UT radio-television-film students discuss excitement about volunteering at SXSW

Jessica Garcia, Life & Arts Reporter

Trading flip flops and sunglasses for comfy shoes and a volunteer badge, some Longhorns plan to spend their spring break volunteering at South by Southwest 2022.

After a two-year hiatus on in-person events, SXSW returns to Austin, offering a variety of music, film, technology and more. However, an interactive SXSW student pass costs upward of $600, so many opt for a much more affordable ticket — volunteering. UT students like radio-television-film junior Levi Casias volunteer for the free opportunity to learn more about the film industry, see works from well-known directors and find emerging talent in film. 

Casias, who will volunteer at the Alamo Drafthouse on South Lamar during SXSW’s film festival, said the volunteer opportunity can help interested students see how much work goes into making every genre of film. However, instead of purchasing a ticket, Casias will only have to exchange a few volunteer hours for a once-in-a-lifetime experience.    

“It’s very good for networking (too),” Casias said. “It’s very important as a radio-television-film major to go to these festivals, whether it’s SXSW, Austin Film Festival or any other festival that happens around the general Austin or Texas area,” Casias said. 

Like Casias, undeclared freshman Myles Garza plans to volunteer at the Paramount Theater. Garza said he looks forward to taking a deep dive into movies and documentaries. He said he hopes the experience will allow him to acquire more knowledge about the field, which will help prepare him to transfer into UT’s radio-film-television program.

“Given my position, I (am) just a freshman,” Garza said. “I’m still undeclared, but doing something like this will allow me to get to experience the world of film.”

Radio-television-film sophomore Kaitlyn Gomez said she cannot wait to be immersed in an environment with people who share her interest in film and cinema. While still performing her volunteer duties, Gomez said she hopes to use her role to network with like-minded people and learn more about how other passionate creatives navigate the business.

“I would like to be able to meet people who had the same mentality that I do right now, and see how they progressed through their career,” Gomez said.

Gomez, Casias and Garza said the free entry into SXSW motivated them to help out and exchange a few volunteer hours for an unforgettable experience. 

Gomez said the cherry on top was that volunteers who commit to working a certain amount of hours receive badges of their choosing to enjoy the festival outside of merely helping event-goers. Gomez said she is most excited to enjoy a week surrounded by creativity and people who share the same love for film, from event-goers to celebrities.

“It’s going to be cool to see what other people can do and how they can do it on their own,” Gomez said. “It’s just sharing the love, (and) I want to be able to do that.”