Category Archives: Community

5 Ways to have a good day with mike

Everyone loves the UT Parking Guard Mike from PTS for his uplifting personality and inspirational quotes (especially when we’re having a rough day). But I wondered how he’s so cheerful all the time — And how can the rest of us have a positive attitude like him?

I sat down with Mike to ask him what tips he has for students to have a better outlook on their day.

1. Have Longhorn Pride!

Have pride because we are here to represent what the longhorns are about — what starts here changes the world. It does if you understand what changing the world means. The change comes within the part that you can play within the University of Texas. We want to take you from where you are now to shock the world.

2. Slow down and smile!

Not everybody is smiling, so you have to figure out ways to reach people. So that was when I came up with the ‘pound,’ the ‘high five’ and ‘fist bump’. Just getting students to do some type of activity because if you watch them, they’re in their own world, their zone. Why? Because they study all night, they’re under pressure. So my thing is trying to get the students to slow down and realize where they are at that point. 

3. Life is stressful but that’s okay!

I want students to understand you are going to have a lot of tests here at UT. When you go to take a test, you always have to prepare. Poor preparation means poor production. But also in preparing, you have to realize you always have to take care of yourself. It’s not about how much you can stuff into your mind; it is about how much you can retain. There is always going to be some stress, life is full of stress, but it is how you achieve going through the stress and coming out on the other side.

4. Strive for an A!

You did not study to get a C; you studied to get an A+. So that’s your drive. Go into class with that drive. Go into class and get that A. I wanna give you that winning mentality.

5. Follow Your Heart — Your heart will be with you always.

Understand what your heart does for you. Without your heart, your body doesn’t work. So understand how much of a role your heart plays within your life. Understand that everything that comes out of your mouth and out of your mind has developed in your heart. So focus on your heart.

Whenever you need an uplifting piece of advice or just a solid fist bump — you can stop by and say hi to Mike during the school week by the parking post off 24th Street and Whitis Avenue. 

Featured Image by Katie Shanina

Recap of Women’s March ATX 2021

The annual nationwide Women’s March took place on Oct. 2, 2021, for activists to protest against recent abortion laws. 

The event began at 9:00 a.m. at the Texas Capitol and the people attending came ready for their voices to be heard. An estimated 25,000 people showed up to the Women’s March which included guest speakers and representatives of the Texas legislature, as well as some of our own representatives from the University of Texas at Austin. 

At the end of the protest, a group of college students continued the fight into the streets of downtown Austin. Here’s a look into where they ended up: 

Activists who attended the protest and are also students at UT Austin, such as third year Journalism major Jamie Rose, expressed the importance of telling other people to vote. 

“Please support us. Please vote. Please take it to the streets with us and tell everyone on social media,” Rose said.“Whatever it takes to get this law down. Women are people and deserve to live just as much as an unborn fetus does.”

A Reflection of Hispanic Heritage Month

Hispanic Heritage Month spans from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15 as a time to recognize and celebrate the achievements and contributions of Hispanic Americans to the United States, as well as to educate others about Hispanic history and culture.

However, some Hispanic Americans forget to educate themselves on the anti-Indigenous and anti-Black roots not only this month but every day. 

“I think much of the problems that we face socially in Latin America and in this diaspora of Latinos and Latinx people comes from not acknowledging those issues and those historical facts,” third-year journalism student Sewa Yo’otu Olivares said. 

Olivares is Chicanx, an identity used to refer to people of Mexican origin, but primarily identifies as Indigenous and of Yaqui descent. With strong connections to their Indigenous relatives and little to none toward Hispanic Heritage Month, she feels conflicted.

“It’s like the people that are the loudest this month are the ones that seem to have the least issues when it comes to their status within Latin America,” Olivares said. “And that is to say light-skinned, mixed or non-Indigenous [and] non-Black Latinos.”

Olivares explains this can create a subset of Latinos and Latinx people who feel excluded from this month compared to their light-skinned counterparts. Consequently, this is a detriment to the political goals of the Latinx community because a subset of people is left behind.

Olivares believes liberating the most opposed people, such as Black transgender women, will liberate everyone else.

“I feel like that philosophy needs to be applied when it comes to race and gender, and all of these things in Latin America and the organizations that organize around those political roles, ” Olivares said.”

In a piece titled “The X in Latinx Is A Wound, Not A Trend,” Afro-Indigenous poet and artist Alan Pelaez Lopez discusses the four wounds of the “X” in the word Latinx: settlement, anti-Blackness, femicides and inarticulation. 

Pelaez writes, “the “X” in Latinx is a wound as opposed to a trend that speaks to a collective history [and] is attempting to speak to the violences of colonization, slavery, against women and femmes, and the fact that many of us experience such an intense displacement and silence that we have no language in which to articulate who we are.”

While reading Pelaez Lopez’s piece, Olivares was reminded not to deny their relationship to colonization, especially as a light-skinned Indigenous person. 

As a white Latina born in the United States, I also cannot deny the privilege of my citizenship compared to friends and family members who constantly struggle because they are undocumented. Even though it is uncomfortable to recognize our connections to colonization and our privileges due to our citizenship, it is necessary to have conversations about it.

“People need to get over being ashamed of their heritage,” Olivares said. “It’s not productive to be shameful of…the ways that your [family] lineage fits into the story of Latinidad.”

Instead, light-skinned and mixed Latinos and Latinxs need to use their privilege to uplift those who don’t always have a voice, including dark-skinned Indigenous and Black people not only during Hispanic Heritage Month but every day.

For Olivares, it can start by asking oneself questions such as: Who are the loudest voices in this conversation? Who are we not letting talk? Who have we not invited?

“The answer is not us doing the work,” Olivares said. “It’s giving others the space to do the work that they’ve already been trying to make visible for so long.”

Featured image by Roberto Huczek on Unsplash

Let’s Talk About Abusers in Hollywood… and the Celebrities Who Work With Them

Trigger Warning: This article includes discussions of sexual assault, abuse and trauma.

With stars like Margot Robbie, John David Washington, Taylor Swift, Christian Bale, Anya Taylor-Joy, Rami Malek and many more, director David O. Russell’s untitled film set to release in 2022 has a stellar cast. 

However, the Academy Award-nominated director’s troubled and abusive past has most people disappointed and angry that such celebrities would work with a man like Russell following the Me Too movement. It is especially frustrating when some of the celebrities involved in this project have spoken up on the longstanding abuse in Hollywood, either as allies or survivors, only to align themselves with a powerful abuser.

In 2011, Russell admitted to groping his 19-year-old transgender niece at a Florida gym. But since the assault wasn’t witnessed by police, he did not face any charges and the case was closed. According to a police report mentioned in the Chicago Tribune, Russell was helping her with ab exercises and talking about hormones when he touched both breasts under her shirt. 

Additionally, the director has a well-documented history of physically and verbally abusing actors on film sets. In an interview with GQ Magazine, actress Amy Adams revealed Russell made her cry most days on the set of “American Hustle.”

Although Adams said her co-star Jennifer Lawrence was able to handle Russell’s harsh behavior on set, she also said the sight of people being treated badly made her uncomfortable. When journalist Stuart McGurk mentioned the film’s success, including 10 Academy Award nominations and over $250 million in box office sales, Adams simply replied, “Life to me is more important than movies.”

Even though Adams talked about Russell’s ruthless behavior on film sets in 2016, this is not breaking news. While shooting his 2004 comedy, “I Heart Huckabees,” Russell’s disturbing behavior was captured on camera. In the video, he screams and curses at actress Lily Tomlin while kicking and throwing objects. One crew member can also be seen on the right side of the room, trying to get away from the scene between Russell and Tomlin.

Russell’s troubling past on movie sets does not end at Adams and Tomlin either. In 2017, journalist Amy Zimmerman compiled a lengthy list of Russell’s history for the Daily Beast.

However, The problem with Russell (as well as disgraced directors like Harvey Weinstein, Woody Allen, Bryan Singer, etc.) is not the exercise of power and control behind the scenes and in front of the camera. Also, the problem is not necessarily the abuse itself but their abuse of power, which I mentioned in a review of the HBO docuseries  “Allen v. Farrow.”

In the piece, I wrote about how “…the system that perpetuates and protects [men like Russell], allows abusers to thrive in secrecy as survivors are silenced.” As a result, some people forget about these cases and the survivors who have to carry this trauma with themselves forever.

When thinking about the star-studded cast for Russell’s upcoming project, it’s difficult to see these celebrities as not part of the system that protects and enables abusers, even if they have spoken out against it in the past. And while it has become clear over time that many celebrities are performative in their activism, it’s still important to call them out.

It’s also important to note that Russell’s unsettling past is only one example of abuse of power in Hollywood— others have taken advantage of their power to hurt those below them and have not been caught. 

In terms of progress and accountability, the stories of Adams and Tomlin, as well as his niece, are tragic reminders of the work that still needs to be done to protect people in the Hollywood industry and elsewhere.

Featured image by De’Andre Bush on Unsplash

10 Secret Study Spots at UT

If you’re a student at the University of Texas at Austin, then you know all of the hotspots for studying around campus: Perry-Castaneda Library, The Union, Medici Roasting, Flawn Academic Center, etc. There’s only one problem—  you’re never the only one planning to spend your Monday morning at the PCL or a couple of hours at a coffee shop after classes. These places get crowded fast, and it can be difficult to find an open spot and get work done with all the extra noise. 

I asked around and did some branching out this week to compose a list of some underrated study nooks on campus. Here’s my top 10 picks for the best “secret” study spots at UT.

1. Life Sciences Library

Photo by Nicholas Muniz

Let’s start with the libraries. The Perry-Castaneda Library is the largest and most visited library on campus. With six floors, you would think you wouldn’t have any trouble finding a place to sit on a weekday afternoon… wrong. There are lots of other great libraries on the UT campus, such as the Life Sciences Library. One of my friends described this space as having a “Hogwartsy vibe” and after visiting, I can confirm that is 100% true. Located on the second floor of the Main Building, this library is open most days until 5pm and usually has plenty of available seats.

2. Architecture and Planning Library

Photo by Nicholas Muniz

Another location is the Architecture and Planning Library in Battle Hall. This historic building has several long tables and excellent lighting, making it a great late-night study spot.

3. PCL 3rd and 4th Floors

Photo by Nicholas Muniz

The third and fourth floors of the Perry-Castaneda Library are actually pretty great if you’re trying to get some independent studying done. Most people crowd on the fifth and sixth floors, so it can get pretty tricky to find seating up there, but if you don’t mind working in silence, the lower floors are perfect for distraction-free zones.

4. Major Building

Photo by Nicholas Muniz

Did you know that UT students have 24/7 access to their major’s building? All you have to do is enter through the building’s “celebrated entrance” using your UT ID. This ensures that only students have access in order to enhance the safety of studying after hours. These buildings are a great place to study in the evenings, especially since you’ll find that many students are at the PCL, Union and other popular study places late at night.

5. Lucky Lab

Photo by Tara Phipps

I’m a heavy coffee drinker, so I’ve already tried most of the coffee shops on the drag and on campus. Although Medici Roasting might be my favorite place to get coffee, it certainly gets tough to find somewhere to sit. The coffee at Lucky Lab is great as well, and for an added bonus, there are several tables outside to sit and study. 

6. Engineering and Education Research Center

Photo by Nicholas Muniz

I’ve heard good things about studying at the Engineering and Education Research Center. This building is stunning and has big, beautiful windows that let in plenty of natural light. The facility has study rooms, project labs, and multiple tables, desks and comfy couches to use.

7. Welch Hall

Photo by Nicholas Muniz

Welch Hall is right off of Speedway and has both indoor and outdoor study spots. Once the weather cools down a bit more, there are plenty of covered tables in the courtyard that are great. If you prefer studying indoors, however, there are options for that as well.

8. Norman Hackerman Building

Photo by Nicholas Muniz

The Norman Hackerman Building has lots of open tables and lots of windows overlooking campus. This location is a lovely place to study and isn’t too packed. 

9. Empty Classrooms

Photo by Nicholas Muniz

Many people don’t think to study in empty classrooms. If you’re doing late-night or weekend studying, most classrooms are unlocked and unoccupied. As long as you are courteous and leave the room in the condition you found it, empty classrooms are a great place to study.

10. Dorm Study Rooms

Photo by Nicholas Muniz

For those of you living on campus, take advantage of the study lounges in your dorm! If you’re like me and have trouble studying inside of your dorm room, study lounges are a convenient place to camp out. My dorm has a study lounge on each floor, which is awesome for nights I don’t want to leave the building. The study lounge on my floor isn’t too crowded and usually pretty quiet, so I am able to get a lot done when I’m there.

If you plan to study anywhere on or off campus in the evenings, be sure to bring a study buddy living in or around your building, or take advantage of the safety resources offered at UT. SURE Walk and UT Night Rides are great resources that provide ways for you to get back to your home— on or off campus— as safely as possible.

Happy studying!

Featured image by Nicholas Muniz