Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

Official newspaper of The University of Texas at Austin

The Daily Texan

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October 4, 2022

The Texan Recap: Pollinator Day, Hartzell’s Songwriting Party

Editor’s note: This podcast was originally uploaded to Spotify on April 22, 2024.

In this episode of The Texan Recap, Senior Audio Producer Lillian Vest chats about the Texas Science and Natural History Museum’s Pollinator Day. Plus, UT President Jay Hartzell hosted the first-ever ‘Songwriting Party’ at Cactus Cafe.

Reported by Laurel Pinchback and Tyler Pullum. Hosted by Lillian Vest. Edited by Tamara Rodriguez. Cover art by Emma Berke. Music by Top Flow Productions.


*upbeat music*


Lillian Vest: A special “Pollinator Day” was held at the Texas Science and Natural History Museum …and UT’s president hosted a “songwriting party” at the Cactus Cafe.


I’m your host this week, Lillian Vest, and this is The Texan Recap.


Here’s what you missed this week.


*upbeat music*


Lillian: The Texas Science and Natural History Museum hosted its own Pollinator Day event. General News Reporter Laurel Pinchback is here with the story. Thanks for joining me, Laurel.


To start off, what exactly is Pollinator Day? 


Laurel Pinchback: Pollinator Day was an event sponsored by the Texas Museum of Science and History, which basically was like, celebrating pollinators, spreading awareness about like, The importance of pollinators like bees, butterflies, hummingbirds, and even like beetles and stuff.


It was just a way to like engage the community and like really get people learning about the world around us. 


Lillian: Who did the Texas Science and Natural History Museum collaborate with to make this day happen? 


Laurel: Largely it was just them. I know that internally it was like figureheaded by their education department.


So they had like an education outreach department and I spoke to a lot of those people and they were doing a lot of research about like what the best ways to get the information out there and the most like receptive for people. They also had representatives from local, local organizations, local companies like Two Hives Honey, which is like a cute little bee farm.


They’re very sustainable and ethical. You can go and tour their bee farm like you put on the beekeeper suit and stuff, it’s really cool. They also had representatives from the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, which is actually another free UT resource that I didn’t even know about. And, they actually collaborated with the Wildflower Center to create the pollinator gardens outside of the museum, which was like a new installation when they revamped the museum in the fall. 


Lillian: And in your story, you spoke with the associate director of the museum. What did they have to say? 


Laurel: Yeah, so she just was very excited to talk about the event and to really like get the word out there because unfortunately, a lot of students don’t even know about the resource that is the museum.


They don’t know that they don’t have to pay. They don’t know that like, you know, it’s open a lot of the time. Even if you don’t want to like go and like look at the exhibits, like it’s just a nice quiet place to go. And so they’re really excited to be able to have the platform that is the Texan to like share about, you know, some of the ongoing events that they’re doing to help promote engagement for students.


Because they really want more students to come out and like, come to the museum. 


Lillian: What kind of activities do the events have? 


Laurel: It was like family-oriented, but like, there was a lot of arts and crafts that were for kids. And, like, you would color, like, a butterfly and, like, make a little bracelet, and they would, like, tell you all the information about, like, all the butterflies and the bees.


And they had a microscope where you could, like, look at any kinds of pollinators. Like, you could see, like, the pollen. It was really cool. They had me, like, make seed balls, which were, like, mixed mud and, like, wildflower seeds. You make a ball, and then you can plant them, like, anywhere. And because of, like, the clay and the, like, the mud, it makes it easier for the plants to, like, grow and, like, live longer.


And they also had, like, a what I learned board, which I thought was really cool because it was a way to, like, engage, make a connection between, like, the event and then, like, what you took away from it. And I think that was really cool for kids to be able to write down, okay, this is what I learned, and then put it on the board, and then they can, like, really make that connection, like, really remember it.


Lillian: You also spoke to some students about Pollinator Day. What did they tell you? 


Laurel: Oh, they loved it. So, everyone was so excited about it. Everyone I spoke to at the event was just so happy to be there. It was a very, like, it was fun. Like, it was just fun. I spoke to some students who were also like, outreach volunteers through the museum.


And even a student who she was like, she was an education major and she worked in the education department. I don’t even think I included a quote from her, but I did speak to her. And she like, really appreciated the opportunity to connect her major and her passion, which is like education and like child development, with the museum, like the kind of stuff the museum is doing, which I think is a really cool intersection.


For students, there’s opportunities for you to go and like, work at the museum or visit the museum and like, really find a way to like, explore your passion through the kinds of things that the museum is doing. 


Lillian: That was all of my questions. Awesome.  Awesome, thank you so much for coming. Yeah. You did great.


Laurel: Thank you.


*upbeat music*


Lillian: UT President Jay Hartzell hosted the first-ever ‘Songwriting Party’ at Cactus Cafe. Senior Life & Arts Reporter Tyler Pullum is here to tell us about it. Thanks for being here, Tyler.


To begin, can you explain what this Songwriting Night is?


Tyler: So basically, the Songwriting Night is part of the President’s mission to incorporate UT into Austin’s broader music scene, and he’s done that through, you know, trying to bring events like the CMT Awards here, but also one of the main factors of that is by having an in-residence songwriter.


And, the in-residence songwriter basically hosts a bunch of workshops and songwriting parties, and you can even get a songwriting consultation at the writing center. But what they started to do is they wanted to have this kind of songwriting party where basically it would be a collaborative effort between the president and the songwriter, the in-residence songwriter at UT, and the audience to kind of work together to write a song.


And it was the first of its kind event, so it was pretty cool. 


Lillian: And who did President Hartzell work with to make this event happen? What did they have to say in your story? 


Tyler: I know that the in-residence songwriter Darden Smith was the person who was kind of controlling the melody of the song. And it was really guiding audiences and Jay Hartzell through the writing process of the song.


And the first thing that he mentioned was the incorporation of “What starts here changes the world.” He mentioned that he thinks that it would have been a really good hook for a song. And, so that’s kind of how they built the song was by going off that little phrase. 


Lillian: And how did the audience participate over the course of the event?


Tyler: And how did the audience participate over the course of the event?


I think that the audience from the very beginning was very excited to be able to participate in an event like this. And, the way that Darden Smith kind of encouraged this kind of dialogue through so many different people or whatever in the audience like really encouraged the audience to be able to just shout out whatever they thought would be included in the song or would be a good idea to have in the song.


And so over the course of the night, people like more and more people started shouting out things that they thought, you know, would make a good incorporation. 


Lillian: In your article, you spoke to some students who went to the event. What did they tell you? 


Tyler: One of the students that I spoke to, Chinonso, he is a freshman physics major, and he basically kind of volunteered to go up on the stage and act as sort of a scribe for the songwriters on stage.


And he said that the experience was really cool. He is actually a songwriter, and he regularly performs at the Cactus Cafe, which is in the Union, and they host a bunch of songwriting events and a bunch of events for student artists that, uh, want to perform their work. And so he said that being up there and kind of working with Darden Smith and being able to be a part of this process of songwriting was really inspiring for him.


And honestly, like, he said that stuff like this that UT is doing has really encouraged him to pursue songwriting in addition to his education. 


Lillian: You mentioned President Hartzell’s own thoughts on the event in the story. What did he say? 


Tyler: I know that he said that he talked to some students earlier in the day and he said that I think it was the students told him to do what makes him feel afraid or something like that or to do something that makes him step out of his comfort zone and by doing that he said that, you know, the songwriting exercise was a part of that, stepping out of his comfort zone for him.


And also I know that he talked a lot about how it was important to incorporate UT into the music scene and to have a bunch of different events or whatever that really encourage students to be able to pursue music. And it’s really been evident by his work of bringing an in-residence songwriter to UT.


This is the first time that we’ve ever had one. And, also on top of that, the songwriter is actually a UT graduate, which is a nice little touch too.  


Lillian: Once again, that was Tyler Pullum, Senior Life & Arts Reporter. Thank you for your time. 


Tyler: Thank you so much for having me.


Lillian: And that’s The Texan Recap for the week of April 15th. I’m Lillian Vest.


*upbeat music*


Lillian: The Texan Recap is a production of The Daily Texan Audio Department.


If you liked this episode, make sure to subscribe to The Daily Texan on your streaming platform of choice and follow us on Twitter @texanaudio. 


This episode was hosted by me, Lillian Vest, and edited by Tamara Rodriguez.


Special thanks to Laurel Pinchback and Tyler Pullum for their reporting and to Joelle Dipaolo, Mimi Calzada and Chloe Moore for contributing to this project. 


Cover art is by Emma Berke and music is by Top Flow Productions. To read the news stories in this episode or see more from the Texan, head on over to 


Thanks for listening, and I’ll see you next week.

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