an environment where students build off each other. Relationships bring value to our community, our school, and our future self.
At the end of the day, we are students just like you. Being an adult is tough but we can make our life easier. Student Government holds that solution. We need to vote for an environment that grants us opportunities and paves a path for success.
Our website and link to vote can be found below.
Perez is a public relations junior from Fort Worth, TX. Vasquez is an unspecified business sophomore from El Paso, TX.