I contributed stories to HerCampus.com about both campus issues, collegiate women issues and even UT sports. All of these articles were published by HerCampus.com and are now a part of the national archives.


Giggle your Pants Off!

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The University of Texas hosts more than 1,000 student organizations. No matter what you are interested in, whether that be glow-in-the-dark yo-yoing or basket weaving, there is an organization for you.

n292915448630_2013.jpgGigglepants Improv Comedy Troupe is a non-profit (extreme emphasis on NON-profit) competitive improv troupe and student organization at UT that prides itself on bringing laughter and plenty of entertainment to the university. Each member of the team participates in different segments that challenge each person’s ability to think of a funny punch line on the spot. It’s improv!
Van Winn, a sophomore Plan II psychology major, is an active member of Gigglepants and finds it to be an integral part of university student organizations.
“I did improv in high school so naturally when I found out there was an improv troupe at UT, I was really excited to get involved,” Winn said.
Winn said he not only benefits from entertaining his fellow Longhorns, but he also benefits from the fun practices and the long-lasting friendships he has formed with his other team members.

“Personally, I get a fun release from my stress with Gigglepants. When we practice and do shows it's a whole lot of fun and it helps me get through the week. Also, my fellow Gigglepants members are some of my closest friends at UT,” Winn said.

Gigglepants improvisational comedy is displayed in short form with several scenes constructed from predetermined games and ideas that are driven by audience suggestions. So not only are you entertained, you also run the show!

Individual shows are scheduled (free of charge, I might add) to be held every other Friday during the spring semester on campus, however, the troupe is open to scheduling other non-profit shows and fundraising to help different causes.

Earlier this month, Gigglepants and Ransom Notes, an a cappella group on campus, raised hundreds of dollars to aid in Haiti earthquake relief efforts.

Wayne Adams, a senior majoring in Engineering, attended the benefit show along with his roommate.

“I thought it was a great way to help raise money and showcase UT talent,” Adams said.
“We all want to help the cause, and with us all pitching in, we enjoyed a great show and helped those that needed it.”

Many students keep up to date with Gigglepants through Facebook and Twitter and always receive notifications of events through the troupe’s website, www.gigglepantsimprov.com.
Go ahead and attend a free show…you just might giggle your pants off!


Farewell Big 12, Hello Big Ten?

Thursday, February 18, 2010
Hook'em Horns

“Texas Fight! Give ‘em hell, give ‘em hell!
Yeah orange, yeah white!”
These are all chants heard at UT Austin football games, and represent the support that the student body and fans have for the Longhorn football team. Through this support, the Horns earned the number one spot as the highest grossing team in the country. The team’s success has been a proud representation of the university and the Big 12 Conference.
The University of Texas at Austin has been a member of the Big 12 since the conference came into existence on February 25, 1994. Previously, UT was a part of the Southwestern Conference.
Over the years, UT and the Big 12 became known for a national championship and competitive rivalries with Oklahoma and Texas A&M. The popularity during regular season home games, along with these rivalries, continues to bring in revenue for the football program.
Recently, however, the Big Ten Conference has been looking to expand in size and has shown an interest in Missouri, Notre Dame, and in the Longhorns.
What?! That was my reaction too.
Joining the Big Ten Conference would mean saying goodbye to the rivalries with the Sooners and the Aggies, and earning a place in the ranks next to the Buckeyes of Ohio State, the Nittany Lions of Penn State, the Hawkeyes of Iowa, and the Wolverines of Michigan, amongst others.
Is it truly worth it? Some students think not.
“The program is going to lose the rivalry games and the attention that comes with that,” senior Kinesiology major Roger Wills-Amires said. “This would also effect recruiting. The Big Ten is also not getting much respect.”
Roger’s overall reaction? “There are so many things wrong with that! I could go on for days,” Wills-Amires said.
Shaun Thompson grew up in Austin, and although he didn’t choose to attend UT, he has a special connection to the football program.
Big 12
“The biggest game, hands down, is UT and Oklahoma,” Thompson said. “They would have to build a whole new rivalry. In my opinion, UT would considerably be the most dominate school in a new conference if they decided to move.”
The rivalries aren’t the only change. With this move comes the problem of travel expenses. No more will students be able to drive down Interstate 35 to Baylor, but instead across the country to Columbus, Ohio. There are chances that alumni would make the trip, but for students, the convenience is lost.
“The change is going to be too expensive for fans,” Wills-Amires said.
Jessica Collins, a junior Pre-Law major, agrees.
“UT has die-hard fans. Some of which go to every game,” Collins said, “Instead of being able to drive to away games, they would have to buy plane tickets to each away game. Most people won’t be able to afford that.”
The UT football program is undergoing financial problems, along with other universities across the country; however, it’s not worth losing the attention earned through major Big 12 games, and having to start from almost no history with the schools of the Big Ten.
UT has a home. That home consists of breezy Saturday nights with a field of burnt orange and green, hot Saturday afternoons with stands filled with burnt orange, red and black, and fun-filled October weekends with thousands in burnt orange and crimson enjoying funnel cakes and hot dogs. That home is the Big 12 Conference.


Speak Up and Be Heard!

Monday, March 8, 2010
When walking to class, or eating in the union, do you ever think of ways life as a student can be improved at UT? Maybe more time between classes, or more UT shuttle buses to run routes? Well it can be difficult for students to have their voices heard on a large campus like UT, so in order to make changes students must get creative. This can include protests, giant signs across campus, headlines in The Daily Texan and the roads through Student Government. These were some of the limited options students had until March 1st when UT President Bill Powers announced “Ideas of Texas”.
HCUT-Tower.jpgPresident Powers announced the new Ideas of Texas website to students via the university’s campus-wide email system Monday morning.
“The Ideas of Texas will give each of you an opportunity to contribute ideas to enhance teaching, research, student life, and the alumni experience, increase productivity, reduce costs, and improve our effectiveness.”, Powers stated in the email.
The website gives students the chance to log in with their UTEID and password, title their entry as what improvement they would like to see on campus, and space to explain the problem and how the improvement would help the student body and faculty of the university. Other students would then be able to vote “thumbs up” or “thumbs down” to the entry.
The university board plans to review entries that have a great number of supporters and try to work them into existence on campus.
“This is a really great site,” Senior kinesiology student Tayler Gill said. “However, I think some entries are ridiculous. I think we have plenty of time to get to class.”
Ideas of Texas had a number of entries within hours of being announced. Of those entries students showed interests in the amount of class transition time, saving the Cactus Café and why the UT tower was lit for certain reasons.
Senior kinesiology major Roger Wills-Amires thinks these entries could really make students think about what can be improved.
“It's about time students have an easier way of being heard on campus.” Wills-Amires said. “We can come up with ideas that can benefit us and the future classes coming behind us.”
The student section of the Ideas of Texas was a recent launch of the faculty and staff version of the site that launched in November. Through the forums like this, it opens up the flow of communication between students, that may feel at times that they are the last to be heard, and those that are higher in standing at the UT and make university-wide decisions.
I urge students to take advantage of the Ideas of Texas site, and get your ideas heard! We aren’t the smallest percentage of this campus. We are by far the largest! If there is something you are passionate about and you think would be a great addition to the campus and will benefit students, please post for others to see. One post can lead to hundreds, if not thousands, of student votes, which in turn leads to change.


Be Dazzled: Your Shoes, Your Style

Thursday, April 15, 2010
Spring is here! So its out with the old and in with the new. It’s time to put away those Uggs and show off that new pedicure in some hot strappy sandals. Many students across campus have taken advantage of the sunny weather, and put together outfits that represent spring or the coming of summer with pops of bright yellows and oranges.
However, standing out in the crowd with a great pair of shoes may not be the easiest feat when you don’t have time to go the mall or an outlet and try on different styles. This is where you have the option of staying home and telling someone else, “Dazzle me!”
By looking beyond the color and heel height of a pair of shoes, try looking for what best matches your personality. Do you like to go dancing? If so, what style? Are you always down for dinner dates and something classy? Try finding something to match that little black dress. To make this an easier process, how about having someone else do your shopping for you? Fashionista and socialite Kim Kardashian has made this a reality.
ShoeDazzle was created by Kim and team of stylists to act as each member’s personal shoe stylists. You simply fill out a questionnaire upon registering and answer questions about your favorite designers and which celebrities you look to for fashion guidance. For $39.95 a month, a stylist will pick, on average, six pairs of hot shoes that match the description of your style and personality from your questionnaire. Once you’ve selected your pair, payment is simple (by a click of the mouse), and shipping and handling is always FREE! To make this an even more convenient shopping experience, the stylists have arranged that if the selection they made for you wasn’t satisfying, you can ask for an alternate set of choices, shipping for returns for exchanges are also free, and you can even choose to skip the month if you don’t wish to buy a pair of shoes during that time.
“I’ve already ordered my first pair,” said UT grad Alba Esparza. “I needed a pair of shoes that I could just wear during causal days, and ShoeDazzle made that easy for me.”
I’ve even made a few purchases from ShoeDazzle myself, and its helped me manage my money by treating myself to pair of shoes each month without breaking my ‘college student budget’.
Kim Kardashian and ShoeDazzle can make you feel like a celebrity with your own shoe stylist without the ridiculous price tag.
Your shoe shopping can also be for a good cause; just look into TOMS Shoes. The TOMS’ movement is simple; one for one. For every pair of TOMS shoes that are sold, a pair is given to a child in need. Many students have taken part in the TOMS movement and have sported different colors and prints across campus.
“I love my TOMS,” senior kinesiology major Tayler Gill said. “They have holes in them, I wear them so much. It’s a great way to get the public involved in an issue that the TOMS organization cares about. It makes you feel good about buying a pair of shoes.”
On Thursday April 8th, TOMS launched the ‘A Day Without Shoes’ campaign. In support for the movement, TOMS customers were asked to go an entire day without shoes and know what its like for children that aren’t as fortunate. Students on campuses across the nation, and many TOMS customers around the world participated and brought the campaign to a total ¼ million participants.
“I didn’t participate, but I think it was a cool idea. I don’t know if Austin or UT is the best setting for walking barefoot.” Tayler said.
So you see now that your shoe shopping fetish can go for many things. It can be a pop of color to a favorite outfit, a recommendation from a Hollywood stylist, or a symbol of your support in helping less fortunate children around the globe.  Regardless, your shoes are your style, so show em’ off!