Category Archives: Promoted Stories

5 reasons Austin is the best city (and 5 reasons why it’s the worst)

Austin is a unique city and a place we all call home. Like any other city though, it has its highs and lows. So without further ado, here are five reasons Austin is the best city, in the world…and five reasons it’s the absolute worse. 

  1. Live music (Best)
Photo Credit: Marko Milivojevic photography

Austin is known for the incredible music scene here. No matter if you’re looking for bluegrass, classic rock or EDM, you can find it live in Austin. 

  1. Parking (Worst)
Photo Credit: Larry D. Moore, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Free parking lots? Cheap street parking? Reasonably priced garage parking? These are nothing more than a fantasy in Austin. Here, you’re lucky if you find parking at all. 

  1. Local business (Best)

While chains and big businesses definitely  have a presence in Austin, local businesses have a bigger place in Austin than most big cities in the U.S.

  1. Burnt orange (Worst)

Let’s be honest with ourselves; burnt orange is a terrible color. It looks like the ghost of a prison jumpsuit, and it’s all over Austin. 

  1. The capitol building (Best)
Photo Credit: LoneStarMike, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Politics aside, the architecture of the capitol building is breathtaking. It’s a gorgeous addition to the city and one of the best-looking buildings in Texas.  

  1. Dirty 6 (Worst)
Marlon Giles, CC BY-SA 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Come on, y’all. It’s time to admit partying 6th street isn’t actually fun. At this point, it’s just a sketchy tourist trap with overpriced drinks and sub-par pizza by the slice. 

  1. Murals (Best)
Seth Taylor, CC BY-SA 4.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

Austin has tons of iconic murals, each with its own charm. You can make a full day out of just mural viewing. It’s like a huge, free art museum. 

  1. Rent (Worst)

It’s no secret the rent in Austin has skyrocketed in the past 5-years. It’s hard to love the city when you know you could be paying half the amount in rent that you do here if you lived outside of Austin. 

  1. Coffee (Best)

Austin has a coffee shop at every corner, each with a one-of-a-kind menu. Gone are the days of being limited to Starbucks for a cup-of-jo. 

  1. Roads (Worst)
Larry D. Moore, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Austin roads are AWFUL. You’ll be dodging potholes all day while also in bumper-to-bumper traffic. 

Love it or hate it, you can’t deny Austin is unlike any other city. Maybe it’s even the best city in the world…or the worst.

5 Things you (won’t!) be missing During virtual orientation

The University of Texas is holding freshman orientation online this year rather than on campus. So, if you’re an incoming freshman you may be wondering “what am I missing?” Well, I’m here to tell you 5 things you’re NOT missing from in-person orientation.

1. The Heat

Courtesy of: Giphy

Texas heat is absolutely brutal. In-person orientation is basically a sweat-athon of walking in 100-degree Austin weather.

2. Getting Lost

Courtesy of: Giphy and the NFL

There are three things that are certain in life: Death, taxes and getting lost at in-person UT orientation. Don’t worry about not getting lost on campus at orientation, though. You have plenty of time to do it during the rest of the school year.

3. The GPS Taking You the LONGEST Route Ever Created

Courtesy of: Giphy

Technology is great, right? Wrong! At least not during UT orientation. Without fail, your GPS will route you the way that not only takes the most time, but also makes absolutely no sense. Seriously, WHO decided the best way to get from Jester to Moody is Guadalupe Street? I just want to talk.

4. Cramped Elevators

Courtesy of: Giphy and Nickelodeon

During in-person orientation, everyone stays in the Jester dorms. That means everyone is trying to use the same elevators, usually all at the same time. Who needs personal space, right?

5. Being Told Not to Bring a Blanket (And Then Freezing to Death at Night)

Courtesy of: Giphy and Sesame Street

If you didn’t know, the in-person orientation packing list specifically tells you that blankets will be provided so you shouldn’t bother bringing one. What they don’t tell you though is this “blanket” provides about as much warmth as covering yourself with an H-E-B receipt.

No matter if you went to orientation in-person or online, you’re a Longhorn now! So, get your horns up and your burnt orange shirt on. This is going to be a great school year!

“Is your Favorite Character Hot?”: Pretty Privilege in Media

Does being beautiful make your life easier? More interesting? Have a dramatic soundtrack or endless close-up camera angles? Hollywood obviously thinks it does. It doesn’t take watching more than a few movies or TV episodes to realize the entertainment industry is saturated with inhumanly gorgeous actors and actresses. Does this change how we as viewers judge their characters though? Today, we will be examining “pretty privilege” in our media. 

What is pretty privilege? Well, it’s exactly what it sounds like. Characters can get away with more simply because the people who play them are pleasing to look at. They can be cruel, selfish, callous and downright evil. Yet, these qualities seem more acceptable because the actor is just “too cute to really be that bad.”

Let’s look at this stereotype of beauty and its correspondence to goodness through a movie most of us have seen: “Sleeping Beauty.” The main protagonist is kind, talented and innocent. How do we know this? Because she’s beautiful. With her golden hair, pink lips and glittering eyes (plus her being referred to as “Sleeping Beauty”),  it is not up for debate that the character is meant to be seen as lovely. The main antagonist on the other hand is malicious and harsh. How do we know? Because she’s ugly. It was not until the breathtaking Angelina Jolie took over this “antagonistic” role in the 2014 live-action film “Maleficent” that the character was redeemed as loyal and misunderstood. 

There is clearly a conditioned coordination between perceptions of beauty and perceptions of goodness. We have been taught to assume the best of attractive characters and the worst of unattractive ones. How does this idea of pretty privilege apply to less obvious examples of media though? To answer that, I will remind you of the once wildly popular musical TV show, “Glee.” Two characters share a shocking similar backstory: Santana Lopez and David “Dave” Karofsky. Both characters struggle with their sexualities in the show. Due to their insecurities about their sexualities, Santana and Dave lash out and bully many other characters. Despite their similarities, the fanbase tends to treat them considerably differently. Dave is treated with indifference or even hostility by most fans while Santana is widely regarded as a fan favorite. 

One could argue this treatment is because Dave threatened serious physical violence against another character, Kurt, in season two. However, the aversion to Dave by the fanbase predates this threat. In addition, Santana has also threatened physical violence against multiple characters and even made another character bleed by hitting him repeatedly with a dodgeball after the game was over. 

Both characters have the same drive behind their cruelness. Both characters display inclinations towards physical violence. Both characters are bullies. So, why is one loved and the other disliked? It could be because of how they look. 

Max Adler, who plays Dave, is certainly not ugly but he also isn’t depicted as the traditional Hollywood hunk either. Naya Rivera, who plays Santana, is known for her beauty though. Would fans have liked Santana so much and forgiven her so easily if Naya had been average-looking or even unattractive? While there is no way to say for sure, I’m tempted to vote no. 

Let’s look at an entirely different show to further explore pretty privilege in media: The crime comedy-drama series “Bones.” Just like in “Glee,” two characters stick out as having similar personalities that are perceived completely differently. Both characters, Oliver Wells and Rodolfo Fuentes are interns on the show who are incredibly brilliant but also incredibly arrogant. 

Now, what makes these characters different? Rodolfo is portrayed by the handsome Ignacio Serricchio. The show and audience is well aware of Rodolfo’s status as a beautiful man as other characters frequently comment on his attractiveness. He even has a line where he states “I’m handsome.” Oliver Wells, on the other hand, is played by Brian Klugman. Much like Alder, Klugman is not unattractive but is not depicted as extremely handsome the way Serrichho is. 

Despite having similar arrogance and intelligence, fans significantly prefer Rodolfo to Oliver. Even the review website “Screen Rant” ranked Rodolfo two places ahead of Oliver in their “Bones: All of Brennan’s Interns, Ranked” article. Could this fan favoritism be because of pretty privilege?

We have been taught from a young age to think favorably of attractive people so it’s no shocker that we’re often kinder to characters played by attractive actors. Next time you’re watching a show or movie, take a moment to think: Do I really like this character or do I just like the way they look? The answer may surprise you.

The best classes at ut: According to ut students

There are a LOT of classes at UT: History of Religion, Architecture and Society, Introduction to Geology, etc. So, how are Longhorns supposed to pick what to take this fall? How about recommendations from fellow students about the best classes they have ever taken at UT?

Without further ado, here are the best classes at UT Austin according to current UT students.

Disclaimer: Some submissions have been edited for length or clarity.

1. Life in the Universe (UGS303) – Ken Wisian

“Firstly, I enjoyed the main subject of the course itself. It is about the search for extraterrestrial life in the Universe and what is being done to progress this search. I was particularly fascinated by this topic. Secondly, I enjoyed how this course navigated this subject. The course dove into many different areas of study: astronomy, biology, physics, chemistry, a little bit of rocket science, and even philosophy. I enjoyed how the professor encouraged discussion. He encouraged students to interrupt and pitch in. This made the class fun and engaging.”

– Computer Science Major, 1st Year

Note: This class can only be taken by 1st year students.

2. Strategic Learning for the 21st Century (EDP 304) – Taught by various doctorate students

“The class was centered around how people learn information and implementing new note-taking techniques. Learning these techniques has really enhanced my studying. It changed my mindset on “memorizing” information. I would recommend this class. It teaches you how to better study in the college setting. “

– Health Promotion and Behavioral Science, 2nd Year

3. Race/Cultural Intelligence in the Age of Trump (UGS303) – Leonard Moore

“I learned that communication is the only way we can truly learn about people’s identities. In the course, we learned about the struggles that Latinx people, white working-class individuals and Asian Americans endure. It was nice to gain cultural awareness in an educational setting. The teaching style is very relaxed and Dr. Moore was very approachable. There is so much room for growth and errors in this class.”

– Political Communications Studies, 2nd Year

Notes: This class is only available to 1st year students and changes when the current U.S. president does.

4. Professional/Career Development (LAH104H) – Tatem Oldham

“I wish everyone had the opportunity to take this class with Professor Oldham. It’s a development course that makes internships a lot more approachable.”

– Sustainability Studies and Geography, 2nd Year

Note: This course is restricted to students in the Liberal Arts Honors Program in the College of Liberal Arts.

5. Intro to LGBTQ Studies (WGS303) – Ashley Coleman Taylor

“As a queer person, I found this class really rewarding to learn about the history of those that came before me, a history that is often overlooked and left out of mainstream narratives. I loved the intersectional approach Dr. Coleman Taylor took the course and how the material challenged me to reevaluate my perception of self as well as my own biases. I highly recommend taking any class offered by Dr. Coleman Taylor and the Center for Women’s & Gender Studies.”

– Human Development and Family Sciences, 2nd Year

6. Jewish Humor (UGS303) – Yitskhok Gottesman

“I enjoyed learning about Jewish culture and seeing how that culture translates in the comedy style of Jewish Americans from the 1950s to today. I enjoyed that the professor put in the effort to create a safe space for talking about modern comedy and addressing cultural differences in the context of comedy. I learned comedy is universal and is a way we can embrace our culture or connect with others no matter our cultural background.”

– Biology, 3rd Year

Note: This class can only be taken by 1st year students.

7. Reel Horror: The Holocaust in Film (UGS302) – Pascale Bos

“This class was super enlightening. We analyzed films made about the Holocaust, especially the American films made, and learned how censored they were. Hollywood films would often breeze over the brutality of the Holocaust and to make it seem less bad. The course was super interesting and it was eye-opening to learn about all the history.”

– Ratio-Television-Film (RTF), 2nd Year

Note: This class can only be taken by 1st year students.

8. Media Law (J350F) – Amy Sanders

“Media Law is an 8am class with dense reading materials so people think I’m crazy for loving it so much. However, I felt like I learned the most from this class and felt most engaged with professor Sanders. To be honest, law is really interesting! I loved using laws and cases that I had learned to structure an argument in this class. “

– Journalism and Chinese, 3rd Year

Note: You must have upper-division standing to take this course.

9. General Microbiology (BIO326R) – Peter King

“I really enjoyed this class because of my professor and the content. I especially liked it because of the circumstances we are in now. It’s really cool getting to have a better understanding of the “whys” of the ways certain things happen rather than just memorizing definitions. I enjoyed how Professor King’s lectures were almost like stories. It makes them more engaging.”

-Biology, 2nd Year

Note: In order to take this course, you must have credit with a grade of at least C- or registration for Biology 325 or 325H, and Chemistry 302 or 302H with a grade of at least C-.

10. Psychology of Advertising (ADV319) – Lee Ann Kahlor

“This class was super interesting and approachable even with no prior knowledge of psychology or advertising. I learned something in every lecture. There were no “buffer” or “filler” classes. Professor Kahlor is a great teacher. She’s funny, engaging, and cares deeply about her students and the subject.”

– Journalism, 2nd Year

Ruckify: A Forward Thinking Community

Sponsored Content

Ruckify is an idea whose time has come! Own less and do more. It comes down to this: if you own something useful or fun, you can make some money loaning it out. If you want to accomplish something that requires a tool or you want to have an experience that requires a valuable machine then Ruckify is your resource. The sharing economy is the economy of the future.

People love experiences and prioritize action over ownership. Consider this; do you want to dive into nature and kayak around Ladybird Lake? Or do you want to go to a store and purchase a kayak you have to store, clean, and use once in a while?

The world is changing and the way the economy works is up to us. Sharing simply makes sense. And while social distancing protocols are in effect we can still have a community. You can help people and make money at the same time by listing your rentable asset on Ruckify. If you want to get out in the world but are avoiding crowds, then Ruckify can give you a lot, like a tool to complete a project or a watercraft that can get you out in the open to enjoy nature.

Austin is the perfect place for the Ruckify ethos. People here love to get out into the world, try new things, and become great at what they do. With a metro area over 1 million people we’re urban yet we have access to space—parks, rivers, lakes, hill country. You can still make the most of it and Ruckify has opportunities.

Crisis has us all shifting the way we work, live and have fun. But people are responsive, creative and figure out how to adapt. If you find yourself with more time on your hands, try out some new hobbies, creative outlets, or physical activities that can keep you motivated to build your life as best you can. Join Ruckify and you’ll have an ever-growing array of options.

The Ruckify community is smart. And people get stronger by being in this community together. Transactions happen through the website and owners can develop smart procedures for getting their assets into the hands of renters including using the Ruckify Express touchless delivery service. People in the community also share sensible cleaning policies that show respect to all parties. The people of Ruckify, from members to employees, make it what it is.

When times are tough we all dig a little deeper to find ways to make ends meet. Ruckify is a great option. It can be as simple as a pressure washer. If you own one, list it. Someone will give you a reasonable sum of money and make use of it while you’re not using it.

So, if you need to fill some gaps financially, list your assets, share them and get a bump to your bank account. Depending on your situation, Ruckify can even be the side hustle that gives you a new and much-needed revenue stream. Look at what you own and think about how you can share. It’s a win-win scenario.

The good of the community is what Ruckify is all about. This includes caring for our environment. We know we need to be conscious of our impact and the sharing economy is an essential aspect of a livable future. To learn more about the impact the Ruckify community is having check them out on Instagram and Twitter or read the Ruckify blog.

Share more and do more while owning less. Sign up for a Ruckify account and download the app. Live well no matter what life throws at you!