In early 2017, I approached my friend, Denny Lee, about running for student body president and vice president. “Sure dude.” We’ve always been goofy, especially in ROTC. People who hang around us get that vibe strongly. That conversation was mostly a joke to us both.
However, that “joke” took on meaning … when we actually did it. Two guys who have spent zero minutes in Student Government.
It’s easy to walk onto campus everyday and forget what the University of Texas at Austin is: a premiere academic institution with a history of success in athletics, academics, research, student retention and much more.
To many students, UT-Austin still remains something that you just go through the motions on. We’ve realized that this is the case somewhere down the line in these last three weeks since dropping $20 to file for election (would love to get rid of that barrier by the way).
Student Government is simply a manifestation of this amnesia. Students here believe that Student Government is incapable of doing much of anything for them. They’re more right than wrong. Student Government bows to the administration here, and the administration is close to inaccessible.
Denny and I could run the campaign talking about all these huge things we want to do. We could talk about demolishing the PCL. We could talk about building skyscrapers. Truth is, these things just don’t happen. One, because that’s up to the administration. Two, you only get one year.
That’s why our platform has one point that is going to be delivered on. On day one, Denny and I will decline all stipend and tuition money that executive branch of Student Government receives — over $60,000! With that, we would like to create what we call a “transcript trust fund,” where we would like to purchase transcripts for low income students. Of course, everyday we will go to battle to get the transcript price lowered, among other things.
Some of our other planks include holding legislators accountable to their attendance and legislation passed, being 100 percent accessible to y’all (we will not work out of the Student Government office) and of course, bringing back the Wendy’s 4 for $4. Rumor has it that it’s not actually gone, but they just stopped advertising it. If that’s the case, we will fight to get it back up.
What was a joke has become a vision — one where Student Government does more to make the 40 Acres feel small and a home to those who need it. Not just a home to a few in Student Government, but to everyone. That starts with us. The only surefire way to get the ball rolling is to decline the benefits the executive branch gets. There is no reason we should jump an economic class ahead of any of our fellow classmates after getting elected.
Please join us on Feb. 28 in making this campus a place that is a home to everyone. Vote Austin Goss and Denny Lee for Executive Alliance.
Goss is a political communication and government sophomore. Lee is a petroleum engineering sophomore.