What can 11 Texas Exes, a few university staff members and 19 prospective students accomplish on a spring Saturday in New York City?
They can get busy changing the world, of course.
Last month, the Office of Admissions hosted its first ever “Longhorns Lend a Hand” in New York City’s Tompkins Square Park. The event brought together high school juniors from the New York City tri-state area and local University of Texas at Austin graduates for a day of community service.
The “We’re Texas” message was loud and clear as the group definitely attracted attention in their burnt orange attire.
Armed with gloves, wheelbarrows and shovels, the crew quickly started pulling weeds and unwanted plants, and spread compost throughout the park. The work contributed to a two-decade-long effort to restore and maintain the beauty of Tompkins Square.
In addition to making a difference in the East Village community, prospective students learned about UT from the alumni working alongside them.
“[The students] asked all kinds of questions, like was the campus beautiful — things they might not have asked in a more formal setting,” said Merry Clark, a 1969 journalism alumna.
For some potential students, working with alumni painted a picture of campus and the university community. “The experience definitely reaffirmed my desire to attend UT,” said one student.
Another student who was not initially interested in “non-East Coast schools” commented on the sense of community and said, “Now I’m seriously considering UT because I absolutely loved it, or at least the image that was painted of it on Saturday.”
“UT Austin has a presence in many parts of the world,” said Wendy Combs, regional director – northeast in the Office of Admissions. “And that’s a good thing because finding students who fit the university’s commitment to making the world a better place takes the combined efforts of the entire university community.
“In the Office of Admissions, we work hard to create opportunities for Texas Exes and university representatives to interact with prospective students. We hope this will be the first of many Longhorns Lend a Hand events.”